Artists and designers often write instructions that other people interpret. The interaction designer writes scripts, of a sort, but the players are even more varied than on stage. Users choose their own paths through websites; content editors add new material; browsers and hardware vary. Some users might not be able to see; others could be browsing without a mouse.
In this world, a designer’s vision shifts to a larger scale: not the layout of a particular article, but a recipe for making many articles; not a series of pages held together by a sewn binding, but a logical structure that describes how pages connect conceptually. This assignment explores ways of offering and interpreting instructions.
- A composer writes a score, but the piece only becomes music with the help of musicians who interpret that score during performances.
- Architects draw plans and write specifications, which contractors use as a guide for construction.
- A restaurant’s executive chef creates recipes, but line chefs prepare dishes for daily services, responding to the needs of the dining room and the quality of the ingredients available.
- Playwrights create scripts, but those scripts only come to life with the work of directors and actors.
- Television screenwriters enjoy more control over their work than film writers, but even so, their stories are also shaped by directors, actors, cinematographers, and editors.
Choose a section of the NPR website. Conceive of a way to make a “cover” for any article in the section – a type-image composition that both identifies the piece and expresses the ideas behind it. Your task is not to create a cover for a particular article, but to conceive of a method that would let a designer make a cover for any article within the section, past, present, or future. The cover may include any text or images, and it must include the article title. It should be something that a designer can create in no more than 30 minutes.
Do not create the cover. Instead, make up a set of instructions that tells another designer how to produce a cover. Your instructions may take any form.
Deliverables: One set of instructions for creating a cover.
Due 5 February.
You will be given another student’s instructions, chosen at random. Choose an article from the other student’s section of the NPR site. Follow the instructions and make a cover. Do not consult with the original designer for clarification, help, or approval. You are not required to spend more than 30 minutes on this task.
Deliverables: One cover, printed (see specifications).
Due 19 February.
- 8 in. × 8 in. trim size
- black + white
Published 2013-01-29. Modified 2013-02-05.