Good Design takes as its premise that visual literacy is a vital yet under-examined area of academic discourse. Although we engage the designed environment every day, non-specialists have few ways to make sense of the myriad decisions that come together to form things and places. Through a combination of reading, drawing, writing, and model-making, this course asks students to examine the complex intersections between analyzing existing designs and creating new work. One central question is whether design principles that operate at a small scale, say the scale of a hand-held object, are also appropriate at a larger scale, like the scale of human habitation. The course uses scale as a lens through which to engage this question, as readings and projects consider the design of something you can hold (such as a tool), the design of something that can hold the body (such as clothing or furniture), and something that can be inhabited (such as a dwelling). Discussions of the readings, analytic writing, and presentation of student-designed work will structure the majority of course meetings. Authors will include: Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. and the original Museum of Modern Art curatorial Good Design texts from the 1950s; Paola Antonelli, Humble Masterpieces: Everyday Marvels of Design; Pietra Rivoli, The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy; Jay Greene, Design is How It Works; Richard Dyer, White. Field trips to MoMA and other design museums are scheduled.
Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)