Graphic Production Syllabus

Work In Progress Graphic Novel

• ARTS 103 Production Syllabus 2020





University Course Catalog Description

This course examines methods and procedures of efficient production practices including typographic issues, image adjustment, digital file format preparation and related technologies for the graphic design student. Lab fees apply. Prerequisites: ARTS 077 and ARTS 091or instructor permission.

Course Prerequisites

Arts 077 (Graphic Design II), Arts 091 (Print Media Graphics), or Instructor Permission.

Course Overview/Teaching methodology 

Graphic Production introduces the student to the methods of technical production associated with graphic design. The student’s experience will include lectures, slides, videos, assigned reading, writing and discussion of the diversity of images and styles of design as influenced by various forms of graphic production. We will also see how changing technology affects the style and look of graphic design projects and concepts.

Graphic Design Production is meant to enhance the education of the student majoring in Graphic Design by providing an awareness of practical, technical and professional practices. Specific topics in typography, image preparation, electronic file management and formatting, paper and alternative printing substrates, color management, and the major commercial printing techniques will be presented from the perspective of their individual and collective affects on the look of graphic design applications. Contemporary production issues will be explored relating to preparation of work for print. The focus of all studio projects will be on efficient production practices as related to the profession of graphic design. We will also take several field trips to various local production houses (print, labels, & packaging).
The final studio project will be the production of a magazine with the class functioning as a design/production team.

Course Objectives:

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the correct steps in seamless preparation of design work for traditional pre-press re-production printing.
  2. Demonstrate the use of a working vocabulary for communication with pre-press and other production professionals.
  3. Experience first-hand a variety of production situations.
  4. Demonstrate the correct use of design tools for production
  5. Actively participate in individual and group projects meant to address design issues from the production point of view.
  6. Demonstrate the roles of design-related tools and technology in the creation, reproduction, and distribution of visual messages. Relevant tools and technologies include, but are not limited to, drawing, offset printing, photography, and time-based and interactive media (film, video, computer multimedia).

The objectives will be achieved/measured by:

  1. Completing projects of increasing complexity following requirements stated in specific design briefs for each assignment.
  2. Successful completion of and participation with in-class & homework exercises.
  3. Verbal and written analysis & critique one’s own and classmates work.
  4. Participation in discussion of readings, lectures.
  5. Portfolio of work demonstrating individual student application of class learning objectives and assignment requirements.


The undergraduate degree in graphic design is intended to prepare you, the student, specifically in the common body of knowledge and skills required for entry as a professional graphic designer. You should additionally possess the education necessary to move toward management and/or leadership positions within the field and also be ready for advanced graduate study in the field of graphic design.

Students will submit digital versions of projects completed during this course at the conclusion of the semester to assess how the learning objectives of the course are being met.


X   Critical Thinking   X   Written Communication

X   Oral Communication   X   Information Literacy

Core Competencies and Program Learning Objectives Class Project Fulfilling Learning Objective/Competencies


Demonstrate the correct steps in seamless preparation of design work for traditional pre-press re-production printing.

In class participation

2nd & 3rd Projects

Tests & Quizzes




Demonstrate the use of a working vocabulary for communication with pre-press and other production professionals.

1st Project

In class participation




Experience first-hand a variety of production situations.

Field Trips

In class participation




Demonstrate the correct use of design tools for production

In class participation

Final Projects

Tests & Quizzes



Demonstrate the roles of design-related tools and technology in the creation, reproduction, and distribution of visual messages. Relevant tools and technologies include, but are not limited to, drawing, offset printing, photography, and time-based and interactive media (film, video, computer multimedia).

2nd & 3rd Projects

Tests & Quizzes


Tentative Class Exercises and Projects

Learning Resources

At this stage in your education it is highly recommended that you own your own computer, applicable software and printer. For this course you will be using Adobe Creative Suite: InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. The facilities here on campus are to augment your needs and help educate you on the implementation of typographic standards especially in the use of InDesign. If you do not own these programs, I suggest you purchase them for your own system.

Supplemental reading materials will be assigned and provided as needed. Discussion will follow these readings to clarify, pose questions and ensure understanding for the material, which relate to the discussion of production. A written response to the material may frequently be a part of the reading assignment. One mid-term, one final exam, and several quizzes will be conducted on reading material and other materials from class.

