Graphic Design (DSGN 266)

Visual Archive


Anything that you have an accumulation of can be a collection. An archive is a collection of historical documents or records. Not all collections are archives, but many become relevant with time. For our next project you’re tasked with creating a collection of 25 items. Any time you see a multiplicity of an object, you begin to notice similarities and contexts in a new way. Seeing multiple of an object allows for this kind of in depth research that observing one object does not. The way the object is documented (consider the various image making techniques we’ve explored this semester) and organized helps direct the viewer on how the object is meant to be experienced.

Create a visual archive of 25 items. The content of the archive is entirely up to you and should reflect one of your interests or ruminations. Consider different ways of documentation and think about how your visual approach informs your perspective on the collection. Mundane, everyday objects tend to be easier to work with than complicated or sentimental ones. If you’d like, you can focus on one aspect of your objects rather than documenting it in its entirety (for example, shoe imprints vs the entire shoe). Your collection should have at least five different data types affiliated with it, and should be as specific as possible. There should be a visual consistency between the items, and should have a cohesive story to it. For example: If your collection is “Dogs in Central Park” you might include: photos of the dogs that you take on an iphone, the dog’s name, the dog’s breed, the GPS coordinates of where you saw the dog, and a brief description of the encounter. This is nice because there are multiple different types of data that you could use to elaborate on.

Once you’ve created an archive, you will design a publiction (digital or printed) that houses it. You will also do a series of printed and digital exercises in class (a printed poster, and a website for example).

Deliverable Options

Option 1 – PDF

  • Assemble a designed, multipage PDF that highlights your collection. Use InDesign to do this. Define the layout and consider what kind of content would help structure the page: for example: page breaks, categories, page types (full bleed, half image half text, a grid of images). Make sure that your whole document has a uniform quality to it and that any additional content helps communicate your idea.
  • Dimensions: Either 8.5 x 11 (spreads or single pages) or 1920 x 1080 px (widescreen digital format). RGB color space!

Examples: Mary Ping Look Book, K-Hole Editions, Urgency Reader – Queer Archive, 93.1 Jack FM Los Angeles, 2009 vol 1 – Guthrie Lonergan, Foot at the Table – Sasha Portis

Option 2 – Printed Booklet

  • The same as the above but you will optimize it for print and print it out as a saddle-stitched (staples) booklet.

Requirements for all options

  • Should have decisions for order and pacing
  • Should show your entire collection
  • Have a title and designed cover for it
  • Have a thought through narrative – literal or implied
  • Should tell a story through the way it is organized and the data that is collected
  • Should be a designed experience (there should be reasons for everything you design)

Due date