CMS.405 | Spring 2013 | Undergraduate

Media and Methods: Seeing and Expression

Calendar, Readings, and Assignments

[DD] = Buy at MIT Press Dondis, Donis. A Primer of Visual Literacy. MIT Press, 1973. ISBN: 9780262540292. [Preview with Google Books]

[DH] = Buy at MIT Press Harrell, D. Fox. Phantasmal Media: An Approach to Imagination, Computation, Expression. MIT Press, 2013. ISBN: 9780262019330.

[SM] = McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. William Morrow Paperbacks, 1994. ISBN: 9780060976255.

Unit 1: Introduction to Visual Design
1 Introductions, syllabus given   In-class exercise (PDF) Exercise 1 assigned (PDF)
Unit 2: Elements of Visual Design and Semiotics
2 Basic Elements of Design

[DD] Chapter 3.

[SM] Chapters 2 and 5.

Exercise 1 due Assignment 1 given (PDF)
3 Semiotics and Sequential Art / Semiotics Based Critique

[DD] Chapter 6.

[DH] Chapter 4.

Chandler, Daniel. Semiotics for Beginners: Signs.

Assignment 1 in-progress critique  
Unit 3: Cognition, Creativity, and Design
4 Psychology and the Image

Allman, Ronald, and Jennifer Fultz. Gestalt Psychology.

[DH] Chapters 1 and 2.

Assignment 1 due

Assignment 2 given (PDF)

note: work on Assignment 2 is continued in Assignment 3, and both are described in the same document

5 Blending and Design

Cohn, Neil. “Extra! Extra! Semantics in Comics!: The Conceptual Structure of Chicago Tribune Advertisements.” Journal of Pragmatics 42, no. 11 (2010): 3138–46.

Turner, Mark. “Bedtime with Shahrazad.” Chapter 1 in The Literary Mind: The Origins of Thought and Language. Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780195126679. [Preview with Google Books]

Assignment 2 work session  
6 A Science of Design? Ramachandran, V. S., and William Hirstein. “The Science of Art.” (PDF) Journal of Consciousness Studies 6, no. 6–7 (1999): 15–51. Assignment 2 due

Assignment 3 given (PDF)

note: same document as Assignment 2

Unit 4: Textual Design
7 Typography Spiekermann, Erik, and E. M. Ginger. Chapter 3 in Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works. 2nd ed. Adobe Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780201703399. Assignment 3 in-progress critique  
8 Text and Image [SM] Chapter 6.    
9 Text III: Dynamic / Kinetic Typography Find a movie title sequence that you feel uses moving text in an effective way. Bring a url or example from this site: Assignment 3 due Assignment 4 given (PDF)
Unit 5: Information Design
10 Information Design: Introduction Tufte, Edward. Chapter 1 in Envisioning Information. Graphics Press, 1990. ISBN: 9780961392116. Assignment 4 work session  
11 Information Design II: Color and Information Tufte, Edward. Chapter 5 in Envisioning Information. Graphics Press, 1990. ISBN: 9780961392116. Assignment 4 due Final Project assigned (PDF)
12 Information Design III: Spatial Information Design Tufte, Edward. Chapter 6 in Envisioning Information. Graphics Press, 1990. ISBN: 9780961392116. Final Project work session  
Unit 6: Conclusion: Toward a Visual Language
13 Emerging Topics & Practices in Visual Culture & Design To be announced (based upon class interests) Final Project in-progress critique  
14 Final Project Presentations / Conclusion   Final Project Due