DDD20004 Contemporary Design Issues Assignment

By April 29, 2019Academic Papers




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1. Project Background

2. Explanation of the Project

2.1 Scope

2.2 Constraints/Limitations

2.3 Considerations

2.4 Learning Materials & Resources

3. Requirements and Deliverables

4. Project Deadline

5. Teaching Method

6. Learning Objectives


Appendices: Assessment Sheet & Cover Sheet


1.         Project Background


This project requires students to engage with a contemporary design issue that is relevant to their particular design or media interests. Designers and media practitioners are required to think broadly and deeply about the ways in which political, economic, social, technological and environmental changes affect how and where they work, the kind of work they do and every aspect of the reception and use of their designs/productions and management of projects. They need to develop an understanding of the professional and ethical issues related to their practice, minimising the use of resources, their capacity to contribute to better environmental outcomes, and the social and cultural contexts their work will be received in and influence. This assignment is intended to develop your knowledge of how design and media are practised in the world today and your thinking about the kind of practitioners you will aim to be.   


2.         Explanation of the Project


2.1       Scope


Select one of the questions about a design issue from the list below. Carefully consider the question. You must read the set readings and watch the set media carefully, and think critically about the ideas they present. Undertake additional independent research about the issue. You must find relevant journal articles (not on the list), and seek out books and websites. Research relevant examples of design or media to support and illustrate your argument. Don’t rely solely on examples that have been introduced in tasks, studio learning activities and lectures, you should seek out your own examples.


You will be required to submit an essay plan outlining your research, your examples, your argument and relevant quotes from the set reading/viewing that you will use to support your argument. Incorporate either visual analysis or an analysis of the chosen technology/ materials/ building/ manufacturing /production process of the examples in your own words. Then write an argumentative article combining your ideas about the issue, the set reading, your research and your own analysis.


The final article must be at least 1,500 words in length (no more than 1,700 words) and all quotes must be acknowledged with double inverted commas, unless they are 3 or more lines, in which case they must be indented. Reference to the source of quotes should be in brackets according to the APA6th Edition referencing system (as used in the questions below). Here’s a link to the library guide: http://www.swinburne.edu.au/lib/studyhelp/referencing.htm.

Any significant research (statistics, a unique or new point of view) that you incorporate must also be acknowledged with the source in a bracket. An illustration of each example discussed should be included and must have a caption sentence or two and the source in brackets. A reference list (bibliography) in sections with alphabetical author surname order for books and articles and first letter of web address after ‘www’ for web sources must be attached at the end of the assignment. The cover page for this subject (below), should be pasted in as the front page of your assignment.


2.2       Constraints/Limitations


You are required to;

Choose one topic from the list.

Read all the set readings and view the set media (“set” means compulsory here). Refer to them in your discussion. Read some or all of the recommended readings.

Research independently, finding your own texts including relevant scholarly journal articles, online sources and books. Refer to some of them in your argument.

Find relevant examples of design or media to discuss the topic/answer the question.

Structure a coherent argument with an introduction, a discussion referring to your chosen examples and a conclusion.

Express your own ideas on the topic.

Use APA 6th Edition in-text references to acknowledge the source of ideas and any significant information from your research. The texts must be listed in your reference list (bibliography).

Provide illustrations with one to two effective sentences of caption and cite the source in a bracket.

Practice good sentence and paragraph construction and use proper punctuation. (Grammarly makes this easier.)

Check your article by getting a Turnitin Originality Report to ensure you have referenced all quotes. You can obtain one every 24 hours.

Upload your completed Essay Plan for the article in .doc/docx/pdf format by Friday in Week 8 into the ‘Assignment’ area in the left hand menu in Blackboard.

Your tutor will provide feedback on your Essay Plan in Blackboard by the end of week 10. You will use this feedback in completing your assignment.

Upload your completed article in .doc/docx/pdf format by Friday 4.00PM in Week 12 into the ‘Assignment’ area in the left hand menu in Blackboard.


