desma 173 winter 2016173 special topics in visual communication + image: brand lab
professor: rebeca méndez. ta: nikita gale
brand lab: professor rebeca méndez’s special topics course taught as ‘brand lab’ is dedicated to the development of design media arts research and strategy in the areas of organization, culture, and identity. this hybrid seminar/studio studies how complex organizations are defined by their public identities, and how those identities can be strategized and designed. this course furthers the development of design media arts as both an intellectual and a professional discipline. the first weeks of the course are dedicated to design research and the rest of the course to design practice. brand lab is structured to cover the following phases of identity development: research, strategy and planning, communication strategy, implementation guidelines, and design development of specific communication material in all appropriate media: web, print, and environment. each brand lab course is organized around a unique set of issues and themes. this class is predicated on the belief that making is a form of thinking and that research and design are allies. the readings, class discussions, interactions with visitors, field trips, prototyping and demos are all essential features of the class.
original research on the positioning and communication strategy of a given organization will yield a rigorous form of cultural history and analysis. the course interest is not merely to further the practices we study, but to employ design and design research as a means with which to intervene in the social and political life of the organization engaged. research methodologies are intrinsically critical and will lead us to understandings of considerable intellectual value to those with a stake in study of organizational culture and identity.
in the first part of the quarter, we conduct research and work to develop positioning and strategy; in the second part, we work towards the creation of transmedia publishing initiatives. these intersecting initiatives function as documentation of the research process and findings and propose the “branding the climate crisis“ strategy. original research on the origin, potential futures, and organizing logics of crisis will yield a rigorous communication strategy. our interest is not merely to further the practices we study, but to employ design media arts and design media research as means by which to intervene in economic, political, and social life. our
methodologies are intrinsically critical and lead us to understandings of considerable intellectual value to those stakeholders in times of crisis.