Week 6 “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Walt Disney


The University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center provides peer tutoring to all University students on digital projects and assignments. Students can schedule 50 minute, one-one-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

If you can dream it, you can do it.” Walt Disney

For this week you will be ramping up your command of image editing as well as closely considering design elements such as color, font, iconography, etc. Additionally, you will be required to reflect on questions of copyright as it relates to creative works online.

General Design & DesignBlitz Resources

Below you will find a set of general design resources as well as brief descriptions and resources for several concepts of visual / graphic design (Typography, Color, Minimalism, Affordance, Balance, Proportion, Unity, etc) that you will be using in your DesignBlitz assignment. You should refer to and review the general resources as a way to familiarize yourself with concepts and approaches to design — they will prove helpful as you complete all your design work this week.

You should review the DesignBlitz concepts, specifically, to help you with that particular assignment. Your task is to get a basic understanding of these concepts, and spend this week searching for examples of them as you complete your DesignBlitz. Refer to this week’s assignment post for details about what you must do to complete the DesignBlitz.

NOTE: We’re not expecting you to read every article or watch/listen to every video or audio on this page. This is a resource list and you should refer to it, as needed, this week while you complete the design unit. We DO recommend that you spend some time reviewing at least some of the resources here because we think you will find them useful. 

General Design Resources

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What is Design?

What exactly is design? It factors into almost every object or thing we see on a regular basis. It involves the planning of an object’s presentation so that it achieves its purpose, be it a advertisement for chewing gum or a door knob.  Is good design as noticeable as bad design?

We Are All Artists

Listen to Tim Owens ” We Are All Artists”  (MP3 file) as well as the list of sites below that he refers to in his talk. You may find several of these resources very useful to you as you complete your design assignments this week!

DesignBlitz Resources


Color creates mood, draws attention to key elements. Good designs can use bold color or none at all (lack of color or monochrome makes a message too). What colors work well together? What methods of using color are more effective? What do saturate colors say as compared to pastels?



Typography “is the visual component of the written word” – It is the form in which text is displayed, and the characteristics of the type used- Is san serif always better? why or why not? What do aspects of font weight, style, spacing, kerning have to do with how a message is transmitted and received?


Metaphors & Symbols

What are best practices for using symbols to represent objects, things, ideas? What works? How can complex ideas be represented in symbols?


Minimalism & Use of Space

How can designers do more with less? What makes elegant designs?

Form, Function, Message

How well does design convey its meaning or potential use or real world objects?



“Balance is an equilibrium that results from looking at images and judging them against our ideas of physical structure (such as mass, gravity or the sides of a page). It is the arrangement of the objects in a given design as it relates to their visual weight within a composition. Balance usually comes in two forms: symmetrical and asymmetrical.”

Principles of Design

The Everynone video Symmetry is a fantastic study on the ways things can display visual symmetry


“Rhythm is the repetition or alternation of elements, often with defined intervals between them. Rhythm can create a sense of movement, and can establish pattern and texture. There are many different kinds of rhythm, often defined by the feeling it evokes when looking at it.”  https://605.wikispaces.com/Rhythm


“Proportion is the comparison of dimensions or distribution of forms. It is the relationship in scale between one element and another, or between a whole object and one of its parts. Differing proportions within a composition can relate to different kinds of balance or symmetry, and can help establish visual weight and depth.


“The concept of unity describes the relationship between the individual parts and the whole of a composition. It investigates the aspects of a given design that are necessary to tie the composition together, to give it a sense of wholeness, or to break it apart and give it a sense of variety.”

What you need to do this week.

1. Read and Reflect on The Vignelli Canon: A design resource that’s worth looking at is The Vignelli Canon. It’s a short booklet by Massimo Vignelli, who was a superstar in the world of graphic design. The booklet is light on text and heavy on space and imagery, so it’s a quick read. His purpose in writing it was to share his knowledge for the benefit of other designers. As he says, “Creativity needs the support of knowledge to be able to perform at its best.”Vignelli did most of his work in the pre-Internet era, when graphic design meant ink on paper, so some of the information is not so relevant to our online environment, but the principles still stand. So take a look at it, and let us know what you think. Categorize your reflection post under Thoughts/Ideas and tag it “vignelli” (no quotes).

