TAD3214 - Contemporary discourse in design - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Art, Design and Architecture

Organisational Unit

Department of Design


Ms Simone Schmidt

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


  • Trimester 2 2017 (Day)


This unit will investigate contemporary issues in the interface of design with society and the environment. Design discourse centered on the moral dichotomies of judgement in design, such as practicality/impracticality, social use/private folly, labour-saving/unneccessary consumption, luxury/environmental nuisance will be critically investigated. The impact of this discourse on the students' areas of specialisation will be specifically addressed in the seminar program.

The Semester 1 program covers material suited to Industrial Design and Interior Architecture, and the Semester 2 program focuses on Visual Communication and Multimedia.


On successful completion of this unit, students will:

  1. approach existing designs with a critical sense of their deeper social and aesthetic values as well as the popular connotations of their styles
  2. discern symbolic associations in design and express links with a historical vocabulary of images and metaphors which operate in traditional interpretations
  3. support their intuitive opinions either in favour of a design or against certain designs with reasoned argument and engage the language of criticism in debating the sense or the vanity of certain spaces and objects
  4. be able to engage in the imaginative task of analysing design in ways which reveal its strengths and weaknesses
  5. project discriminating judgements with a sense of critical rigour which explores and challenges the existence of the principles of design
  6. feel comfortable with iconoclastic views of design classics wherever a coherent or poetic reason for disapproval seems justified.


Written assignment 2000 words (30%)

Essay 3000 words (60%)

Short class presentation, attendance and participation (10%)

Workload requirements

12 hours per week including, 3 hours lectures and seminars and 9 hours independent study weekly, or equivalent.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)



TAD3209, TAD3211, TAD3792