Graphic Design Theory 2

Module GDT2 – Graphic Design Theory 2

Module Leader:


Project Brief


This module will run over the first semester of the 2010/11 academic year. Taught-time lectures, seminars and presentations are designed to generate and encourage a critically informed graphic design discourse. The pattern of events will follow a regular Monday session to run between 10 – 1pm in the graphics studio followed by a regular Tuesday lecture session 2 – 3.30pm also in the graphics studio. The Monday event will focus on the preparation and development of a ‘Flash’ animation for your BLOG. Tuesday will be a mix of lectures and student responses in the form of seminar discussions and presentations of BLOG work in progress. Lectures will introduce key topics and will identify issues for discussion. Lecture topics will be followed-up in the group seminar sessions.

Our practical directed time research and development activities (i.e. compiling the BLOG) are ongoing over the period of the module. Following the initial briefing and introduction to WordPress you will begin to construct a digital database of images and texts in a diary form from your reading and investigation of design history, theory and contemporary practice. This data will be presented through the blog as a structured and searchable archive/information gateway with links to URLs. The range of your own interests will be evident in the choice of content and in the way your collection is organised. It is meant to be of practical use to you as a resource in your studio practice and as an articulation of your present thinking and understanding of your role as a designer. The material references in this diary can (and should) therefore relate to what you are currently doing in your practice module, Magawebzine. which runs concurrently with your theory. The BLOG, once constructed, can be your personal ongoing project through which you keep yourself up-to-date with the latest design developments and your future interests. Think of it initially as an exercise in which you make your ideas tangible – give them a form. Think of it also as a reservoir of design ideas, styles, movements and individuals’ work that you can collect, harness and direct to drive your own ‘creative generator’.

The strategic role of this project with your scheme of study:

This exercise will begin to lay the foundations of a personal design research activity and will assist in preparing you to examine and select topics of interest for the Critical Paper Proposal. As you move into the next semester, you will leave behind GDT2 (Graphic Design Theory 2) and commence DT2 (Design Theory 2) in which you will prepare for writing the Critical Paper in your final year of study.


In summary, the module aims to:

• Enable you to clarify your individual position as a design practitioner within a framework of personally researched references taken from selected contemporary and historic precedents.

• Encourage you to critically analyse and evaluate contemporary and historical theories and practices of design in the form of a BLOG.

• Help you to formulate a holistic personal methodological approach to design research that can be referenced and utilised in your individual practice of design.

Assessment Requirements:

1. A customised WordPress BLOG presenting relevant researched texts and images to be accessed online live and with a copy on a CD.

2. A personal design manifesto (1000 words) that will inform the reader of your rationale, values, principles and aspirations for your practice as a designer. This will draw on the diary entries you will be making over the period of the module on your BLOG. The manifesto will be presented as an entry on your BLOG for us to read on-screen. Please also print out and submit a hard copy of the text.

3. Self-assessment grade sheet.

N.B. The assessment of this module is weighted evenly between the BLOG and the Manifesto.Assessment Criteria:

The following criteria will be used to assess work:

Research: Students will be expected undertake exploratory and dynamic research, working independently or with others, that demonstrates initiative and critical reflection in the process of conducting primary and secondary research – Learning Outcomes 1, 4 & 5

Development: Students will be expected to engage with the issues and debates raised in this module, prepare as required for seminars and workshops and will normally be expected to attend all timetabled sessions – Learning Outcomes 4, 5 & 6

Outcome: Students will be expected to develop a written/oral argument that demonstrates imagination, rigour, and an understanding of the protocols of academic debate in the construction and communication of ideas – Learning Outcome 3 & 4

Analysis: Students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the issues and debates raised in this module and show evidence that they can contextualise their work within a wider theoretical framework – Learning Outcomes 2 & 3

Assessment Deadline:

Students to submit work to The Graphic Design Studio in the City Centre Campus by 2.00pm on Wednesday 2 February 2011. See notice board and Moodle/MLE nearer the time for your individual viva assessment appointment.


Failure of this module will normally require resubmission of a similar body of work but to a new specification. Brief to be issued by the examinations board for completion during the summer of 2011.

Indicative Reading:

AYNSLEY, J. 2001. A century of graphic design : graphic design pioneers of the 20th century. Mitchell Beazley.

CABAN, G. 2004. World graphic design : contemporary graphics from Africa, the Far East, Latin America and the Middle East. Merrell.

COLE, S. 2005. Dialogue : relationships in graphic design. London: V&A.

DRATE, S. 2001. Extreme design. Cincinnati, OH : How Design Books.

FIELL, C. 2003. Graphic design for the 21st century : 100 of the world’s best graphic designers. Taschen.

HELLER, S. 2001. Genius moves : 100 icons of graphic design. North Light Books.

HELLER, S. 2001. Icons of graphic design. London: Thames & Hudson.

HELLER, S. 2002. Design humor : the art of graphic wit. Allworth.

HELLER, S. c2004. Design literacy : understanding graphic design. 2nd edn. New York: Allworth Press.

HOLLIS, R. 2001. Graphic design : a concise history. London: Thames & Hudson.

JAROSLAV, A. 2002. Avant-Garde page design, 1900-1950. New York: Delano Greenidge Editions

MYERS, D, R. 2005. The graphic designer’s guide to portfolio design. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

NOBLE, I. c2005. Visual research : an introduction to research methodologies in graphic design. Lausanne: AVA.

SMITH, V, G, S, G. 2005. Forms in modernism : a visual set : the unity of typography, architecture & the design arts. New York: Watson-Guptill.

VALICENTI, R. 2005. Emotion as promotion : a book of Thirst. New York: Monacelli.

WATSON, J. 2003. Media communication : an introduction to theory and process. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

WEST, R. 2003. Introducing communication theory : analysis and application. 2nd edn. New York: McGraw-Hil

GDT2 Projectbrief


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