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Unit 3
Reflecting on Designers

Fragments of the Past Project

1. Introduction

Researching designers’ works to get inspired and develop our own projects is an essential process to strengthen our design proposals. Unit 3 presents a contextual studies approach where we will only discuss designers and their designs, whether these are directly related to the current project or well-renowned designers that you need to know to shape your design knowledge and culture.

2. Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, you will be able to:

> Understand different designers’ works

> Explore designer’s ideas and methods

> Analyse and evaluate others’ works

> Explore graphic design through projects

> Explore renowned graphic designers


Lesson 1
Exploring memories

Lesson 3-1

1. Inspired by a design project

When I am asked to mention a designer that I find inspiring to recommend to my students so they get also inspired, I recall Curro Claret, an industrial designer based in Barcelona. In 2015, when I still was a student, the project La Pieza T300 inspired me for my bachelor’s FMP in how a designed tool can allow a variety of actions.

2. Fragments of the Past

What projects could discuss memories and identity? Have a look at some of the examples that I suggest for this topic and ask yourself some questions when analysing them:

1. Analyse your reaction to the work: How does this work inspire you? 

2. Evaluate the designer’s intentions: What is successful about the work? Why?

3. Analyse the relation between this work and yours: Why do you find it interesting for your own project?


Choose one of the projects presented and analyse it in your sketchbook.

> How does this work inspire you?

> What is successful about the work? Why? 

> Why do you find it interesting for your own project?

Lesson 3-2

Lesson 2
Training a designer's eye

1. Old masters of Graphic Design

Look at the following presentation with these four old masters of graphic design and think about why they are considered pioneers and what works are characteristic of their design signature. It is important to know some renowned designers of the field as their work set the foundations of the discipline.

2. New masters of Graphic Design

Look at the following list of branding agencies and design studios that exist at the moment and search for one project that inspires you, not necessarily for this project but more generally as part of the field(s) that interest you.


Share your thoughts in your sketchbook. 

> What design studio(s) inspires you at first sight?

> What project inspires you in any way? Why?

Lesson 3-3

Lesson 3
Listening to designers

1. HELVETICA by Gary Hustwit

Gary Hustwit has made several renowned documentaries on designers’ work environment and how design is applied to everyday life. Watch the first 15 minutes of HELVETICA (2007), a documentary about “typography, graphic design and global visual culture”



> What quotes on what graphic design is are worth noting?

> How would you define Helvetica as a font?

Share your thoughts with others after watching the first 15 minutes.

2. THE MAP by Gary Hustwit

Watch how a design agency talks about the process of a design project. Work & Co worked with the MTA to create a new “live map” — one that updates in real-time — to help New Yorkers and tourists better plan their journeys. This short documentary analyses the design problem of combining geometry (visuals) and geography (reality) and solutions by simplifying a complex system of information.


> What were the problems found?

> How does the solution looks like?

> How is this project connected to User Experience Design?

> How do people feel about the map?

Share your thoughts with others.

Lesson 3-4

Lesson 4
Writing on Design

1. Good and Bad examples

Writing a personal statement about the reasons that led you to this design course choice is not an easy task. However, you must analyse good and bad examples of what you and others write to understand what makes a sentence meaningful or meaningless. Look at the following slides and discuss these examples with others.

2. One sentence challenge

As young designers, you need to learn to write clearly and consisely about what is design to you. Look at the following five questions and answer each of them in one sentence.

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