Visual Literacy and Design

Course facts: Fall semester 2012, 3 credits
4101 MVR Hall
Section 1: TR 10:10-13:10
Section 2: MW 13:25-16:25
Instructor: Jack Elliott, Associate Professor
Office E3425, 255.9714,
Office hours: Th 13:30-16:30 or if door is open
Assistant: Laura Huacuja
Requisites: Permission of instructor required. This studio is a DEA major requirement. Non-majors are allowed if space is available.
Objectives: DEA 1101 is an introductory design studio. The primary course objective is to introduce principles of visual literacy as it pertains to two-dimensional and three-dimensional issues in interior design. Concepts about representation, expression, composition, color, form, light, structure, and function will be explored through project-based learning. The emphasis will be on learning explicit compositional concepts, visualization skills, and media techniques as well as implicit design sensitivities to serve the student throughout the rest of his or her DEA experience and beyond.
Description: The course consists of a series of one-week 2D exercises, followed by as series of 10 day 3D projects, culminating in a two-week project at the end of the term. A course sketchbook will be kept during the semester, documenting the various design processes through sketches, diagrams, collages, and notes. Specific readings may be assigned, as required.  Exemplary works will be exhibited in the DEA gallery at the end of the year.
Outcomes: 1) Develop grounding in the field through the learning 2D and 3D design principles both in theory and in practice.
2) Engage in critical thinking by writing weekly reading assessments involving criticism and synthesis.
3) Investigate a number of disciplinary perspectives including painting, typography, mathematics, engineering, architecture, product design, and interiors in the studio projects.
4) Apply explicit concepts to creative original works to learn the connections between knowledge, research, and design.
5) Develop communication skills through written project descriptions, oral presentations for the assignments, and the keeping of a journal to document the design process.
6) Work on interpersonal skills by witnessing, respecting and commenting on each other's works as well as sharing ideas, techniques, and research throughout the design process.
7) Understand ethics as a latent part of aesthetic appreciation of design. Also learn about various environmental issues pertaining to the studio and the built environment.
8) Engage in self-directed learning by generating specific personal design resolutions to classroom design tasks.
Textbooks: Interior Design Illustrated, 3rd ed., Francis Ching,
Art Fundamentals: Theory and Practice, 12th ed., O. Ocvirk (ed.)
Modelmaking: A Basic Guide, Martha Sutherland
Materials: The course materials and instruments are available in the DEA1101 kits available at the Cornell Store. 11”x14” Strathmore Premier Recycled Sketchbook
flexible 18" steel ruler with non-skid backing
compass set
pink eraser, erasing shield
HB drawing pencil
black water-based fine-line marking pen
black Sumi ink
3/0 round paintbrush,
acrylic paints: black, white, 2 reds, 2 yellows, 2 blues
drafting dots
repositionable gluestick
Sobo glue
Titebond wood glue
pad of tracing paper,
transfer paper
basswood: 8-1/4"x1/4"x24", 8-1/8"x1/8"x24", 16-1/16"x1/16"x24"
16-10" x 16" (Double Thick (.090) Crescent recycled mounting board RC3X)
X-acto knife with #11 blades
#111 Grifold utility knife and blades
mixed sandpaper pack
12 x 18 hardboard cutting board
Grading: All assignments will be due at the beginning of the class.  Work not submitted at this time will not be accepted later, except with valid prior notification and/or substantiation, such as sickness, bereavement, or observation of religious holidays.  All projects will be graded and returned the following class.  Grades will be out of ten, based on explicit criteria stated in the assignment.  Final grades will be letter grades based on the arithmetic average of the course assessments.  Students will be allowed to resubmit any two assignments at any time up to the final examination date.  Students are encouraged to discuss their grades during office hours.
Incompletes: Incompletes are assigned when some part of the course is not finished for reason’s deemed satisfactory by the instructor, following the policies of the College of Human Ecology.
Attendance Studio attendance is required and noted.  Students are to arrive on time and stay until the scheduled end of the class.  Attendance constitutes part of the participation grade.
Outline Project 1. Muses and Marks: the role of the concept in visual representation, expression, and design.
Project 2. Marks, Masks, and Logic: the creation of pattern through application of logical operators.
Project 3. Con-figure/ground: understanding composition through the application of visual syntactic rules.
Project 4. Anatomy of Form: analyzing the compositional structure of visual elements used in representing spaces through a depictive painting.
Project 5. Anatomy of Content: analyzing ways of expressing meaning through the depictive painting of the previous project.
Project 6. Extents and Degrees: investigation of hue, value and brightness through a composition of color intervals.
Project 7. Covering Style: explorations in determinants of style through letterform and image.
Project 8. Tessellas: patterns and extrusions are investigated as generators of modular form.
Project 9. A/propos: studies into simple and complex proportioning systems in patterns and geometric form.
Project 10. Tectonics: explorations into the role of com-pressive and tensile forces in form-giving and space-making.
Project 11. Hallowing Light: explorations of the effects of daylight on form and its associated meanings.
Project 12. Space/place: creation of personal enclosure integrating design elements and their qualities with program.
Project 13. Traces: compilation and organization of course's various visualization materials.
Accommodations: Students with disabilities are encouraged to discuss appropriate academic accommodations with the instructor. Requests for academic accommodations are to be made during the first three weeks of the semester, except for unusual circumstances, so arrangements can be made. Students must register with Student Disability Services to verify their eligibility before accommodations will be provided.
Studio policies: Only water-based adhesives or dry application glues are allowed for use in the studio. All used blades must be deposited in a specially marked box. Recycle all recyclates. Do not leave food, bottles or cans in the studio. All paper and card cutting must be done on the provided cutting boards, not on the desks. The Interior Design program is required to retain examples of student work for Council of Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) accreditation visits. DEA will photograph the work for the student's records until the originals can be released.
Cornell policies: Each student in this course is expected to abide by the Cornell University Code of Academic Integrity. Any work submitted by a student for academic credit in this course will be the student's own work. Violations can result in expulsion. For more information, check out Cornell University's website:
Note: This course is subject to changes in content, scheduling, or other aspects of the teaching/learning experience without notice.