Course Description

Fulfills a course requirement in the Graphic Design Core Concentration. Students produce a publication prototype and companion web site. The strengths and limitations of both print and electronic publication design are studied to create a visual collaboration between both formats. A masthead, contents page, feature spread designs, and home page are among the requirements of the course. Traditional book design including the history of publication design is discussed. Class time is spent in the Macintosh Computer Lab unless otherwise specified.


This course will focus on print publication layout using industry standard software and acceptable techniques used in the industry. Your typography skills, understanding of color and development of layout will be strengthened and built upon. Approaching each project as you would in a studio or in-house setting will be explored. You will be asked to work and complete three projects ranging in different sizes and overall scope throughout the semester. Each project will be independent yet the skill set learned will be improved on and adapted while utilized across all three. Each project will carry a certain amount of research that must be documented through the entire process.

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 : Series of Covers

For this project you will be asked to develop a series of cover designs for a single lifestyle type magazine. The magazine will utilize the exact same content only the image will be swapped out and replaced with minor verbiage. For example, text that would pertain directly to the image. You will have complete control over the design and composition of the cover. In fact, avoiding what is currently used as a template will be encourage.

Project Two : Company Brochure

For this project you will be asked to design a magazine around a parent company that details five of the daughter companies. You will focus on the main brand for the cover and introduction of the magazine as well as the last spread(s) of the book. Each section of the individual companies will be designed using their own specific brand and identify. There are many moving parts of this project that needs to be addressed and worked out. However, you have the freedom of isolating a certain look and feel for each section of the magazine as it pertains to unique brands under one umb.

Project Three : Digital Cookbook

This project will look at the advantages and limitations print and digital publication has to offer. Exploring how a tangible book in a person’s hands and the action of flipping page to page to reveal the instructions and a top quality photo has to offer, to understanding the uniqueness a digital form can bring to a person looking for more information about a particular ingredient. Each comes with a certain advantage the other can not compete with, yet today, one is being replaced. How can we take the best of both, what each brings forward as a unique trait and mold to produce one seamless design that can bridge the best of each and avoid the limitations that both have?


Each project will have specified due dates during the course of the semester. The outline for each project will follow a tight and rigorous schedule with milestones that should not be ignored. These milestones that will be set during the course, should be followed closely. As each aspect of a project relies on one another, falling behind will cause major delays in the implementation of your rationale and solutions. More importantly, not receiving critical feedback and having proper time to digest the criticism, will hinder your ability to improve and further your skills. Throughout this course, you will rely on external criticism and feedback. The subject matter of each piece is intended for people to read and engage with your design. So everyone, anyone, can be of great help to your design. Understanding where to place the importance of often conflicting feedback is crucial and a skill that will strengthen during the course.

Understanding the importance of methods in printing and the software used to develop the end design pieces will be covered in more depth as the semester progresses. Each project that will be designed in class will differ just as each student will have different taste and subjects. Because of this, it will allow for a much diverse range in projects that will at times have different students being pushed in opposite directions as their project demands. Never does a one set of rules govern design, yet, the process and approach often will. Certain rules can be broken and yet some absolutely should not. Learning the limitations in the process will allow for creative solutions as each of you strive to develop a truly unique design.

Each assignment will be developed on screen and accompanied with multiple prototypes. Printing out your designs and seeing how they look off screen is vital. The contrast and quality of images and color along with type readability without the back glow of the screen, can only be perfected with prints. You will be asked to use software you have already used in previous courses and throughout this semester your knowledge will be strengthened.

This class is about problem solving but more importantly understanding your content. Knowing how your design will be interacted with should be a given in the equation. How to deliver it is the main problem. Allow the content to mold your solutions. Do not force an idea that does not go with the content.

Projects will be handed in with specified due dates. We will begin working on the next project straight away. This will ensure ample time during class to on your designs and receive feedback right away. Craftsmanship will be just as important and you will need to take this into account when allocating time and resources. Brand new blades at your disposal, long and sturdy straight edges and of course a large cutting mat will be tools necessary.


Please come to each class prepared to show progress with the current project. Be sure to have continued your work outside of class and arrive with a substantial amount of work to show. Pay attention to the project handout and check the milestones outlined in the time line.

Just as in other design classes and projects, the first solution seldom yields the strongest result. Taking your design off screen and looking at your solutions in the proper environment is important. You will be printing often and your final print will require the appropriate paper stock. Be sure to have multiple printing options to make the most effective choice. Your rationale and executions will evolve over time and you must document this progression. Your layouts should be printed and placed in your sketch book with notes written over your printed pieces. You must keep track of feedback. Not only from classmates and myself but from other people who will provide invaluable insight into your layout solutions. Each project has a different target so finding many different angles of interpretation will be helpful in the development of your overall design piece.

On crit days, do not expect to come in class 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 when time allows, the remainder of class will be spent reflecting and absorbing the criticism. You will decide which feedback will be useful and which will be set aside. Then look at how this feedback and insight can help strengthen your project. These crits are vital to learning how one can articulate reasons for their design choices and re-evaluate those reasons. Please do not miss classes when a crit is scheduled.

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 that passes. No exceptions. You will find that these 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 four to seven hours a week will be spent working on projects outside class. You will gauge rather quickly how much time will be needed outside of class to complete 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.


You will be evaluated in the following areas:
the design and aesthetic appeal of the layouts
the uniqueness of the solution for the project
craftsmanship and finished appeal of the project
research of the project

The projects will require a decent amount of research and dedication to understanding how a person interacts with a variety of publications. Different contents require a different approaches. The content is important as it attracts a unique demographic. This demographic will and should influence your design choices. With that in mind, choose a subject matter that you yourself is familiar with.

Gained Knowledge

The end of the semester you will have an understanding of what goes into producing a magazine and book. You will have developed your layouts using the appropriate software and designed within a set of rules governed by the industry.

Pushing these guidelines and finding unique solutions will have been explored even if ultimately the finished design has been brought back in terms of ambition. Your type treatment and use of color and image within a balanced composition will be strengthened. Your craftsmanship and finishing ability will as well be built up and become stronger.


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

Communication Arts Magazine - 6 issues per year

HOW Magazine - 4 issues per year

Print - 4 issues per year

Layout Workbook by Kristin Cullen
ISBN-10: 1592533523

Color Design Workbook by Adams , Stone and Morioka
ISBN-10: 1592534333

Graphic Design Solutions by Robin Landa
ISBN-10: 0495572810

Designing with Type by James Craig
ISBN-10: 0823014134

Baseline Magazine - 4 issues per year