Senior Design Studio I
ART  4922  sec 001 
Fall 2009

12:00 - 1:50 pm
Tue/Thu: ABAH 335

Course Objectives: Discover the importance of research in brand development and design; examine the nature and function of trademarks and standards systems; explore types of corporate identity and brand standards; examine the transport of meaning using models from several disciplines including semiotics and communication theory; create a standards manual and a brand spirit book; create a formal "pitch" presentation that includes a process-to-solution proposal and solution justification; further deelop skills of ciritcal analysis in group interaction; apply knowledge of information design; explore experience design as it applies to retail business; display an understanding of the aesthetics of typography; develop systematic thinking for unity with variety throughout a range of artifacts; display and understanding of the role design plays in brand development; develop skills of time and large-project management; develop team-building skills working cooperatively.

Rob Wittig Office: VKH 131A Phone: 726.7545
Office Hours:
10-11:30 MW or
by appointment

Here's what I care about:

I want to help you build a brand project that shows your skills, your personality and your interests in a way that will intrigue and delight top professional designers.

I want you to become an expert at analyzing and drawing creative inspiratio from your own experience of the designed environment, especially the world of retail.

I want you to be able to talk about your work fearlessly and professionally, at a moment's notice

I want to share with you the inside story of what it's like to work in professional design.

Attendance and participation in class for the full class period is mandatory. Studio classes provide the oportunity for interchange between student and teacher and among students. This interaction is vital to the learning process and cannot take place when a student is absent. Late arrival or early depature counts as 1/2 an absence. Any student who misses more than three classes will have final grade reduced one letter grade. No incompletes will be granted under any circumstances beyond catastrophic illness.

Deadlines are a serious issue in the design business, including intermediate and final deadlines. The ability to manage your time in such a large project is part of the challenge in this course. This means: no skipping steps. This means: late work will result in dramatically lowered grades.

Objectives will be accomplished through lectures and discussions, creative assignments, reading assignments, writing and research. Time commitment outside of class will averable approximately eight hours per week.

This course adheres strictly to UMD's Student Academic Integrity Policy, which can be found at

The instructor will enforce and students are expected to follow the University's Student Conduct Code


Required text:
Alina Wheeler. Designing Brand Identity. J. Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ 2006

VALS Survey

Other texts of interest:
Marty Neumeier. The Brand Gap. New riders, Indianapolis, 2003

Malissa Davis. More Than a name. AVA Publishing SA, Lausanne, Switzerland 2005

Michael Johnson. Problem Solved. Phaidon Press New York 2002

Naomi Klein. No Logo

Jane Pavitt. Brand. New. Princeton University Press, Princeton 2000

Per Mollerup. Marks of Excellence. 1998

Nathan Shedroff. Experience Design. 2001

Paul Rand. A Designer's Art. 1985

There are standards manuals in our course folder on the labserver.

Final designs and final portfolio must be well crafted and presented in a professional manner. This is both expected in the field, and shows you respect your own work as a designer.

Just as in a professional workplace, process is a crucial part of what will be expected of you in this class. For that reason, you are required to complete, keep, and turn in every sketch, note and rough design for each exercise and project. Projects will not be considered complete without all the working stages.

You cannot skip any steps!

In-class "sprints," small homework assignments and in-class simulations are required and will be assigned throughout the semester.

Evaluation will be based 50% on the suite of your final project materials, 50% on attendance and engaged participation in all class discussions, exercises, simulations, sprints, homework, teamwork and critiques.

Special needs If you have any limitation which affects your ability to perform in the class, please see me at your earliest convenience to arrange for equitable participation.

Semster-Long Project: Retail, restaurant or retail product brand or rebrand

1. Develop a Creative Brief and Presentation for your chosen brand project. The presentation represents the business concept, brand personality, indended consumer values and lifestyles.

2. Design a Brand Spirit Book. This would include the brand brief and creative brief that defines and expresses the spirit of the business or product, in words, images and emotions.

3. Create a retail identity standards system including:

icon/logotype (wordmark)

graphic applications, for example: business card, store exterior/signage, package design and at least one additional element must be propsed as appropriate to business need: for example: vehicle graphics, menu, uniforms, floor plan, advertising.

4. Create a Website or 2 Television Commercials.

Website: to a depth of four pages plus home page, it must be working by the final presentation

Commercials: Two story boards for 30 second television commercials and the videos


5. Create and Design a Standards Manual, in book form (contents see Wheeler pp 166-167) This is the final element of the project It is what the client has hired you to provide. This is how the client implements and applies your branding solution. You should consider the standards manual as information design in itself. You are required to use a typographic grid for this product. This book should communicate the spirit of the brand.

6. Do a Client Pitch Presentation. This is the final presentation of your project. This contains your process and justification for your solution. The Pitch sells your solution to the client.

Presentation Emphasis
We will do a number of in-class presentation simulations over the seemster. We will support each other as a group to improve all of our presentation styles and find ways to tap our natural enthusiasm to make presentations that are thoughtful and meaningful.
Above all --- I want you to be fearless about presentations by the end of this semester.

The good news is

that the way to succeed in design is by following your heart --- tapping into the things you truly care about.

Design works for everybody when we love what we're doing.

Readings + Lectures
Sep 07 - Sep 9   Intro and Ideation  
Sep 14 - Sep 16 VALS survey results to class; project organization; teams? verbal presentations of brand narrative Brand Name p20

Sep 21 - Sep 23 Written Brand Narrative DUE Formal presentation DUE of business concept, brand personality, intended consumer values & written Creative Brief p102. Turn in CD version and printout. 2 logo designs from each team member.  
Sep 28 - Sep 30 Brand Spirit Book crit, key words logo design p52-71    
Oct 05 - Oct 07 Brand Spirit Book Brand Spirit Book

Oct 12 - Oct 14 Brand Spirit Book DUE Bag or Package Designs; additional elements
Oct 19 - Oct 21 Individual Crits; intermediate work DUE Individual Crits; Intermediate work DUE  
Oct 26 - Oct 28 Structure plan, website design or storyboards Standards Manual planning; grid refresher  
Nov 02 - Nov 04 Standards Manual Crit of work in progress  
Nov 09 - Nov 11 Peer Crit of work in progress Peer Crit of work in progress  
Nov 16 - Nov 18 Bag or Package DUE Store Exterior or other elements DUE  
Nov 23 - Nov 25 Review of work in progress Review of work in progress  
Nov 30 - Dec 02 Review of Standards Manual
Review of work in progress
Dec 07 - Dec 09 Standards Manual DUE Review of work in progress ...
Dec 14 - Dec 16 Final Pitch PRESENTATIONS Final Pitch PRESENTATIONS ...
Dec 17 - 22

FINAL EXAM: Dec 21, 4:00 PM
Wed Dec 21 at 8:00 AM