social design


How can we learn to visually express the things we care about through code?

• 28. May - 25. June 2020
• Online!
• Five-weeks, Thursdays, 7-9PM China Standard Time, 1-3PM CET
• Small class of participants

Pricing (For tickets see below)
Artist / Student (Full Time)*



Generous Supporter Ticket*

Solidarity ticket*
Donation (Limited)


Graphic design in contemporary society is one of the most effective forms of communication in our everyday life. What happens when we harness this power ourselves to express the ideas most important to us? This class focuses on the intersection between visual communication and social issues using computational tools.

Participants in the class will learn p5.js as a programming language to express their perspectives and voice visually. Through the lens of essential design elements of color, geometry, and typography, aligning with algorithms in creative coding, participants will create computational designs to address the social issues they are most concerned about.

Using p5.js to think like an activist, topics will be around boundaries, social distance, globalization, as well as other topics important to the people in the room. Class will be a mix of lecture, discussion, and hands-on experience.

In each session, there will be space for questions, debates, conversations, and weekly assignments all leading up to a final presentation and feedback session.

course outline

Week 1: A moment to get to know each other.

This session is about getting to know each other. There will be introductions of who we all are but also discussions regarding expectations and what you hope to gain from the class. Additionally, the instructor will lead a discussion about the topic of social issues, introducing the concept of this class and giving a brief lecture about graphic design and design languages. Finally, we will introduce you to some of the tools that we'll be using in class from week two onward.

Week 2: Boundary Workshop

This week, we will look at geometric shapes and explore the symbolic meaning of those basic shapes corresponding to social distance, personal boundaries, comfort zone, intimate relationships, culture differences, etc. After a brief presentation, we'll get started with a hands-on programming workshop allowing us to create and play with these shapes in p5.js using drawing, agents, repetition, and so on. Students will create works using only these basic shapes to express their thinking of social distance, boundaries or related topics. This in-class exercise will become the assignment for the week.

Week 3: Affecting Digital Images

This week students will learn to use effects, altering pixels, glitch, and other techniques to manipulate digital images in real-time using p5.js for purposes of making a zine, one of the easiest ways to express and distribute your ideas in a relatively underground way. We'll also discuss the history of Artist’s Books and zine culture, and conduct a workshop about making zines around the social issue concerning you the most in this moment. The assignment begins in class and leads into the assignment for the following week.

Week 4: Posters Occupy the Street

Poster design is one of the most common projects a designer can take on. What began as one of the earliest forms of advertisement, developed as a medium for visual communication in the early 19th century. From the first poster ever made to propaganda posters of all kinds occupying the street, they allow us to make big bold public statements. This class focuses on using code to put posters in the context of protest, leading students to create powerful messages using typography in p5.js while thinking like an activist.

Week 5: Show and Tell

In this final session, we’ll come together to see what everyone has made as students present works created during the class. The instructor and guest critics will offer constructive feedback throughout the session. The class will end here, but everyone is encouraged to continue with their on-going Social Design projects.

who is this
class for?

This class is for artists, designers, illustrators, activists and anyone interested in gaining knowledge and hands-on skills at the intersection of visual communications, social design, and code.

about live classes

Classes are 'live' meaning that you can directly interact with the instructor as well as with the other participants from around the world. Classes will also be recorded for playback in case you are unable to attend for any reason. For specific questions, please email us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

about fees

We realise we're living in uncertain times. We are a small organisation with no outside funding and like many, we are also in survival mode. During this time, we are offering a limited number of pay-what-you-can solidarity tickets for this online class. Preference is given to women, POC, LGBTQ+ and persons from underrepresented communities in tech who would otherwise be unable to attend.

We have added a generous supporter ticket for anyone interested in helping to subsidize the cost of our solidarity tickets. We are greatly appreciative of your support.

about tickets

Tickets for this class are currently available via Eventbrite. If you would like to avoid Eventbrite fees, please email us for direct payment options.

meet the