Education Article :: Chapter 07 :: Hand and Tool

Hand and Tool Project
Wrench Compass Paint roller Scraper Spatula

The hand/tool project is the final black and white project of the first semester. The students apply all of their previous form and compositional skills to communicate an idea of their liking. These simple objects communicate by association and inference instead of by example. They are not instruction manuals on how to use guides for a hammer, compass, or spatula. The activity, sense of humor, or other information are the goal of these projects.

They design a simple silhouette of the tool, hand, and other descriptive items to communicate a specific idea. Always the goal is to express an idea or communicate a thought. A clear presentation of their ideas and formal values is the objective, not to make pretty wrench or aesthetically pleasing paint roller. The result is a design that communicates an activity or experience.

Project analysis
A simple grid structure is established to set a vertical pattern. The objects to be translated are drawn and painted. The relationships between the objects indicate their semiotic meanings.

The hand and tool project combines formal elements, such as composition, figure and ground, and color value from the first part of the semester with word communication exercises. The idea is to express the students thought process in communicating simple objects logically and clearly. This layering of ideas and form may be seen as the process of design. The complexity of design is not hindered by a lack of knowledge of formal values. The addition of a typographic element is the next logical step in this process. This may be applied to a poster design, brochure cover, or an advertisement.

I don't, indeed can't, teach students to be designers, but I can and do teach attitudes and strategies that help them become designers.
Malcolm Grear 'Inside/Outside'
(Providence, 1993; pg. 09)

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