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  • Writer's pictureJolynnH

Intro Design Teaching Demo: Text to Pattern

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

Downloadable pdf at the bottom of the page.

*The following PowerPoint was created for a teaching demonstration for Design Pedagogy. Following this demonstration, I was qualified to work at the University of Southern California as a teaching assistant at the Roski school of art and design.

The goal of creating a design foundation curriculum is only to introduce design as a concept and for students to execute the exercise with any prior knowledge to design software and design rules. As an introductory class to a big university, many students in the class have not practiced design before. Some take the course to explore their option to become a design major, and many are in nondesign-related majors that take interest in the class or need the diversity credits.

This course is inspired by a typography workshop I've done with RISD. The objective is for students to use characters in their names to create patterns. The goal is to learn how to oversee our preexisting knowledge of the alphabet, instead, view them as someone that doesn't understand the English language and solely as shapes and lines. I introduced the evolution of Chinese characters to explain the objective further.

I want to make sure that this project provides enough flexibility for students of all levels, as it can be as complex as the student make it. Even though Typography shouldn't be introduced in the introductory level class, the design of this course is an example of using texts but not lecturing on typography. We are viewing these characters as shapes and lines. Limiting the fonts students can use also helps simplify the project and makes it easier for teachers to grade the work.

I then give the students visual examples of what the project is trying to achieve. When doing the demo, I emphasized the letter A and the composition of it being seen as triangles. A should not be seen as a letter, but as the shape it creates.

I then presented to the class examples I made using my name Jolynn. On the left is the pattern, and on the right, I highlighted the characters in red.

Here is the Rubric, which, as one can see, is not centered around the actual ability to design but more on understanding compartmentalized elements. I believe that introductory classes should not base their grade on the quality of work but on demonstrating an understanding of the assignment. Because many students are used to having a right or wrong answer system or a formula that they must use. It takes them a good chunk of time to get used to a creative class format and not have a correct answer.

Throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies, I was able to help teach four introduction art classes (Introduction to Photo-media x2 Design Theory x2). Among reading the course evaluation, I discovered that there is a thin line between a course being beginners friendly and becoming an arts and craft class, which often discourage students that process knowledge before the class. On the opposite of courses being too easy, if the course is designed to be too challenging or technical, it pushes away students interested in exploring this profession. I believe an introductory course like this one should be designed so that, if the student wants, it can become a very powerful portfolio-worthy project. Yet, it can also be very simple, teaching students to find shapes and patterns in everyday life.

Project handout
Download PDF • 548KB
Teaching demo- Jolynn Hsieh ppt
Download PPTX • 1.33MB

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