​2. Complete a DesignBlitz: To reinforce your understanding, you need to undertake a “Design Blitz.” Carry your camera with you this week and take photos of objects, ads, signs, etc. that illustrate at least four of the ten concepts listed below (one photo per concept).   The concepts are discussed in length above but here is a list of the concepts.

    • Color
    • typography
    • metaphors/symbols
    • minimalism & use of space
    • form/function/message
    • balance
    • rhythm
    • proportion
    • dominance
    • unity
    • Share all your photos on Flickr and tag them designblitz; also make sure you write up a blog post sharing what you found and tag it “designblitz”.
    • When you have completed your Blitz, write a blog post that includes (THAT MEANS EMBED!) the photos and your analysis of the design elements and what makes them effective or not. (You should do this in one single post.)
    • PRO TIP: Sometimes we can learn just as much from badly designed things as we can from well-designed things!

3. Do your Daily Creates: 4 TDCs this week.

4. Complete five different design assignment of least 12 stars

  1. Complete five different design assignments of at least 12 stars of Design assignments from Assignment Bank.
  2. Everyone must complete “This Assignment is Suspect” (3 Stars) as one of the five design assignments.
  3. A least one assignment you complete this week needs to be 4 stars or higher. It’s time to push yourself.
  4. Each design assignment must be blogged and narrated with your process and thinking! Don’t forget to review Writing Up Assignments some of you have been very light on the write-ups, and that’s not a good thing.

5.  1 Required Assignment: Love at First Shot , this is a visual assignment but I want you to use photo editing software to change something significant about the picture, here’s a tutorial for creating GIFs using GIMP.

6 . Radio Show:  Last week you formed your groups to work together on the radio shows you will create. You will work on these the week before and after Fall Break (and if you plan things well, you will not be doing this during Fall Break). You have some things do do each week between now and October 19th, when the shows will be premiered.

See the full project details. For this week you need to:

  • Work within your groups to find the best mode of communication.
  • Design some sort of logo or bumper sticker for your team’s group, based on the name you chose.
  • Work within your team to decided on a theme and a format for your shows, and a title if you can agree on it. You may want to review the kinds of shows students have done in the past.

Include a recap of your group’s efforts in your weekly summary

Weekly Summary

At the end of the week, write up a summary of your work for the week. Be sure to reflect upon and write about

  • the Design Safari
  • summary of your 5 assignments worth minimally 15 points of design assignments
  • Love at First Shot
  • your four Daily Creates;
  • progress on your radio show, including a logo design and what kind of show your team decided to work on

As you write up your work this week, think about the design elements you reviewed and explored in the Design Safari- be sure to talk about these works in the thinking about and creation of your work this week.

Posts should include links to or embedded media from all the work you have done for the week: storytelling assignments, daily creates, reflections etc. In addition, you should use this post to reflect upon your activity of the week:

  • How well do you feel you completed the requirements of the week’s assignments?
  • What gave you trouble? What did you enjoy most? What did you learn?
  • What would you do differently? What questions to you have?
  • What are some of the larger issues surrounding your work? Cultural/Societal implications?

These weekly summaries are what we will use to find all of your weekly work as we determine your grade for that week. In addition, they are an opportunity for you tell us how you feel you are doing and what’s giving you trouble, overall, in the course. If you forget to include something in a weekly post, we may not realize you’ve completed it. If you fail to submit a weekly summary, you will get no grade for that week! By the way proper English and good writing are required!

These posts are REALLY important. We use them to grade you every week, so you need to link to other posts you’ve written, embed media you’ve created, and narrate the process of learning that you went through this week. What did you learn? What was harder than you thought it would be? What was easier? What drove you crazy? Why? What did you really enjoy? Why?Final Note: you MUST submit the link to this weekly post in Canvas by midnight on Sunday.  NO EXCEPTIONS. NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED.

Don’t forget all hand’s on activities must be written up according to the guidelines!


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