Course Descriptions & Syllabi

Course Descriptions & Syllabi

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Note: some or all of the courses in the subjects marked as "Transfer" can be used towards a transfer degree: Associate of Science and Arts or Associate of Engineering Science at DACC. Transferability for specific institutions and majors varies. Consult a counselor for this information.

Areas of Study | | ARTS152 syllabus

COURSE TITLE:Graphic Design II
DIVISION:Liberal Arts

This course is concerned with developing confidence and competence in creating forms in relation to a concept. Students are encouraged to take risks, to develop their originality in style, as well as to expand the vocabulary with which they express ideas by employing visual rhetorical strategies such as irony, puns, metaphors, etc. The steps of a design process are established and used to structure the first projects: research, ideation, thumbnails, roughs, design development, and final presentation. The course encourages an understanding of style as it relates to culture and technology.

ARTS151 with a grade of "C" or better.



The primary course goal is to develop an understanding of the methods employed in solving communication problems in graphic design, advertising, illustration, computer graphics, and photography. It is also a goal of the course to develop the understanding that communication is an active process between people and not just a statement of the artist’s self-expression or even the passive appreciation of it. It will be shown that in order for us to act, we must interpret the significance of the information before us and therefore participate in the communication process.


Upon successful completion of the course the student will:

  1. Continue to develop skills in the principles of graphic design.
  2. To interpret imagery, form, color, and text, and their impact on the human culture and experience.
  3. To gain an understanding of semiotics and gestalt.
  4. To explore the practicality of various production techniques and its impact on the visual communication process.
  5. Create suitable portfolio pieces that visually communicate through the embodiment of form and function.
  6. (Most importantly) to persuade others.


Teaching will be done by the following methods:

  1. Demonstration – The instructor will demonstrate concepts and techniques by power point and video in front of the class.
  2. Hands on teaching – The instructor will make the rounds, working with each student, giving constructive criticism, and doing individual demonstrations.
  3. Discussion – The instructor will illustrate the technical and expressive aspects of graphic design by showing examples of his own work, and the work of other graphic designers. Students will be encouraged to participate in group discussions and critiques as time allows.
  4. Individual Discussion – The instructor will guide students individually by giving technical advice and suggested reading and research which would benefit individual students.
  5. Critiques- The instructor as well as the class will discuss the student’s work.


Inspiration for projects will include historical relevance, computer and non-computer imagery, and student and professional works.



Class 1
Introductions, syllabus review, topical outline review, criteria for assignments, objectives and requirements of the course.
Class 2
Assignment 1 Introduced
Write a DS page on 5 graphic designers of your choice.  The instructor must approve topics. These ideas are due class 4. Each graphic designer topic is to resemble that designer’s work but yet find cohesion between the other four topics. You must use a desktop publishing program such as, InDesign, (suggested).  If you have no experience with these publishing programs, you will have to familiarize yourself with these. YouTube offers great tutorials depending on what and how you want to design your spread. Using as much design experience you can muster create a magazine spread. (2 pages) Worth 100 points (excluding your topics) Okay you are thinking “I did something like this in Graphic Design I”. The objectives for this assignment are so you can familiarize yourself with other graphic designers and hence find influence. Secondly, this assignment requires 5 designers on 2 pages, as a spread with a gutter. A bit more challenging since you are dealing with an odd number of topics. And thirdly acquaint yourself with a desktop publishing program. InDesign is currently the industry norm.

Class 3
Lecture: “What Makes For a Good T-shirt Design”
Design a “t” shirt for a Danville Area Community College organization (art department, Phi Theta Kappa, Powerhouse Ministries, Diversity Team etc.) With approval of the instructor you may select an outside organization to design for. I like real world assignments.

Assignment 3
Ideas for “Waiting for Rain” (logo/cover )

Class 4
Lecture, “Portfolios, the whole point” or “Logos”

Assignment 4 Due
Topics for your magazine spread due. Just topics. Which designers do you plan on using for your spread? You may use fine artists, industrial designers, or architects. Worth 5 points
Ideas for your “t” shirts I expect 5 roughs worth 25 points each

Class 5
Lecture, “Suggestions for Ideation”

Assignment 5
Vocabulary due

  1. roughs
  2. spread
  3. gutter
  4. desktop publishing
  5. text
  6. tagline
  7. display type
  8. logo
  9. the elements of art
  10. the principles of design

Class 6
Critique, Magazine spread (assignment 1) this will most likely take the entire period.
On Class 7 there will be a series of in class assignments dealing with the formal elements of design. You will be required to bring several materials to complete these exercises.
The materials required for class period 7
Quality paper or Bristol board
A variety of markers and pens, pencils.
 (Optional drawing tools could be but not limited to, charcoal or graphite sticks, ebony pencils, oil pastels, and/or medium to soft charcoal pencils)
ExActo knife or scissors

Class 7
Assignment 6
In class activities Worth 20 points
  1. Design with the formal elements of design
    1.  Exploring with lines
      1. Divide page into 4 parts
      2. Draw a curving line from corner to corner in each square
      3. Each line is to be of different widths, directions, and qualities.
  2. Creating illusion with lines
    1. Using a black marker or your line tool in your computer’s software, draw horizontal lines of varying thickness completely across the page/format. No color is to be added.
      b. Vary the distance between the lines
    2. Do several thumbnails before submitting a final comp. I want to see implied movement and shape.
This activity helps the designer realize that varying the distances between the lines and the thicknesses of the lines creates the illusion of swelling or warping on the surface of the page.  The areas where the lines are light and close together may seem to recede, and where the lines are heavier and further apart may seem to advance. Using line, they had created an optical illusion.

