Brand Lab II

Syllabus

 
Course Syllabus [pdf, updated 04-18-2010]

Professor: Rebeca Méndez rebecam (at) ucla (dot) edu
Visiting Lecturer: Peter Lunenfeld lunenfeld (at) ucla (dot) edu
TA: Kevin Haywood khaywood (at) ucla (dot) edu
Class meeting: Monday, Wednesday, 2:00 - 4:50 PM, Broad Art Center, Room 4250
Office Hours: TBA
Office location: Broad Art Center, Room 5260

Course Description:

Studio, six hours; outside study, nine hours. Enforced requisites: courses 25, 154A. This course sequence (150A and 150B) focuses on the development of research, strategy, and design in particular, in the areas of organization, culture, and identity. Students will study how complex organizations are defined by their public identities, and how those identities can be strategized and designed. This course is dedicated to the generation of design discourse, and is structured to further the development of design as both an intellectual and a professional discipline. 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.

Class Structure:

Classroom time will be used primarily to review work either as class discussion or individual meetings. Every week you will have a new assignment due the following class. Work is to be presented according to instructions by 2:00 pm.

Expectations:

You must demonstrate through the projects (both process and end project) as well as through classroom discussion that you grasp the material being taught.

Attendance:

You are required to attend each class. This class will cover a lot 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. In the event of anticipating being absent, please advise your T.A. and explain the reason for your absence. Class begins promptly at 2:00 p.m. There is a 5 minute grace period. If you arrive to class between 2:05 and 2:15 you will be marked tardy. Every tardy is a 1/3 grade point down on your final grade (A+ to A). If you are later than 15 minutes you'll be marked absent. Each (unexcused) 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:

Each class you will be evaluated equally on the following:
Success of project
Presentation of project
Quality of effort
Class participation and engagement
Understanding of reading material

Attendance, depending on the circumstances, will also affect your grade as stated above. Your final grade is the average of all grades in combination with your attendance records.

DMA Lectures:

Your attendance is required in at least 3 lectures offered by the DMA during the fall quarter. Each missed lecture counts as an 'absence' and thus affects your grade as stated above. The class TA and/or I will record your attendance.

Other:

Turn off cell phones during class. No food in class. No text messaging, ichatting, skyping, or emailing during class.

Project: RE-BRAND LA!

This seminar/studio researches Los Angeles - its history, its present, and its future - and the hybrid cadre of students - artists, designers and critical thinkers from within and outside the major and at both the undergraduate and the graduate level - produce meaningful interventions based upon that research. In the first quarter 150A, Méndez, Lunenfeld and the students collectively conduct research and work to develop positioning and strategy; in the second 150B, collectively they work towards the creation of transmedia publishing initiatives. These intersecting initiatives function as documentation of the research process and findings and proposes the Re-Brand LA! strategy.

This course sequence furthers the development of the DMA as both an intellectual discipline and Design Media Arts practice.

Intellectual Discipline:

Primarily developed during Brand Lab I (150A, W2010). Original research on the positioning and communication strategy of Los Angeles will yield a rigorous form of cultural history and analysis. Our interest is not merely to further the practices we study, but to employ design media arts and design media research as a means with which to intervene in the social and political life of the city and region. Our 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 of urban regions and their intersecting micro-communities.

Design Media Arts Practice:

Developed during Brand Lab II (150B, S2010). Introduction to design media art methodologies and brand research enables the students to understand how complex organizations are defined by their public identities, and how those identities can be strategized and designed. Students will learn design media arts research methodologies from a range of core disciplines, including sociology, engineering and marketing. Over the two terms of the course they will learn to apply these to the design of identity, community and communication strategy.

Project Phases

1: Research and Findings: weeks 1-2
2: Concept: week 3
3: Creative Direction: week 4
4: Design Direction: week 5
5: Communication Strategy: week 5
6: Design: weeks 6-7
7: Production: weeks 8-9
8: Final Presentation: week 10

Reading Materials

Required:

Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology. Edited by David L. Ulin
Design Research: Methods and Perspectives. By Brenda Laurel (Editor), Peter Lunenfeld (Preface)

Recommended:

The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory. By Norman M. Klein