Failing to acknowledge use of copyright material represents failure to realise the brief and will result in a mark of zero. Copying another student’s work or submitting work for a second time if you are repeating this unit is regarded as plagiarism and will result in a mark of zero.




1. Design with handcrafted elements or the appearance of handcrafting can suggest resourcefulness and thrift, a luxury of time or childhood creativity according to author and social theorist Mel Campbell. She also warns that “[F]etishising handmade things is a tiny protest against the tyrannical consumer cycle of newness and obsolescence. But ultimately it’s a just another kind of consumerism (2009, p.17).” Compare and contrast three examples of contemporary design with genuine handcrafted elements or that give an impression of handcraft. Explain which elements of each design is handcrafted or signifies handcraft and what messages these examples communicate to their target demographic taking into account Campbell’s arguments. [Ensure your examples are design rather than handcraft. If in doubt, ask your tutor.]

Set reading & viewing (compulsory)

ABC-TV (Australia). (2015, September 3). Rise of the Makers [Television Broadcast, episode 1). In Bespoke. Australia: Australian Broadcasting Corporation. http://edutv.informit.com.au/watch-screen.php?videoID=1030482

ABC-TV (Australia). (2015, September 10). Makers and Markets [Television Broadcast, episode 2). In Bespoke. Australia: Australian Broadcasting Corporation. http://edutv.informit.com.au/watch-screen.php?videoID=1036095

Campbell, M. (2009, May 21). Canvas. The Age, p.17.

Hackney, F. (2013) Quiet Activism and the New Amateur: The Power of Home and Hobby Crafts, Design and Culture, 5, 2, 169-194.

Metcalf, B. (2008) DIY, Websites and Energy: The New Alternative Crafts [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.brucemetcalf.com/pages/essays/contemporary_craft.html


Black, A. & Burisch, N. (2010) Craft Hard, Die Free: Radical curatorial strategies for craftivism in unruly contexts In Glenn Adamson (Ed.) The Craft Reader. Oxford: Berg.

Engestrom, U. (2005). Draft Craft Manifesto. Retrieved from http://ullamaaria.typepad.com/hobbyprincess/2005/03/draft_craft_man.html

Jackson, A. (2010) Constructing at Home: Understanding the Experience of the Amateur Maker. Design and Culture, 2,1, 5-26.


2. Data visualisation—the gathering, conceptualisation and presentation of data in 2D and 3D formats and more recently, using digital technologies to create interactive interfaces, has the capacity to transform our understanding of an issue. Designer Aaron Koblin even suggests that designers and other creatives have a “responsibility” to transform data to enhance public understanding of important issues.

Compare and contrast three outstanding examples of time-based data visualisation that have transformed data into a coherent set of ideas about significant political, economic, social, technological or environmental issues. Explain which of Reas and McWilliams’ (2010) categories of data-visualisation the examples fit, how their design elements contribute to the visual, sonic, spatial and/or tactile representation and how symbolism (colour, shape, form, motifs, etc), have been used by the designers to communicate with their target audiences and generate understanding of data.

[Students who choose this topic must research their own examples and not use those shown in the Week 2 screenings. They must be time-based and interactive, not 2D.]

Set reading (compulsory)

Hohl, M. (2011). From Abstract to actual: art and designer-like enquiries into data visualisation, Kybernetes, 40, 7-8, 1038-1044.

Lockton, D., Nicholson, L., Cain, R. & Harrison, D. (2014). ‘Persuasive Technology for Sustainable Workplaces’, Interactions, 21, 1, pp. 58-61.

Reas, C. & McWilliams, C. (2010). Form + Code in Design, Art, and Architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Roberts, L. (2006). Good: Ethics of Graphic Design. Lausanne, Switzerland: AVA Publishing. (Philosophy – an Interview with Anthony Grayling)




Tufte, E. (1983). The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Cheshire, Conn., US: Graphics Press.


