🌱 Spring 2023 Electives 🌱

Brand Identity Design
8:00am–1:00pm / Rich Rose / Designing an identity and identity system is a critical skill practiced by today’s designers. In this course, students will create two identity systems: one for an arts organization and one for a socially constructive campaign. While a traditional identity system is defined as a logo and a set of rules for governing that logo's application across a range of media, the goal of this class is to expand upon the ways an identity can be conceived through the manipulation of language, materials, and audience expectation/participation.
Web, Tools, and Ethics (New!)
1:10pm–6:10pm / Jay Marol / This studio course will focus on learning web development tools with a holistic socio-political lens. Through projects, you will further your experience using tools such as Figma, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JavaScript libraries, Github, and learn to leverage these skills to give form to your ideas. We will address the vast and complex world of contemporary professional web development and graphic designers' various roles in this space. Additionally, through discussions and presentations, we will explore the intersecting social, political, and historical contexts around web technologies, shedding light on some of the ethical challenges in tech and design spaces. Web development as a practice relies upon collective work; in that spirit, we will learn collaboratively and build on the possibilities we find. Prerequisite: at least one Web class (eg, Web Programming, Generative Design, or Web Typography) or permission of the instructor.
Type Design
8:00am–1:00pm / Richard Lipton / This elective is an opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the process of designing a typeface; to consider all the design decisions that are a part of this creative exercise, and to learn the finer points of letter structures and systems, serif and sans, spacing, kerning, and all the other details of execution which turn a roughly-formed idea into a more complete, rigorous and polished digital design. This course will provide a fundamental understanding of how typefaces work in addition to understanding a tool that can further your design goals.
The Queer Art of Design: Creating Within, About and For Queer Bodies
8:00am–1:00pm / Brynn Trusewicz / Queer people and queer bodies have always been in between, on the outskirts of, or defying categories. Because we are not so neatly categorized we have to defend not just our identities, but our existence, our humanness. Queer/trans bodies have historically been equated to monsters, which further other, villainize, and objectify us. What does it mean if we embrace this stereotype of monstrosity? &What happens when our bodies are consumed as objects? What does it look like when we are in control? What does it mean to embody and empower queerness? transness? In groups and individually, students will create work with respect to queer bodies that ask for our specific experiences, needs, wants, and desires. Work will take into account other aspects of identity like race, class, disability, etc, that cannot be separated from queerness. Designs can be anything in relation to the body; some might take the form of apparel, adornment, costume, body modification, body intervention. What happens when we think of our bodies as a material? Course meetings will range from class discussions, making/fabricating demos, individual work time, studio visits and critiques. Final projects will be self driven under the guidance of the instructor and with the support of their peers. The semester will culminate with a collaborative student curated event to exchange their work with the community in whatever modes they desire. This course is designed for self driven students who already have established an independent practice with strong research and conceptual interests. Queer/identity based work is highly encouraged and supported.
Experimental Publishing Studio (New!)
1:10–6:10pm / Tycho Horan / In this time of overlapping crises, as systems of domination insist we stay the course, it seems necessary to try everything differently. Publishers too need to reimagine their practice, not in pursuit of solutions but as a tireless process of experimentation. This studio will focus on the social and material practices that foster cooperative presses and collective publications. Students will learn prepress and layout techniques, introductory risograph, screenprinting, and bookmaking methods, such as saddle stitching, coil and perfect binding, as well as more experimental approaches to publishing. This studio will encourage students to be self-directed and work collaboratively to make a number of publications over the course of the semester. We will visit print/publishing studios in the Providence area and have guest critiques from the field. How do we make publications differently? Historians often imagine early print shops as rigidly hierarchical, directed by lone white master printers, churning out perfectly printed volumes, tightly bound, uniform, inalterable, and embossed with the gilded name of one author. Instead, we will propose a messier history and an alternative culture of publishing built on solidarity economies and cooperative modes of production. The archive is littered with pamphlets and propaganda by anonymous collectives, sold and produced cheaply, barely bound if at all, disseminating countercultural ideas even from the earliest days of Guttenberg. In this way, things like zines may have as much to tell us about publishing as “traditional” books.
Type Design for Visual Identities (New!)
