Group Work Poster Game

Collectively design a poster for our exhibition. In this game, each student makes one addition to an indesign file and then forwards it to the next student on the list. Each addition should respond in some way, directly or indirectly, to the previous one. Each addition can be a text or an image, or a grid or style sheet, or something else. Briefly describe the addition in the .txt list file. The poster game is over when one player declares that it’s over.


1. Identify and locate the first piece of graphic design you can recall making. Find it as a digital file, hardcopy, image … it doesn’t matter.
2. Examine this first work carefully. Ask yourself (now) why you (then) made the decisions you made in assembling it. Consider your answers, and keep them to yourself for the moment.
3. Take at least one full day, 24 hours, between following instructions 2 and 4.
4. Write one compact paragraph (between 5 and 12 sentences) that indicates the answers you arrived at in step 2.
5. Typeset the paragraph that you wrote in step 4 (now) how you would have done it (then) at the time you made the piece of work identified at the start of this set of instructions. The result should sit comfortably on one vertical sheet of 8.5 x 11 inch paper.

From David Reinfurt

Oblique Strategies

Choose two cards from the first Oblique Strategies deck. In the spirit of the deck, write two new ones of your own. Legibly write each strategy on a 3 x 5 inch index card. In class, assemble all cards together and shuffle. Pick one randomly. Use this card as a cue to newly iterate one of your posters. Demonstrate in class how you interpreted the card in your new poster.

Oblique Strategies


These cards evolved from our separate observations on the principles underlying what we were doing. Sometimes they were recognized in retrospect (intellect catching up with intuition), sometimes they were identified as they were happening, sometimes they were formulated.
They can be used as a pack (a set of possibilities being continuously reviewed in the mind) or by drawing a single card from the shuffled pack when a dilemma occurs in a working situation. In this case,the card is trusted even if its appropriateness is quite unclear. They are not final, as new ideas will present themselves, and others will become self-evident.

First Deck (1975)
One article, among many, about Oblique Strategies.


Look carefully at Jan Tschichold’s Der Berufshotograph poster. Write 5 rules which, if followed, could produce the poster. The rules should be abstract: following them should allow for the possibility of a very different poster than Der Berufshotograph. As you write your rules, think about: the conceptual relation of type to image; printing techniques and media properties; and compositional relations of type to image, and type to type. Make your poster “contemporary”. Execute these rules once, on a large format (two trimmed tabloid sheets).

Wild CSS (Technical Restraint 3)

Pick a Wikipedia entry which follows from the entry on “Rules”. Copy its HTML and link it to a CSS sheet in which you declare a value for every possible property of every HTML element. Explore CSS as a means for the wild production of new visual forms. Forget about the legibility of words and instead visually articulate the different HTML elements (the tags). Make two formal constraints to regulate the visual profusion.

Photoshop Tool (Technical Restraint 2)

Find an image that relates to the concept “under restraint”. Make the image large enough to fit on a letter size sheet, portrait orientation. Choose one retouching or painting tool from the photoshop toolbox and vigorously edit the image using only that tool. Test the tool : make it do something it wasn’t designed to do. Investigate all possible variables and parameters for the tool. Make 10 iterations that visually communicate some sense of the concept of freedom versus constraint.

Google Drawing (Technical Restraint 1)

Design an 11 x 17 inch poster with Google Drawing which announces a lecture, at the UIC School of Design, by The Office of Culture and Design. The title of the lecture is “Anti-Apathy”. The date of the lecture is 17 March 2016. This lecture may actually happen. In each poster include the following elements: text, image, shape, and wordart. Research OCD while you play with the drawing software. Develop an anti-apathetic visual concept for your poster. Make five different iterations on your way to producing a final print.

Restrictions, Mevis & Van Deursen


This very short text is from Recollected Work, a retrospective of projects by the Dutch designers Mevis and van Deursen. The text is a sort of transcription produced by Paul Elliman (the editor of the book) after talking with the designers.

Read the text and write a short response which considers the following:

Do you agree with this description of design as game playing? What do you think of the entanglement of freedom and restriction which it implies? How can a “living voice” be engendered in this sort of practice?

Think about your own work as a designer and consider how “content”, “form”, and “production” could become constraint variables which you set in order to play the game of your work.