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Welcome to BA (Hons) Design
This welcome pack is designed to give you an idea of what to expect during the first weeks of your course. Please take the time to read it carefully and take particular note of the pre-course preparation. We hope that you will enjoy a happy and productive time with us, and we look forward to meeting you in October.
A message from your Course Leader
Hello and welcome to AUB! We're really looking forward to meeting you in person in the autumn. Before you get here we suggest that you take a look at the short welcome guide we've prepared for you.
The following information will give you some insights about your first term, the kind of work you’ll be producing and the context of the units you’ll be studying.
We also have a summer project for you which will invite you to explore design across the world and across time. We'd like you to go on a journey for us and are looking forward to seeing what you find in the process.
- Franziska Conrad, Course Leader
Before you join us
Mastermind Challenge: Design Exploration & Communication
Use the summer to become a design explorer and expert in your chosen subject!
Step 1 – Context
Chose a decade, an area of design and a location. It would be easy to look at something you already know and probably a bit of a waste of time if you did. This project is not just to impress us, it will also give you the opportunity to become an explorer of design.
We would suggest that you look at something new – a random process of selection could be for example the decade a family member or friend or neighbour were born in or a significant time in history such as the end of the cold war. You could pick the first letter of your star sign to choose an area of design or your Aunty Jenny’s maiden name. You probably already have your eye on a particular area of design, that’s great but maybe chose something that you haven’t come in contact with so far at school or during your foundation year. With regards to location you could really go on a journey in the name of design here, especially after spending so much time at home this year! Go somewhere you have never been before or always wanted to go – there is an incredibly exciting design everywhere around us.
Mine would be 1990s (I bought my first car in the 90s) – Productions design (an area of design I'm not very familiar with) – India (Travelling across India is on my bucket list).
Area of Design
- Graphic/Visual Communication
- North America
- South America
Step 2 – Investigation
Investigate your chosen context and try to find an area of focus such as:
1) Specific Designer/Creative (example: Lella Vignelli)
2) Body of work (example: seating by Ross Lovegrove)
3) A specific type of design (example: stage design of the 1980s)
Step 3 – Communication
Once you've become an expert within your chosen context, you need to communicate what you have learnt to the rest of your year group. Summarise your findings and select a suitable method of communication. This can be an object/artefact, a piece of reflective writing or a poster.
Making (object/artefact/product) – Inspired by your context and interpreting your findings you could communicate through making. You could create your own design, build a model or prototype, film and photograph your process.
Submission format: PDF document including images taken during the course of the making process and of the finished object/artefact including a 300-word summary explaining your context, choices of materials/processes and final design.
Writing – (blog, essay, magazine style article) – This is your opportunity to tell others about your chosen area of design. Beyond summarising you could analyse, asses and reflect on the things you learnt:
Submission format: PDF Document of a classic essay or magazine article or you could submit a link to a blog post. Word count: maximum 600.
A2 Poster – Format – a large scale visual summary and reflection of your chosen context, including short columns of text to annotate your images.
Submission format: PDF document – this can be poster created using a digital publishing software or it can be a scan/photograph of a physical poster you created.
It's okay to explore all three areas. Contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions about the exercise or want to modify how you're going to communicate your investigation process – we're open to suggestions!
How to submit your summer project
We're looking forward to receiving your work and hope to create a little exhibition of your collective contexts during Welcome week.
It'll be useful for all of you to work on your visualisation skills. Sketching is the big thing here – trying to get on paper what is going on in your head in terms of ideas, or getting better at capturing objects you come across in your daily life. Start looking at how designers sketch and visualise in a very different way compared to how you might see artists create their work. Design sketching is often a very quick process, you might only have a moment to visualise an idea for somebody else in a discussion who just can’t see into your head. Design sketching is not about perfect visualisations – it’s about capturing and communicating quickly.
The summer project will get you started but do take some time to explore and find out more about design. Read books and magazines, and use the internet. Museums are opening their doors virtually via Google Arts and Culture – up to 2500 museums and galleries around the world are involved in the project – so make the most of this incredible opportunity to visit!
The Library at AUB is extremely well resourced and includes all key texts that you'll need. The list below indicates some interesting reading that will be useful throughout your studies. All of these are available from the Library at AUB.
Given the current circumstances it is understandable if access to these books locally is not possible, maybe you have access to design related literature via a family member or a friend. You could look into the Kindle library and see what is available digitally, or you could check out the authors of these books and see what kind of work they are doing besides writing books or what other publications they might have.
The following books are on your reading list for the course – you might want to take a look before we start in September.
- Sellers, L. (2018) Women Design: Women Design: Pioneers in architecture, industrial, graphic and digital design from the twentieth century to the present day, Frances Lincoln, London.
- Usborne, D. (2010) Objectivity - A designer’s book of curious tools, Thames & Hudson, London
- Sudjic, D. (2008) The Language of things, Penguin Books Ltd, London
Any subject specific reading you'll do over the coming three years will always give you the opportunity to explore, to not just look at the book you found on the shelf in the library but also look at the ones next to it, or on the shelf above or below or even behind you…
Exploring design is important this summer – so just try to find something to read that is design related and that you find interesting. You don’t need to read it from cover to cover, you can pick and choose as you go along.
If you read one thing before you arrive, we recommend...
Women Design – Pioneers in architecture, industrial, graphic and digital design from the twentieth century to present day
Current student work
Have a look through some of the work our current students are producing to get an idea of the type of work you may be making on our course.
What to bring on your first day
All you need to bring on your first day is enthusiasm, a notebook and a pen
The University provides basic materials, and you will be encouraged to work sustainably and to re-use materials where possible, but you should still expect to make investments in some design and making equipment and materials. These will vary depending on the nature of your individual design decisions.