Designing for Change 
VISC 520 Junior Studio | Project 1
Project 2 | Resources | One Drive 

This class introduces business and design strategies associated with brand development. Emphasis will be on the methods of thinking and research which precede the making of design as well as the importance of storytelling and presentation to your success as a designer and life in design.

In order to prepare you for contemporary design practice and the need for current practitioners to be sophisticated form givers, design process facilitators and strategic design thinkers, the purpose of this course is to prepare you to successfully direct a design inquiry into unstructured situation where problems are undefined and everything is fuzzy.

You’ll define the problem and context of your project.

This course introduces you to the complex conditions of professional practice where you must identify & define unstated needs for communication design and structure, prioritize communication objectives and create powerful visual messages.

You will identify and solve challenging communication problems:

• by formulating a meaningful process of ideation
  that is based on research and understanding of content, 
  context and audiences;
• by visualizing proposed solutions and creating
  prototypes for evaluation.

You will manage complex communication issues:

• by extracting maximum information from facts;
• by using strategies to break down problems into
  manageable parts;
• by identifying likely causes of problems;
• by recognizing the patterns that are present within
  given situations;
• by understanding how factors affect each other.

You will utilize techniques for effective decision making:

• looking at a decision from all points of view;
• by selecting the most important changes to make;
• by weighing pros and cons of a decision;
• by projecting likely outcomes.

This spring semester course is a core studio for juniors/seniors in Visual Communication Design, it will require your consistent attention & energy. This class is a marathon with one of the two projects lasting about 3/4 of the semester. Slow & Steady on each step wins the race. Seriously.

Class time will be structured around:

    • presentations on concepts, models, methods
    • discussions on assigned readings
    • analysis and assessment of project work in the
      form of regularly scheduled group critiques,
      small-group and individual critique
    • you will present your incremental progress
      toward completing final objectives frequently,
      so be prepared for class to receive feedback!

All research and project-based work will be pursued and completed outside of classroom instruction hours. To successfully achieve the objectives of this course, you will need to dedicate a minimum of 15 additional hours a week to complete readings, research and projects.

In this course, you will transfer your existing skills for designing to a new context. The course will present opportunities for you to apply your abilities for developing concepts and visualizing ideas to a complicated “ business or organizational” situation. Using existing skills and some new strategies you will learn to identify and manage a more complex communication problem.

The course activities will provide a platform to specifically explore the “Identify/Define,” “ Discover,” and “ Develop” phases of the designing process. By doing so, you will see the alignment of the “classic” design process that you have learned and practiced in your other design courses with what business people call the “planning process”. Through readings, discussions and a semester long project you will experience the value of designing as a way to solve problems. In this class you will produce important evidence of your success as a creative problem solver. You will create important portfolio products that demonstrate your intellectual and technical creativity.


Most activities in this course will center around major project.

Kick Start a New Direction for a Brand 
For most of the semester you will:

    • independently identify and define a significant
      problem facing a civic institution, government
      agency, community or commercial business;

    • conduct research to develop a strategy to solve the
      problem you identified;

    • visualize your research;

    • translate your research into a persuasive and
      emotional visual proposal;

    • support your reasoning and work with research
      and process documentation

You will utilize your design analysis of a real-world situation to develop a written and visual proposal that seeks to solve a real-world problem facing an existing brand/business/organization. Your solution will respond to the needs of unique organization that functions in a complex environment, right now. Your solution will respond to the demands of real audiences within specific contexts. Your client for this design proposal is the chief executive officer of the organization, main decision makers, funders, change-makers, whoever you need to mobilize.

A Brand Identity where you will visualize your organizations new brand concept through the design of various appropriate communication artifacts and experiences (but not limited too): naming, logo design, brand toolkit/standards for image, color and typography, marketing collateral and advertising, promotional items, packaging, website or app, and environmental design.

A printed brandboard presentation that can also work as a vertical “scrolling” behance post or horizontal “scrolling” instagram post.

A brand book or other temporal experience that communicates, rationalizes and justifies your proposal. The audience for this book would be the organization’s CEO, stakeholders, employees and/or investors.

This course will provide opportunities for students to gain design knowledge and abilities through studio projects and critique presentations. Additionally, lectures, readings, demonstrations, slide presentations, class and group discussions, and personal student meetings will be used.

