Graphic Design

Introduction to Graphic Design

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Graphic design is more than throwing together clip art and different fonts and colors. It is creative problem solving through design thinking. Graphic designers work to take the confines of societal acceptability and make it a beautiful part of our everyday visual landscape with the intention of influencing individual and group behavior, political policy, and even society.

In this class, we will explore the design process at its most basic level to solve design problems through visual communication. Students will:

  • Use thumbnail drawings to create a variety of ideas
  • Through classroom interaction, students will determine which of their ideas are the best
  • Make roughs
  • Make a final comp

Each week, students will move through a multi-step design process by using the visual elements of design to create a meaningful 2D design with abstract images.

Student Work

2D Design Basics

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The foundation of Graphic Design is basic two-dimensional form. Combining compositional strategies helps define concepts into meaningful visual communication.

In this class, we will explore how a graphic designer takes simple elements and combines them into complex design systems that communicate effectively. We will spend time looking at our world critically and considering how a graphic designer turns the complexity of our world into simple but engaging ideas that communicate an idea. Students will:

  • Observe the world around them with a critical eye for an interesting and unique composition
  • Explore how basic elements are combined to make up the world we see
  • Break down complex visual systems to their basic elements
  • Learn about Gestalt psychology and how it applies to graphic design
  • Think outside the box in how simple objects can represent larger ideas
  • Consider the difference that color (or lack of) can make to an overall composition
  • Explore the use of color palettes to tie a composition together

Typography

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Typography is the art of the written word. To effectively communicate using words, every component of typography must be critically considered for visual appeal and overall message.

In this class, we will learn about typography and the importance of choosing the right font, size, and spacing of text as well as when text makes sense vs. when text could be better expressed through image. We will explore different types of typefaces and learn the difference between typeface and font. Students will:

  • Learn a brief history of type and typefaces
  • Learn about the anatomy of type
  • Learn how typefaces can be used to express larger ideas than merely the words made
  • Learn about hierarchy in design and how to maximize the message you want to convey
  • Learn about font pairings to create visually pleasing concepts that convey a greater message 

The Design Process

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Graphic Design is problem-solving that requires creative thinking. The design process is a step-by-step plan that can help build effective designs but can also be applied to all problems. This is the final course in the Introduction to Graphic Design series of courses.

In this class, we pull all of our foundational basics together Students will choose a social issue that means something to them and follow the steps of the design process to solve a problem in creating a complete design system.

Students will:

  • Learn that effective design does not reflect personal preference, but rather conscious decisions
  • Practice doing research to make strong design decisions
  • Practice presentation skills and justifying their designs based on their research
  • Deeply evaluate their designs and recognize successful and effective designs
  • Plan, create and execute an effective design system

Students can use design software with which they feel comfortable.

Graphic Design - Visual Communications

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This class combines the 4 Introduction courses into one semester-long (16-week) course. This is an introductory course, no prior knowledge is required. The class is currently only available as a flexible, self-paced course geared toward busy high school students. Students will gain a fundamental understanding of Graphic Design and begin building a portfolio they can proudly present to college admissions.

We begin by studying graphic design from the basics of fundamental design to building more complex design systems. We approach graphic design as a problem-solving endeavor that pushes creative thinking and approach. Throughout the course, we explore what graphic design is, how it is used, and who are the leaders in the industry. Students are exposed to a variety of graphic design examples from famous historical designers to current, modern designers.

While we do not use any specific design programs, students are allowed to use programs with which they feel comfortable.

Graphic Design Survey Course

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Graphic Design is a creative problem-solving that has the intention of influencing individual and group behavior, political policy, and society at large. It combines a variety of foundational art elements and principles with other mediums including typography, photography, and illustration. It is a vast technical and art genre that continually bombards our senses.

In this survey course, students will get a brief overview of graphic design. We will discuss what is graphic design, where is found, and who are the leaders of the industry. We will learn the importance of effective design that communicates ideas in quick and memorable messages. We will talk about the tools that graphic designers frequently use including software and equipment. Throughout our lecture, we will engage in discussions and exercises that help reinforce our lesson.

We will not use any outside programs or tools for this survey course. Students are encouraged to bring a pencil and paper for our in-class exercises.

Graphic Design - Super Simple Logos

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A logo is usually the first experience a customer has with a company. It is the visual representation of the company, quickly and easily recognizable.

In this class, students will learn about the 7 different types of logos, how they are created and how they are used. We will look at a variety of logos from top companies and businesses and discuss their relative success. We will learn about logo design from the graphic designer’s perspective considering all of the basic ideologies of logo design from color choices, Gestalt theory, and branding considerations.

