Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA  
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Project. Architectural Folded Poster

Purpose. This is a third-year exercise to integrate two- and three-dimensional elements in an informative and representative piece (integrating information, constructed volume, surface and materiality).

Assignment. Through sight and touch, explore ways that a poster's surface and structure can relate to architecture. The piece must unfold and refold, inviting a user's tactile interaction. Elements that will be integrated include type, image (photography, graphic form, architectural renderings), color (palette and material), and 3d form.

1. Research
Each student chooses one architect from a provided list, and collects text and imagery (both in digital and print form). Information to be included is organized and edited.

2. Explore volume
The work and ideology of the specific architect should lead the experimentation. Make notes and sketches of characteristics of his/her work. Sketch quickly in both 2d and 3d. The primary material is paper-based, without adhesives. Explore and exploit the capabilities of the material, towards development of a folding poster. The 3d elements to incorporate and control include: plane (surface), volume (convex and concave), value of shadow (light and dark), and texture. Experiment with diecuts, scoring, perforation, folded vs. curved edge, tabs, etc.

3. Develop two-dimensional form
Choose four possible classic fonts that somehow relate to your architect. Develop four possible color palettes (which should include actual paper stock choices), with up to five colors each. Consider different representations of architecture (photograph, sketch, floorplan, isometric rendering, elevation, macro/micro, etc.). Experiment with different ways to crop the imagery. Text must include: name, years of life, nationality; title, place, date of buildings shown; possible quote by or about architect; any other chosen text.

4. Integrate 3d (volume) and 2d (surface/content)
Begin with collage and hand-processes to unify the elements of typography, grid, color, image, sequence, hierarchy and three-dimensionality. Develop hierarchy in volume, image and typography. Control the sequence and narrative of experiencing this piece and its message (hiding, exposing, and guiding). Each surface should be unique, yet unified with the others. Contribute to the three-dimensionality with the content (through scale, orientation, edge relationships, possibilities offered by the images and spaces of the buildings…).

Format. The construction of the 3d form must be logical and efficient, not to exceed 24 X 36 inches flat (60 X 90 centimeters).

Time. 4 weeks, 2 class meetings per week for 3 hours.

Architectural Folded Poster

Kelly Salchow is Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Michigan State University. Previous experiences have included serving as Program Head of Graphic Design and Assistant Professor at Kansas City Art Institute, and teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design, and The College of New Jersey.

Kelly received her Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design, and Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. She is Education Chair of AIGA Detroit—the parallel position she held in the Kansas City Chapter for two years.

The concepts and questions she brings to her students are investigated in her own explorations—currently focusing on environmental messages through typographic, photographic, and volumetric integration.


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