Intro to
Graphic Design

Course Description

Fulfills a course requirement in the Graphic Design Core Concentration Introduces students to fundamental design process and problem-solving skills through the use of graphic design principles & elements. Exposure to both the intellectual and technical challenges of graphic design communication results in a series of introductory level visual solutions. In conjunction with design problems, students are exposed to information about the current design industry including related design technology. Upon completion, all projects are developed to industry standard presentation level with an emphasis on basic craftsmanship skills.

Introduction

This class is designed to give you an overview of graphic design and give you a base knowledge of the software used in this industry. You will learn how to properly use color, type, organization of objects and other elements to best represent the project you are working on. You will be asked to research certain areas prior to working on a project. This will be an important aspect of your learning and understanding of design and how design works. We will use Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign for all the projects developed in the class. You are required to follow each project’s directions as this will prepare you for the next project as well as the next course you will be taking the following semester.

Current Semester Projects

Below are the projects you will be working on this semester. Each project will have an accompanying handout with specific outcome goals and a detailed schedule. As we finalize the project and you submit the design files, each project will be displayed so everyone will have the opportunity to look at what each student had developed. Previous student projects will also be available after the third class. This will allow enough time to help progress your own solutions without having other similar projects influence those decisions.

Project One : Social Issue Poster

In this project, you will be developing a poster design to bring awareness to a social issue of your choosing. The design must capture the essence of this issue through text and imagery that together create a well balanced and eye catching piece. There must be a symbiotic relationship between these two.

Project Two : Logo & Identity

The project is to first develop a type based logo for the company. Type based meaning that the logo will rely heavily on text but the glyphs could morph into a graphical element. The play and deconstruction of a glyph could give a dual reason for existing and provide a unique icon that could work in other designs and begin to strengthen the unique brand.

Project Three : Shirt Infographic

Develop an infographic depicting your entire semester as a t-shirt screen print.

Project Four : Book Cover

Create a book cover for an existing book about any designer, cover, back, spine and interior flaps will be created.

Project Five : Candy Wrapper

Recreate a small candy wrapper or box, deconstruct what exists and produce an updated package that captures that specific candy.

Welcome

You will be required to have a sketch book [no less than 9 x 12] designated solely for this class. Whether you prefer to sketch out your ideas or jot down notes for each project, that is entirely up to you. Every project will show the process from conception to final execution. In this class, simply getting to the end result is not good enough. The process of conceptualizing is as important as the final piece. The first ideas are seldom the best in design and it’s best to have a track record you may view during this process.

Approach

Each project will have a specified due date during the course of the assignment. Depending on the progress of the overall class, a date will be set midway through the project. Some projects will have a loose schedule to help manage the project and help guide your progress. If you happen to miss class on the day a due date is determined, it is your responsibility to contact a classmate or eMail myself in finding out when the project will be due.

Projects will be handed in at the beginning of class. We will begin working on the next project on due dates. You will not be allowed to print your project on the due date during class. *There are many students using this class and the printer. Allow yourself enough time to print your project and time for printer issues. Printer issues will not be an excuse. Projects are due on their date without any exceptions. If you miss a due date, your project will be docked a full letter grade for every class day that passes. All projects may be resubmitted to receive a higher grade. The new grade will wipe out the older grade entirely, with the exception of a late project. Those points can never be retrieved. Projects handed in for regrading must be resubmitted no later than the third class after being graded.

Evaluation

You will be evaluated in three areas, the design and aesthetic appeal of the project itself, the craftsmanship of the finished piece (use a straight edge and new blade, not scissors nor the cutter in the lab) and creativeness of the piece as a whole. Simply throwing color and text onto the canvas and printing on a shinny piece of paper is not what this class is about. Does the design solve the problem identified at the beginning? Have you considered alternate methods of coming to this finalized design? How does the design itself hold up against similar designs around you? Could the design be more attractive? Could the design itself use a unique flare or does it require a subtle and yet minimalist approach. All possible directions should be conceptualized prior to execution and finalizing each design to a degree in which will help strengthen your portfolio.

Gained Knowledge

The end of the semester you will have a clear understanding of how a design will work within a proper context. You will learn to think about the problem at hand first and work out solutions that will solve those questions. An understanding of three major programs used in the field while also seeing how each, though powerful on their own, can work harmoniously to produce top quality results. You will understand the fundamentals of executing a proper file that would be important in real life settings as well as learn to adapt to an environment that brings minor setbacks. In the end, you will have five complete and polished pieces for your portfolio. You will have a clear understanding on the impact design has on everyone. You will also walk away with a stronger sense of organization, color and balance as well as use of type within composition. The knowledge will propel you further into the next design courses you will most likely be taking.

Other important details:

Preparedness

Please come to each class prepared to show your progress with the current project. Be sure to have continued your work outside of class time and arrive with a substantial amount of progress to show.

On crit days, do not expect to come and print out of your work before the crit begins. Class crits will begin immediately so all students have ample time to show their work and receive the critical feedback from fellow classmates. Then if time allows, the remainder of class will be spent reflecting and absorbing the criticism. Deciding which feedback will be useful and which will be set aside then learning how it can help move their project forward. Every project will have a crit and when handed back, displayed for you to see every other project. Class crits are vital to learning how one can articulate their reasons for design choices and evaluate those reasons. It is important for student participation and learn that a critique is not to be taken personally. The crit is important for each project and will count for 10% of your project grade. Please do not miss classes when a crit is scheduled.

On due dates, come to class with the project completed. Printed, scored, folded and trimmed. There will be no printing on due dates. Please consider this when allocating time to projects.

Each project will have a specified due date during the course of the assignment. Depending on the progress of the overall class, a date will be set midway through the project. Some projects will have a loose schedule to help manage the project and help guide your progress. If you happen to miss class on the day a due date is determined, it is your responsibility to contact a classmate or eMail myself in finding out when the project will be due.

Projects are due on their date without any exceptions. If you miss a due date, your project will be docked a full letter grade for every class day that passes. No exceptions. Most projects can be completed within the allocated time but you will find that some projects will require work done outside of class time. Please balance your work and do not fall behind. You may resubmit any project for grading except for a project handed in late. You will have until the last week of classes to resubmit any project.

It is recommended a total of three to four hours a week will be spent working on projects outside class. For projects, you will gauge rather quickly how much time will be needed outside of class to complete them and progress your ideas and concepts. As in many aspects of life, there is not an exact formula for creating a piece or learning a subject matter.

People work at varying speeds and students and professional designer will run into walls that will at times feel exhausting. Allowing enough time to work through these setbacks will ensure you are not running around last minute when projects are due.

This class is about problem solving. Not only design but also dealing with elements that go into preparing a design and completing the design. The printer becomes an integral element of this class. It will without a doubt let you down. Just when you need to print your final project, the paper will jam, the toner will run out and your computer will crash. This will never be a reasonable excuse. Do not wait until the last minute to print your work. Back up your files. PLEASE!

Absenses

You are allowed to miss a maximum of three classes after which your final grade will be affected. The fourth missed class will drop your final grade a half a letter. Every class after will drop your final average a full letter grade. Please see me immediately if an issue arises. Do not let things get out of control and find that you have missed six classes and over your head. I am here to help in any way I can.