3. Like development aid, much design for development has been increasingly criticised for not having real, sufficient, diverse or lasting value for the people it is intended for. Ambitiously, Victor Margolin (2007, p.115) imagines a design-based future for developing countries:  “Design for development needs to broaden its brief from an emphasis on poverty alleviation to include the strategic creation of products for export.”

Ilse Oosterlaken (2009, p.100) equates most designs for development that use a `participatory’ process as having a limited, user-centred approach; and suggests instead an approach which she calls ‘capability sensitive design’.

Research three recent examples of capability-sensitive design from one or more design disciplines – architecture, urban planning, or industrial, communication, multi-media or digital design – that improves the lives of poor people in developing countries. One design should be sourced by a designer/s from a developing country. Discuss aspects of each example’s potential for real, sufficient, diverse and lasting value for the targeted users and the makers where is it made/built in a developing nation.

Set reading (compulsory)

Hancock,T. (2001) People, partnerships and human progress: building community capital,  Health Promotion International, 16, 275-280.

Margolin, V. (2007).Design for Development: towards a history, Design Studies, 28, 111-115. 

Oosterlaken, I. (2009).  Design or Development: A Capability Approach. Design Issues: 25, 4, 91-102.

Pilloton, E. (2009). Design Revolution: 100 products that are changing people’s lives. London, UK: Thames & Hudson.

Polak, P. (2007) Design for the Other 90%, in C. Smith, (Ed.) (2007). Design for the other 90%. New York, USA:  Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian, National Design Museum.

Robeyns, I. (2011) Capability Approach. Retrieved from: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/capability-approach/


Murcott, S. (2007). Co-evolutionary design for development: influences shaping engineering design and implementation in Nepal and the global village, Journal of International Development. 19, 123-144

Polak, P. (2008). Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail. San Francisco, USA:  Berrett-Koehler.

Thackara, J. (2011) Africa: Where events are king. Retrieved from http://designobserver.com/feature/africa-where-events-are-king/25028



4. Since 2005 the term ‘Super Normal’ has been used by designers Naoto Fukasawa and Jasper Morrison to refer to objects in a series of exhibitions that they have selected to provoke discussion around design and consumerism. More recently a restaurant established in Flinders Lane Melbourne by chef and restaurateur Andrew McConnell has used the name Supernormal, linking the restaurant interior to the concept of Super Normal design. Does this restaurant design by Projects of Imagination embody the ideas of Fukasawa and Morrison? Analyse the design of the interior and fittings of the Supernormal restaurant in relation to Fukasawa’s and Morrison’s ideas of Super Normal design referring in detail to four elements: the spatial planning, materials, a specific piece of furniture or lighting, and either the signage or a piece of crockery, glass or flatware. [Please note that Supernormal is a business and you will need to purchase food and drink in order to spend sufficient time in the space for your site analysis.]

Set Reading


Fukasawa, N. (2007) Naoto Fukasawa. London: Phaidon.

Fukasawa, N. & Morrison, J., Super normal: Sensations of the ordinary. Baden: Lars Müller.


Recommended reading/viewing



5. How has the work of contemporary filmmaker Michel Gondry been inspired by the work of two pioneers of spectacular cinema: Georges Méliès and Busby Berkeley? Analysing three different feature films by Gondry to support your argument and taking into account his own words (interviews), explain where you think they have been influenced by the work of these directors, whether these influences are in the staging of action or ‘in-camera effects’ and how these influences contribute to the distinctiveness of his work. [Please note you may not use music clips as examples, use IMDB to source a list of Gondry’s feature films.]                                                                                                                             Set reading & viewing (compulsory)                                                                         Dellamorte, A. (2007). Exclusive Interview – Michel Gondry. Retrieved from http://collider.com/exclusive-interview-michel-gondry/                                                              Ezra, E. (2000). Georges Melies. Manchester & New York: Manchester University Press.                                                                                                                          Goldsmith, L. (2004). The Work of Director Michel Gondry. Retrieved from http://notcoming.com/features/gondry/                                                                                      Gondry, M., et al (Writers/Directors)(2003).The Work of Director Michel Gondry [Documentary]. New York, USA: Palm Pictures.                                                          Rubin, M. (1993). Showstoppers: Busby Berkeley and the Tradition of the Spectacle, New York: Columbia University Press. [Chapter 4 Broadway Before Berkeley]

