The Phaistos Project — 45 Symbols

the drive to teach visual literacy, which is based on the idea that pictures, in the broadest sense, can be read and communicate meaning through the process of reading.

Pascal Glissmann (Parsons School for Design), Olivier Arcioli and Andreas Henrich (Academy of Media Arts, Cologne) initiated the The Phaistos Project, an exploration of visual language that unites students, teachers, scholars, and ideas from across the world. All participating academic partners share the drive to teach visual literacy, which is based on the idea that pictures, in the broadest sense, can be read and communicate meaning through the process of reading. Students must learn to excel in finding and applying their own visual language, embrace diversity, and propel their identity in order to vigorously influence their own creative practice. This can be achieved through using open environments to better invite students to explore ethnographic backgrounds, and to initiate critical thinking through encountering the unknown, which can range from utopian visions of our future living to the unanswered phenomena of our past.

A prominent example of unresolved visual code—and a milestone in the history of visual language and typography—is the Phaistos Disc. Even though its purpose and authenticity is still discussed it is considered to potentially be an early, if not the earliest, document of movable type printing. The clay-impressed notation is assumed to be a textual representation and comprises 45 unique and recurrent symbols. Participating students explored this ancient disc, its visual principles and symbolic forms. Inspired by its cryptic yet powerful character, they developed collections of 45 unique symbols to represent the essence of their identity, the spirit of a culture or social change.

Their mission is not to create additions to the endless repertoire of functional pictograms. Instead, they are driven by personal storytelling and creating ethnographic visual anecdotes that are subjective, stimulating and inviting.

The Phaistos Project now is accepting new entries: Deadline is December 15, 2016. This international call is open to → art & design faculty interested in integrating the project into their teaching and → currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate students in visual communication, visual arts, design, typography, and related areas.
www.45symbols.com

Pascal Glissmann is a media designer, artist, scholar and founder of the studio subcologne. He is currently Assistant Professor of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design. He holds an MFA in Media Arts/Media Design from the Academy of Media Arts Cologne and a BFA in Communication Design from the University of Applied Sciences Duesseldorf. He joined the Academy of Media Arts Cologne as a full-time faculty in 2001 and focused on creative approaches to new media and technology within applied design projects and emerging installations. He became Assistant Professor at the Hong Kong Baptist University, Academy of Visual Arts, in 2007 where he set up the curriculum and infrastructure for the areas of media design and media arts. In 2010 and 2011 he was Visiting Assistant Professor at the Lebanese-American University, School of Architecture and Design, in Beirut.

Olivier Arcioli is a book designer, editorial designer and founder of the studio ateliergrün. He holds an MFA in Media Arts/Media Design from the Academy of Media Arts Cologne and a BFA in Communication Design from the University of Applied Sciences Duesseldorf and the Ecole Cantonal d’art de Lausann. Olivier is currently Assistant, Lecturer and Researcher of Media Design at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne as a full-time faculty with the main focus on book design, print media and typography.

Andreas Henrich is professor emeritus of graphics and media design and retired from the Academy of Media Arts Cologne in 2015. The curriculum of the Academy covers all artistic disciplines including new and traditional media, the different areas of film and moving image, as well as the arts and media sciences. The course is taught at different levels and even offers a PhD. He has been in leading positions at this school and was the president for several years.

Design Edu Today

The Design Edu Today podcast is a biweekly interview with design professionals discussing topics concerning the state of interactive design education at institutions of higher learning.

The Design Edu Today podcast is a biweekly interview with design professionals discussing topics concerning the state of interactive design education at institutions of higher learning. In order to help define interactive design for classroom instruction, guests are chosen based on their contributions—whether technical or theoretical—and leadership within the interactive design field. With the goal of diversity in experience and perspective, guests range from junior designers, to art/creative directors, studio owners both large and small, in-house or freelance designers, and everything in-between.

Launched in June 2015, the podcast’s initial goal was to discover the balance between instructing visual principles for digital design, such as flexible grids and screen-based typography and iconography, and instructing one of the core mediums of digital design: HTML, CSS and JavaScript. All of this must be accomplished in a limited number of credits within a graphic design program. Since the launch, the scope of the podcast has grown beyond its initial goal of finding this instructional balance to include broader research topics that include the overview of the entire process of interactive design, from the initial client meeting to final site launch. This expanded research also targets in depth discussions about each phase of the interactive design process, including information architecture, content strategy, user research, designing for performance, design workflow, and interactive prototypes.

Now over a year into the research project, the Design Edu Today podcast is a vast resource for design educators that includes over thirty episodes, complete with audio files, transcripts, and links to people, topics, and tools discussed during each episode.

designedu.today

Gary Rozanc is an assistant professor of graphic design at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the Education Director for AIGA Baltimore. Gary received his BA in Graphic Design from Cleveland State University and his MFA in Visual Communications from the University of Arizona. In May 2013, Gary was awarded the AIGA DEC Design Faculty Research Grant to uncover necessary competencies for entry level interactive designers to successfully transition from student to industry professional. As a result of this grant, Gary’s current research includes hosting the bi-weekly Design Edu Today podcast that discusses the current state of interactive design education at institutions of higher learning. Gary’s past research activities include identifying contextual methods of creating solutions through inquiry and problem-based learning, and his findings have been presented at international and national peer-reviewed conferences. Gary’s personal work ranges from responsive web design to letterpress.