To get the most out of this class and grow as a young designer, you need to approach the class work with a serious attitude and a willingness to work beyond just doing what is asked. Push yourself. Visual Communication Design is a very competitive and challenging profession, but for those who find a way to engage with the work and enjoy being challenged, the demands are well worth meeting and the rewards are truly fulfilling. This course is taught with that philosophy as a backdrop. Students are expected to commit themselves and to work hard, every day, not just for better grades but for the enjoyment that the work brings and the growth that comes with it.

Each class is a significant financial investment by each student, is based on sequential information and projects, and requires the full participation of each student. Each session of class missed or coasted through is a wasteful and impedes the student’s ability to succeed in that class. For those reasons, students are required to attend classes in which they are enrolled and/or intend to enroll, must be on time for each session of class, and must remain in attendance for each entire session of class.

Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each session of class.

In the event of any absence, students are responsible for obtaining all missed information, materials, and assignments from the class period(s) during which they were absent. Students who are absent must complete all assignments by the due date originally assigned for the work.

For each class that meets twice per week, only three absences will be allowed for any reason during the course of a given semester. A semester total of four absences in a given class that meets twice per week will result in a penalty of one letter grade in that class. A semester total of five absences in a given glass that meets twice per week will result in a semester grade of “F” in that class. In case of exceptional circumstances, instructors may make exceptions to this policy at their discretion.

A semester total of three “late” marks in any given class will be equivalent to one absence with respect to this policy.

In order to ensure that students are connected with support services at the university when appropriate, and to ensure that students are duly reminded of the possible consequences of continued truancy, instructors should submit an Absence Warning Form after two absences for a class that meets twice per week or after one absence for a class that meets once per week.

Work (even when unfinished) must be displayed during critiques in order to receive a grade. Late work will be lowered one full letter grade for every day that work is not turned in. A student will be given a project grade of “F” for any project that is never submitted.

Excellent (A+ 98–100%, A=94–97%, A– 90–93%)
Good (B+ 87–89%, B= 84–86%, B– 80–83%)
Average (C+ 77–79%, C= 74–76%, C– 70–73%)
Below Average (D+ 67–69%, D= 64–6 6%, D– 60–6 3%)
Failing (F 59% & below)

Completing the minimum requirements outlined on an assignment sheet qualify as “C” level (or average) work. The degree and quality of effort with which a student engages in the different criteria (above or below the minimum requirements) for each assignment determines how well they do.

The central factor in determining your design ability will your understanding of visual concepts as they apply to assignments. The process of designing and how you got there is as important as any final artifact you make.

Research and multiple ideations are required for every assignment. It is vital to a successful design solution, as well as your development as a design student. All work must be thoroughly documented. Note: While the computer will usually be the ultimate tool for production, preliminary work will often be done on paper. Mock-ups, thumbnails and sketches are a way of exploring relationships quickly by thinking and making simultaneously. It allows you to see multiple ideas, compare, and arrive at a point in which to select the “best” example to develop further.

Expected Workload
Throughout the semester you are required to work a minimum of 15 hours per week outside of classes on your projects. (Many of you will find that you will need to spend even more time per week.) Please be aware that not all project work can be done at home or at your convenience.

Please also be aware that expecting yourself to continue to work a full-time or near full-time job (over 20 hrs. per week) will most likely have a negative impact on your grade. Studio course projects require a great deal of time in order to complete. It is very difficult to try and balance both a full-time job and a full load of studio classes.

Visual Communication Design does not happen in a vacuum. Clear verbal skills are all important in communicating your ideas to clients and design team members. For all critiques, students are expected to come prepared to present their concepts, discuss how the form of their design supports their concept, and describe how they arrived at their ideas. Providing comment to your peers is a privilege. You will benefit from both giving and receiving feedback—you do not have to “like” another’s work, but you must provide insightful commentary in a courteous manner.

Academic Conduct
Please adhere to the rules as listed in the student disruptive conduct policy found at:

Academic Support
Students who have a documented disability as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can register with the University Academic Support Center (UASC) if they would like to request accommodations. Requests for any accommodations should be filed through the UASC prior to the start of classes or very shortly thereafter. Requests for accommodations are most effective when submitted prior to beginning or immediately after beginning a class. More information regarding requests for accommodations is available at

Requesting Adaptations for Entirely Online Study
Students who determine that they would prefer to complete any course that features an in-person component in an entirely online format should contact the relevant instructor(s) immediately to discuss their preference. Such students should also submit a course adaptations request at this link, which makes an official record of their request with the university and officially notifies the instructor: Course adaptation requests can be made after the start of the semester, but should be made earlier in the semester rather than later if possible.

