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Discursive Design

ARTDES 342 .1


Credit Hours: 3
Course Fee: 25
Instructor(s): Tharp, Stephanie
Schedule: TueThu 2:00p-4:15p
Modality: Virtual


Fall 2021

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