🌱 Spring 2024 Electives 🌱

Brand Identity Design
GRAPH-3286 / 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.
Image, Data, and Identity
GRAPH-2320 / 1:10pm–6:10pm / Livia Foldes / Today, all images are computational. This studio elective grapples with the aesthetics, ethics, and social and cultural implications of images that are always, already data, and contextualizes them within broader fights for algorithmic justice. From emotion recognition to nudity detection, how have machines been taught to understand and misunderstand our images, our bodies, and the identities attached to them? Conversely, when we open the black box of automated image analysis, what can we learn about the logics and ideologies embedded in the computational gaze, and the artists and designers who subvert or disrupt them? Some familiarity with code is recommended, but we will focus on using code-free tools like Runway ML to create, deconstruct, and talk back to computational imagery.
FAB: Digital Fabrication and Making (New!)
GRAPH-2156 / 8:00am–1:00pm / Brynn Trusewicz / This studio course is an investigation in the act of making. We’ll begin the semester by looking at performance theory, linguistics, ornamentation, and replication to explore the “act,” and simultaneously use digital fabrication, material research and hand craft to explore the “making.” You will further expand on these ideas by applying lenses of your choice to develop your own methodologies and frameworks to situate your work within a larger conversation about making and graphic design. While our primary modes of making will be within the realm of digital fabrication (using the resources at CoWorks), we will also incorporate other modalities to explore the tensions between presenting information/concepts and performing design. Course meetings will range from group discussions, making and fabrication demonstrations, work time and critiques. This course is designed for the Graphic Design student who already has an established independent practice with strong research and conceptual interests. The class will culminate in a final project that will support, enhance or evolve your Graphic Design Degree Project or Thesis. Estimated Cost of Materials: $125.00
Web as Medium (New!)
GRAPH-3325 / 8:00am–1:00pm / Minkyoung Kim / Web as Medium is an advanced studio course for students who have been exploring browser-based technologies as a creative medium. Students will build on their critical understanding of code to investigate the cultural, social, and philosophical implications of the internet, culminating in the creation of self-driven projects as their responses. The course will provide a space for students to conduct in-depth experiments on the web, fostering active skill-sharing and knowledge exchange among peers. The course features student-led research/workshops as a point of engagement with relevant technologies and its discourse, along with self-driven projects that utilize the browser as a space to experiment and communicate. Prerequisite knowledge of or coursework in HTML/CSS/JS basics is required—students are expected to have solid understanding of network technologies, including how to publish web pages to the internet.
Type Design
GRAPH-3859 / 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.
Letterpress Printing for GD (New!)
GRAPH-4178 / 8:00am–1:00pm / Lois Harada / In this Graphic Design course, students will learn traditional and contemporary letterpress printing techniques to further their design practice. Students will be challenged to experiment with unexpected combinations of type, images and printing substrates that are uniquely available to the letterpress printing process before incorporating modern print and production methods into their work. Students will learn about historical letterpress printed forms including broadsides, posters, pamphlets and propaganda. Through experimentation and distortion, these traditional forms will be radically altered to suit each student’s creative voice. This course will demand technical rigor and appreciation for the craft of fine printing so that students will be able push past the standard structures of the form later in the semester. The course will allow ample time to craft a final project—a composed series of multiple color posters or an edition of books—and include guidance on planning, proofing and budgeting to ensure a well produced and consistent edition. This course will start with handset moveable type, focusing on the fundamentals of spacing and fine printing before moving into more modern photopolymer platemaking. We will also delve into the mechanical operation of the letterpress machines in the Typeshop, leaving students with a working understanding of proper maintenance and troubleshooting techniques. Estimated Cost of Materials: $125.00
Typography for Non-Majors
GRAPH-3100 / 1:10pm–6:10pm / Min Hee Lee / This introductory course is intended for non-majors interested in learning the basic principles of typography, including the study of letterforms, type classification, legibility, organization and hierarchy, as well as text applications, grid systems and page layout. Typography will be explored as both a means of communication and a vehicle for expression. Projects may include comparative studies for setting text and poetry, letterhead systems, brochures, or posters. This course will provide a solid foundation for moving on to more complex typographic problems such as book, motion, or web design.
The Art of Showing Up, Taking Space, and Engaging Community (New!)
GRAPH-2055 / 11:20am–4:20pm / Jess Brown / We strive to be a beautiful multicultural, interdisciplinary, intersectional space that removes the barriers between art and design, 2D and 3D, institution and student body. This course is broken into 3 sections of exploration for design and art making: The self, The audience, and The community. This is an SEI-based curriculum and we will be exploring social justice topics such as race, gender, sexuality, class, poverty and climate in a safe, supportive and collaborative environment. If you are QTPOC and have had issues with creating work that is a personal reflection of your lived experience and would like to explore these topics in a nurturing and non harmful space, welcome, come join us. This class has no prerequisites. All majors are welcome. Brown University Students welcome. Estimated Cost of Materials: $100.00
Experimental Publishing Studio
GRAPH-3320 / 11:20am–4:20pm / 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.
Design for Publishing
GRAPH-3302 / 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
GRAPH-2103 / 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.
Reframing the Poster
GRAPH-2010 / 1:10–6:10pm / Nancy Skolos / The poster has been an archetypal graphic design format since the late 19th century when lithographic printing technology came of age and captured the imagination of artists, bringing their vision into Paris streets. This course will invite you to explore future possibilities and contexts for the poster-as paper and as screen-building on its singular capacity to transform ideas into iconic picture planes; and examining the dynamics of typography and image, both still and in motion. Prompts will progress from individual posters, to sequences, to site-specific installations that explore the potential for interactive discourse in public space. Studio assignments will be supported with presentations and readings about poster history and contemporary poster design.
Exhibit Design
GRAPH-3273 / 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
GRAPH-3282 / 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.
Workshop: Risograph Printing
GRAPH-3181 / 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: Digital 3D Design
GRAPH-3318 / 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
GRAPH-3163 / 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: Screenprinting
GRAPH-3319 / 8:00am–1:00pm / Julia Gualtieri / 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 making your projects. Through in-class demos and out-of-class assignments, this workshop will encourage interplay between screen prints and digital prints. The class will start with simple paper stencils and move quickly into making screens from images and text generated digitally. No previous experience required.
Workshop: Web Programming
GRAPH-3188 / 1:10pm–6:10pm / Jay Marol / This workshop combines the tactical skills needed to structure web pages with a looser, more playful compositional mindset. Students will be introduced to the structural elements and properties of HTML and CSS through hands-on demos and take-home assignments. They will introduce Javascript and Javascript libraries to their websites to enhance interactivity. We will explore how modern websites are designed and built, discussing questions of accessibility, data, hosting, and how web design and dev teams are generally structured.