Students needing special assistance or accommodation should contact the KU Academic Achievement & Access Center office at 864-4064. They are located in room 22 in Strong Hall.

Is copying someone’s work or taking somebody’s idea and trying to pass it off as yours and will result in penalties as outlined in the KU student code of rights and responsibilities.

Hallmark symposium
You are required to have a minimum four semesters (2 credits) of VISC 320 for graduation.

Concealed Carry
Individuals who choose to carry concealed handguns are solely responsible to do so in a safe and secure manner in strict conformity with state and federal laws and KU weapons policy. Safety measures outlined in the KU weapons policy specify that a concealed handgun:

— Must be under the constant control of the carrier.

— Must be out of view, concealed either on the body of the carrier, or backpack, purse, or bag that remains under the constant control of the carrier.

— Must be in a holster that covers the trigger area and secures any external hammer in an un-cocked position

— Must have the safety on, and have no round in the chamber.

Studio classes
These courses take place in spaces that will require students to leave belongings such as backpacks and purses away and unattended for the duration of class time. Students who choose to carry a concealed handgun in a purse, backpack, or bag must review and plan each day accordingly, and are responsible for making alternate arrangements as necessary. The university KU School of Architecture & Design’s lockers are not does not provide appropriate secured storage for concealed handguns.

Individuals who violate the KU weapons policy may be asked to leave campus with the weapon and may face disciplinary action under the appropriate university code of conduct.

Labs, Shops and Workshops
Coursework in labs, shops and design-build courses takes place in spaces that will require students to leave belongings such as backpacks and purses away and unattended. Course-related activities require use of equipment and physical movements that may reveal the presence of a concealed handgun.

Students who choose to carry a concealed handgun must review and plan each day accordingly, and if they cannot adequately conceal a handgun on their body, are responsible for making alternate arrangements as necessary before arriving to the workspace. The KU School of Architecture & Design’s lockers are not appropriate secured storage for concealed handguns.

Individuals who violate the KU weapons policy may be asked to leave campus with the weapon and may face disciplinary action under the appropriate university code of conduct.

For more information on the law, safety, resources and FAQs the Provost’s Office and KU General Counsel have prepared

Design theories and practice-based knowledge
    • applying communication design theories that respond
to the cognitive, social / cultural, technological and physical characteristics
      of audiences and contexts.

Process and Methodology
    • understanding and applying formal design process to solve communication problems, including the skills of research and information
      gathering, analysis, generation of alternative solutions, prototyping & testing and evaluation of outcomes.
    • student demonstrated substantial engagement with the subject.
    • developing an idea across time and sustaining work through progression and refinement.

Communication and Participation Skills
    • student demonstrated professionalism by using class time effectively, managing time outside of class and preparing for each class period.
    • professionalism in communicating effectively through oral and written presentations; communicating ideas clearly and concisely.
    • student demonstrated professionalism by meeting deadlines (final and intermediate), demonstrating and communicating progress
      and preparing work for review.
    • professionalism in discussions and critiques; providing feedback and responses to peers in a courteous manner and responding to
      relevant issues pro-actively.

Technology Skills
    • hardware/software appropriateness: using the right tool for the job
    • hardware/software: using the right tools to get the job done with quality
    • hardware/software: using the right tool to get the job done efficiently

Conceptual and Creativity Skills
    • goodness of fit: the appropriateness of form to content (concept) and contexts (audience + cognitive, social, cultural, physical human factors).
    • inventiveness: the originality/engagement of the designed object formally.
    • visual organization/principles: the relationship between elements in the composition.
    • image sensitivity: the control of variables specifically: cropping, connotation, denotation, juxtaposition and fusion in achieving legible and expressive meaning.
    • typographic sensitivity: the control of variables specifically: typeface, weight, spacing, proportion and size in achieving legible and expressive verbal/visual meaning
    • motion sensitivity: the control of kinetic variables specifically: path, area, direction, weight and speed in achieving legible and expressive visual meaning.
    • time sensitivity: the control of temporal variables specifically: pacing, duration, sequence, montage, transition, arc and proximity in achieving legible and expressive visual meaning.
    • audio sensitivity: the control of sound variables specifically: choreography, synchronization: parallel/counterpoint, contrast and dominance in achieving legible and expressive visual meaning.