8:00am–1:00pm / Richard Lipton / What gives a typeface its personality? Why does one font appear bigger or clearer or darker or warmer than another? The answers to these questions can often be found by simply looking more closely at the letters themselves. Graphic designers who can scrutinize and describe types’ nuances are better equipped to pick the right tool for the job and discuss those choices with colleagues and clients. Typeface design is a unique and important skill that profoundly affects visible language. The drawing of letterforms intersects with the history of graphic design and technology and affects every aspect of design practice, from branding and editorial design to motion and interaction design. Students will apply their knowledge to design an original typeface focusing on a real or imagined brand. This is a Mac-only course.
Type and Image in Motion
8:00am–1:00pm / Franz Werner / We stand firmly planted in a visual world, surrounded by a universe of things to look at. Images flicker from televisions, iPads, computer monitors, and more-as large as towering billboards and as small as compact cell phones. Such images provide clues about our environment, feeding our minds with information that we find helpful for survival or orientation purposes. But these images clutter the horizon and prevent us from discerning what is truly important. How do we tell them apart? The primary goal is to equip students with the skills necessary to create meaningful and intelligent images. Course content is tailored for three levels of experience—elementary, intermediate, and advanced. Some class projects include documentary photography, film title design and music video. The works of Saul Bass, Bill Viola and Michel Gondry will be used as the “textbooks” for this course. Readings, film screenings and listening exercises accompany studio work. Some knowledge of Premiere Pro, After Effects, or Final Cut Pro would be helpful but is not required.
Design for Publishing
1:10pm–6:00pm / Ernesto Aparicio / This course will cover all aspects of designing comprehensive art and photographic books. We will examine the use of type in layouts, editing images, grids, scale, and pacing. Particular attention will be paid to certain elements of design production, including the visual, tactile, and aesthetic qualities of paper, printing, binding, color separation, and advanced techniques in reproduction, namely duotone and three-tone in black and white photography. In the first part of the semester students will design the layout and the corresponding dust jacket for a photographic book. The material will include a number of original black and white photographs from one of the very well known French photographers. In the second part of the semester, students will be given the choice between designing a book based on their own interests and completing a book design project using assigned material.
Time, Sequence & Sound
1:10–6:10pm / Ron Pearl / This is a course about design and motion, filtered through the lens of real-world, graphic design applications. From film titles to animated gifs, design installations to handheld applications, motion is an important consideration in 21st century graphic design. This course combines disciplines of graphic design, animation, storytelling and sound design. Through a series of in-studio and multi-week assignments, students will create animated projects that include real-world assignments as well as experimental exercises. Short weekly lectures will discuss historic and current works of influential Motion Designers, Animators and Directors. Adobe After Effects will be the primary production tool for this class. Through the sequence of assignments, students will become fluent with the software.
Be the Change: Design for Social Impact (New!)
1:10–6:10pm / Rene Payne / How can design challenge power and imagine new futures around climate change, mental illness, or political unrest? In these times of global uncertainty, design can be an effective tool for empowering individuals and communities to achieve social impact. In collaboration with community leaders and global social justice organizations, we will engage in supporting real-world interventions through a series of in-studio and multi-week assignments. This studio design course invites you to create self-driven work and collaborative outcomes. We will challenge critical thinking through class discussions, research, and critique, exploring conventional and unconventional making methodologies using 2D and 3D mediums, digital platforms, and artistic forms of expression. We will be a force of inspiration by informing, enlightening, and educating our communities on critical matters affecting humanity and the world.
Exhibit Design
8:00am–1:00pm / Doug Scott / This course will focus on the following: • a critique of an existing exhibit • conceptual thinking • experiential creation • materials and model-building • exhibition typography • exhibit as narrative • three-dimensional spatial planning. These projects, which will result in the creation of scale models, are relevant to all exhibition projects and experiential installations; and relate to exhibits at zoos, science centers, history and natural history museums, national parks, and art museums. Students will design exhibits in these content areas: architecture, history, and animals. The studio work will be augmented with slide lectures on the history of exhibition design, stage design, and store window design.
