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DESIGN 485 A: Design Capstone

We look forward to safely returning to in-person instruction and activities this autumn quarter. Current and prospective students please visit our COVID-19 Updates pages.
Meeting Time: 
MW 8:30am - 11:20am
ART 247
Annabelle Gould
Annabelle Gould

Syllabus Description:


Annabelle Gould
Associate Professor, Visual Communication Design
Office Hours: Th 11:30am–12:30pm / via Google Hangouts
Sign up for a time slot each week here.


C O U R S E   O V E R V I E W  +  G O A L S

Your senior Capstone represents an opportunity for advanced, individualized design research and development. For this class you will develop a unique project based on your own design interests and experiences. Your project should be credible and substantial enough to last the entire quarter. The final piece will appear on the 2020 Design Show website.

You will spend the entire quarter on this project so do something that interests you, not something you think is expected of you. Your capstone can inspire, educate, incite, or humor an audience. Be ambitious but realistic about your goals for the quarter. You are welcome to develop a collaborative project with another senior in VCD, ID or IxD. Capstone classes meet at the same time so that you can collaborate more easily. 

You may approach your capstone project in a variety of ways:
—develop a project that reflects future interests
—expand significantly upon a previous project
—add to an area of your portfolio that you feel is lacking (or explore a medium you haven't used much)
—develop a project that reflects the current times (your personal situation or that of a larger group)
—a grand experiment! 

This quarter is also a time to polish your résumé, website and portfolio materials. You are encouraged to make improvements to selected pieces from your portfolio. This is best done at the start of the quarter, before finalizing your capstone and preparing for the Design 2020 website, your "day on Instagram" and finally, graduation. As a class, we will critique all resumes and websites as the quarter progresses.

We will be virtual this quarter — it's a new experience for everyone. But as I noted earlier, designers thrive under constraints. Look for opportunities rather than dwell on what's not possible. This isn't the path any of us want for you as your undergraduate education nears completion. But we can make the most of a tough situation and put our (virtual) heads together to create some amazing work!



With capstones, portfolio development, the Design 2020 website and social media promotions, and your other school responsibilities, there is much to be accomplished this quarter. You are expected to take responsibility for your own capstone and adhere to a schedule that allows you to accomplish a polished result by the end of the quarter. Part of the evaluation criteria will be your ability to self-manage that process.

As always, this class is an open forum for ideation and discussion. Debate and disagreement are a natural part of critical discourse. Sharing ideas and work in progress will benefit everyone. You should be willing to take risks, experiment formally, and push your work conceptually. 


K E Y  D A T E S

Master Schedule
Subject to change over the quarter

Capstone deadline
Friday June 5

Design 2020 website launches
Thursday June 11
All capstones will be featured on the Design Show website. Additional details will be outlined in the Design Exhibition class.



Capstone project: 60%
Resume/Portfolio website development: 20%
Capstone process/overall participation: 20%

The following criteria is used when determining grades:

3.8–4.0 is given to a student who has exhibited the highest possible performance in all aspects of the course—final projects, the design process and participation are excellent. This student independently seeks out additional information on design and is highly committed/passionate about his/her work.

3.4–3.7 is given to a student who exhibits superior performance in all aspects of the course—the final projects, design process, and participation are uniformly of high quality. This student has a thorough understanding of all concepts presented, and is motivated to improve and succeed.

2.9–3.3 is given to a student who has good performance in most aspects of the course. This student follows a thorough design process, has good design work, and consistent participation that reflects a clear understanding of almost all concepts being presented.

2.5–2.8 is given to a student who has fair performance in the course. The final work is adequate, with a design process that reflects the minimum needed to complete assignments. Participation and motivation are moderate.

0.0–2.4 is given to a student with poor performance in the course. Projects are incorrectly prepared, incomplete or missing. This student does not understand the majority of concepts presented and rarely participates in class. 


L A P T O P S / F I L E   S T O R A G E

It is strongly recommended that you back up all work on a weekly basis. You should also make a habit of saving process work (rather than saving over each version as you go). Use a jump drive, buy a portable hard drive, subscribe to a backup service (Crash Plan), use UW server space or iCloud. Make sure that you regularly run any necessary system updates on your laptop to prevent failures and crashes.



Plagiarism is defined as using in your own work the creations, ideas, words, inventions, or work of someone else without formally acknowledging them through the use of quotation marks, footnotes, bibliography, or other reference. Please check with me if you have questions about what constitutes plagiarism. Instances of plagiarism will be referred to the Vice Provost/Special Assistant to the President for Student Relations and may lead to disciplinary action.



UW Disability Resources for Students ( offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. If you have already established accommodations with DRS, please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary or permanent disability that requires accommodations (this can include but is not limited to: mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS via phone at 206–543–8924, email at or online at When you contact the DRS office, their staff will work to establish reasonable accommodations for you through an interactive process between me, you and their office.


V I O L E N C E  A W A R E N E S S  +  P R E V E N T I O N

• Preventing violence is everyone’s responsibility. If you’re concerned, tell someone.
• Always call 911 if you or others may be in danger.
• Call 206–685–SAFE (7233) to report non-urgent threats of violence and for referrals to UW counseling and/or safety resources.
• TTY or VP callers, please call through your preferred relay service.
• Don’t walk alone. Campus safety guards can walk with you on campus after dark. Call Husky NightWalk 206–685–WALK (9255).
• Stay connected in an emergency with UW Alert.
• Register your mobile number to receive instant notification of campus emergencies via text and voice messaging.
• Sign up online at For more information visit the SafeCampus website at

Catalog Description: 
For all senior undergraduate design majors. Offered spring of senior year, ID, VCd, and IxD majors frame and develop a project based on broad themes chosen by faculty. Projects may be individual or collaborative Cross-disciplinary projects are strongly encouraged.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
March 30, 2020 - 9:11pm