Week 2

All work is due by midnight on June 26 via Canvas

  • 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 minutes, one-on-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

This assignment will be focused on the design. For this assignment, 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 for this assignment.

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 assignment searching for examples of them as you complete your DesignBlitz. Refer to this 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 assignment 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

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 an advertisement for chewing gum or a doorknob.  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 assignment!

DesignBlitz Resources


Color creates mood, draws attention to key elements. Good designs can use a 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 the 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 of 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 Everyone 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.”


“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. ”


What you need to do this assignment.

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). (1 BLOG POST)

2. Complete a DesignBlitz: (1 BLOG POST) To reinforce your understanding, you need to undertake a “Design Blitz.” Carry your camera with you this assignment 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: 2 TDCs this assignment. (1 BLOG POST, no text needed)

4. Complete five different design assignments of at least 12 stars. (5 different BLOG POST)

  1. Every blog post must have 1.)a story, doesn’t have to be true 2.) the media you create and 3.) a tutorial step by step or a link to a step by step tutorial
  2. Complete five different design assignments of at least 12 stars of Design assignments from Assignment Bank.
  3. Everyone must complete Are We There Yet? Three Stars
    • Example Photos Not A Complete Blog Post


3. A least one assignment you complete 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.  2 animated GIF assignments:(2 BLOG POST)

  1. Every blog post must have 1.)a story, doesn’t have to be true 2.) the media you create and 3.) a tutorial step by step or a link to a step by step tutorial
  2. Go to Animated Gif Assignment Bank. Pick two assignments, each assignment must be blogged and narrated with your process and thinking! Also, here’s a tutorial for creating GIFs using GIMP.

7. Assignment Summary Every assignment, you will be required to submit a summary post by the deadline. These posts should include links to or embedded media from all the work you have done for the assignment: storytelling assignments, daily creates, reflections, etc. In addition, you should use this post to reflect upon your activity of the assignment:

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

These summaries are what we will use to find all of your work as we determine your grade for that assignment. In addition, they are an opportunity for you to 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 summary post, we may not realize you’ve completed it. If you fail to submit a summary, you will get no grade for that assignment! By the way, proper English and good writing are required!

These posts are REALLY important. We use them to grade your work, 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 assignment. 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 summary post in Canvas by midnight on the due date.  NO EXCEPTIONS. NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED.