Semester 5

Design in Cultural Context   GD 332 

Everyone’s got something to say. As members of a visual society, it’s pretty important that we understand our roles as visual communicators. In order to do that, we’ll first take a look at when the contemporary notion of graphic design came to be in the first place—and it wasn’t that long ago!

The Modernists of the early twentieth century informed graphic design as we know it. We’ll examine their origin in the Avant-garde movement, their relation to the emerging commercial world, and their vision of a Utopian world based on the collective. Through informed discussions, we’ll gain insight into their influences and impact in contemporary and design practice.

Did their intent of creating positive social impact succeed? Should their legacy be reevaluated? What of the Eurocentric design canon that predominantly focuses, values and acknowledges work of European and American male designers? Does the maxim “form follows function” limit our interaction with the world? Do we need to question graphic design’s role as an integral contributor to commerce within a capitalist system that promotes inequality? What role does graphic design play in activism, propaganda, and its distribution? What are the potential contributions of advanced technology in shaping new visual language and experiences?

In this course we’ll pose relevant questions. With these in mind, you’ll have the opportunity to propose new design approaches and practices with a critical perspective on today’s cultural environment. To hone your ability to develop an informed voice, you’ll take part in research-based discussions supported by writing exercises and experimental design assignments. We encourage you to get creative with traditional and non-traditional tools and media—whatever it takes to get your point across!

view our website on desktop.