Introduction to Design (York University)

York University

Introduction to Design: Practice and Appreciation 

Course Outline 

Course Description: Welcome to the Introduction to Design: Practice and Appreciation Course! This course takes a holistic approach to offer an overview of design history in context to the applied design practices throughout modern and postmodern eras. Through theoretical learning and class project processes, the course expects students to develop a basic understanding of design theories and practice to appreciate design as a professional discipline with a multitude of approaches. The intention of this course is to bring students the sound knowledge and skill to expand the design experience in conjunction with their own discipline for future learning and practices.

This course is not a software learning course, but it encourages students to learn and use design software and apps in the design process.

Course Calendar Description

Week 1: Welcome and Introduction to the course.
Week 2:  Introduction to Design and the Course Content.
Week 3:  Modern Design: Bauhaus and Design Basics.
Week 4: Modern Design and Design System: Grids and layout.
Week 5: Modern Design in Postwar America & Design Principles.
Week 6: Modernism Design and Globalization, Corporate Design and Branding.
Week 7: High Modernism, Design in Consumerism and Pop Culture
Week 8: Postmodern challenges and Basic Typography.
Week 9: The Digital Revolution and Design in New Media.
Week 10:Design for Social Changes: Activism, Participatory and Co-Design.
Week 11: Design Thinking and Human-Centred Design: Systematic thinking and design process.
Week 12: Design for the future: design innovation and responsibility.

Technical requirements for taking the course:

This course does not require students to have any prerequisite experience in design and graphic design software. However, it is essential that students have moderate digital devices such as a desktop computer, laptop, or Ipad/tablet as this course is delivered online and requires a network and graphic design software. It is also necessary to equip a webcam and microphone for online meetings and video recording. It is recommended to have a high-speed internet connection. Using handsets and smartphones is not suitable for this course as they only provide limited functions and access. 

There is no requirement for purchasing design software in this course, textbooks are available for purchase and are also available in the York library. Some additional costs may occur if students choose to use commercial-based design tools.

Organization of the course :

The course is conducted remotely online through synchronous and asynchronous classes. There are two sections in this course including lectures and tutorial classes. The lecture will be delivered by synchronous seminar and asynchronous video recording. Synchronous lectures with design activities and tutorial classes require students’ participation in discussions and facilitation. Students who need accommodation must be arranged with the course director or tutorial instructors prior to the classes. 

Learning Outcomes with Examples

Although this course is designed for non-major students, it is expected that students will gain sound knowledge in design literacy to apply design elements and design principles in the assigned projects. The students should be able to create designs to demonstrate their understanding of the basic design theory and applications and are able to articulate their design rationale in relation to the design choices and contexts. The goal of this course is to help students develop their individual approaches of applying design through creative thinking and making, and expanding design as an interdisciplinary tool in students’ disciplines and everyday practice.  

Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to learn and practice design processes and design presentations. Students will become more comfortable using design language to articulate their designs. In addition, students will have a basic overview of design history and discourse in context with the design aesthetics and styles.

At the end of the course, students will have two project process books produced containing the process documentation and the final designs. The two reflection papers will help students to reflect on their overall understanding of design contexts.