Assignments & reading materials will be provided in class and available online:

Materials needed: (You probably already own these, if not, please purchase now):

1. Small (pocket-size, 5 x 7 or smaller) notebook of any style – minimum 150 pages.

2. Cork back steel ruler for cutting: approx. $8.75

3. No. 1 Xacto knife: approx. $4.50 and pack of #11 blades: approx. $2.20

4. Quality spray mount product such as 3M Super 77: approx. $14.40

(Rubber Cement may be used instead: approx. $4.85, Rubber Cement pickup: approx. $1.55 &
Rubber Cement Thinner (16 oz): approx. $8.00)

5. Sketchbook or quality loose leaf paper for process work

Optional materials:

  1. Thumb/Flash drive or portable hard drive
  2. Large format Epson coated paper (Some paper will be available, but you may want to invest in your own paper if you want a specific size or weight or to allow for printing errors.)

Additional Reading Resources:

Real World Print Production with Adobe Creative Cloud (Paperback) by Claudia McCue
Peachpit Press (December 31, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0321970322, ISBN-13: 978-0321970329

Lab Fee – There will be a lab fee of $60 to cover maintenance, printing costs, & upkeep of computer facilities. There will be no refund of this fee if the course is dropped after the drop deadline, third week of the semester.

Behavioral Expectations

Email: Email is the preferred communication tool. Please check your university email regularly since I may send out important announcements pertaining to the class. When emailing me, please follow standard email conventions including addressing me & signing your communications. I check my email regularly & will try answer your questions within one day (with the exception of weekends or holidays.) For urgent matters, please call or text – 209-304-0279.

Laptop Usage: You are encouraged to bring your own laptop & use it in class. Although it is possible to use different computer platforms, the Apple Macintosh is the industry standard used in the majority of professional design fields & is the platform used in the Visual Arts Department. All programs in the computer labs are licensed for the machines in the labs only. Students are prohibited from copying programs from the computers in the lab for their personal use. It is not only a violation of University policy; it is a violation of the law.

Cell Phone Usage: Per university policy & classroom etiquette; mobile phones, iPods, etc. must be silenced during all classroom & lab lectures. Those not heeding this rule will be asked to leave the classroom/lab immediately so as to not disrupt the learning environment.

Course Policies/Student Expectations

Student Requirements & Responsibilities:

  • A minimum of six studio hours in class & three hours outside of class per week.
  • Three-ring binder notebook for lectures, sketches, & for assignment sheets & critiques. This notebook should be brought class & utilized for recording lectures & demonstrations, as well as drawings & sketches.
  • Active participation in all phases of the course, attendance, lecture / demonstrations / critiques
  • Materials described in the attached materials list.
  • Meeting assignment deadlines
  • A concern for the highest level of craftsmanship
  • Projects for this course will be assigned similar to the way that professional designers receive “design briefs” detailing the specific requirements for a project. The student will then be expected to document their creative process, which they follow in developing individual design solutions. Successive projects will be assigned for the class, and modified or customized to a certain degree based on the overall understanding of previous assignments.

Expectations & Work Load: The basic structure of this course will revolve around assigned studio problems. There will be time given to lecture & class discussion, practical tutorials, exercises, & assignments. A significant amount of time will be also spent in critique of student work.

It is very important that all students engage themselves in a discourse of the work at hand. In turn I will give each of you conscientious feedback on as much of your work as is possible. All students should be prepared to spend a significant amount of time outside of class time for research, process & final production of assigned projects.

Students are expected to think creatively & critically as well as participate thoughtfully in class. As a good portion of this class is based in critique of student work, it is expected that all students will participate in this dialogue so that we may all benefit from the feedback. All comments are expected to be constructive & honest. It is the group dynamic that will inform & educate our individual projects. Be open to the critique process, as your lack of participation will impact your final grade.

Class Preparation: Students are expected to arrive to class on time & be prepared for work with the requested supplies/materials/assignments. Class preparation is essential to receiving feedback on one’s work. Lack of preparation on a continual basis will affect your final grade. If you happen to miss a class or lecture, please make arrangements with a fellow student who can either take notes for you &/or get the required handouts, etc. While I will be happy to clarify information for students who are confused, I cannot repeat lectures or elaborate project descriptions on an individual basis.

Controversial Content: Since a portion of the course will include studying art/design throughout history, there may be times when some of this art may have nudity in it. If you feel uncomfortable with this, please let me know & we can make accommodations.

