Graphic Design 2 | Spring 2018

What to expect from this class


You are reading this because you have developed a strong interest in graphic design and are keen to push your abilities further. This course assumes you have already baseline knowledge in the primary tools of computer-based graphic design: InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. It further assumes that you arrive having experience in fundamental graphic design as it pertains to journalism: that is, layout. Over the next 15 weeks, we will push deeper into both the practical and creative aspects of graphic design, building on the skills you already possess, and giving you opportunities to explore the many ways in which graphic design affects the present and future of visual communication.

I have four goals for the students who complete J465. Consider these the learning outcomes of this course. They are, in order:

First goal

To further your understanding of the principles of good design and give you opportunities to creatively put them into practice, working alone and working in teams, and through your assigned work to gain a deeper understanding of the creative process.

Second goal

To add to your creative abilities and allow you to better identify, establish and develop your personal design style.

Third goal

To continue to provide you with high-level skills and techniques you need to take full advantage of the previous two goals.

Fourth goal

And finally, to provide you with creative opportunities in a wide variety of formats and media. This will give you a better sense of how you might want to focus your graphic design endeavors in the future, as well as building your portfolio substantially over the SPRING 2017 semester.

A deeper dive


The overarching goal of this class is for you to take the next step, or the next several, toward a career that will involve some level of graphic design. Whereas J463, as an introductory course, was necessarily heavy on bringing you up to speed in a variety of computer programs, this class will focus more on opening up your creativity and allowing you to focus more on developing and refining your unique style as a designer.

This is not to say that you will not learn new, marketable skills in this class, however. We will raise your level of expertise in each of the programs you used in 463, as well as add instruction in After Effects and tablet design that will substantially increase to your “interactive” abilities. More importantly, we will go deeper into developing your artistic sensibilities, with greater emphasis on mastering design principles as well as color and typographic theory.

To this end, we will spend time in class undertaking a series of exercises designed to fire your creativity, improve your ability to think visually and arrive at compelling “visual solutions” to complex design challenges. Some of these exercises will be done in teams, on others you will work alone. Additionally, we will go through additional tutorials (particularly when we get to design for mobile devices and After Effects) that are intended to strengthen your computer skills and allow you to maximize your creative potential. We will also have weekly tips to help refine and expand your technique.

In this class, the process of creativity will be stressed as much as the quality of your finished product. For each assignment you hand in, you must include a series of sketches, alternative options and evidence of visual brainstorming that shows how your ideas developed over time. Learning how to work through a number of ideas, even in rough outline form, will vastly improve your ability to design high-quality work.