Design Preview Specs 2023

 Due dates

  • Detailed plans for your artifact must be completed by noon April 3, the Monday after Spring Break
  • You are encouraged to revise and improve them later, but this is the version you must document for critique. If you revise your plans, submit an additional post about them later too.
  • Complete Design Preview report midnight Weds April 5.
  • Video of your Design Preview Presentation added to your Design Preview Report the night of your presentation.
  • 2 Critiques of Design Preview reports due Midnight Sunday April 9.


Main Project Artifact

From the Initial Assignments document.

“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.”

And of course, it must express some aesthetic that you choose and define. That’s what this class is about, right? Your focus should be aesthetics first, function second. It’s OK if your project doesn’t work, but not OK if it looks bad.

Design Preview Report/Blog post

Length: As long as it needs to be to include the following. Don’t scrimp. Minimum 500 words, 5 images or videos.

What you are going to make for the main project

  • Describe and cite your inspirations and any existing designs that you adapted. You must cite ALL content on your blogs for this course! Any photo that you did not take, any text that you did not write MUST have a citation, a source link. If you can’t remember where you got something DON’T USE IT. Go back and search for something similar that you can cite.
  • Describe your vision for your project, the specifications that you developed for its function and its form, your artistic vision and aesthetic. What are you trying for?
  • Include and describe your initial sketches and final design plans. Include your CAD drawings if you are using CAD in your design process.
  • Document any prototyping or fabrication progress to date.

How you are going to make it

  • Create a timeline graphic. Show your actual design process to date, and your planned timeline to completion. Be sure to show times for exploration, skill acquisition, looping, shopping, documentation and plans for disaster.
  • Add a detailed description of your fabrication process. How are you going to make your artifact? What are the steps? Describe the steps shown in your timeline graphic. Document with lots of additional sketches, flowcharts, photos and/or video.
  • Include a link to the video you made of your live presentation, or another video that provides an equivalent full description. If you want this to appear with a play button instead of a Featured Image, insert the link to your video (upload to YouTube or Vimeo) as the first text in your post, and set your post type to Video. You won’t get credit in the end for this major post without a video.

Two In-Depth Written Critiques

Choose two Design Preview Reports Blog Posts to read carefully. Use these specs to help you critique in the post comments. Try to apply the Critical Response Process principles. Provide statements of meaning first, being specific. Ask neutral questions, but don’t avoid the important questions! If you don’t understand the aesthetic, or how the thing will be assembled, ask for clarification (“Please tell us more about XYZ…”). Students say these are the most useful types of feedback.  If you have a suggestion, write “I have a suggestion about how to xyz. Contact me on Slack if you want to know more”.

Design Preview Presentations

In class starting Monday April 3 (see Schedule), we will have presentations in pods. The timing and Critical Response Process format is the same as for Upcycle. Four students will present each day. A grad student will be assigned as Pod Facilitator for the whole week, to coordinate who presents when and who will be Critique Facilitator; see the assignments in Slack. A Critique Facilitator each day will moderate the questions. A Google spreadsheet will be provided to keep track of people and record your in-class critiques

Each student will give a presentation on their Design Preview, with the content of the presentation to mirror the written report, detailed above. Yes, Powerpoint is suggested. Plan to talk for 5 minutes, then take at least 5 minutes for critique, then one minute for the next speaker to get set up while others are typing their comments in the spreadsheet. This way 4 students can speak each period.

It’s up to you to make sure your presentation works over Zoom. Your pod can elect to meet in person as well. Let Prof. H know you want an in-person room before Spring Break.

Say Thank You at the end of your talk. Do NOT say ‘Any questions’ right away; wait until after the applause. Then ask for questions. It’s magic. It completes the rhythm of the talk. Allowing applause sets the audience free to ask questions.

Be sure to record your presentation to add to your posted report. Yes, this is required. If your video turns out awful for some reason, you may re-record your talk afterwards and post that. I recommend you test your setup in advance. Afterwards, title it, then upload to Youtube or Vimeo and put the link in your report post.

Everyone is expected to bring a laptop or other online device to comment on your podmates’ presentations, live in class. Even on the days you are not presenting, you must attend and comment. This is another opportunity to hone your critique skills. If you cannot attend, be sure to comment anyways, and figure out some other way to contribute to the class, such as volunteering to facilitate later.


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