Mon, Mar 28

DSGN 4101: Concept development

Today's objectives

  • Theme review
  • Objectives
  • Interpretive focus
    • Concepts
    • Achieving interpretative aims
    • Put amenities in the background (for now)
    • Don't be constrained
  • Class discussion assignment marks
  • Quiz
  • Schedule
  • Concept development
    • Review resources - web site, Padlet precedent, lectures and presentations
    • Aim high - look at the best for inspiration
    • A good concept can always be implemented in multiple ways




Theme to concept

Theme to concept



Influential exhibits Required reading
SEGD's review of the most influential exhibits of the the century.
Can interpretive graphics influence visitor behavior in an exhibit space? Required reading
Research-based evaluation of the role of design in visitor behaviour.
Outdoor Interpretive Panels Required reading
A straightforward guide for non-designers, covers the basics of planning and designing.


Project management software

There are many project management tools out there. Some (Like MS Project and OmniPlan) stick closely to formal project management methodologies.

Others emphasize the communication aspect of working in teams, rather than formal project management methodologies.

Tools range in complexity - some are best suited for full-time project managers working on large projects,others bet for simple planning and visualization.

If communication rather than formal project management techniques is the priority, a whole set of other online tools, such as Basecamp, Asana or Trello might be more suitable, especially for remote teams working on digital projects.

Yes, you can use Excel (or Numbers, or Google Sheets) to do basic project management, and create Gantt charts, but it's awkward and labour-intensive. You can even use tools like InDesign tables to create simple timelines, but updating them is far too much work.
Microsoft Project
Powerful, but needs time to learn and expensive ($800-1600 depending on version) although student discounts are available. No Mac version of the desktop MS Plan is available.A simplified onliune version (Project Plan) which runs in your browser is available startuing at $10/month. Basic training in formal project management is pretty much required to be able to make use of many of the advanced features.
A Mac-only project management app with lots of features and power, similar to MS project in many ways. $200-$400 US. Similar to MS projectBasic training in formal project management is pretty much required to be able to make use of many of the advanced features. This is what I have used for years; I still don't really love it.
Open source Gantt-chart maker. Free, no strings attached, but like a lot of open-source software, ugly and the interface is unpolished.
Business books for designers
Talent Is Not Enough: Business Secrets For Designers
A comprehensive book on running a design business. US-focussed, so some legal and regulatory content may not be relevant, but easily supplemented with Canadian sources for advice on taxes, laws, etc.
The Strategic Designer: Tools & Techniques for Managing the Design Process
A more theoretical, process-based look at how to successfully solve design problems, and build better relationships with clients.
AIGA Professional Practices in Graphic Design
A solid book on how to run a profitable, ethical design business, although very much US-centric.
The Brand Gap
A primer on branding - real branding, not visual identity - either for yourself or others. Borrow a copy from somewhere if you can - it's about a 30 min read, with a lot of graphics for filler.


Assignment 5d: Work-in-progress session

Our next major task is to develop concepts for our site. These should focus on storytelling, on marking the place as one of significance, and of engaging the visitor, encouraging them to think, observe and appreciate the place.

For this round of concepts, avoid simple solutions such as interpretive panels - these can come later to fill gaps.

For each concept, choose a prospective location. Prepare a location plan - a map showing where interpretive media should go.

Guided by your theme, site analysis, research and readings on interpretation and visitor experience, develop initial concepts for interpretation. Remember that the concepts should be guided by the themes you have developed. Each concept should help the visitor appreciate the site, understand aspects of it, feel about it, or act based on it.

To help keep you work organzied, choose a labelling scheme for locations and media.

Sketches, text descriptions, precedent images are all acceptable, however, make sure to emphasize originality and suitability to the theme and site.

Be prepared to share your work in progress in class, April 8. We will develop these concepts as the course progresses.

Robert Currie
This page was last updated at 2022-01-09 11:53.