real-life design projects with real-life clients can be messy. a project with a bunch of students as clients can be messier. that project, done as a large group, can be really messy, but it is not impossible. i have managed projects like this before, and we will work through it with great success in the end.
i have tried to keep at arm's length on nearly every aspect of this project because i want you all to learn how to self-organize, how to handle yourselves in a group situation, how to schedule a project, and how to construct a design process for yourselves. i saw hints of struggle before, but today it became clear that there are too many variables in the mix and i need to provide more guidance and structure to allow you all to concern yourselves more directly with the visual design process. but make no mistake, communicating with a client, managing a timeline, and doing research/documentation, etc, are unavoidable parts of "the design process". but i stepped in today and set a requirement of at least three directions for this grant application because you all need additional structure to produce something we (as a class) and the client can respond to. i will continue along this path of additional structure and big-picture guidance through the process so you have more time to focus on the core "visual design process" and its attendant components.
many of you are rightly frustrated with a lack of content or direction from k-state. this is fairly common with clients, and something to get used to. this is also good practice for us to provide leadership and education to them about how the graphic design process works -- who plays what roles, where one skillset begins and another ends, what the logical steps are in the design process, and so on. k-state has only managed a very skeletal structure for their grant application so far, but are asking us to "pretty it up" with graphics when we have little or no content. if we take that minimal content they've given us, read it, visually organize it in a sensible way (read and develop a concept – don't arbitrarily "style" it) , and then show that to them, it will quickly and literally "show" what large gaps there are in the application. then the ball is in their court. it's up to them to fill in those gaps and give us more content. then we can plug that in and return the work for review. back and forth, back and forth, until it's completed. what was once a skeletal structure now is fully fleshed out and hopefully beautifully smart.
work output has been very hard to gauge so far, in terms of individual work, or even small groups. four weeks in (a fourth of the way through the term) and, class-wide, i have seen only the minimum of what i have directly asked of you, which is not much. there has been some clear leadership happening from a few, an okay amount of research – again from a few – and this strategy document, which is fairly well put together, but that's about it so far. all of this from 14 students.
my hope is that with a bit more structure in terms of daily deliverables and an overall schedule which we should work out together on monday, that quantity and quality of work will increase. you are juniors, so the training wheels are off. i am not going to tell you to give me 30 sketches or 3 revisions in gray and yellow and i am certainly not going to art direct you. you will have the freedom to deliver or not deliver, to explore widely and try new things or to do the same old thing you found on pinterest. it's my job to call you out when you are doing the same old tired thing and encourage you when you are pushing yourself, making new form, clearly teaching yourself. let's use these two awesome project opportunities to make amazing and smart things, to learn more about what typography can do in these contexts, to ask questions, to learn. it will be good and you will be surprised come december.