History of Graphic Design (Thinking) syllabus










ARTH 101/01

History of Graphic Design (Thinking)


College of the Pacific

Department of Art and Graphic Design


Instructor: Professor Brett DeBoer Term: Fall /2017
Office Room: Jeannette Powell Arts Center, rm. 112 Class Meeting Days: MW
Phone: 209.946.3097  




E-Mail: bdeboer@pacific.edu Class Location: ARTCEN 209


https://pacificgraphicdesign.wordpress.com/ Dates:


Aug 28–Dec 15
Office Hours: M–F, 9:00–10:00 by appointment  


University Course Catalog Description

A survey of visual communication introduced by formal analysis of major works of design within the context of their time and influence on later works. This course highlights significant events in communication and design thinking from 1450 to the present with particular emphasis on the past century of design.


Course Prerequisites



Course Overview

Alchemy is based on the inexplicable and mysterious. It is defined as the ancient science that attempts to turn base metals into gold. Simply, it is the power to transform something common into something special. Design Thinking will introduce the student to the inexplicable and sometimes, mysterious history of design innovation through a survey of 5 select (golden) time periods highlighting design thinking and their impact on the wider world.


“We should note the force, effect, and the consequences of inventions, which are nowhere more conspicuous than those three unknown to the ancients: printing, gunpowder, and the compass. For these have changed the appearance, and the state of the whole world.”—Francis Bacon.


The continued evolution of design, built on innovation, exemplifies the far-reaching effects of design thinking. Exploring the interconnectedness between such moments of inspiration and the context in which it became a reality will have the greatest impact on the student’s class experience. Design works will be analyzed formally with reference to their particular cultural, technological, social, political and religious contexts—the Zeitgeist—of the time. We will see how designers have practiced the art of visual communication by manipulating the tools of art to influence and inform a specific audience. It will include lectures, and videos, assigned reading, writing, discussion and studio projects exploring a select survey of the diversity of design.


“Design is always changing. It continually transforms how we engage with each other and our world in new and exciting ways. New processes, strategies and technologies are invented. Historical precedents are reevaluated and critiqued. Innovative storytelling and narrative techniques are formed. Who are those driving this constant process of change? Designers, educators, curators, and authors are among those who are actively reshaping the creative process, directing currents in contemporary culture, and redefining the meaning of design.”—AIGA, Chicago


Design Thinking is meant to provide an awareness of style, a close scrutiny of exemplary work, and an appreciation of the long tradition of visual communication. Students will apply design thinking methodology as a technique to analyze examples of historical design. Students will gain a perspective on human development as represented by examples of visual communication presented within the wider contexts of changing technologies, expanding geographical regions, and cultural vernacular. All will develop an ability to critically analyze visual material and cultivate informed judgments about their meaning. A major theme which will direct the student’s study in the second half of the course will be to identify examples of major paradigm shifts in design thinking which, because of their importance had an impact on, or was a leader in, thinking in other areas beyond the world of design.


This is a challenging class, which requires thinking, reading, talking, research, design, work and fun—involvement—Design Thinking, please be prepared!


Course Objectives/Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Students will have the opportunity to develop a working design vocabulary.
  2. Students will have the opportunity to develop a broad understanding of world history.
  3. Students will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of the relationship between visual communication and the other areas of human development
  4. Students will have the opportunity to develop critical thinking and the ability to analysis design.


The objectives will be achieved by:

  1. Assigned readings from required text
  2. Application of Design Thinking Methodology
  3. Successful submission of comparative study papers.
  4. Presentation to the class select topics from chapter readings supported by supplemental research
  5. Class Discussion
  6. Quizzes and final exam.


Design Thinking Methodology is the application of a specific form of inquiry. Its purpose is to analyze products or styles of design according to an understanding of relevant contextual information. Conclusions can then be formed about the impact those design products have had on the design community as well as the wider world in which we all live.

Required Texts & Learning Materials



  • Assigned readings from the Design Thinking (History of Graphic Design) course tab found on the wordpress.com website


Readings from required texts & supplemental materials will be assigned. Discussion will follow to clarify, pose questions & ensure understanding for the material, which relate to the discussion of typography. A written response to the material may frequently be a part of the reading assignment. One exam will cover readings & other materials from class.


Further Reading Sources


  • Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations that Accelerate Change, by Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1-4516-9762-9


  • Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide By Johanna Drucker & Emily McVarish

Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-241075-3
Typography and Graphic Design: From Antiquity to the Present By Roxane Jubert

Flammarion Press, ISBN 10-208030523-9


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

Thumb/Flash media drive or external hard drive


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. This course will require the student to participate in discussion of reading assignments, write critical analysis papers and successfully complete chapter quizzes, midterm and final tests.


         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.


         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. Once formed, groups cannot be altered or switched, except for reasons of extended hospitalization.


Important Dates to Remember

Important dates to remember

             Last Day to Add/Drop Classes:       Fri, September 8, 2017

                               Withdrawal Deadline:       Fri, October 30, 2017

                                                       Fall Break:       Fri, October 6. 2017

                                   Thanksgiving Break:       November 22–24, 2017

                                                     Classes end:       Fri, December 8, 2017

                                                     Finals Week       Mon–Fri, December 11–15, 2017

                                              Final Critique:       Monday, December 11, 2017

Attendance is mandatory for the final presentation of projects & critique.

Attendance is mandatory for the final presentation of projects & critique.


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.


Technology & Media

Lab Computer Login: Use InsidePacific user names and passwords. If you receive a keychain error, it’s because you changed your InsidePacific password, and the keychain needs to be updated. Type in your previous InsidePacific password and it will update, and will stop the error message.


PacificPrint: Printing in the main Computer Lab is to the PacificPrint printer. Use your insidePacific login. Swipe your Pacific ID card at the printer to initiate printing.


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 Department of Art and Graphic Design.


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:

  • Maintaining up-to-date with class reading assignments
  • 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


Expectations & Work Load: The basic structure of this course will revolve around analysis of exemplary works of graphic communication within a context of time, culture, technology, religious belief, geography and style—a zietgiest. There will be time given to lecture & class discussion, practical tutorials, exercises, & assignments.


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 your ability to present material to the rest of the class. 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. It is expected that all students will participate in this dialogue so that we may all benefit from the intercourse. 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.


Plan your schedule so that you will be able to complete your assignments during normal studio 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.


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 on 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.


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 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 McCaffrey Center, First Floor, Room 137 and Room 115 for information on how to obtain an Accommodation Request Letter. Contact: SSD@pacific.edu or (209) 946.3221. 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: http://web.pacific.edu/Documents/schooleducation/acrobat/PolicyManualforStudentswithDisabilities.pdf.


University Student 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. The Student Writing Center is located on the 2nd floor of the Main Library.


Email Melanie at mhash@pacific.edu or call (209) 932-2969 if you have any questions


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 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. These files will used to determine student success in meeting course and program objectives.


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