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Metaphor and Analogy in Design





Credit Hours


Explores the use of metaphors for increasing communication effectiveness.

Designers cannot afford to communicate poorly: it’s more than a cliché that even great ideas can languish if not communicated well to the people who can convert them from thought to action. This is true when presenting to internal audiences, clients, at interviews, and with teams: great communicators get that way through building an awareness of different modes and components of communication, deliberate choice-making about what to say (or not say), and how to say it (and when), all of which can improve with exposure to methods and with practice. This class will complement Communication in the Planning Process, focusing more on the structural communication aspects of building a compelling story and bringing ideas to life verbally in a compelling way.

Learning Objectives

  • Exposure to a wide variety of relevant communication theories and methods
  • Identifying key communication challenges for designers
  • Practice with communicating messages to internalize methods and build confidence
  • Recognition of conditions that require adaptation to a communication plan and strategies to address them

Learning Outcomes

  • Knowledge of key theories and approaches for constructing narratives
  • Increased ability to make informed communication choices
  • Strategies for adapting communication to different contexts
  • A greater understanding of personal communication strengths and how those might feed an evolving personal communication style

Format & Grading

This class will be a combination of lectures, outside assignments, and in-class exercises. Grades will be awarded 50% on outside assignments and 50% on in-class participation in conversation and exercises. It should go without saying that students should attend every class and complete assignments on time. 

Enrollment Restrictions

No prerequisites. This course is open to all Institute of Design students.