Each week, students will create a hypothetical company/organization within a themed industry. They will determine the company/organization’s primary focus and develop a meaningful logo by following the steps of the design process. Students will be expected to post their work in the classroom and participate in teacher-led feedback. Homework will include creating multiple thumbnail drawings, roughs, and a final composition in both color and black and white.

Week 1: Food/Drink Industry
Week 2: Video Game Industry
Week 3: Sports Industry
Week 4: Non-Profit Organization Industry

Graphic Design - Designer Basics

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Every day we experience a wide variety of graphic design from product packaging, public signage, websites to tv and movie credits. Graphic designers seek to visually communicate messages that can compel individual and group behavior, political policy, and society at large. It combines a variety of foundational art elements and principles with other mediums including typography, photography, and illustration. In this class we will study some of the many ways that graphic design is used to visually communicate an idea. We will explore a variety of different styles of design from successful designers throughout time. We will use our problem-solving skills to make our own designs considering all of the basic ideologies of logo design from color choices, Gestalt theory, typographic, and branding considerations.

Each week, students will create one piece following the design process. They will work within the specifications of the assignment including size, color, and information confinements. Students will be expected to post their work in the classroom and participate in teacher-led feedback. Homework will include creating multiple thumbnail drawings, roughs, and a final composition.

Week 1: Poster Advertisement Week 2: Book Jacket
Week 3: Album Cover
Week 4: Product Packaging Design

Graphic Design - Branding Campaign Team

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This 4-week class is all about teamwork! The professional graphic design world includes working in teams to create a complete branding campaign. Graphic designers must maintain consistency across all platforms so a company or organization can establish a readily recognizable brand.

In this class, students will learn about branding, what it is and why it’s important. We will look at many successful branding campaigns for companies/organizations that most students will be familiar with such as Coca-cola, Xbox, and Adidas.

Together, students will work as a team to create a hypothetical organization that has one primary mission. With that mission in mind, they will then develop an identity for their company and define a target audience. As a team, students will determine the needs of their organization to build a branding campaign that will include:

  • A company Logo
  • Business paraphernalia – i.e. letterhead, business cards, envelopes
  • An organization website landing page
  • Publicity Product design – i.e. T-shirts, coffee mugs, pens
  • Posters, brochures, mailers
  • Billboard design
  • Social Media ads

Santa's Workshop Logo Design

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In this 2-part class, students will learn about the basics of logo design from an artistic and visual communication standpoint. We will discuss ways to build strong and effective logo designs while looking at a variety of famous logos. Students will be introduced to the graphic design process: thumbnails, roughs, and final composition. We will discuss industry-standard logo specs and the many places logos are used.

During the week between class 1 and class 2, students will work through the design process to create a new logo for Santa’s Workshop. Students will have 3 parts of homework and will be expected to adhere to deadlines and participate in group critique in the classroom throughout the week. Our final class will culminate in the presentation of a final logo presentation by each student.

Class schedule:
Day 1: Live meeting and class lecture. Project assignment and specifications
Day 3: First set of logo sketches are due posted in the classroom
Day 4: Student critique will take place through the classroom
Day 5: Next set of logo developments are due posted in the classroom
Day 6: Student critique will take place through the classroom
Day 7: 2nd Live meeting for students to present their final logo compositions

Our first 2 assignments will be done via pencil and paper. Final compositions can be done via art medium the student is comfortable with or via digital software the student is comfortable. *I do not teach specific design software in this class.

Chinese New Year Invitation Design

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In this 2-part class, students will learn about the basics of graphic design from an artistic and visual communication standpoint to design our own invitation to a (fictitious) Chinese New Year Party. We will discuss ways to build strong and effective invitation designs while looking at a variety of beautiful invitation designs. Students will be introduced to the graphic design process: thumbnails, roughs, and final composition.

During the week between class 1 and class 2, students will work through the design process to create an invitation for a Chinese New Year party. Students will have 3 parts of homework and will be expected to adhere to deadlines and participate in group critique in the classroom throughout the week. Our final class will culminate in the presentation of a final invitation presentation by each student.

Class schedule:
Day 1: Live meeting and class lecture. Project assignment and specifications
Day 3: First set of invitation sketches are due posted in the classroom
Day 4: Student critique will take place through the classroom
Day 5: Next set of invitation developments are due posted in the classroom
Day 6: Student critique will take place through the classroom
Day 7: 2nd Live meeting for students to present their final invitation compositions

Our first 2 assignments will be done via pencil and paper. Final compositions can be done via art medium the student is comfortable with or via digital software the student is comfortable. *I do not teach specific design software in this class.