A HISTORY OF GRAPHIC DESIGN ASSIGNMENTS
A 7 day workshop by Nina Paim and Emilia Bergmark resulting in the final product: a book.
Read below for further description:
[TITLE PAGE: Not mandatory]
DAY 01: THE GREAT ORATOR (500 B.C.)
DAY 02: THE SILENT SCRIBE (500)
DAY 03: THE VISIONARY WORKMAN (1880)
DAY 04: THE ARTIST CRAFTSMAN (1920)
DAY 05: THE RATIONAL DESIGNER (1955)
DAY 06: THE CONTEMPORARY CURATOR (2006)
DAY 07: THE CREATOR (2014)
DAY 01: THE GREAT ORATOR
Today you will make a public speech by reciting a fragment from The Odyssey, by
Homer. You can perform a passage of your choice or use one of the suggested
quotes. Study your passage, learn it by heart, practice how to deliver a good and
convincing public speech. Consider your intonation, rhythm, body posture, gestures,
where you deliver your speech (in the auditorium? in the woods? with dramatic
lightning? on a public square?) but also think about who is your audience, what you
are wearing and how that supports the content you are delivering.
Work in duos and take turns in performing, listening and analyzing each others’
In the the afternoon, everyone will perform their passages to the group.
Your public speech must be represented in the form of a photograph, A4, portrait,
which shall be taken by your partner. It is your job to conceive and direct the shot.
Think of how political leaders and famous speakers are portrayed, from which angle
the photograph is taken, if it is a close up or full body picture, colored or black and
white, etc. You must include your name and your chosen passage from The Odyssey
on the back of your A4.
DAY 02: THE SILENT SCRIBE
Today you will practice the austere life of a monk in the scriptorium. You will be given
one page from the Winchester Bible, a manuscript from the 12th century. Copy this
page by hand as truthfully as possible, scaling it to an A4. You may use, ink, pencil,
pen, crayons, gold leaf but no digital tools! Work consistently, concentrate on your
task. At 12 o’clock the page must be finished and we will judge its quality by the
resemblance to the original.
DAY 03: THE VISIONARY WORKMAN
Today you will turn to nature for inspiration. Go outside and collect flowers and
plants. Always take multiples: don’t pick just one leaf from a birch tree, take at least
10— this will make it easier for you later in the process. Back in the classroom, make
an inventory of your collection. Lay out and analyze carefully all parts, separate
structural elements and order them in categories. What geometric shapes, structures
and symmetries can you find? Do you see any patterns?
Now, use your elements to arrange a pattern. You should make a “repeat”, that is, an
unit containing an arrangement that can be replicated in a continuous manner, such
as a wallpaper. The pattern should be arranged on an A4 sheet and then
photographed or it could be made directly onto an A4 scanner. Experiment with
simple patterns and more complex ones. To test your solution, print several sheets
and tile them up to get the effect of continuous repetition.
* Alternatively, if the A4 is too small for your choice of specimens, make your pattern
on an A3 or A2 and scale it down to the size of an A4.
DAY 04: THE ARTIST CRAFTSMAN
Today we will reenact an assignment from the Bauhaus preparatory course, given by
Josef Albers in 1928:
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are poor, not rich. We can’t afford to waste materials or
time. We have to make the most of our least. All art starts with a material, and
therefore we first have to investigate what our material can do. So, at the beginning,
we will experiment without aiming at making a product. At the moment we prefer
cleverness to beauty. Economy of form depends on the material we are working with.
Notice that often you will have more by doing less.
Our studies should lead to constructive thinking… I want you now to take the
newspapers you got and try to make something out of them that is more than what
you have now. I want you to respect the material and use it in a way that makes
sense—preserve its inherent characteristics. If you can do without tools like knives
and scissors, and without glue, the better…”
DAY 05: THE RATIONAL DESIGNER
Today we will reenact an assignment from the HfG Ulm, given by Anthony Froshaug
1. Each student is requested to assemble and bring in 6 objects. The objects should
not be larger than 100mm × 70mm × 2mm (height × breadth × thickness) and of
course be smaller than this. The objects are to be regarded as disposable.
1.1 The Project:
1.11 To order a collection of 6 undefined objects, according to given principles.
1.12 The objects may not be larger than 100mm × 70mm × 2mm (height ×
breadth × thickness).
1.13 The ordering principles are open for determination.
1.14 The objects and ordering principles are to be shown graphically.
1.2 A piece of card is to be handed in:
1.21 A2, white, smooth
1.22 objects attached
1.23 categories of evaluation of the objects clearly explained
1.24 relation between the objects and categories visually represented with
maximum perceptual clarity
1.25 name, department, course, date are to be given
1.26 report (typewritten)
1.3 to consider
1.31 type of information (arbitrary / determined)
1.32 type of category (to what extent unique / generally applicable)
1.33 type of representation
1.34 means of representation
1.35 organization of work (to save time)
1.36 what one can learn from this
DAY 06: THE CONTEMPORARY CURATOR
Today we will reenact an assignment from the Central Saint Martins, given by
Catherine Dixon in the 2000s:
The world is changing, maybe forever, or so someone told me on Sunday. Let’s
suppose that is indeed the case. If this moment is a snap-shot in time, what should
that snap-shot record? Choose 10 ideas/values/things/spaces about or from the
present you believe it is important to remember as they are now. Catalogue them
visually and textually but most of all appropriately.
DAY 07: THE CREATOR
Each day you have received an assignment from an important moment in the history
of design education. As the days went by, we travelled from ancient Greece till the
present day. Your response to each assignment took the final form of an A4 sheet.
You will now create a book.
Your A4 sheets alongside those of your colleagues make up the content of a
publication titled The history of design education in 7 days. The content of the book
is the same for all students, but each one of you will design the elements that wrap
up and give structure to your publication, that is: its cover, back cover, title page,
content page, chapter dividers and colophon. In addition to these elements, you will
also write a 50–150 words blurb to be placed on the back cover of your book.
Your text should trigger the reader's curiosity and urge him/her to open the book and
engage with its contents.
A workshop by Nina Paim & Emilia Bergmark, Krabbesholm, 22.09–01.10.2014.
With works by:
Amalie Lykke Jense
Jacob Lister Haugen
Laurits lolk Hanak
Maria H. utzon
Mikala Foged Nissen
Stefan A. Hansen
Designed by [your name here]
Typeface [name here]
Paper [names here]
Published by Krabbesholm, October 2014.