Mapping Information
1:10–6:10pm / Doug Scott / This course introduces basic concepts, methods, and procedures of information design with focus on visualizing data and information. It investigates visual systems and information structures such as maps, graphs, charts, and diagrams. We will discuss the use of marks, icons, color, and typography. Emphasis is placed on the exploration of conceptual and visual solutions, and on the creative process of organizing, visualizing, and communicating information. The objective is to examine design solutions that make complex information easier to understand by specific audiences. The course will be delivered as studio projects, individual and group critiques, a history of information lecture, discussions, and readings. Students will design information visualizations in these content areas: a map of three journeys; depicting a process of making something; a visualization of a chapter of a work of fiction – showing characters, place, and interactions; and a complex set of infographics about a country – its geography, trade, agriculture, population, climate, etc.
Design in the Posthuman Age
1:10pm–6:10pm / Anastasiia Raina / In this class, we will explore our contemporary condition through visual-research based projects around self-design, speculative design and design fiction. We will use graphic design as a medium to ask questions about ethical concerns emerging from advancements in science and technology. We will develop a new design vernacular incorporating ideas from revolutionary recent developments in genetics, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence. We will employ machine vision: microscopy, neuroimaging and NASA archives to create new fictional worlds in concert with the life forms around and inside us. This engagement with the sciences will allow us as graphic designers to acquire some fundamental tools that probe fundamental human nature, and help us navigate the posthuman epoch that lies ahead.
Workshop: RISOGraph
1:10pm–6:10pm / Fri / Tycho Horan / This workshop will use the ideas from Risograph (RISO) printing to combine practical pre-press skills, encouraging experimentation formmaking. The aim of this introduction workshop is to teach students to consider the craft and value of well-planned files to produce high-quality outputs that can be replicated and shared. Students will work within a series of technical constraints that will require creative solutions as well as an understanding of this particular printing process, color, paper, and file preparation.
Workshop: Photo/Graphic
8:00am–1:00pm / Fri / Franz Werner / Photography plays an important role in the field of graphic design—within publications, posters, electronic media, etc. Because of the camera's availability and fairly inexpensive cost, photography has become one of the most popular hobbies in the world. Although he/she is in possession of such a device, the average person is not entirely aware of certain image manipulations and other concepts used by the graphic designer. This four-week workshop introduces designers to the lighting studio and the many uses of the camera in creating design artifacts.
Workshop: Digital 3D Design
1:10–6:10pm / Fri / Ed Brown / This workshop will introduce students to the foundational tenets of digital 3-dimensional modeling through the lens of the graphic designer. Using 3D-modeling and sculpting software students will learn strategies for creating virtual forms in different contexts. Once comfortable with modeling students will be introduced to the various elements of rendering including shaders, lighting, and the virtual camera. After successfully rendering scenes students will learn to composite their renderings with 2D graphic design work as well as create animations for video and motion graphics.
Workshop: Variable Fonts
1:10pm–6:10pm / Fri / Gabriel Drozdov / Variable fonts offer graphic designers new ways to create dynamic, complex, and consistent typographic systems. While digital typefaces traditionally require multiple font files to cover a range of weights and styles, variable fonts instead store glyphs as a range of possible forms with infinite variations. In this four-week workshop, students learn how to utilize and design variable fonts for a wide variety of use cases including typographic identity systems, interpolated animations, and context-aware adjustments like optical sizing. Projects include designing graphics with variable fonts, modifying open source typefaces to introduce variable functionality, and conceiving of original variable font designs. Course instruction includes Glyphs for designing typefaces and basic HTML/CSS for animating variable fonts; no background in type design or coding is required.
Workshop: AfterEffects and Kinetic Typography
1:10pm–6:10pm / Fri / Clinton Van Arnam / This workshop is meant to direct and enable students to learn the fundamentals of motion graphics, and After Effects with an emphasis on kinetic typography. By the end of the workshop, students will have a wide range of skills in motion graphics and encourage more learning for future projects. No previous experience is required.
Workshop: Screenprinting
1:10pm–6:10pm / Lois Harada / This workshop will focus on establishing a basic understanding of a variety of screen printing techniques and how to make use of those techniques in your work. Through in-class demos and out-of-class assignments, this workshop will encourage experimentation with screens and ink. The class will start with simple paper stencils and move quickly into making screens from images and text generated digitally.