Wire 106: Week 6 – The Design of Things

Wire episodes: Season 2, Episodes 9, 10, and 11.

DailyCreates: 3

Video Discussions: If the following times don;t work for you, let us know times that do for future weeks. Also, you have to be part of at least three video discussions by semester’s end.  Sign-up for this week here.

  • Episode 9: Wednesday, October 1st at 3:00 PM
  • Episode 10: Thursday, October 2nd at 5:00 PM
  • Episode 11: Friday, October 3rd at TBD

Lunch: Given my schedule, there will be no wire106 lunches this week, but check back next week.

This Week’s Design Assignments

I Can Read Movies Assignment

Complete at least 15 stars of Design assignments—keep in mind you can substitute up to two animated GIF assignments for a design assignment. You can find the design assignments here, and the animated GIF assignments here. The only condition is at least 8 of those fifteen stars must be based on one or more of the three The Wire episodes that are required viewing this week. Also, you can’t do any design assignment you already did in week 1. One of the design assignments we recommend is the DS106 Design Review, which will give you a sense of some of the best design work in ds106 over the past three years.

Each design assignment must be blogged! Don’t forget to review  Alan’s tips of how to write-up assignments like a pro —some of you have been very light on the write-ups, and that’s not a good thing.

Feel free to submit new assignments as you feel compelled, you have to submit and document at least two assignments before the end of the course.


Check out Tim Owens ” We Are All Artists” as well as the list of sites below that he refers to in his talk.


Additionally, review this assignment document and spend some time reviewing the design concepts and the linked resources. The goal here is for you to develop a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the basic elements of design. For our purposes,  the following major design elements have been identified  for further investigation this week:

  • color
  • typography
  • metaphors/symbols
  • minimalism & use of space
  • form/function/message
  • balance
  • rhythm
  • proportion
  • dominance
  • unity

After reading and reviewing the assignment document, you should be able to provide a basic explanation of each of these concepts.


To reinforce your understanding, you need to undertake a “Design Blitz.” Carry your camera with you this week and take photos of objects, ads, signs, etc. that illustrate one of these ten concepts. Provide an example of at least four these concepts in the designed environment around you. Share all your photos on Flickr via Known and tag them designblitz on Flickr. These are in addition to your Daily Creates!

When you have completed your Blitz, write a blog post that includes (THAT MEANS EMBED!) the photos and your analysis of the design elements and what makes them effective or not. (You should do this in one single post.)

PRO TIP: Sometimes we can learn just as much from badly designed things as we can from well-designed things!

The Vignelli Canon:
Another design resource that’s worth looking at is The Vignelli Canon. It’s a short booklet by Massimo Vignelli, who was a superstar in the world of graphic design. The booklet is light on text and heavy on space and imagery, so it’s a quick read. His purpose in writing it was to share his knowledge for the benefit of other designers. As he says, “Creativity needs the support of knowledge to be able to perform at its best.”

Vignelli did most of his work in the pre-Internet era, when graphic design meant ink on paper, so some of the information is not so relevant to our online environment, but the principles still stand. So take a look at it, and let us know what you think. Categorize your reflection post under Thoughts/Ideas and tag it “vignelli” (no quotes).

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One Response to Wire 106: Week 6 – The Design of Things

  1. Pingback: "Wire 106: Week 6 - The Design of Things" http://bavatuesdays.com/wire-106-week-6-the-design-of-things/ Here we go again! #wire106 #ds106

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