Course Description

Fulfills a course requirement in the Graphic Design Core Concentration. This special topics course in graphic design focuses on specific areas of design study not regularly offered by the University. The variety of possible topics may include, but is not limited to: Package Design, Design for the Music Industry, Museum Graphics, and Animation. (3 credits) Special offering.


Packaging is part of our daily lives and it is inescapable. From shopping for cereal or milk to buying a new soccer ball to drinking a grande coffee along with anticipation of opening the new Apple product packaging, all are developed with a clear understanding of how it will be interacted with to different degrees.

Packaging design is both visually stimulating as it is functional. In no other field does content and form play such a crucial balance with message. It serves a purpose to grab a consumer’s attention while delivering information across all the while protecting the contents through transport. It must work on multiple levels and each are equally important.

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 : Cookie Cause

Design packaging for any cookie to bring awareness to a specific cause or fundraising. You must develop three unique prototypes that will work with your cookie type.

Project Two : Ink Cartridge

Design a series of four separate ink cartridge boxes that come together as one yet seen separate in it own. The epson box must be designed so the empty cartridge may be placed inside and sent back to manufacturer. A return address incorporated into the design will be explored.

Project Three : Light Bulb

Develop a packaging that sells an energy efficient light bulb that showcases the uniqueness of the bulb look. The interior must protect the light bulb and the person receiving should interact with the packaging.

Project Four : Series of Labels

Develop three labels in a series of three same size bottles/jars that will be placed together into a carrier/holder/box that ties each of the designs together. The exterior box should be developed for display.

Project Five : Open Final Project

Develop packaging for hotel toiletries that includes five items.


In this class, you will work on creating packages that range in their complexities while designing for a brand the product demands. All rationale must make perfect sense as it pertains to each individual package. Think about how a person may first view the piece, how will they interact with it? How will it be displayed? Will the package stand out from its competitors and influence a consumer? Will the contents be safe if dropped from a shelf or even higher? Think about the product to package ratio in cost, will the packaging cost more than the product is even worth and what could be done to even it out?

All of the skills you have acquired thus far will be used in this study. Typography, composition, color, imagery and even the stock used all play important roles in creating a successful package design. You will learn how to measure for existing packaging and develop new graphical elements. You will dissect complex designs and see how they are constructed, where the folds and die cuts are placed. You will see the importance of bleeds and how graphical elements can blend around corners (though hopefully you remember this from the cube assignment). Then you will develop designs solely from scratch around products of your choosing.


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 and how it can help strengthen your project. Class crits are vital to learning how one can articulate their rationale 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. Do not miss classes when a crit is scheduled.

Each project will have a specified due date and 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. On due dates, come to class with the project completed. Printed, scored, folded, pieced together and trimmed. Projects will be handed in at the start of class. Most projects will require time outside of class. Each project will have a tight schedule with milestones to help keep you on track. Please balance your time 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 six to eight 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 project. For example, the printer becomes an integral element of this class. It will without a doubt let you down. Just when you need to print your finished 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. Stack the deck in your favor to overcome any obstacle.

You will be required to have a sketch book [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. 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. Compiling your thoughts and decisions throughout the project will account for 10% of your grade. You will be constructing multiple prototypes and rough drafts of three dimensional components. It is up to you how you will place these into your sketch book with notes. You may deconstruct and lay flat your prototypes or take photos and place the images in your sketch book. You will hand in your sketch book.


For each project you will be evaluated in three areas, the design and aesthetic appeal of each piece, the craftsmanship of the piece (both the printed and execution of the files) and creativeness of the piece as a whole. Simply designing a box will work for certain products but you will be pushed to think outside the box (a terrible pun I know). How does the design itself hold up against the competitor within the same product department. Could the design be more attractive? Could the package 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 your overall portfolio presence. Though I do not grade individual projects against other projects, it is a great way for you to see where your design stands in relation to the other work being produced around you.

During this semester you will be given both projects as well as assignments. Each assignment is generally conducted outside the class that lead into a project. They are worth less than projects but can have an impact on your final grade. If you miss class when a class assignment is assigned, it is your responsibility to have that assignment done for when you return to class.

Gained Knowledge

The end of the semester you will have a clear understanding of how a design will work in a three dimensional form. You will know how to deconstruct a package and replicate it’s size preciously on file. You will also know how to properly create a file that uses correct bleeds and fold marks for a printer.

In the end, you will have five complete and polished pieces for your portfolio. You will have a clear understanding of the impact design has on a consumer and how to connect and gain their attention. You will also walk away with a stronger sense of brand and maintaining the identity of a product through multiple aspects of a design on various size and shaped products. The knowledge will help in other areas of design such as type usage, color treatment, image and compositional layout as well as balance.


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 whatever way I am able to.

Other important details:


You will be required to have a sketch book 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. 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.

Books & Magazines

The Package Design Book 3 by Pentawards and Julius Wiedemann
ISBN-10: 3836553821

Communication Arts Magazine - 6 issues per year

Package Design Workbook by Steven DuPuis
ISBN-10: 1592537081

Packaging Design: Successful Product Branding From Concept to Shelf by Klimchuk and Krasovec
ISBN-10: 111802706X

Baseline Magazine - 4 issues per year

Structural Packaging by Paul Jackson
ISBN-10: 1856697533

HOW Magazine - 4 issues per year

Print - 4 issues per year

Cut and Fold Techniques for Pop-Up Designs by Paul Jackson
ISBN-10: 1780673272