Walls of Freedom: Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution

The book contextualizes the streetart movement of the Egyptian Revolution historically, politically and socially creating a document that contributes to both historiography and activism.

Walls of Freedom: Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution is a project by Don Karl and Basma Hamdy that encompassed three years of intensive research. The book can be considered a hybrid format combining academic research with extensive visual documentation. Its goal is, not only to document, but to contextualize the streetart movement of the Egyptian Revolution historically, politically and socially creating a document that contributes to both historiography and activism. To support the book’s proposed production –260 pages, with over 500 images– a crowd-funding campaign was initiated in 2013 and was supported by 746 funders from 43 countries raising almost double its goal.

The reception of Walls of Freedom has been phenomenal but, unfortunately, in February 2015 a shipment of 500 books was confiscated by Egyptian authorities for ‘instigating revolt’ triggering powerful discussions on freedom of speech and human rights violations in Egypt. Although distributed and sold in many countries it is ironically unavailable and unofficially banned in Egypt. The design component of this project is combinatorial and transcends layout or typography to include participation, curation, authorship, historiography and collaboration. It consists of contributions from 100 photographers, work by 100 artists and essays by 20 specialists approaching the topic from various angles. The ultimate design and research of Walls of Freedom is manifested in its curatorial process where ideas are woven together to present a multifaceted view of the Egyptian Revolution through its street art.

This project was possible because of the contribution and participation of Graphic designer Torge Peters, Artist Ammar Abo Bakr and many others inluding: Caram Kapp, Najwa Sabra, Ganzeer, Hanaa El Degham, Hany Khaled, Magdy El-Shafee, eL Seed, Ahdaf Soueif, Aya Tarek, Yasmin El Shazly, Rana Jarbou, Bahia Shehab, Chad Elias, Basma El Husseiny, Ahmed Aboul Hassan, Sad Panda, El Zeft, Omar Robert Hamilton, Mykala Hyldig Dal, Amber Grünhäuser, Christine Rose, Rachel Sampson as well as the many outstanding photographers and artists who contributed their images and work.

www.wallsoffreedom.com

Basma Hamdy (MFA, Maryland Institute College of Art) is an Assistant Professor of graphic design at Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar. She is a research-based designer, author and educator who produces work that bridges historical, political and social issues with archival, documentarian, participatory, and critical mechanisms.

She has been interviewed and featured extensively in prominent international media –such as The New York Times, Fast Company, Jadaliyya, Huck, Der Spiegel and Print– and exhibited and spoke at several art and design festivals and conferences around the world, most recently, Spielart Festival Munich and The Graphic Design Festival Breda.

Intercultural Design Collaborations in Sustainability

Working remotely as cross-cultural teams, students explore ways design can address sustainable behaviors and lifestyle choices around diverse topics such as food, water, environmental degradation, social justice and cultural preservation.

Kelly Murdoch-Kitt and Denielle Emans work together in an ongoing series of semester-long collaborations with their respective students to make meaningful connections between the concept of sustainability and people’s day-to-day lives. Working remotely as cross-cultural teams, students explore ways design can address sustainable behaviors and lifestyle choices around diverse topics such as food, water, environmental degradation, social justice and cultural preservation. The semester typically culminates in a public exhibition on each campus, enabling students to share their concepts and communications with their local communities. Additionally, the most recent student exhibition, “Co-creating sustainable futures: American and Middle Eastern visual design students explore behavior change” was presented at the 2015 Association for the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference in Minneapolis, MN, USA.

gulftogreatlakes.org
restartexhibit.com

Kelly Murdoch-Kitt is Assistant Professor in the Graphic Design program at Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. She teaches and works primarily in the areas of user experience and service design. Her recent collaborations exploring the socio-cultural benefits of cross-cultural design education and the benefits of integrating sustainability challenges into project-based design courses. Kelly and her collaborator, Denielle Emans, recently presented research at Spaces of Learning: AIGA Design Educators Conference and the 2015 Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference and Expo, “Transforming Sustainability Education.” Recent journal publications include “Design Nexus: integrating cross-cultural learning experiences into graphic design education” in Studies in Material Thinking 11: Re/materialising Design Education Futures (co-authored with Prof. Denielle Emans, 2014) and “Sustainability at the forefront: educating students through complex challenges in visual communication and design” in Interdisciplinary Environmental Review (co-authored with Kelly Norris Martin & Denielle Emans, 2015).

Denielle Emans is an Assistant Professor in the Graphic Design Department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, specializing in the area of experiential design in relation to the conceptualization, development, and execution of visual messages for social change and sustainability. As a designer, she has worked to create print, web, and motion design solutions for clients ranging from software specialists to international institutions. Denielle has published her research in a number of academic journals and presented at numerous conferences across the world. She holds a Master of Graphic Design from North Carolina State University’s College of Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Denielle is currently a Ph.D. Candidate within the Centre for Communication and Social Change at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.