DMA 10: Design Culture - Summer 2019


Design Culture


Richard Wheeler (richarduwheeler[at]gmail[dot]com)


Leivas, C.L.


Lecture, three hours; outside study, 12 hours. Open to nonmajors. Understanding design process, with emphasis on development of visual language; study of historic, scientific, technological, economic, and cultural factors influencing design in physical environment. P/NP or letter grading.





Grading structure

40% Final in-class presentation
25% Second in-class presentation
15% First in-class presentation
20% Participation (see below)

Late work

Because of the shortened nature of the summer term and because assignments for this class are in-class presentations, students who fail to present in class on the date assigned will not have a chance to make up the presentation. Work that is turned in late will be marked down one letter grade for not presenting and one additional letter grade for every class period that it is late.


I will not give incompletes except in circumstances where a student has had a valid and excused medical condition, family situation, or other extraordinary circumstance that warrants them. If you are requesting an incomplete you may be required to meet with myself and the department's Student Advisor in order to explain your situation and make a plan to complete the class. If you have missed classed and have not made an effort to check in with me about this issue I will not consider a request for an incomplete.



Assignments will be presented in class the following days:
First assignment 11 July 2019
Second assignment 23 July 2019
Final assignment 01 August 2019

Assignments must be uploaded to Google Drive by 5:00pmPT the day prior to class.


Presentations will be pecha kucha style ( Pecha kuchas are normally 20 slides, which will play for 20 seconds each slide, for a total presentation length of 6’40”. Depending on class size and the schedule of the class, assignments may vary this format. Whatever the length of the assignment, students will typically write and deliver a script to accompany each presentation that will consist of about 25 words per slide. For a “full” pecha kucha this would be about 500 words total.

Complete formatting information for presentations will be distributed when they are assigned.


Week 1

June 25, 2019

Class 1
Course overview, introductions, and syllabus review

Lecture and discussion:
What is design? What is culture? What is design culture?
How do you research design?
Introduction to software and skills you will need for this class.

Reading to be completed for next class:
Papenek What is Design?

Reading to be completed for by July 11, 2019:
Benjamin Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

June 27, 2019

Class 2
Lecture and discussion:
Design prior to the Industrial Revolution: Was there design?

Reading to be completed for next class:
Heskett Industrialization and the Search for Harmony

Week 2

July 2, 2019

Class 3
Lecture and discussion:
Design in the early Industrial Revolution

Reading to be completed for next class:
Loos Ornament and Crime

July 4, 2019

American Independence Day holiday NO CLASS

Week 3

July 9, 2019

Class 4
Lecture and discussion:
Before the Industrial Revolution and the early Industrial Revolution

July 11, 2019

Class 5

Reading to be completed for next class:
Forty The First Industrial Designers
Rams Omit the Unimportant

Week 4

July 16, 2019

Class 6
Lecture and discussion:
The Industrial Revolution: Increased Consumption, Increased Production, Increased Control

July 18, 2019

Class 7
Lecture and discussion:
The Industrial Revolution (continued)

Week 5

July 23, 2019

Class 8
Lecture and discussion:
Film as a source: we will view selections from a series of found-footage documentaries including Thom Anderson’s Los Angeles Plays Itself, Adam Curtis’ All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, Ken Burns’ The Civil War, and Haroun Farocki’s Creator's of Shopping World.

July 25, 2019

Class 9
Lecture and discussion:
The Beginning of the 20th Century and the Birth of Modernism
Disruptive/Disrupting Design

Week 6

July 30, 2019

Class 10
Class evaluations

Lecture and discussion:
Design in the Later 20th Century… and Beyond (Design in the late-Capitalist/Anthropocene/et al)

August 1, 2019

Class 11
Final presentations



You will need an active Gmail and Google Drive account for this class. I share readings (below) through Google Drive, and you will turn in assignments through Google Drive. If you do not have a Gmail and Google Drive account, you can sign up for free at You can also use Google Apps for for UCLA

You will produce “slide-show” presentations (above) using any presentation software that works for you. This could include Keynote for Mac, Microsoft Powerpoint, or Google Slides, which is free if you have a Gmail account. But whatever program you use to create presentations, you must submit presentations as a Keynote or Powerpoint file.


