Week One: In Class

We’ll start by deciding on the format in which you’ll present each week. It can be PDFs, Google Docs, a Blog, what have you. It doesn’t matter to me what format it’s in. What matters is that it’s THOROUGH, SENSICAL, COMPLETE, and BEAUTIFUL. 

PLEASE NOTE: Nothing I will assign you in class or for homework is EVER busywork. Please assume that everything you create for me will have a place in your portfolio in this assignment’s case study.

Create a Mind Map

Using Illustrator or paper, create a mind map that illustrates your personal interests. Start with your name in very center of the paper and branch out from there. The first few branches are probably categorical in nature. The idea here is to try to create as coherent a picture as possible of what makes you tick in terms of ideas.

The first few branches/nodes should probably be something like this:

  • Fundaments (Where you came from that makes you you: your culture, your hometown/country, your loved ones, your pets, your beliefs, your values…)
  • Personal Interests (What you love and feel passsionately about that makes you you: your hobbies and areas of interest, entertainment, activities, food…)
  • Inspirations (What you aspire to that makes you you: styles you love, technologies you love, people you idolize…)
  • Work and Career (What you do that makes you you: your design process, your activities, your achievements, your successes…)

Spend about 30 minutes on this.

Your First Presentation is at 1:30pm.

Spend the next hour or so creating your first, impromptu presentation in the format of your choice.

You’ll be presenting the idea or ideas that I asked you to come in with today. Your goal is to persuade the entire class that it’s the best idea there ever was. If you’re unable to sell it here, it’s unlikely you’ll sell it in the portfolio.

The subject should be something that will sustain you for 15 weeks. You need to be able (ultimately) to tell me everything there is to be told about your subject. You are expected to become an authority on it. More than that, I expect it to be something you’re passionate about. If I don’t see it on your mind map, that’s a problem.

  • By the way, your mind map should be the first thing in your presentation.
  • It is your job to come up with a subject that will be fun as hell for you. That is your primary concern here: be in love with the subject.
  • It is your job to come up with brilliant ideas and brilliant visuals. I can’t feed them to you, but I will help you in every way I can.
  • Have fun. That’s an order.

Keep the presentation pretty short. We’ll need time to discuss.


Based on the response to your in-class presentation, we should have narrowed your ideas down to one. (Unless we’ve nixed them completely.)

Create a Formal Project Proposal / Creative Brief

Define your project formally in a short presentation at the beginning of next class. 

Include the following. Each bullet point merits at least one slide/page/section:

  • Cover/Opener (Working Title, Your Name, Your Contact Info, Class/Instructor/Semester)
  • Ideation materials (Revise and formalize your Mind Map, include word lists)
  • The Nature of the Project (A short statement about what this project actually is. Is this a product? A service? An information source? An app? A website? An IoT device? VR? AR? Entertainment? Artistic expression? Editorial expression? Please think beyond the app. Please think beyond products of convenience. Please think beyond yourself as a target market.)
  • Mission Statement/Abstract (A short, standalone summary of the goals, purpose and benefits of your project. 3–5 sentences. Bullet points are fine.)
  • Rationale (Your reason for doing the project. Is there a problem that you want to address, a cause you want to reveal, a set of information or a point of view you want to communicate, a technology you want to master? Remember—I’m looking for something you’re passionate about.)
  • Potential Names for the Project (Give us a bunch.)
  • Your Project’s Uniqueness (What makes your project unique? Does is serve a particular target market? Or perhaps it explores a new technology? Maybe you have identified a unique problem and want to solve it, or you want to express a specific point of view…)
  • Three Comparable Projects in the Real World (These may be competitors, or they might be inspirations…)
  • Audience (Everything, even the most artistic projects, usually has an audience in mind. Who is your project for? Interview at least one real person in your target market and show me their demographic info here. Tell them about your idea, and interview them about their needs and thoughts as they relate to your project. Show answers and summarize for presentation.)
  • Identify an Expert (Find someone in the world who has experience with the subject matter of your project; someone you can consult about whether or not it makes sense, and whether it’s doing what it needs to be doing. Tell them about your idea, and interview them about their needs and thoughts as they relate to your project. Show answers and summarize for presentation.)
  • Define the Scope of the Project:
    • In an Ideal World (What deliverables would you hope to create?)
    • In the Real World (What deliverables can you really produce in the time allotted?  NOTE: All projects for this class must achieve at least prototype state. If possible, they should be coded.)
  • Parts/Features of the Piece (Define as many possible features / functions / options / parts / outcomes of this project here. Highlight your top three.)
  • Define Research Sources and list them here.

Present at the beginning of Class 2.