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Complex Problems Workshop
As part of our work for Studio Class in the Fall of 2018, Master of Graphic Design students at NCSU were challenged to introduce teoretical work to the rest of the class in the form of workshops. My group was formed by me, Matthew Maharaj and Alysa Buchanan. The American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA) article assigned to us was Trend 1: Complex Problems


We landed on an approach which would immerse workshop participants into a complex problem while placing them on teams with conflicting goals.We took inspiration from role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, murder mystery dinners, and improvisational theatre.

We considered situating the workshop in a real world problem, such as global warming. However, we worried that teams would approach the workshop with preconceived ideas on how they might realistically solve the problem and forget about the fun, so instead, we chose to present participants with an outlandish, off the wall, and (hopefully) an event which would never happen – an alien invasion!



After explaining the rules of the workshop and dividing our classmates in six different teams (above explained), the clock started ticking! Teams were allowed to talk to each other if desired, but we did not force any interaction. As demonstrated in the AIGA article, defending Earth against an alien invasion would only be successful if teams worked together for the common good.

We decided to split the workshop into three planning stages separated by three events. These events were pre-established or additional story elements decided by the workshop coordinators depending on what was occurring amongst the teams. By doing that, we wanted to bring another important characteristic ntroduced by the article: Planning ahead and adapting solutions to last-minute occurrences. At the start of each round, the Journey Designer was tasked with working within a given Adobe Illustrator file. As the workshop progressed, the designer would “stack” the previous shape on to the new file. What teams did not know is that all of their individual shapes would come together to form a larger heptagon.​​​​​​​


At the end of the workshop, my group met privately with each participating team to gather all their information. The final story outcome was then decided and communicated publicly. Read it below!

Complex Problems Workshop
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Complex Problems Workshop

One-day design workshop experience created by me, Alysa Buchanan and Matthew Maharaj as part of our Studio class at NC State for the course Maste Read More
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