Evaluation Methodology/Grading

Final grades will be calculated based on the following:

Project #1: Passport to Pre-press (150 points)

Project #2: Printing Techniques Brochure (100 points)

Project #3: 3D Printing Techniques Box (100 points)

Project #4: Group Project – Paper Book (100 points)

Project #5: Class Project – Magazine (100 points)

Mid-Term Exam: (100 points)

Final Exam: (200 points)

Field Trips, Quizzes & In Class Lab Assignments: (150-200 points)

Various extra credit assignments may be made available during the semester.

I reserve the right to adjust the projects and percentages as I see fit for the students’ learning benefit.

Below is university policy followed when administering letter grades on projects, papers, & other tasks that do not utilize a point or percentage system.

A: Exceptional, means objectives of the assignment are fully understood as applied to the particular assignment & an intriguing balance exists between clear communication of the message & creativity. The assignment is executed with impeccable craftsmanship, accuracy, & neatness & exists as part of the complete design development of thumbnail, rough, & finished comp; a quality piece of work.

B: High, objectives are met & design principles are primarily well understood. May be lacking in overall quality, craftsmanship, clarity, or design development; good overall effort.

C: Average, the minimum requirements of the assignment have been met but not exceeded. Extra effort & insight into development of the basic assignment are necessary to produce higher quality work.

D: Below average, there exist problems in completely understanding the concept or objectives of an assignment. Incompleteness in several areas of craftsmanship, design, creativity, clarity, or development is also apparent; see instructor.

F: Unacceptable, please do assignment over. See instructor immediately for further clarification.

Copies of student work may be retained to assess how the learning objectives of the course are being met.

Areas of Evaluation: Professionalism, Process & Realization: 

Project grades are the result of three areas of evaluation: Professionalism, Process & Realization. At any time during the semester, you may meet with the instructor for evaluations of current grades or dissatisfactions with a grade that you received on any project & how it may be improved upon.

Professionalism: Your grade in the area of professionalism will focus on issues of attendance, preparation, deadlines, critique participation, personal attitude & articulation – the ability to speak & write clearly about ideas/concepts presented in class. Projects for this course will be assigned similar to the way that professional designers receive “design briefs” detailing the specific requirements for a project. The student will then be expected to document the creative process, which they follow in developing individual design solutions. Successive projects will be assigned for the class, & modified or customized to a certain degree based on the overall understanding of previous assignments.

Process: Faculty rely on classroom observation in evaluating a student’s process in developing a project. It will focus generally on how thoroughly the student pushes visual exploration & concept research through such processes as sketching/thumbnails & creative/thoughtful writing. Students who attend class, make visible their process investigations & are prepared for the scheduled activities/discussions, reveal valuable information about their performance. In the absence of such information, faculty must resort to an unsatisfactory rating in evaluating the student’s process. When handing in an assignment, you may be required to include photocopies of relevant pages from the journal & other process materials in addition to the actual assignment.

Realization: The final evaluation of work (realization) involves more than totaling the grades on individual projects &/or determining that all assignments have been completed. Faculty assess student’s abilities in realizing concepts & controlling the visual elements of communication throughout the semester. This includes such issues as craftsmanship & the improvement & progressive mastery of increasingly complex material are evaluated.

Course Policies:

Late Work Policy: All projects & exercises are due on the day & time given, always at the beginning of class unless otherwise noted. A late accommodation is given only with the understanding that emergencies & unforeseen circumstances occasionally arise. A late project must be turned in by the following class & will be marked down one letter grade accordingly. A later submission will not be accepted. Missing a scheduled critique or presentation will result in an “F” for that project. If you are sick the day a project is due, you MUST bring a doctor’s note when returning to class.

Grades of “Incomplete”: The current university policy concerning incomplete grades will be followed in this course. Incomplete grades are given only in situations where unexpected emergencies prevent a student from completing the course & the remaining work can be completed the next semester. Your instructor is the final authority on whether you qualify for an incomplete. Incomplete work must be finished by the end of the subsequent semester or the “I” will automatically be recorded as an “F” on your transcript.

Group Work Policy: Everyone must take part in a group project. All members of a group will receive the same score; that is, the project is assessed & everyone receives this score. However, that number is only 90% of your grade for this project. The final 10% is individual, & refers to your teamwork. Every person in the group will provide the instructor with a suggested grade for every other member of the group, & the instructor will assign a grade that is informed by those suggestions. Once formed, groups cannot be altered or switched, except for reasons of extended hospitalization.

