Overall Plan for the Evening
Below is the overview we’re going to try to stick with tonight:
- Canvas Posts
- Weekly Posts
- Supplemental–if you feel you need to supplement your participation use the Canvas Discussion “Participation Supplement–Closes Tuesday, 11/21 at 5:00 pm”
- Remote ‘H’ Drive Access (quick)
- Design for Information “Introduction”
- “Technical Writing” vs “Technical Communication”
- Webpage Stuff
- Document #1: Business Card and Letterhead (2 assignments)
- WORKSHOP next class (9/11)–you must have a draft
- Prejudice and Rhetoric
- Robin Williams Introduction to Design
Accessing Your ‘H’ Drive Off Campus
Well, the link below takes you to an FAQ on how to access your ‘H’ drive when you’re off campus. However, this system is going away on October 6, 2017–just in time for Fall Break. I suggest using your Google Drive Storage or DropBox.
Access to MyFiles on your ‘H’ Drive
Design for Information
I’ll do my best to include specific visuals from Meirelles’s Design for Information on the webpage. Of course, because of copyright, I can’t always do that. Before analyzing specific images, let me ask you a few questions:
- Based on the “Introduction,” what is Meirelles’s goal(s) for the book?
- What does the selection of visuals say about this book’s approach?
- What is the purpose of Information Design?
Consider some specific areas for the “Introduction”:
- p. 11: Infographics and Information Design
- p. 13: Data/Information Visualization: graphical displays of information that create meaning for an audience.
- p. 9: London Underground Maps
- London Underground Map (pre-1933)
- London Underground Map (1933)
- London Underground Map (today)
- p. 12: “Ghost Counties” by Jan Willem Tulp
- Ghost Counties of Colorado
- “Home” vs “Housing Unit”
- Pie or Circle Chart for Charlotte (downloads an Excel file)
There’s a great critique of Tulp’s interactive project. He’s praised for being innovative, but, honestly, how easy are these charts to read? He even has alternatives to his approach–yes, professionals REVISE their initial ideas…they create drafts!
“Technical Writing” vs “Technical Communication”
Before we get too far into the specific reading, let’s talk about the difference between “technical writing” and “technical communication.” Is there really a difference? Let’s focus on “writing” and “communication.”
This course is not necessarily an introduction to document design because, presumably, you’ve already had that in English 2116 and other Technical Communication courses/situations, or you’re a quick learner. Instead, this course is an intermediate (or advanced) step in your becoming effective technical communicators. Whether or not you actually become an employee with the title “Technical Writer,” is irrelevant: ALL OF YOU WILL HAVE TO COMMUNICATE TECHNICAL INFORMATION TO AUDIENCES.
Make sure you’re reading the assigned material. Your Midterm and Final (which is slightly cumulative) will be based nearly entirely on the reading. I’m going to try my best to make sure we use the vocabulary from the book because I think the concepts are very useful. In different contexts the terms might have different meanings, but the ideas and strategies the terms describe are practically universal.
Let’s consider a document we have on us all the time: International symbols for laundry.
I also have a page to introduce Robin Williams’s principles of design.
This might be a good time to go back to your webpage requirements from last week’s page.
Adobe…A Suite Introduction
The computers are updated with the Adobe Creative Cloud. Remember, the following Adobe products are available to complete your assignments:
- Dreamweaver (webpages)
- InDesign (multi and single page layouts)
- Photoshop (bitmap graphics)
Illustrator(vector graphics)…actually, you most likely won’t be using Illustrator
- Premier Pro (video editor)…not sure you’ll need this one, but it’s here in case you want to try it out
What’s the difference between bitmap graphics and vector graphics? Chapter 7 in your book covers that, so I’m going to hold off on that for now.
Regardless of which products you use, don’t forget that each assignment has a memo explaining your document’s creation. More detail is given on the Assignments Page for these memos. Don’t blow off that step! Reflection is a way to get you to be conscious of the design choices you make.
The first time I taught this class I had InDesign CS2 in my office (the computer lab had CS3…). Finally, I have CS7 in my office and on the Instructor’s computer, and you have CS7 on the lab computers. I’m no expert at these products, but I continue to learn new things. There might be slight differences in my tutorials…Oh wait a minute…I don’t do tutorials, so there’s no problem. Let me go over your first assignment and set you loose.
Remember, I expect you to work the entire time. If you’re “finished,” let me know…I’ll fix that. Additionally, I’m not going to be on facebook or ESPN.com , so you shouldn’t either. Your participation grade can go negative, so use your time wisely. Integrity violations will stick in this class–just like a four-game suspension for a cheating quarterback.
At a minimum, I want you to have a sketch of your business card and letterhead–at least images–by the time you leave. Keep everything for your portfolio.
And don’t downplay these business cards…they’re serious business as these guys will show you…
Next Week’s Readings
Make sure you read Ch. 1 in Design for Information and Ch. 3 in The Non-Designer’s Design Book before coming to class in two weeks (9/11)–remember, 9/04 is Labor Day, so we won’t meet. These chapters serve as an introduction to visual design, and they’re short. The assignments are what you’ll create to show that you understand the material from the books and our discussions. Remember, while the material may seem like “common sense,” don’t think that you can dismiss the reading. The theories the textbooks offer are important.
Please have something (an idea, a rough sketch, a draft) to work with when we return to class on 9/11 for your Document #1 Workshop. You’ll have one or two classmates look over your designs (Business Card and Letterhead).