Initial Assignments 2021

  1. 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.
  2. Read the syllabus. Really. Upload signed agreement (last page) in Canvas by midnight Wednesday January 20.
  3. Complete the AesDes Perception Survey by midnight Friday 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. If you join the class late or have another problem with the survey email Hugh Scribner for an invitation and submit the survey ASAP.
  4. Join the class Slack workspace by midnight Friday Jan 22:  See the assignment in Canvas for the link. The name of the workspace is Aesthetics in Design 2021 Spring. You’ll need to use your CU email address.
  5. 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 or need a new invite. Posts and critiques are due every week. Your first required blog post is described below. Required: read my post on Blog and Comments policies.
  6. 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. Try to answer all these questions (in your narrative, not a list): 1) when was it created? 2) Who were the big players? 3) What influenced it, what did it grow out of? 4) 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 27. Be sure to categorize your post as ‘Student Work>2021>Post 1: Aesthetics Explorations 2021’. Aim for around 500 words in length.
  7. Critiques on Blog Post #1 will be due Sunday Jan 31 at midnight. Respond to comments on your post by Tuesday Feb 2 midnight. Details: Blog and Comments policies
  8. 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, rocks, pet hair, 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 or adapt 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 video the finished artifact for a short in-class presentation during the week of Feb 22, and a formal report will be due as a blog post Weds Feb 24. You might want to make one of those time-lapse assembly videos for extra awesomeness. You’ll be expected to talk about how your project expresses the aesthetic in the report, so keep it in mind as you go along, maybe do more research on it.
  9. 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. Keep in mind your other constraints; limited access to manufacturing facilities, appropriate workspace, delays in getting orders filled, etc.
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