Attendance Policy: No more than three absences are allowed per semester. Students are required to make prior arrangements with the instructor whenever possible. Students are expected to be on time & to participate for the duration of the class. The student’s grade will be negatively affected & lowered one full grade point for each absence exceeding the three allowed. So, for example, if you were to earn a B+ & had four absences, your final grade will be C+.

Students should be informed that the allotted absences are to accommodate routine illness, weddings, transportation troubles, etc. Doctor appointments, advisor conferences, trips to supply stores & labs, employment, etc. should not be scheduled to conflict with class. Religious Observances cited in the handbook will be followed.

Tardiness is defined as being fifteen minutes late for class or departing before class has been formally dismissed by the teacher. Three tardies will be counted as one absence. Tardiness that exceeds one hour will be counted as an absence. Each student is responsible for his/her own recorded attendance. If you are late it is your responsibility after that class period to make sure the teacher has you added to the roll.

Open Studio Hours Policy:

Studio Hours are: M, T, W, TR 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. (except those studios holding evening classes).

F 8:00 to 6:00 p.m.  Sat & Sun 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Plan your schedule so that you will be able to complete your assignments during these hours. If you have exhausted these times & need additional time to finish projects or have extenuating circumstances that keep you from finishing during these scheduled hours you must receive written permission to stay in the studio beyond the normal hours. You must obtain this permission by 5:00 p.m. on the day in question. This written permission will allow you to work until midnight only. No students will be allowed in the building after 12:00 midnight.


Honor Code: 

The Honor Code at the University of the Pacific calls upon each student to exhibit a high degree of maturity, responsibility, and personal integrity. Students are expected to:

• act honestly in all matters

• actively encourage academic integrity

• discourage any form of cheating or dishonesty by others

• inform the instructor and appropriate university administrator if she or he has a reasonable and good faith belief and substantial evidence that a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy has occurred.

Violations will be referred to and investigated by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. If a student is found responsible, it will be documented as part of her or his permanent academic record. A student may receive a range of penalties, including failure of an assignment, failure of the course, suspension, or dismissal from the University. The Academic Honesty Policy is located in Tiger Lore and online at

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: 

If you are a student with a disability who requires accommodations, please contact the Director of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) for information on how to obtain an Accommodations Request Letter.

3-Step Accommodation Process

1. Student meets with the SSD Director and provides documentation and completes registration forms.

2. Student requests accommodation(s) each semester by completing the Request for Accommodations Form.

3. Student arranges to meet with his/her professors to discuss the accommodation(s) and to sign the Accommodation Request Letter

To ensure timeliness of services, it is preferable that you obtain the accommodation letter(s) from the Office of SSD as early as possible in each term. After the instructor receives the accommodation letter, please schedule a meeting with the instructor during office hours or some other mutually convenient time to arrange the accommodation(s).

The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities is located in the McCaffrey Center, Rm. 137. Phone: 209-946-3221. Email: Online:

University Writing Center:  The University Writing Center is a free resource for student, where a trained writing consultant will work individually with you on anything you are writing (in or out of class), at any point in the writing process from brainstorming to editing.

Important Dates to Remember:

Last Day to Add/Drop Classes:  January 26, 2018

Withdrawal Deadline:  March 29, 2018

Spring Break:  Monday, March 12—Friday, March 16, 2018

Please retain a copy of your syllabus. It is not only an outline of the course it represents a contract between you, the instructor & the University.Graphic Production Course Calendar – Spring 2018

This is a tentative outline of course assignments and a rough description of lecture topics. Three Field Trips will be scheduled based on student availability. Dates and assignments are subject to change based on field trip schedule & class need. Quizzes on reading materials are not listed. 

Week 1: Intro to Printing, Prepress & Color

Monday Jan. 15

Holiday – No Class

Wednesday Jan. 17

  • Class Intro, Syllabus and Course Expectations
  • Lecture: What is Production? File Management, History of Pre-press
  • Introduce Project #1: Passport to Pre-press
  • Homework: Get Journal & Supplies

Week 2: Printing & Color

Monday Jan. 22

  • Lecture: Printing Methods
  • Homework: Watch Printing Videos
  • Supplemental Handout: Printing Basics

Wednesday Jan. 24

  • Lecture: Printing – Understanding Screens and Color
  • Lab Assignment #1: Printing & Color Workshop
  • Introduce Project #2 Printing Techniques Brochure

