exercise: an anti/pseudo/sorta selfie

After giving some thought to the phenomenon of selfies and after reading the articles about selfies posted on the Resources page, use Photoshop to modify a photo that depicts you or something about you in order to create an anti, pseudo, or sorta selfie. For instance, you might use filters, adjustments, and/or other Photoshop tools to modify the photo; or you might use Photoshop to put yourself in a certain location or historical moment. The selfie can be fun and frivolous or professional and serious—it’s up to you. The goal is to exercise your creativity, employ your Photoshop skills, and communicate something about yourself (and perhaps something about selfies) via a selfie.


Document Redesign

The purpose of this project is to redesign a poorly designed document and to write a memo explaining your redesign. You can make changes in content as well as changes in the design of the document, if you think that changing the content will make for a more effective document. As for tools, you can use any software programs that you feel comfortable with; InDesign is a good option, and we’ll be working through a tutorial on InDesign in class. The final version of the document should be in PDF format.

For this project, you will turn in three items: the original document (or a photocopy), your redesign of the document (printed out and digitally in PDF format), and a memo in which you address the following questions, though not necessarily in this order:

  • who is the target audience of this document? What purpose(s) or goal(s) is the document intended to achieve with this audience?
  • what were the primary problems with the original design of the document?
  • what specific changes did you make? why did you make each of these changes? what alternatives did you consider?
  • what design principles did you follow in redesigning this document?
  • are there any design problems that you were unable to resolve in your redesign? That is, are there any new or pre-existing design problems in your redesign?

In your memo, consider including a small graphic of the new design of the document, with arrows and/or numbers indicating changes you made. Your explanation can then reference this graphic. You might also consider including a small graphic depicting the old design of the document, particularly if you intend to make before/after comparisons to explain your redesign.

Criteria for evaluation:

1. The design and content choices you made are rhetorically effective—that is, they are clearly tailored to the target audience and they help the document achieve its purpose.

2. The redesigned document shows an effective application of design principles, and it demonstrates your creativity and originality.

3.  The memo provides detailed and insightful responses to the questions in the assignment prompt and gives a helpful accounting of the rationale behind your redesign.

4.  The style of writing in the memo is clear and well-organized, with no misspellings or grammatical errors. The memo is properly formatted.


Minor Flyer

In this project, you’ll work in pairs to design a flyer that advertises the Professional Writing Minor Information Session taking place during the winter quarter. The audience for the flyer is students interested in pursuing the Minor, and the purpose of the flyer is to provide information about the Minor and the info session in such a way that encourages students to attend. The flyer should be designed for an 8.5” x 11” page and should reproduce well in black-and-white.

You’ll turn in a printed copy of the flyer along with a PDF version of it.

Personal Logo and Business Card

Use Illustrator to create a personal logo or design element and incorporate it into a business card. Keep in mind that you might also want to use this logo or design element in other components of your application package (e.g., resume, letterhead) and eventually, perhaps, on your website.

You’ll turn in a print and digital versions of the logo and business card.

Criteria for evaluation:

  1. The logo you created is fit for the purpose. That is, it effectively conveys an appropriate message about who you are to your intended audience(s).
  2. The logo is adaptable to a variety of sizes and materials, is pleasing and memorable to look at, and successfully employs the design principles we’ve covered in class.
  3. The business card effectively uses your logo and other elements to convey relevant information about you to its prospective audience.
  4. The business card employs design principles that we’ve covered in class.


Application Package

Identify an internship, job, or career opportunity that you’re interested in—for instance, an internship working for a local newspaper, or an entry-level job in advertising. If you find an advertisement for a specific opening, you can tailor your documents to that particular position. Otherwise, identify the category or type of position in which you’re interested. Develop some knowledge of the general requirements of this position (or type of position) and of the person/people who would be likely to read your application.

Then, create a traditional resume, an alternative resume, and an application letter for this position. In class, we’ll discuss the requirements for each of these types of documents.

In addition, submit a brief (1-page) memo in which you discuss the reasoning that informed your decisions about the content and design of the documents. It is particularly important for you to place these decisions in a rhetorical context—that is, to show the connection between your choices and the audience and purpose of the documents. Please include in the memo or as an attachment a description of the position you’re applying for.

Criteria for evaluation:

1. The design and content choices you made in the letter and resumes are rhetorically effective—that is, they are clearly tailored to the target audience and help the documents achieve their purpose.

2. The resumes show an effective application of design principles.

3. The cover letter is clearly and correctly written, and it provides a good balance of claims and evidence; it effectively connects your experience with the requirements of the position.

4.  The accompanying memo provides a detailed and insightful explanation of the design and content choices you made in the letter and resumes. You connect those choices to the rhetorical context–that is, to the audience and purpose of the documents.

5.  The style of writing in the memo is clear and well-organized, with no misspellings or grammatical errors. The memo is properly formatted.


SlideDoc Project

For this project you’ll be creating a slidedoc, defined by Nancy Duarte as “a visual document developed in presentation software that is intended to be read and referenced rather than projected.” It is essentially a small book that you design in PowerPoint (or InDesign) and that you can print or distribute digitally. You will need to decide on the design, content, audience, and purpose of the project. Consider using this project to repurpose (that is, revise, redesign, and recreate in a new medium) a paper, report, slideshow, or other document that you’ve written in another context.

Here are some parameters for the project: your slidedoc should

  • target a specific audience
  • present information that isn’t easily available elsewhere
  • include text and image that are appropriately licensed and/or attributed
  • employ design principles (contrast, alignment, repetition, proximity, white space, grid), fonts, and colors to convey information effectively
  • be a valuable item to include on your professional website so as to demonstrate your knowledge of a specific area and your design/technical skills
  • stand on its own–that is, be understandable without an accompanying oral presentation
  • be at least 10 pages/slides long, plus a cover page, table of contents (if needed), and references page

You’ll turn in both a print and digital version of the project.

WordPress Website

The final assignment of Writing 155A is intended to get you started in Writing 155B, where your first assignment will be to create a professional website for yourself. There are three components to the WordPress Website assignment:

  1. Purchase web hosting and a domain name for your professional website.
  2. Install and configure a WordPress theme at your website.
  3. Write and publish an excellent About Me page.


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