Assignments and Readings

Quiz: April 10

Quiz coverage

Readings to review for concepts and terminology:

Assignment 7

Metaphor and Interface

Choose an interface for a hardware device. Re-design it using a strong metaphor (or metaphors.) The metaphor should be new, unconventional but still help explain and inform the interface.

Create a 1-page, landscape-format document depicting the interface. This is not a visual design exercise, but an exercise in communicating a concept.

Note your metaphor in the notation used by George Lakoff, that is: ARGUEMENT IS WAR

Be prepared to explain your concept in class, March 27 using concepts covered in the "A Semiotic Model Of User-Interface Metaphor" reading.

Due: 6PM, Sunday March 26. Upload the PDF file to www.geneva9.com/upload.

Name the file: YOURLASTNAME_DSGN3100_Assign7.PDF

Reading: read A Semiotic Model of user interface and Apple Human Interface Guidelines: Design Principles for next class

Assignment 6

Tropes and schemes

Review the Rhetorical Handbook

Choose a single type of physical product - furniture, architecture, etc.

Create four versions of it using different rhetorical schemes and tropes. Label each one, specifying the trope or scheme. You may use words or images (or both) to construct your versions. All of your versions must be of the same product - your task is to create different variations on it.

Due: 6PM, Sunday March 12. Upload the PDF file to www.geneva9.com/upload.

Name the file: YOURLASTNAME_DSGN3100_Assign6.PDF

Reading

Read Semiotics in Product Design for next class.

Assignment 5

This is not a place of fun

Your task is to create a playground that kids will not want to play in.

Background: Cities often require land developers to provide playgrounds as part of new housing developments. The land developer in this case must comply and build a playground, but doesn't want kids hanging around, because reasons. The playground you describe must follow the basic rules for playground safety and accessibility. You can review some of these rules here. You can't use obvious impediments such as fences, razor edges, land-mines, etc. Nor can you simply post signs that say, for example, "No playing allowed."

You must adhere to the basic formal requirements of a playground, including life safety. The playground must be located in this imaginary subdivision, but you can choose where.

The objective to not to create a playground children can't play in, but rather one they don't want to play in.

Emphasize semiotic aspects - that it, use meaning and signs to dissuade.

Notes: Typical rhetoric is based on persuading people to do something. What is the rhetoric of dissuading people from doing something?

Think expansively. This not a product design project, it is a communication project, in the broadest possible sense. Meaning is your primary tool. Think about the audiences - children and caregivers. Think beyond playground equipment - think about landscape, context, narrative and all the things that can affect the way people think about a place. What is the code, or vernacular of playgrounds? And how can you manipulate that vernacular to both communicate "playgroundness" but also dissuade use?

Due: 6PM, Sunday March 5. Upload the PDF file to www.geneva9.com/upload.

Name the file: YOURLASTNAME_DSGN3100_Assign5.PDF

Readings

Assignment 4

Dollar Store Semiotics

A sign is anything that can be used to tell a lie.
-Umberto Eco, A Theory of Semiotics

Make a visit to a Dollar Store.

Choose a product that uses persuasion to suggest it is something it is not: healthy, genuine, effective, etc. The product you choose should be rich in signs. Clones, knock-offs, and other non-mainstream products are best.

Carefully analyse the systems of signs present in the item, using techniques similar to those in class on the knockoff brand chocolate bar. Treat the item as expressing a rhetoric: a systematic series of signs and messages, all performing different tasks.

Make reference to the various rhetorical strategies and appeals (ethos/pathos/logos), denotative and connotative language, types of codes and their audiences. Write a descriptive essay, outlining the semiotic aspects of the item. Use Barthes's "Rhetoric of the Image" as an inspiration, if you need.

The Semiotics of Food and Drink may also be helpful.

Length: 500-1000 words. You may use illustrations and other diagrams.

Due: 6PM, Sunday Feb. 12. Upload the PDF file to www.geneva9.com/upload.

Name the file: YOURLASTNAME_DSGN3100_Assign4.PDF

Assignment 3

Logos, Ethos, Pathos.

Locate three works of design - one for each of the three modes of rhetorical appeal.

Document each, and then create two alternate versions of each, using the other appeals. For example, if the work uses logos, create a version that uses ethos and pathos.

You do not need to redesign each work - you only need to submit an altered concept, using words to describe the new version. Submit as a PDF file.

Due: 6PM, Sunday Feb 5. Upload the PDF file to www.geneva9.com/upload.

Name the file: YOURLASTNAME_DSGN3100_Assign3.PDF

Readings:

Rhetorical Tropes

Design papers 5: Rhetorical Handbook, available in bookstore. (review "Rhetorical Handbook" for appeals and basic rhetorical concepts.

Aristotle, On Rhetoric, Book 1

Assignment 2

In "The New Citroen" Barthes talks about previous cars belonging to a "bestiary of power" and the DS more in the category of "household equipment."

Take a walking survey of the environment - choose a street, or series of streets, and choose a category - cars, buildings, businesses or other element.

Record 25 names of the items of the type you have chosen, and then organize them into (possible) categories based on the names - a bestiary, if you will. Make sure you organize based on the characteristics of the names, not the products themselves. Connotations values of names is what is most important here. Think about why the names are appropriate. What conventions are there about naming in this category? What qualities are the names trying to convey. In Barthian terms, what myths are these names supporting?

Present your findings for on-screen use - as a Keynote or Powerpoint presentation, or PDF for on-screen use. Make sure to include your name on each page.

Read Creating Effective Brand Names: A Study of the Naming Process for background on practical aspects of naming.

Read http://visual-memory.co.uk/daniel/Documents/S4B/sem06.html for more background on the the idea of myth.

Due: by 6 PM Sunday Jan 29. Upload as YOURLASTNAME_Assignment2 to www.geneva9.com/upload.

Readings 2

  • Essay: The New Citroën
  • Essay: The Rhetoric of the Image
    Read for Monday Jan 23.

    Readings 1

    • Read Sections 1 and 2 of Semiotics for Beginners
    • A Course in General Linguistics by Ferdinand de Saussure
      Read "Part One: General Principles (pp. 65-100).
    • Sections 1 and 2 Pierce's theory of the sign
    • All for Monday Jan 16.

      Assignment 1

      Visually document 25 signs.

      Label each one, and classify each example as indexical, iconic, or symbolic. Make sure each sign is one you have found and documented yourself - you may use photographs, sketches or text where appropriate.

      Ensure that you are choosing a wide variety of signs, and not limiting yourself to obvious examples such as icons, wayfinding signs, etc. Some signs may be difficult to classify, or may be difficult to designate as signs, but be prepared to justify their inclusion. Use the "signs" chapter of Semiotics for Beginners as a reference.

      Submit as a PDF file. For each sign, note the signified (and if not obvious by the image) the signifier, and its Peircean category (index, icon or symbol). If sign spans multiple categories, note them. Lay out the document with multiple signs per page.

      Due: 6PM, Sunday Jan. 10. Upload the PDF file to www.geneva9.com/upload.

      Name the file: YOURLASTNAME_DSGN3100_Assign1.PDF