I have tried to make this a course that is not reading heavy. Time is short during the summer term and I understand that it is hard to keep up with reading during such a compressed schedule. With this being said, when I have assigned a reading, I do hope that you will make the effort to get through it.

I will refer to Umberto Eco’s How to Write a Thesis ( I am not requiring you to buy it, but you would be well advised to do so. This is a classic text on conducting humanities research and has only just been released in English.

We will use a Course Reader which I have assembled. Assigned weekly readings can be found in the weekly schedule. If there are readings in addition to How to Write a Thesis and the Course Reader they will be distributed in class or sent as a link. I will make a link to the course reader available during the first day of class.

Writing Resources

While this is not a writing heavy course, if you would like assistance with your writing remember that you can always utilize the resources from UCLA's Undergraduate Student Writing Center (

Lecture slides

I do not make lecture slides available.


Contacting Me or Contacting our TA

I am available by email during regular work hours (9:00am-5:00pmPT) during normal work days (Monday through Friday), excluding holidays. I will try and respond to emails within two working days. Outside of these times and days I will try and respond as quickly as possible.

Please note that if the answer to your question would be of value or interest to others I may not reply to you individually and instead send a message to the whole class.

Be professional when you email. Avoid casual language. Be concise.


My mailbox is located in the Art Department, Room 2275, 2nd Floor, Broad Art Center. I am not on campus all days so if you do drop something off please also send me a note by email letting me know that there is something in my box.

Office hours

I will make office hours available by appointment. I am only available for office hours after class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You must contact me by email at least one full working day in advance to request office hours.



  • Regular attendance is mandatory. Attendance will be taken in every class. Every unexcused absence will result in a final grade penalty of one full step, or 3.33 points (e.g. an A- will become a B+). Four or more unexcused absences will result in an automatic F.
  • If you know that you must be absent please inform me as soon as possible via email as well as in person. Absences can be excused for medical or other approved reasons, but all readings and all work must still be completed. If you have two or more excused or unexcused absences you may be required to meet with myself and the department's Student Advisor in order to explain your situation and make a plan to complete the class.
  • You may be marked late if you come to class more than five minutes after the start of class.
  • Two late marks equal one absence.
  • A total of six or more absences of any kind will result in an automatic F.

Participation and Conduct

Be professional. Respect others. Do you our own work.

If you behave inappropriately in class in the judgment of the instructor you will be assessed as absent that class period.

Personal Technology in the Classroom and Participation

While some of you may choose to use personal technology—personal laptops, tablets, mobile phones, et al—as a part of your work process, inappropriate use of this technology in the classroom is disruptive to the learning environment. If you text, check Facebook or Instagram or [insert new technology name here] or in the judgment of the instructor are otherwise not focused on class work as a result of your technology use you will be assessed as failing to participate in that class period and your final grade will be reduced by one full step.

Work time outside of class

A rule of thumb is that for every hour of class time you should spend two hours outside of class working. Our classes are roughly two hours, so for each class you should expect to spend four hours of time outside of class to complete your reading and assignments. I will describe and demonstrate what work for this class looks like, and I will talk more about how you might structure this work during class lectures.

Academic Integrity

You must follow all UCLA and DMA standards regarding academic integrity ( and student conduct (

The bottom line for academic integrity is that your work must be your own, and when you reference the work of others you must properly cite your sources.

The bottom line for student conduct is that you must treat all members of the academic community, to include but not limited to your fellow students, faculty (including myself and our TA), and staff with dignity and respect. All violations of academic integrity standards or student conduct standards will be referred to the proper authorities.

Students with Disabilities

Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Accessible Education (CAE) at (310) 825-1501 or in person at Murphy Hall A255. When possible, students should contact the CAE within the first week of the term as reasonable notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. For more information visit

Title IX

Title IX prohibits gender discrimination, including sexual harassment, domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. If you have experienced sexual harassment or sexual violence, you can receive confidential support and advocacy at the CARE Advocacy Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, 1stFloor Wooden Center West,, (310) 206-2465. In addition, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides confidential counseling to all students and can be reached 24/7 at (310) 825-0768. You can also report sexual violence or sexual harassment directly to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, 2241 Murphy Hall,, (310) 206-3417. Reports to law enforcement can be made to UCPD at (310) 825-1491.

Faculty and TAs are required under the UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment to inform the Title IX Coordinator should they become aware that you or any other student has experienced sexual violence or sexual harassment.