John Caserta has 17 post(s)

1:55 Eunsong
2:07 Ashely
2:19 galya tapolsky
2:31 Peter
2:55 scott brower

3:07 Jane Brown
3:19 Adam Lowe
3:31 Tori Hinn
3:43 Da Hee Kong
3:55 Ah Hyung Chung

4 Week 9    f       

Begin final project

Choose a project, research relevant aspects of it, and begin the work. For instance, if you are designing a series of stamps, research shapes and existing stamp designs from the U.S. and worldwide. For all of your projects, find precedents that inspire and give us an idea of what you’re making. Short of designing stamps, bring in images, type samples and the other material that will fuel your design.

We will meet in small groups and have individual meetings. The projects are to be completed by the week after our final class.

Revise generative system project

4 Uncategorized    f       

Create a systems project of your choice. Define system as you wish: as a finite set of parts that form a whole, or as rules or instructions that generate a result. Or define it as both.

Suitable projects range from the familiar to the obscure. Some examples:
1. A set of postage stamps
2. A set of book cover jackets
3. Wayfinding systems or waylosing systems
4. Process Book
5. Software
6. Short film using system as method
7. Installation/Live Act/Walking Tour
8. Typographic system
9. A system for organizing live information

Your end-of-semester deliverable depends on the project. We can discuss deliverables based on the project next week. For unprinted works, a process book may be your deliverable.

Be sure to take on a project that interests you and for which you can justifiably say is a system. Avoid client projects because outside constraints often affect the direction your project takes. Take risks, stretch your work in these final weeks of your junior year.

4 Week 8    f       

Invent, script and execute a generative system. A successful system is one that prescribes elements, processes and/or form to produce a result. Your system need not be complicated.

Consider the readings and lecture when forming your system. Most relevant are themes of concept, algorithm, indeterminacy, randomness, automation, order and serendipity.

Your end product may take any form. The end product (medium, format and size) will likely be built into the system you create. For example, your system may be to crop pages from library books into 6”x9” pages and rebind them. This system predetermines that a book will be made at those dimensions. If your system does not dictate a format, it is up to you to disseminate your findings in a clear and engaging form.

This is a one week project. Spend as much time as possible forming your system. It is essential that you have your system written down and are able to articulate it clearly. Initiate and complete the project by next class.

* To prioritize concept over end form
* To see what unexpected form results from rules, directions or constraints
* To create a finished work in a very short amount of time

4 Week 7    f       

The goal of this in-class assignment is to ‘eliminate the subjective viewpoint of the author’ by making work using the following generative system. The system should lead to unexpected images.

Take a walk lasting one hour.
1. For the first 15 minutes:
Photograph every piece of litter or trash you come across. The litter should take up the majority of the frame. Do not touch the item (turn it over, etc.). You are all making simple documents of litter.
2. For the next 15 minutes:
With your lens fully zoomed, point your camera to your left at a consistent interval (about a minute) and take a picture. Hold the camera at your waist and do not look through the camera lens. Time your pictures to the chorus of a song you can sing, to a phone timer or something else. You may not end up with 15 pictures.
3. For the next 15 minutes:
Photograph any circle you see.
4. For the next 15 minutes:
Photograph any solid color that has not been printed on and is larger than one foot squared. Here you are collecting colors from the environment more than taking good pictures.

Upload your favorite photograph with the reasons why it’s your favorite in a new post and attach it to assignment 5.

4 Week 7    f       

B The end of the printed Encyclopedia


* Lecture by Tom Ockerse in auditorium
* Review book models
* InDesign tour of Master Pages, Styles
* Review “collected book” documentation

Present your book model to the class. What influenced the decisions that you made. Make specific mentions of content when appropriate. What are the parts, and how do they connect
to form a consistent grammar? Also consider discussing what the advantages are of your structure versus other options?

4 Week 4    f       

Come into class with a working design for one occupation. Remember you are creating a system that will be applied to every single occupation within the book. Your system dictates how all occupations will ‘act’. How will one occupation display similarly or differently than the others. How does your design create order, but allow for visual variety?

Look for ways to extend the “grammar” of the book model into the 2D space. The structural decisions you’ve made for the outside should eventually connect to the inside.

A pdf for next week is fine, although you should be printing on your own to hone the design.

Meet in the auditorium at 11:20a for the lecture

4 Week 4    f       


* Lecture by Frank Chester in auditorium
* Review ‘Collected Book’ assignment
* Discuss BLS assignment
* Review website authoring/Irma Boom


‘Collected Book’ presentation

Pass your book to the person on your right. Take thirty minutes to scrutinize your classmate’s book. As you did last week with the printed books, point out the discreet systems that appear within the work. How did the maker of the work connect the disparate parts? Find moments of intention and surprise.

Present your findings to the whole class. Be sure to point out specifics within the book. Allow the maker to chime in at the end of your presentation. Discuss as a group.

For next week

Begin Occupational Outlook Assignment

As you know, we are in dire economic times. The unemployment rate in Rhode Island is 11.3 percent. Particularly helpful to the unemployed is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook. The directory provides descriptions and other essential information of every common profession. The format for the printed version (online as pdfs) appears much as it did in 1976 – at least ideologically. Take inspiration from the collected book assignment and find a more dynamic way of designing the printed Occupational Outlook. Note the Web page version is at and the 2010 pdf is archived here.

This five-week project asks you to invent organizational systems that can be used for the more than 200 occupational entries. An overview of the project:

* Week 1: Model for how the overall work can be structured
* Week 2: Design for a minimum of one occupation in that model
* Week 3: Updated design with a minimum of two occupations
* Week 4: Printed prototype that includes a minimum of 5 occupations. Group critique.
* Week 5: Revised copy due

In this first week you are tasked with understanding the content and building a “model” that communicates the structure of the complete work. What systems might be helpful in organizing the material in a clear but engaging way? How can the shape, binding, paper and other object-like qualities be used to create order and variety? How many volumes do there need to be?

