Weekly Assignments

Designs Across Fredericksburg… or My Apartment


Week 6 of ds106 is all about design! To better appreciate and understand the concepts of design I was tasked with finding examples in real life. The design blitz assignment can be found under Complete a DesignBlitz on the week 6 assignments post. Summary: To reinforce your understanding of design principles, you need to undertake a “Design Blitz.” Carry your camera with you this week and take photos of objects, ads, signs, etc. that illustrate at least four of the ten concepts: color, typography, metaphors/symbols, minimalism & use of space, form/function/message, balance, rhythm, proportion, dominance, and unity. Refer to the DesignBlitz resources on the Design Resource page for more information about each of the concepts.

The Work

Due to the pandemic I don’t really leave my apartment; I go to campus 3 times a week and stay in besides that. Today I attempted to take picture on campus for this assignment, but with 30 degree weather my fingers were basically falling off. I settled on taking pictures of items in and around my apartment to complete this assignment. I chose to find images that illustrate color, metaphors & symbols, form/function/message, and typography. The chosen concepts are defined below using the Design Resources definitions.

Images capturing my chosen design concepts:


Color creates mood, draws attention to key elements. Good designs can use bold color or none at all (lack of color or monochrome makes a message too). What colors work well together? What methods of using color are more effective? What do saturate colors say as compared to pastels?

Coffee Poster

This metal poster has a bright red background. The saturation of the color creates a stark contrast between each of the images. If the background were white, black, or cream, it would be extremely hard to distinguish the different aspects of the poster. The red creates a natural outline for the word “Coffee!” and “You can sleep when you’re dead!” Overall, the use of color in this image does not only serve as a background color, but it also creates the poster and its components.

Parking Sign

Metaphors & Symbols

What are best practices for using symbols to represent objects, things, ideas? What works? How can complex ideas be represented in symbols?

At first glance everyone knows that this is a parking sign denoting someone who is in a wheelchair or who is disabled may use. But why? The parking sign does not once state the word handicap. The International Symbol of Access (ISA) in the middle of the sign is a real life symbol we see everyday; Wikipedia states the symbol, “consists of a blue square overlaid in white with a stylized image of a person in a wheelchair.” The design of the symbol is international, meaning no matter where you are the symbol is the same.




How well does design convey its meaning or potential use or real world objects?


I usually hate items that have their name/use on them; these mugs are the only kind of these items I own. The coffee mug has the word “coffee” etched into plain, white ceramic. Although the design is extremely simple, the word is easily readable and a reader instantly knows the use. This is the exact purpose of form/function/message. This mug perfectly exhibits how design can convey it’s real world use.



Typography “is the visual component of the written word” – It is the form in which text is displayed, and the characteristics of the type used- Is san serif always better? why or why not? What do aspects of font weight, style, spacing, kerning have to do with how a message is transmitted and received?

I have a pin on my backpack with the following quote: One person can make a difference and everyone should try.” – John F. Kennedy. It’s a simple square pin with a white background; the word colors change from blue to red line by line. When first analyzing the typography of this pin I was a little confused by the colors. I thought that maybe the specific colors made a secret sentence, but “One can difference everyone try.” and “person make a and should” are not coherent sentences. It then hit me, Red, White, and Blue are the colors of the American flag and JFK was a president! Of course they chose to display his quote in a patriotic manner. Although the colors of the quote don’t directly relate to the words, I thought it was a creative choice to better transmit the message of a US president.

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