ARTS 075 Graphic Design I

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Graphic Design I is the first in a series of 5 consecutive courses that are intended to provide the student with opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills in the competencies required for professional practice in the field of graphic design. In addition to skill development, opportunities are also provided to help students develop professional attitudes and practices that are required for success in achieving their career entry objectives.

GD I is intended to provide the foundation for effective and professional processes that are consistently developed  around the general parameters of client need, target audience, design brief and graphic style. Through the use of design principles, students learn to create effective visuals, organize information and communicate particular message to an audience.

While introducing students to main tenets, principles and vocabulary of Graphic Design and laying an aesthetic framework to guide design decisions, the course addresses role of design in facilitating change and civic engagement. Connections to other disciplines occur as students are encouraged to integrate philosophical, historical, sociological, psychological, religious, environmental or phenomenological inquiry in their designs. Basic learning skills, such as writing, speaking, and critical thinking are developed as students form questions or problems within the discipline; conduct research and develop ideas; give ideas concrete form; and publicly present their work for critique, and verification.

This semester, students will explore conceptual development, the full creative design process, project documentation, image generation and applied typography. Students can expect to receive four major projects in addition to a final project during the semester. For their final project, students will respond to a current social issue by developing a design application that informs, educates, challenges norms and encourages change. This can be a poster, brochure, book, web app, game or any other design solution that has a potential to reach its audience and effectively communicate its message.


Social Poster: Tsunami in Japan

Course Objectives/Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course the student should be able  to:

  1. Describe and apply fundamentals of graphic design such as concept development, design process, image generation and typography.
  2. Describe and apply design basics such as form and function, layout, figure and ground, and how to apply them to tasks such as symbol recognition and logo
  3. Analyze and interpret objects visually, and translate any given object, being, idea into a sign, from a literal descriptive representation to abstract graphic
  4. Communicate a concept visually through the use of design elements such as space, typography, pictorials or
  5. Actively engage in civic matters through visual means.
  6. Critique one’s own work as well as that of

The objectives will be achieved by:

  1. Completing projects of increasing complexity
  2. In class & homework exercises
  3. Analysis & critique one’s own work & then apply the skill to the work of others
  4. Readings, lectures & discussion of readings


Graphic Design: The New Basics By Ellen Lupton Princeton Architectural Press, ISBN 1568987706

Further Reading Resources

  • Inside / Outside, From the Basics to the Practice of Design By Malcolm Grear AIGA / New Riders, 0-321-44067-6
  • The Visual Design Primer by Susan G Wheeler and Gary S. Wheeler Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-028070-4
  • Graphic Design: Vision Process, Product by Louis D. Ocepek Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-041883-8


Art Supplies 

  • Sketchbook, 11″ x 14″
  • Design Vellum Pad, 8.5″ x 11″ Drawing pencils: H, 2B, 2H Eraser
  • Black markers, a variety of widths or weights (Micron brand is great) Scissors
  • Container to carry supplies (tackle box, plastic bucket, etc.) Cork back steel ruler for cutting
  • No. 1 Xacto knife: approx. and pack of #11 blades Rubber Cement and Rubber Cement pickup
  • instead of the rubber cement a quality spray mount product may be used such as 3M Super 77 Letramax 100, black professional mounting board (2 sided black) 15×20” 5 sheets
  • Flash drive to store data
  • Laptop computer a plus



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