Undergraduate Degree




DA9007 Designing: From the Asian Point of View

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites:Nil; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

This special term course aims to encourage the participants to discover a personal voice, as expressed through their work, that has been illuminated by an informed study and working within Asia.


During the first part, the participants will be introduced to the different metaphors and semantics of Asia and encouraged to explore, through exercises, how these languages can be applied in visual communication/graphics/products for a global reach while retaining the ‘Asian-ness’.

In the second part, the participants will study a range of artifacts and objects produced by the different cultures, traditions and heritages of Asia, exploring how   the use of materials and manufacturing methods allowed Asians to make products for everyday lives as well as for ceremonial use, expanding into products of today for the world.

The class will consist of lectures, professional examples, hands-on assignments, field trips and presentations.

Course Outline




• Intro to course

• Introduction to the concept of ‘Asian’ art and design

2 - 4

• Examining the meanings, symbolism, semantics and metaphors of Asia

• Field trips to museums and cultural centre

• Historical study of different regions, kingdoms & dynasties, religions and movements

• Contextualising applications in visual communication/graphics/products for a global reach

• Exercises, assignments and presentation (Personal)

5 - 8

• Study of artifacts and objects; cultures that produce(d) them.

• Material, manufacture and influence on aesthetics

• Meaning behind objects

• Contextualising products for today

• Projects (Group)

9 - 12

• Final project development


• Final review of development

Learning Outcome

The students will have acquired knowledge of what is ‘Asian-ness’ from their point of view and build on this the ability to design graphics, visual communication and products & artefacts which draw inspiration and design language/structure from traditional and developing values of Asia.

Student Assessment

  1. Assignments:  30%

Students will be assessed on studio-based exercises and assignments, including individual, group and team-based assignments.

  1. Final Project : 60%

Students will work on projects undertaken individually or as a group.

  1. Interest and Participation: 10%

Students will be assessed on their participation in class discussions and showing of initiative in class activities.


Suggested Reading:

  1. Maria Brosius, Persians, Routledge, 2006

  2. Virginia Schomp, Ancient India, Scholastic, 2004

  3. Virginia Schomp, Ancient Chinese, Scholastic, 2005

  4. Man Sil Pai and Edward Reynolds Wright, Traditional-Korean Furniture, Kodansha International, 2000

  5. M. Suenaga, A Pictorial History of Ancient Japanese Weapons, Armour &; Artifacts, ASP, 1982 

  6. Jill Forshee, Culture and Customs of Indonesia, Greenwood Press, 2006

  7. Sōetsu Yanagi, The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty, Kodansha International, 1989

  8. Prasad Boradkar, Designing Things, Berg, 2010

  9. Emily Pilloton, Design Revolution, Thames&Hudson, 2009

  10. The Penguin, Dictionary of Symbols, Penguin (Non-Classics), 1996

  11. J E Cirlot, A Dictionary of Symbols, London Rout, 2002