CitationYe, Lei. 2021. Dear GSD. Master's thesis, Harvard Graduate School of Design.
AbstractMy motivation for writing this thesis is my passion for using front-end design techniques to construct social justice in the digital domain and find solutions for particular design problems.
This thesis proposes a digital platform to customize posters as a new means of communication in the Harvard GSD virtual community. To make visible the hidden reality to the public, it extracts underlying rules and design languages from significant poster designs at GSD before the pandemic. These rules and conventions are translated into visual patterns in a system for potential customization.
The thesis demonstrates how to use this system to explore how students and the administration communicate without public space under specific circumstances and design rules of posters. It takes examples from Strike Poster Workshop and other student organizations at GSD and embeds their conventions and components to illustrate an implementation of such a system. In the past decades, printing has become the most powerful tool to deliver messages in the public realm while it helps students build a sense of belonging to GSD. Every year, the administration announces public programs by making posters in the Gund Hall. These posters follow specific rules of the layout with icons of GSD, which give the audience a sense of belonging to the school community while student groups work in a similar way. The abstract texts and shapes on the paper successfully assemble both students and faculty in the public space and reflect the diverse culture of GSD in the long term.
At the beginning of the 2021 Spring semester, posters of public programs were sent to students as Gund hall was shut down temporarily. Due to the pandemic, the remote studies disassembled the community. However, the pandemic is not the only reason students lose their sense of belonging to the school. The lack of transparency in the conversations between students and the administration reveals institutional autocracy over time.
The new communication platform enables students to communicate with the administration by making their posters for protests, public events, and fearless expressions. Users could access the platform through the link
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367872