Designing for Social Good: Two-Dimensional Design and Board Games

Fall 2018
Winter 2019
Class Size: 31
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

academic and creative nonfiction writing, community studies, analog game design
printmaking, drawing

Design and  design thinking  center on the transformation of ideas into purposeful objects and actions. Our focus in this two-quarter program, while we learn design processes and approaches, will be on making our ideas about the social good tangible. We will learn two-dimensional design skills, and also design and play analog card and board games, with the intent of stimulating and articulating our own thinking. At the same time, we will explore ways to inspire ideas and actions in those who engage with our work.

Games and two-dimensional images act as ‘texts.’ These texts describe and enact real-world dynamics, model structures and systems, and reveal visible and invisible cultural values. Students will learn skills in visual and experience design, visual literacy, research skills for image- and game-makers, planning processes for artistic projects, and strategies for using visual information and rule-bound actions to convey meaning. Learning activities will include weekly reading and writing assignments, seminars, and studio assignments addressing basic elements of two-dimensional design skills that will be used to design board games. Our focus on games will include studying historical games and fundamental components of game design, as well as uses of games to educate, empathize, and provoke. Students will discover ways that game design and  artistic design can be used to foster critical engagement with issues of equity and social good.

In fall quarter, students will explore intersectionality and the social good, as well as visual literacy and game design. Introductory  two-dimensional design skills, game analysis and design will accompany theoretical work. Winter quarter, students will employ their foundational knowledge and skills to design and prototype games collaboratively. Both quarters will include weekly academic reading and writing assignments, the completion of studio assignments outside of class, and completing game design exercises or tasks.  No prior drawing or artistic experience is necessary. We welcome those who may not identify as artists, gamers, or designers.  Willingness to learn technical and sequential artistic and game design practices is essential. We’ll present introductory skills and welcome upper-division students seeking breadth in their studies. Willingness to listen and learn across significant lived experiences will be an essential aspect of our work toward equity and the social good. Credit equivalencies of the program include: two-dimensional design, introductory game design: theory and practice, and writing.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

education, visual arts, and design.


Credits per quarter

Fields of study: 
Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 31

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Monday, January 7, 2019 - 10:00 am
SEM 2 D2105 - Workshop

Located in: Olympia

2018-11-15description updated
2018-05-01Title revised (formerly Designing for Social Good: Drawing and Board Games).
2018-04-30This program is offered for 12 credits.
2018-04-16This program is offered to Sophomores-Seniors.
2018-04-16This program is offered for 16 credits only.