course description

As a means of aligning design more closely with cultural and social interests, designers at various points in history have proposed models for design process that reflect, critique, and embody alternate values and ideologies. This course will investigate these models and ideologies—in particular, those at the intersection of experimental pedagogy, feminist theory, activism, and graphic design.

In this class, we will explore pre-existing models and concepts for a design practice rooted in the alternative, the feminine, and the collective; identify theories and practices based on these concepts, and actively engage with them in our own work. We will borrow methods and processes from critical and feminist pedagogy; research and amplify the contributions of women in graphic design; seek to identify, critique and counteract existing biases in contemporary design practice; and propose alternative ways of aligning ourselves more fully with those values in our work.


class activities

Class activities will consist of regular readings and discussions, research activities, exercises, and experiments in making. We will place particular emphasis on collaboration, inquiry, and self-directed research. We will investigate various pedagogical models for learning (peer-to-peer, horizontal, inquiry-based, critical, feminist, etc.) as well as the inherent structures and relationships between designers, clients, peers, others—and how we can subvert, re-frame, expand or otherwise shift these relationships through process, projects, and pedagogies.

This series of projects, exercises, readings, and activities will explore, collectively,
how feminist & alternative perspectives can inform:

  • What we design (forms—objects, artifacts, experiences, etc...)

  • How we design (process, relationships, methods, methodologies,
    interactions, etc.)

  • Why we design (values, objectives, motives, why we create: for ourselves,
    for others, for causes & issues, to raise awareness, to create change, to express our points of view, to promote, to critique, to object, to move others, etc...)