Your book model can use blank paper or pre-printed material to help focus our attention’s on your systems. Be prepared next week to speak to the systems you’ve created and why.

The model should derive from close scrutiny of the material itself. Form opinions about what is valuable. Are photographs or illustrations helpful? If so, what kind? And treated how?

Go as far as you can within this research phase. Bring in books or examples on your laptop that show similar projects.

The trim size is up to you. Your model may be a miniature, if you like.
The book is double sided, full color capable.

Document and describe ‘Collected Book’

Photograph your collected book and post it as a “post” in the category Assignment 2. Type up a summary of the systems at play in our project and the feedback you received. Upload at minimum one BW and one color pattern to Assignment 1.

Next week’s class

Meet in the auditorium at 11:20a for the lecture

4 Week 3    f    J        
4 Blog / Week 3    f    J        

See more about Frank Chester on his website

4 Week 3    f       


* Lecture by Tom Ockerse in auditorium
* Review pattern assignment in small groups
* In-class activity


Review Pattern assignment

Break into groups of four and present your patterns. What did you make? How did you make it? How did the single part produce an unexpected whole? What did the addition of color and the combination of patterns do? As the viewer, respond to which of the patterns departed most from the single unit.


I have brought 12 examples of recently published books for you to study. I am asking you to spend an hour scrutinizing a single book in order to dissect its whole into its core visual parts. How do those parts relate to form systems? How do those systems connect to form a cohesive book design.

The systems used to organize content within a contemporary book may rely more on paper type, image use, and type families than on the repetitive placement of elements.

Note page size(s), text block size(s), running heads, folios, colors, and other organizational matter. What paper is used? How do the systems connect or fragment the work? What reasons might the designer have had for arriving at these choices? What system(s) does the book rely on to define its grammar? Is there an overall concept that produced the systems?
Present your findings to the whole class.

For next week

Collected Book

The activity today was meant to show how a book can hold together without relying on an overly repetitive structure. The books from today’s activity each interweave seemingly disparate elements (parts) to create a varied but cohesive whole (system).

Create a bound book of any size and page count using printouts of your own previous work, found magazines or newspapers, discarded paper and/or other material. Make an effort to collect a variety of material to sort through.

Although your sources will vary, the overall book should hold together as a single work. Consider the paper type, the trim size, the use of type and images. Although there are factors you can control, the trimming of the book will produce unexpected internal proportions. Be open to retrimming and reordering sheets to create an engaging and unified system. Do not be concerned with the subject matter of the pages unless they are a part of your system.

Do not collage or add marks to the printouts. You are gathering, arranging, folding, rotating, trimming and binding only. Take risks within this small gamut. Be prepared to present what systems are at play in your book next week.

Updated pattern compositions

Adjust your patterns and upload one from each of the three assignments to the class site. Upload 1200px wide jpgs and insert the three in a new post. Place within category “Assignment 1”.


Pages 32–37 from the week one packet. Optional reading from Vignelli on grids.

Next week’s class

Meet in the auditorium at 11:20a for the lecture

* To create rhythm and variety from a limited set of parts
* To make disparate parts serve a whole

4 Week 2    f       


* Lecture by Tom Ockerse in auditorium
* Introductions, review syllabus
* Examples of systems

For next week

Pattern-making: Black and White

A pattern is the simplest example of a system. It is a single form made the ordered combination of a single part. The below exercise has been a staple in Tom Ockerse’s class for years. It appears virtually unadapted below.

Begin by designing a module as the unit (part) for a pattern (whole). The module must be square module and divided (about equally) in black and white. Keep the design simple. The beauty will emerge from what you do with it! Repeat this module into a square grid of 6×6,
to create a pattern.

Create at least 8 different patterns. Vary the systems to pattern the units in that grid (keep track of the system used). For example, rotation, inversion, and flipping. Consider and try as many variables as possible.

After working with this squared grid, you may experiment with (systemic) grid shifts (offsetting verticals, horizontals, or angles), but always retaining a solid field (to avoid introducing other shapes).

Bring at least 8 final compositions to class next week selected for their diversity, dynamic interest, and comparative uniqueness. For presentations print each pattern on a sheet no larger than 8.5×11, trimming out any extra white space. On the back, note how you arrived at the pattern.

Pattern-making: Color

Substitute black and white parts with colors in order to create new relationships. Do not change the module or base pattern, only how parts within that field coordinate. The intention of the exercise is for you to find new ways of organizing the same material – to alter the existing relationships to reveal others. Create 8 color pieces from any of the black and white patterns from part one.

Pattern-making: Combination/Subtraction

Working with either the black and white or color patterns, combine a complete pattern with another. Think of whole patterns as single parts, and your new composition as a new piece made from those parts. You may subtract one pattern from the other. You may find it is easier to work in Photoshop for this phase. Produce two pieces at whatever size you feel appropriate. Trim off excess white space.

* To create a singular whole from a series of parts
* To better grasp how system is defined and is at work everywhere


Read the first 25 pages of the reading from this packet. Pages 26–31
are optional, but interesting. Consider the definitions and examples offered for the word ‘system’. After completing the reading, observe your surroundings and find a system at work.
Try to answer these questions: What is the system? What are the parts of the system? Is the system at equilibrium? Can the system be expanded or contracted into other systems? How was the system generated and what keeps it going?

Next week’s class

Meet in the auditorium at 11:20a for the lecture

4 Outline / Week 1    f