In May and June 2015, the Design College of the Nanjing University of the Arts hosted a workshop led by international designer and educator Richard B. Doubleday, assistant professor of graphic design at the LSU School of Art.
Twenty-five graduate students participated in the three-week workshop. To carry out the assignments, the students were encouraged to explore a wide range of techniques for the object iterations book project, translate a letterform into sculpture for the image-making poster, and, finally, develop storyboard concepts for a narrative telling a visual story using an image sequence. The students were required to use English text; Chinese calligraphy was optional.
The first project explored a wide variety of image-making mediums—drawing, photography, digital media, mixed media, found objects/images and type—through the selection of an everyday object represented 30 times. The objective was to explore image-making processes, develop an aesthetic sensibility and individual methodology, study connotative and denotative images, and exercise an iterative process.
For the second project, students explored form-development techniques and process through type and image experiments. The initial step was to conduct a series of type experiments using one letter, then to draw the letter using a variety of materials, techniques, and tools, translating it into a three-dimensional letterform. The next step was to photograph the letterform, choose the most compelling photograph, and analyze the form to determine the subject matter for an event of their choice. The final step was to design a 50 x 70 centimeter poster announcing an event. The purpose of this project was to develop form-making techniques and processes, to design with expressive/connotative and literal/denotative typography, and to develop content applied to a poster based on form.
For the third project, students chose a topic and told its story using stop-motion animation. The objective of this project was to tell a visual story through an image sequence, exploring elements of time-based design—including rhythm, pacing, and sound—as aids to develop a sophisticated narrative.
The student work created during the workshop was printed, assembled, and exhibited in the Design College art gallery.
The students spent the first two weeks of the workshop considering a wide range of techniques for their object iterations book; working through preliminary ideas for the image-making poster; and generating imagery for the stop-motion animation. The third week was spent creating the books, posters, and animations and completing the projects. The results were truly extraordinary.
The individual and group critiques enabled the students to get instantaneous feedback, critique their classmates’ design solutions, and articulate the ideas behind their own projects. The solutions combined Eastern and Western imagery with English text and Chinese calligraphy to form a unique and unusual juxtaposition of design elements.
The experience was yet another excellent collaboration and cross-cultural dialog in the graphic arts.
About Nanjing University of the Arts
Nanjing University of the Arts is the only comprehensive arts institute in Jiangsu Province and one of the earliest art academies established in China. More than 10,000 students attend the university, including 8,997 undergraduates. The university consists of 14 schools, including fine arts, music, design, media, movie and television, dance, humanities, and cultural industry. Nanjing University of the Arts has become one of the most distinguished art universities in China and enjoys a high reputation in China and the world.