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LOCAL DESIGN  RESEARCH PAPER – Choose a design! Research! Write!

Design is everywhere around us! It affects our senses in myriad ways. This course looks at design in society and how it makes, suggests or resonates with us by shaping our lives and giving us meaning.

Your assignment is to find a design: ad, card, graphic  (such as logo or sign), poster, record album, stencil or t-shirt; or a machine/industrial object, or appliance, or vehicle (smartphones, laptops and tablets are not acceptable); or an example of or set of furniture from any material or period; a work of fashion, a building facade, a public space, ceramic, decorative applied art for an interior, or exterior of architecture, or on clothing; a decorative object for use or display. You may select a work of art if it relates to an outdoor space or has been specifically used in an interior design, i.e. a mural, large sculpture, fountain, statue.

If you don’t live in San Jose, that is fine. “Local” means from your home, town or other location; anywhere in the Bay Area. You may choose any design from any culture as long as you have access to it and it is not coming from off the Web. You need to include at least one photograph of the design in your paper. 

 3-4 pages, plus a cover sheet with labelled image (more images in the paper are also fine, but should not be counted as part of page count), title, your name, date due, course number, my name; bibliography with minimum of 5 alphabetized and correctly annotated entries. We use the Chicago Manual of Style. Library materials, journal articles (online database ok), personal interview findings are the best. Limit websites which are not part of library databases to 1 only. (give date accessed and include the author/title of the article or entry).

Paper is to be typed in 12 pt. Times Roman typeface, spell checked and proofread carefully before turning in; double-spaced with1 inch margins, all pages numbered except cover page. Subtitles are strongly recommended. 

Write your paper in appropriate academic writing style with close attention to grammar. Spell out contractions, numbers over ten, and capitalize or indicate titles in italics.  

•Introduction – (1/2 page) – Describe your design item in detail including size, material(s), maker if known, the culture or context it comes from, and your reason for choosing it.

•Function /use of the design – (1/2 page) – Write a concise description of the utility of the design which is more detailed than the Introduction. Include any historical information you can find – such as, but not limited to – similarity to other designs and their evolution, environmental use or reuse. All the ways it functions. 

•Symbolic design – (1 page) – Write about the design’s symbolic elements such as what it represents or how it functions as a symbol in society. The analysis should be visual, theoretical and relate to broader social, cultural or political issues. Include outstanding features such as brand, color, size, ornament, material quality, graphic, or the social relations it embodies. Talk about any meaning attributed to the design in society and how or why it came to have that meaning.

•History/historical context or historical detail – (1 page) – Write about how the design fits into a history or evolution of similar designs. Compare and contrast. How is the design utilized in society? In your home culture? By you personally? How did it come to have value in our society?

•Conclusion – (1/2 page) – What did you learn about design in society from writing about and analyzing your choice? Would you choose the same design to write about next time or something different? Why or why not?

Submit your completed paper (with embedded image) online via Canvas on or before the due date.

Grading Rubric – Also posted with Assignment on Canvas. The following areas are assessed with points:

Content-(C1) – worth 20 points – answers to how detailed is the description of visual appearance, form and function? Is there a high level of detail offered and are main issues defined? 

Content–(C2) – Evidence of higher degree of theory or historical research being applied, worth 15 points. 

Research (R) is worth 20 points. Completeness, breadth, appropriateness, and careful consideration of bibliography and footnotes. All writing which is borrowed from elsewhere MUST be footnoted to the bibliography. Do not tack your bibliography on at the end of writing and if you use a primary source for your research, i.e. the owner of the design. 

Style (G) (grammar and punctuation) worth 25 points.

Organization (O) Is the paper organized in a logical way with introduction, support, and conclusion, worth 20 points.