The rhetorical possibilities of film, TV

November 28, 2011

To explore the rhetorical capacities and limits of film (or motion pictures), and to compare and contrast them with those of or for television, I want you to re-conceptualize the movie “the social network” as a TV show and the long-running NBC sit-com “The Office” as a major motion picture.

There is no need to go into plot here, to develop a storyline; that’s not the point. You should, however, highlight what would be different about the adaptation from the form we already know. In other words, what would mark the film version of The Office as different from the 22-minute show? (Imagine that the movie is the world’s first exposure to “The Office” and its characters, by the way. In this thought experiment, the TV show has never existed.) Use some of the concepts, terms and artifacts explored in class and in the textbook. Your post should be analytical, in other words, not mere opinion.

“The form in which ideas are expressed affects what those ideas will be.” –Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

Your post due by 9am (EST) Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Presenting on graphic design

November 2, 2011

Below are the group rosters for the presentations on graphic design schools or eras, which we’ll plan for Wednesday. I’ll set aside at least a few minutes in class on Friday for you to coordinate your work. Each group will have eight minutes with which to use any way you choose.

The objective is to immerse the rest of us in your era or design school, saturating us with images of material culture representative of your particular era. Think in terms of:

  • home furnishings, especially chairs
  • architecture
  • posters
  • typography
  • flatware and tabletop
  • rugs and floor coverings
  • cars and motorbikes
  • clocks and clockfaces

Here are the presentation groups:

  • Art Nouveau/Beaux Arts: John, Brian, Abigail, Darren and Rob
  • Arts & Crafts/Mission/Glasgow School: Brenna, Joey, Emma, Kelly, Bonny
  • Art Deco/Moderne: Kristin, Stacey, Sydney, Audra, Lyndsey
  • Constructivism/de Stijl/Bauhaus: Jonathan, Michelle, Caroline
  • International School/Grid: Cari, Alyssa and Rachel

I look forward to being dazzled by your creativity.

Falling in love with type

November 1, 2011

As a followup to Monday’s class, I’m asking everyone to do one of four typography safaris as listed below. Also, be sure to read “Man of Letters,” a profile of type designer Matthew Carter by the New Yorker magazine, someone you’ll meet in the film Helvetica on Wednesday.

For the type safaris, I’m commissioning Darren, Emma, Caroline, Brenna and Kelly to choose a typeface for a re-issue of Pride & Prejudice, to introduce the classic novel to a new generation. Choose a typeface for the cover, and a typeface for the body text, and provide a paragraph justification for each as to why it’s the right typeface for the job. Your priority for the body text type choice is of course readability and legibility.

I’m commissioning Audra, Stacey, Kristin, Bonny and  Lindsey to choose a typeface for the new iPhone4S, for all of the display type – email, texts, etc. Provide a paragraph justification as to why it’s the right typeface for the job. This is a typeface that has to work in really small or tight spaces, so do some testing. Make sure the typeface is readable even when really small, so look for letters that bump into each other, and make sure “ones” are distinguishable from lowercase “L”s. Helvetica won’t work, in other words.

Group three (john, Alyssa, Sydney, Rob, Jonathan, Cari), I’d like you all to walk from your dorm room to your first appointment of the day, taking photographs of all signage you encounter in between those two points. Write up a brief narrative of your safari, pointing out especially effective type (and why) and really poor type (and why). You will find that poor display type abounds. Think about signage type as interface. It’s supposed to help you quickly find what you’re looking for. So, ask, does it work? Or was there a better choice?

Finally, I’m commissioning Abigail, Rachel, Michelle, Brian, and Joey to imagine themselves running for the office Emperor or Empress of Berryland, an idyllic and wholesome land of milk, honey and someday soon, football. This office makes you an all-powerful ruler. You have to design a campaign poster, like Obama’s HOPE. And you have to choose a typeface for your campaign. This typeface has to embody and communicate your core values as a candidate. Choose a typeface and provide a paragraph justification as to why it’s the right typeface for your campaign, identifying what those core values are. Give us a sample of your choice if you can.

I’m making these safari catches due at class time on Friday.