 6. Architects and designers working on social infrastructure projects (schools, hospitals and community centres, etc) for disadvantaged communities in developing nations, should consult with communities about their needs and be mindful of the long term impacts of the buildings they design. Compare and contrast three recent projects for the way their designers have addressed the social, economic, and environmental issues affecting the communities for whom they were constructed. [Students choosing this topic should not use housing as an example, although an institution like an orphanage or refuge would be acceptable.]

Set reading and viewing (compulsory)


Antonelli, P. (2005). Safe: Design Takes on Risk. New York, USA: MOMA, New York.

Architecture for Humanity (Eds.) (2006). Design like You Give a Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises. London, UK: Thames & Hudson.

Bell, B. & Wakeford, K. (Eds.) (2008). Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism. New York, USA: Metropolis.

Hancock,T. (2001). People, partnerships and human progress: building community capital.  Health Promotion International, 16, 3, 275-280.

Kontentreal Productions (Producer) (2006). The Druk White Lotus School, Ladakh. Design E2: The Economies of Being Environmentally Conscious [DVD]. Series 2


Ban, S. (2013) Emergency Shelters Made from Paper [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/shigeru_ban_emergency_shelters_made_from_paper?language=en

Fitrianto, A. (2011). Learning from Aceh, in M. Aquilino (Ed.), Beyond Shelter: Architecture for Crisis, Thames & Hudson: London.

Heringer, A. (2014) Handmade Architecture as a Catalyst for Development [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KQhbx3e_JM

McQuaid, M. (2003). Shigeru Ban. London, UK:  Phaidon, (especially chapter on ‘Paper’, pp. 28-47).

Murcott, S. (2007). Co-evolutionary design for development: influences shaping engineering design and implementation in Nepal and the global village, Journal of International Development. 19, 1, (Jan), 123-144.

7. Expanding populations, urban sprawl and increasing motor vehicle traffic are affecting life for residents in many cities around the world. But some inspirational city leaders and designers are fighting back, advocating pedal power as a possible solution. The social benefits of prioritising cycling are many. Cycling arguably results in safer cities where there is increased ‘social inclusion’ and ‘public ownership’ of space and there are measurable health and environmental benefits too.

Research three initiatives of any city (not Bogota) to encourage bicycle use and associated bicycle infrastructure. One example should be drawn from a developing country, and one from here in Australia. Compare and contrast the various strategies and use of design to encourage cycling. Which are the most effective and why? How are the special needs of the “other-abled”, the elderly and the young addressed by these schemes?

Set reading and viewing (compulsory)                                                                                                                          City of Melbourne Transport Strategy. Retrieved from http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/AboutCouncil/PlansandPublications/strategies/Pages/transportstrategy.aspx

Garrard, J.  & Rose, G. & Lo, S. (2008). Promoting transportation cycling for women: The role of bicycle infrastructure. Preventive Medicine 46, 1, January, 55-59.      

