Graphic Production syllabus

Work In Progress Graphic Novel

• ARTS 103 Production syllabus-2017

• ARTS 103 Production course-calendar-updated


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 

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, paper, packaging). The final studio project will be the production of a magazine and accompanying interactive component with the class functioning as a design/production team.

Course Objectives/Learning Outcomes Include:

  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.

Students will submit a comprehensive CD containing all projects completed during this course at the conclusion of the semester to assess how the learning objectives of the course are being met.

Required Texts & Learning Materials

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 this program, I suggest you purchase it for your own system.

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

Readings from required texts and supplemental materials will be assigned. 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.

Items you should already own… but if you don’t, purchase them now. 

CDs for archiving and transferring data from home to school

Thumb or Flash media drive

Cork back steel ruler for cutting: approx. $8.75

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

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

Instead of the rubber cement a quality spray mount product may be used such as 3M Super 77: approx. $14.40

Sketchbook or quality loose leaf paper for process work: approx. $11.00

Letramax 100, black professional mounting board (solid-core black) 15”x 20”: approx. $1.85/sheet

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.


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.

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.

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.

Technology & Media

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.)

Laptop Usage: You are welcome 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.

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 University Honor Code is an essential element in academic integrity. It is a violation of the Honor Code to give or receive information from another student during an examination; to use unauthorized sources during an examination; or to submit all or part of someone else’s work or ideas as one’s own. If a student violates the Honor Code, the faculty member may refer the matter to the Office of Student Life. If found guilty, the student may be penalized with failure of the assignment or failure of the course. The student may also be reprimanded or suspended from the University. A complete statement of the Honor Code may be found in the Student Handbook, Tiger Lore. Section 1.1 – 1.3

A violation of the principle includes, but is not limited to: Plagiarism: Intentionally or knowingly presenting the work of another as one’s own (i.e., without proper acknowledgment of the source). The sole exception to the requirement of acknowledging sources is when the ideas, information, etc., is common knowledge. Artists & designers occasionally  work from photographs or other imagery. This is allowed & is sometimes necessary, however the artist’s intent must be clear that the new work was not made to merely duplicate someone else’s artwork in another medium or form & claim it

as one’s own.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you are a student with a disability, who requires accommodations, please contact Mr. Daniel Nuss, Coordinator of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities in Bannister Hall, room 101, for information on how to obtain an Accommodation Request Letter. Contact: or (209) 946-2879. Then please schedule a meeting with me during office hours or some mutually convenient time to arrange the accommodation(s). These services may include, but are not limited to, extended time for completing exams, alternative testing procedures, note takers, & transportation to & from classes. The Policy Manual can be found at:

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 27, 2017

Withdrawal Deadline:March 30, 2017

Spring Break:Monday, March 13—Friday, March 17, 2017

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.

You will each need to turn in to me a CD, which contains the final PDF versions of all of your assignments from this semester. You must save the files in the manner described below and label them exactly as described below.

  • If you have final designs that are that are scans, JPEG, PSD or other forms of bitmapped design you must first convert the files to RGB and 100 dpi and do a new “Save As” or “Export” to create the PDF. (this specific process may or may not have been an actual assignment in this class, so if you are confused by this in any way please ask for clarification)
  • For digital files that are Adobe Illustrator or other forms of vector design, simply do a new “Save As” or “Export” as a PDF file.
  • For multiple images, or parts (for example a series or design campaign) from the same project. Import your separate files into Acrobat after first saving them as described above. In Acrobat create a multi-page PDF containing all files or pages that belong to the same project. (These are the files that belong to the final presentation of the project only. You do not need to burn copies of developmental files, thumbnails, alternate versions, etc.)
  • Name your files using the following convention:

Your last name, project name, date. (deboer, menu, 4/20/11)

  • Burn all files to a CD.
  • Name the CD using the following naming convention:
  • Your last name, class, date. (deboer, typography, 4/20/11)
  • Put the CD in an envelope or CD sleeve/case

Please return any borrowed books, magazines or other materials, tools, etc. that you may have borrowed from me during the semester.

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