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Discursive Design

ARTDES 342.001, Fall 2024


Credit Hours: 3
Semester: Fall 2024

Prerequisites: ANY ONE OF THE FOLLOWING: ARTDES 210: Typography, ARTDES 241: Intro to Product Design, ARTDES 260: Intro to Sculpture. OR PERMISSION OF INSTRUCTOR.

Description: Discursive design encompasses various types of object design like critical design, speculative design, and design fiction. Despite their differences, they all use products as a means of discourse — to communicate ideas that have psychological, sociological, and ideological weight. These share the same general goals of art — to inform, provoke, inspire, and persuade — but they use the processes, typologies, and aesthetics of industrial/​product design. While discursive design’s popularity has grown over the last decade, relatively little theory exists, and even less practical guidance. This studio course challenges that — students will more deeply understand this young and evolving field, and explore nine different facets of a deliberate discursive design process. Students research a substantive sociocultural topic, strategize communication approaches, and ultimately design utilitarian products with the aim of having their audience critically reflect on their ideas. This course welcomes students with backgrounds, interests, and prerequisites in product/​industrial design, HCI, graphic design, as well as art. The course, in general, is media agnostic”, as the learning objectives surround the use of artifacts to engender discourse rather than specific fabrication techniques.

Frequency: This course is typically offered in the fall term of every academic year, though scheduling may vary according to future term circumstances.