Kontentreal Productions (Producer) (2006). Bogotá. Design E2: The Economies of Being Environmentally Conscious [DVD]. Series 2                                                                              Lucas, C. (2011, July 22). Melbourne gains ‘bike city’ status. The Age. Retrieved from http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/melbourne-gains-bike-city-status-20110721-1hqx1.html     Recommended                                                                                                                    Fleming, S. (2010) Cycle Space: Architecture & Urban Design in the Age of the Bicycle. Rotterdam, Netherlands: nai010.                                                                                                           Hustwit, G. (Director) (2012) Urbanized [DVD]. Swiss Dots.                                        


8. While designing for sustainability has been considered essential to the practice of contemporary design, increasingly the ‘cradle to cradle’ philosophy is being adopted by designers and architects. William McDonough and Michael Braungart in their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way we Make Things, offer a range of ideas and approaches to help designers to go beyond sustainability in their work. Using two relevant recent projects by two different designers/practices explain how they have used the cradle to cradle approach, referring to the role of upcycling, design for disassembly, keeping materials in closed loops and any of the relevant Five Steps. [Your chosen examples must be by different designers/design practices and you must find them independently. Do not use any of McDonough and Braungart’s projects.]

Set reading and viewing (compulsory)

Fuad-Luke, A. (2002). ecoDesign:The Sourcebook. London: Chronicle & Thames and Hudson.

McDonough, W. & Braungart, M. (2002). Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way we Make Things. New York: North Star Press. (Chapter 6 Putting Eco-effectiveness into practice)

Van Hattum, R. (Writer, director). (2007). Waste=Food [DVD]. New York: Icarus Films.

Set reading for interior design

Chambers, N. (2011). Urban Green: Architecture for the Future. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

RAIA Awards. Retrieved from http://dynamic.architecture.com.au/awards_search

[Use search terms ‘sustainable’ in ‘all fields’ and ‘sustainability’ in ‘all fields’.]

Thorpe, A. (2012) Architecture & Design versus Consumerism: How Design Activism Confronts Growth. London: Routledge/Earthscan. (E Book).

Set reading for communication design

Benson, E. & Perullo, Y. (2017) Design to Renourish: Sustainable Graphic Design in Practice. Boca Raton, London & New York: CRC Press. (E Book)

Dougherty, B. (2008). Green Graphic Design. New York, USA: Allworth Press & Celery Design Collaborative.

Graham, L. (2012). ‘Towards a More Sustainable Graphic Design Philosophy’, International Journal of the Arts in Society, 6, 5, pp.169-176.

Set reading for industrial design

Lewis, H. & Gertsakis J. (2001). Design + Environment: A Global Guide to Designing Greener Goods. Sheffield, UK: Greenleaf. (E Book)

Lockton, D., Nicholson, L., Cain, R. & Harrison, D. (2014). ‘Persuasive Technology for Sustainable Workplaces’, Interactions, 21, 1, pp. 58-61.

Thorpe, A. (2012) Architecture & Design versus Consumerism: How Design Activism Confronts Growth. London: Routledge/Earthscan. (EBook)



2.3       Considerations


You will need to carefully read the set readings for your chosen Issue Assignment question and evaluate the authors’ arguments in relation to the issue, and consider what you think about the issue. Did the author change your viewpoint; did they expand or contradict any of your ideas about designers or media practitioners and the practice of design or filmmaking? The use of concise and relevant quotes substantiates your argument and provides evidence of your research.



2.4       Reading Materials & Resources


Essential reading and research resources for this assignment are listed with each topic above. You are, in addition to using set texts you are expected to undertake further independent research. These should be books, scholarly and professional journal articles and web sources The chosen texts and all other items used should be recorded in a reference list on a separate page at the end of your assignment.



3.         Requirements and Deliverables


You are required to upload in Blackboard

1 x Essay Plan – on the supplied pro forma, in Week 8.

1 x 1,500 word article with captioned illustrations in Week 12. Use the following format:

Word document or pdf with the cover sheet attached to the front. (The template for this is page 11 of this assignment brief.) Text must be aligned to the left, not centred, with a left hand margin. You must use 1.5 spacing and number the pages, film and book titles should be in italics. You must use APA6th Edition referencing. The expectation is that you will produce a publication quality piece of writing (including proper paragraphs) about your field of study, presenting a cogent argument, with no errors in expression or spelling.



Originally posted 2018-04-25 16:56:19.



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