Week 3: Printing & Finishing Techniques

Monday Jan. 29

  • **Project #1: Passport to Pre-press–Turn in for 1st Review
  • Review Lab Assignment #1
  • Lecture: Making Separations
  • Lab Assignment #2: Making CMYK Separations, Part 1
  • Review brochure sketches in class

Wednesday Jan. 31

  • Lecture: Binding & Finishing
  • Lab Assignment #3: Studio Techniques.
    Bring to class: x-acto, glue, rulers, scissors.
  • Studio Work Time: Make Brochure Mock-up & Individual Reviews

Week 4: Printing & Finishing Techniques, continued

Monday Feb. 5

  • Lecture: Proper use of Epson Lab Printers
  • Lecture: “Bad” Typography!
  • Lab Assignment #4: Bad Typography & #5: Color Matching

Wednesday Feb. 7

  • Studio Work Day & Individual Reviews of Project #2
  • Rough Draft Brochure Due

Week 5: Raster vs Vector Files
Monday Feb. 12

  • **Project #2: Print Techniques Due – In Class Presentations & Critique
  • Lecture: Raster File Types
  • Lab Assignment #6: Raster Files

Wednesday Feb. 14

  • Lecture: Packaging, Dielines & 3D Thinking
  • Introduce Project #3: Printing Techniques 3D Box

Week 6:

Monday Feb. 19

Holiday – No Class

Wednesday Feb. 21

  • Field Trip to G3 Enterprises–Label Division. Modesto, CA 12pm – 5pm

Week 7: Raster Files, continued.

Monday Feb. 26

  • Lecture: Scanning and Resizing Raster Files
  • Lab Assignment #7: Sizing Images
  • Individual Reviews of Project #3

Wednesday Feb. 28

  • Rough Draft Box / Full Size Mock up Due
  • Studio Work Day & Individual Reviews of Project #3
  • Lab Assignment #5: Shortcuts

Week 8: Review

Monday Mar. 5

  • **Project #3: 3D Box Due – In Class Presentations & Critique

Wednesday Mar. 7

  • **Project #1: Passport to Pre-press–Turn in for 2nd Review

Week 9: SPRING BREAK   March 12 – 16

Week 10: Paper!

Monday Mar. 19

  • Lecture: Paper
  • Lab Assignment #8: Understanding and Using Paper Swatchbooks
  • Supplemental Handout: Paper Basics

Wednesday Mar. 21

  • Lecture: Spec’ing a Print Job, Understanding Spec Sheets
  • Introduce Project #4: Group Paper Booklet
  • Studio Work Day: Project #4

Week 11: Fonts & Production Tools

Monday Mar. 26

  • Lecture: Font Type
  • Lecture: InDesign Production Tools
  • Lab Assignment #9: Font Type Presentations

Wednesday Mar. 28

  • Field Trip to Parks Printing. Modesto, CA 12pm – 5pm

Week 12: Production Tools Continued

Monday Apr. 2

  • Lecture: Photoshop Production Tools:
  • Lab Assignment #10: Photoshop Tools

Wednesday Apr. 4

  • Lecture: Illustrator Production Tools:
  • Lab Assignment #11: Illustrator Tools

Week 13:

Monday Apr. 9

  • **Project #4: Paper Book Due – In Class Presentations & Critique
  • Introduce Project #5: Class Magazine
  • Homework: Design Magazine layouts
  • Lecture: InDesign Production Tools: Style Sheets, Master Pages,
    Data Merge

Wednesday Apr. 11

  • Lecture: Putting it all together: File Checklists, Pre-flight & Press Checks
  • Lab Assignment #12: Creating your own File Checklist

Week 14: Envelopes

Monday Apr. 16

  • Lecture: Envelopes
  • Lab Assignment #13: Envelopes
  • Supplemental Handout: Envelope Basics

Wednesday Apr. 18

  • Field Trip to Pacific Southwest Container. Modesto, CA 12pm – 5pm

Week 15:

Monday Apr. 23

  • Lecture: PDF Saving Options, Installing & Using Pre-Sets
  • Lab Assignment #14: PDF Pre-Sets

Wednesday Apr. 25

  • Studio Work Day – Class Magazine

Week 16:

Monday Apr.30


Wednesday May 2

  • University Wide Study Day – No Class

Wednesday May 7: Final Exam Period

  • **Project #5: Class Magazine Due – In Class Presentations & Critique

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