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Design Fundamentals Week 3 Unity and Emphasis
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We missed last Monday due to the MLK holiday, so last night's class was a catch up class.  We whisked through the chapters on Unity and Emphasis including a great student report and a hallway scavenger hunt activity.

I was surprised when I looked at my watch and saw that we had an hour left.  I figured out a Mardi Gras activity grounded in the topic du jour. The activity was based on the games from last semester and turned out to be a hit.

Groups:  Tip:  Make groups in the beginning of the semester deliberately small so that students get comfortable using the vocabulary of design in conversations.  In this case, I made small groups composed of different majors.  Fashion with graphic design, photographer with animation, etc. 

Challenge:  Since it is near Carnival time I challenged each group to create a design for a Carnival or Mardi Gras poster, mask, or costume.  We covered the terms "source" and "subject" in the chapter so I pulled up some images of Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Carnival in Venice, Italy and Rio de Janeiro.  We discussed the color theme of New Orleans Mardi Gras (green, purple, and gold) and looked to see if there was a color theme for Italy.  With this quick introduction to different styles for different Carnivals, student groups set to work with a specific audience in mind -- New Orleans, Venice, or Rio. 

Outcomes:  The students from different backgrounds really collaborated and listened to each other to produce a product that was the result of team effort.  Only one team came in under the 1/2 hour deadline and were awarded extra points.  The other teams hurried to meet the next deadline.  The students presented each design and discussed the unity and emphasis in their design as well as how it was appropriate for the specific Carnival audience.  Students also discussed how working with a team member from another department contributed to the design.

Student teams
Students working on Mardi Gras Design in Design Fundamentals.  Honoria Starbuck Instructor. Students working on Mardi Gras Design in Design Fundamentals.  Honoria Starbuck Instructor. Students working on Mardi Gras Design in Design Fundamentals.  Honoria Starbuck Instructor.

1/2 Hour Collaborative Carnival Designs
Student half hour collaborative Mardi Gras poster for Design Fundamentals.  Honoria Starbuck Instructor. Student half hour collaborative Mardi Gras poster for Design Fundamentals.  Honoria Starbuck Instructor. Student half hour collaborative Mardi Gras poster for Design Fundamentals.  Honoria Starbuck Instructor. Student half hour collaborative Mardi Gras poster for Design Fundamentals.  Honoria Starbuck Instructor.

Student comments
  • Today I learned that team work and a view from another person can really help your design...
  • I learned the great relevance of work in a team that streams different fields into the design process...
  • I learned that there are so many different interpretations of kinds of unity... In my case, my ad showcased unity by repetition in the feathers of the dress...
Teacher Reflections
Students felt value in working in teams from different disciplines.  It is important to make sure that this teaming doesn't seem random to students, but representing the professional world in which many different types of designers come together to create products. Students talked over the nuanced different aspects of unity and emphasis in designs as they worked together.  The student presentations showed that students were increasingly comfortable using the vocabulary of design both visually and verbally.  Students readily adapted to the few materials available in the room and are reminded that each week there will be a hands on activity that will require them to be prepared.  It was lucky and funny that one team member came packing a whole palette of different colors of glitter as well as a squeeze bottle of glue.

Overall the games and activities that were designed by students at the end of the last term are effectively encouraging the new students to engage with the design fundamentals material.

Onward.



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