The syllabus for the undergraduate course, ID 321 Meaning in Design for the 2012-13 Spring Semester is attached here.
The aim of the course is to help you make sense of the cultural meaning and significance of design today. This will be done in four parts.
Part 1, “Design and designers”, will review the contemporary “field” of design. It will first challenge existing conceptions of what design is and who designers are. Then it will provide a deeper understanding of the design profession as practised within a specific social and economic context.
Part 2, “Consumer culture”, will go into further detail of that context. In this, it will focus on “consumer culture”, to which design largely serves. It will review what consumption is, and how design serves it.
Part 3, “Meaning in objects”, will turn to objects themselves. Specifically, it will study how designed objects become carriers of meaning. Here, you will also learn about “product semantics”.
Part 4, “Issues”, will apply what we learned in the previous parts to three separate topics: gender, sustainability and globalisation. Doing this, it will help you develop a critical attitude towards the various hegemonic discourses and practices of design that you encounter on a daily basis.
Having completed the course, you will have improved your understanding of the social and cultural context and significance of design practice. While we will use images, objects and videos in lectures, critical reading and writing are the primary skills you are going to use and develop in this course. You will encounter a variety of texts and engage in critical writing exercises to this end.