Doof Doof

Doof Doof is a series of design writing workshops given by Ian Lynam.

“Doof Doof”, if you are unfamiliar, is Australian slang for techno music.

(This workshop had nothing to do with techno music. I just love the sound of that term.)


“Doof Doof” is a vernacular neologism, a localized piece of newly created verbal/visual language that has a specific application. It is a word that was somehow summoned out of the ether to describe something that already had a name.

I love words.


The Doof Doof workshop is largely about overcoming participants’ fear of writing through embracing visual language and examining discursive structure.

The workshop assesses structural approaches to writing, how to flavor writing, and how to enhance writing by including one’s personal perspective. Participants assess their own vulnerabilities, their goals as designers, and learn how to be designers who might craft appealing writing—from business emails to criticism to memoir-oriented prose.


During the workshop, we explore counterpoint, authenticity, ornament, kitsch, advancement theory, interests, and influences, plus a ton more—all using intellectual, emotional, rational, dead serious, and comedic approaches to writing.

(There is also a very silly stretching component.)


The first workshop, held at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) in their MFA in Graphic Design program, spanned eight hours of fun, yet intensive exercises, close readings, and projects that explored the connotative and denotative aspects of writing new design theory. Since then, it has become an integrated part of the curriculum for CalArts’ 2nd year MFA track and different variations of Doof Doof workshops been held at a number of schools and conferences throughout North America and Asia.


Doof Doof is scalable. It includes a hybrid group presentation/workshop component and a very hands-on activation workshop where participants work either with Ian Lynam or with Ian and a group of activation coordinators armed with carefully crafted and honed workshop materials to get ideas out of our heads and on paper, ready to be designed!


If your design program needs help getting students writing, your business is seeking a fun, non-traditional team-building event, or your conference is looking for a unique chunk of programming, get in touch!