Initial Assignments

  1. Table tent: create a table tent (8.5 X 11 inches, folded lengthwise) that displays your name to be read from across the room. Apply an aesthetic. BRING THIS TO EVERY CLASS SESSION ALL SEMESTER.
  2. Start a design notebook. Carry it with you always. Continually doodle in it, sketch details of design that catch your eye, practice shading and rendering etc.
  3. Read syllabus, either hardcopy or online ( Return signed hardcopy syllabus agreement in class Wednesday January 22.
  4. Complete the AesDes Perception Survey by midnight Wednesday January 22! You will receive an email invitation from Qualtrics with a link. You may opt out of the survey without penalty, but you must send an email to the TA to do so.
  5. Join the class Slack workspace by midnight Wednesday Jan 22. You’ll get an email invitation.
  6. Post to the Slack channel (#worktrade) a short statement of your skills and resources that you are willing to share. Also state your aspirations. Every student is expected to contribute at least 5 hours outside of class to help other students with their projects this semester. This Slack list will let everybody know who and what is available. Use this channel to ask for help, or directly contact a student who has a resource you can use. Plan to teach your skill, rather than expecting to just do whatever. Whenever you help another student, announce this on the #worktrade channel (so Behruz can track it), and restate your skills and time available. Don’t ignore common skills such as steady hands, a car for transport, or access to a free washing machine. Due Weds 1/22 at midnight.
  7. Complete your login on the course website,, which will allow you to post to the blogs. That’s right, you’ll get an email invitation for this too. Upload an image for your profile. Contact Behruz on Slack if you have trouble with your login. Posts and critiques are due every week. Your first required blog post is described below. Please read my post on Blog and Comments policies.
  8. Blog Post #1: Explore an aesthetic. We will go over the definition and examples in class, but keep this assignment in mind. For your first blog post, identify an aesthetic, include at least 6 images and/or videos illustrating it, and discuss the context a bit. When was it created? Who were the big players? What influenced it? What has it influenced since then? Be sure to find the original authors of your images and videos, and provide citations for all your information sources. This blog post will be due at midnight Jan 22. Be sure to categorize your post as ‘Aesthetic Explorations 2020’. Aim for around 500 words in length.
  9. Critiques on Blog Post #1 will be due Sunday Jan 26 at midnight. Respond to comments on your post by Tuesday Jan 28 midnight. Details: Blog and Comments policies
  10. Upcycle Project. This will be your individual warm-up project. Create an artifact that conforms to an aesthetic, either the aesthetic you researched, or one that someone else in class posted about. Upcycle means that your artifact should be constructed of inexpensive or recycled material, something easy to manipulate using additive or subtractive techniques: cardboard (can be laser cut), foam core, drywall, sticks, plastic forks or plates, soda cans/bottles, Legos, bubblewrap or packing peanuts, stir sticks, straw, hay, cloth, papier Mache, tires, DVDs, PVC, food, plastic bags etc. Try to avoid buying new materials. (A hint: repetition is a common component of many artworks, so for example, if you use rubber bands, use a lot of rubber bands). You’ll be asked to document your design and construction process, so keep track of where you find inspiration. In particular, if you use an existing design you must document the source, but hopefully you will use this opportunity to create something new. Your artifact should be of moderate size, something between 0.5 and 8 cubic feet; can be small but must be viewable without a microscope, or up to as large as a chair. Plan to bring it to class for a short in-class presentations during the week of Feb 10, and a formal report will be due as a blog post Weds Feb 12.
  11. Main Project. Deciding on your main project has been called the hardest part of this course, so don’t wait. You can get started on it right away. You can make anything you want, as long as it has some sort of dynamic component; a moving part or something that changes with time. You are expected to pay for the materials (cost at least equivalent to a hardcopy textbook, say $150) and the project is yours to keep at the end of the semester.
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