DESCRIPTION: Studio, six hours; outside study, nine hours. Completion of preparation for major and upper division core courses required. Selected topics in visual communication and image explored through variety of approaches that may include projects, readings, discussion, research papers, and oral presentations. Topics announced in advance. May be repeated for maximum of 15 units. Letter grading.

BRAND LAB: Professor Rebeca Méndez’s Special Topics course taught as ‘Brand Lab’ is dedicated to the development of design media arts research and strategy in the areas of organization, culture, and identity. This hybrid seminar/studio studies how complex organizations are defined by their public identities, and how those identities can be strategized and designed. This course furthers the development of Design Media Arts as both an intellectual and a professional discipline. The first weeks of the course are dedicated to design research and the rest of the course to design practice. Brand Lab is structured to cover the following phases of identity development: research, strategy and planning, communication strategy, implementation guidelines, and design development of specific communication material in all appropriate media: web, print, and environment. Each Brand Lab course is organized around a unique set of issues and themes. This class is predicated on the belief that making is a form of thinking and that research and design are allies. The readings, class discussions, interactions with visitors, field trips, prototyping and demos are all essential features of the class. Original research on the positioning and communication strategy of a given organization will yield a rigorous form of cultural history and analysis. The course interest is not merely to further the practices we study, but to employ design and design research as a means with which to intervene in the social and political life of the organization engaged. Research methodologies are intrinsically critical and will lead us to understandings of considerable intellectual value to those with a stake in study of organizational culture and identity.

SKILLS: Gain understanding on the multiple phases and skills of brand development, design and integration. Learn to synthesize complex ideas into compelling visual messages and how those messages are appropriately modulated when migrated into various media. Continue to develop a sophisticated and mature design lexicon and presentation abilities.

ACTIVITIES: The main activity is to develop from beginning to end one single branding project, from concept to design and production. Each student presents their work and receives group critique once a week. Class discussion is of great importance in this course.

ATTENDANCE: It is required for you to attend each class. This class will cover a great amount of material in a short period of time. There is little, if any, way to make up for a lost class. You are responsible for work due on the day you are absent and for assignments given on the day you missed. An emergency or illness is the only acceptable excuse. Please notify us both (T. A. + me) of your intended absence prior to the class meeting. If you are 15 minutes late you get a tardy. Every tardy is a half grade point down on your final grade. If you are later than 15 minutes, you are welcome to join the class, but you’ll be marked absent. Each (un-excused) absence will result in one full grade letter down (A+ to B+). Three unexcused absences will result in a failed grade in the class (F).


GRADES: Your work in this class will be evaluated on the basis of the following, with each category weighted equally: class participation, presentation (quality of craft, skills, finish), and exploration and resolution of projects. The final grade will be determined by averaging all the grades in combination with attendance. Extra credit opportunities are available during the term. DMA LECTURES: Your attendance is required in at least 3 lectures offered by DMA during F2017 quarter. The class T. A. and/or I will record your attendance.

OTHER: Please remember to silence and put away your cellphone. Kindly refrain from sending and receiving, texts and e-mail during discussions. Please no food, drinks are ok. The success of this class—and the community of which you’re a member—relies on discussion and participation in critiques. Speaking about your work and your fellow designers’ work, will develop critical and crucial skills to analyze, judge and further your own work. This conversation and critical discourse are essential to the practice. If anything is unclear or the course isn’t going well for you, please communicate this as soon as possible.