Class 8
Critique of in class assignments and activities. Assignment 6 parts 1 this should not take very long and the rest of the class period will be used for a quick lecture on color and another in class assignment.
During critique you are to answer these questions concerning each student’s work:
  1.  How does the process serve the final design?
  2. What different types of contrast did the design achieve?
  3. What role does texture play in the design?
  4. How would you assess your own personal experiences completing this assignment?

Lecture: “Color”
Assignment 7

  1. Understanding the nature of color and the use of line. Using the same guidelines as assignment 6, create another line exercise using a variety of color to illustrate movement and shape.
  2. Think about complimentary pairings and simultaneous contrast.
Class 9
Critique of “T shirts” (assignment 2) due this design is to be ready for critique (Assignment 2) and assignment 7
Lecture, “Beyond logos”

Class 10
Review for exam 1

Vocab 2 due
  1. Unity
  2. Variety
  3. Hierarchy
  4. Dominance
  5. Proportion
  6. Balance
  7. Scale
  8. Emphasis
  9. Rhythm
  10. Movement
  11. Proximity
  12. Repetition
  13. Color
  14. Simultaneous contrast
  15. Complimentary colors/pairing
  16. Primary colors
  17. Secondary colors
  18. Analogous colors
  19. Intermediate or tertiary colors
  20. Shape
  21. Format
  22. Space
  23. Texture
  24. Font
  25. Copy

Class 10
Exam 1
Class 11
Go over exam 1
Presentation of assignment 8

  1. The search for a compelling visual
    Step 1.
    1. Choose a brand
    2. Gather information. Find out everything you can about the brand. Survey people ask them what they think of it.
    3. Determine the benefit of your client’s product or service. Why is it different than other similar products or services?
    4. Write a creative brief.
    5. Develop numerous taglines.

    Step 2.
    1. Create one print ad.
    2. Do not use the product, service, or logo (redeveloped by you) as the main visual.
    3. Brainstorm. Write down everything you can think of that is related to the brand. Think of analogies, metaphors, and similes.
    4. Think of situations where the product or service might be used.
    5. Create at least 10 sketches.

    Step 3.
    1. Refine the best sketches and create 2 roughs.
    2.  You may show the product, service, or new logo in the final comp. But not as the main visual.

    Step 4.
    1. Create a final comp.
Lecture: “Writing a Design Brief”

Class 11
Presentation of assignment 9
 Out of the box.
Step 1.
  1. Choose a product.
  2. Gather all the information you can on a particular product.
  3. Now chose a brand.
  4. Determine the audience.
  5. Determine the benefits this brand has on its potential audience.
  6. Write a creative brief
  7. Write a tagline.
Step 2
  1. Create an ad. Do not use the product or service in the visual.
  2. You must use an unexpected, unusual, or odd visual relating to the product.
  3. Produce 10 sketches with at least 3 visual.
Step 3.
  1. Create a rough
  2. You may use the product logo but not as a main visual.
Step 4
  1. Create a final comp.
Class 12
Lecture: “The purpose and power of advertising part 1”
Progress on assignments 8 and 9
Open Lab

Class 13
“The purpose and power of advertising part 2”
Assignment 8 due and critique

Class 14
Assignment 9 due and critique
Introduction to Assignment 10 due Class 16
In class activities
  1. An autobiography
  2. How to essay
  3. Humorous story
  4. A redo
  5. Recognizing differences.
  6. Analyzing ads
  7. Product research
  8. The creative team.
  9. Presentations for all in class activities.

Class 15
Critique of assignment 10
Movie  ”Toulouse-Lautrec” The father of graphic design

Class 16
Lecture History of Graphic Design 1980 to present.
Assignment 10 due and critique

Class 17
Presentation of project (assignment 11)
Impress me
  1. Find a project that you feel will exploit your talents.
  2. Find a project that will fill that missing link between projects in your portfolio.
Open lab
Class 18
Open Lab
Review for Exam 2
Vocab 3 due
  1. portfolio
  2. Toulouse-Lautrec
  3. Creative brief
  4. Tagline
  5. Brand
  6. Audience
  7. Demographic
  8. Analogies
  9. Metaphors
  10. Similies
Class 19
Exam 2

Class 20
Go over Exam 2
Open Lab

Class 21
Lecture: Visual and intellectual Unity and Visual Dynamics
Open Lab

Class 22
In class activities (Assignment 12)
  1. Do some thumbnail sketches to experiment with these statements:
    1. Two sides of a rectangle project a shape placed in a corner. Place the same shape farther out into the space around it, and it seems more vulnerable.
    2. Two shapes placed side by side will look less lonely than one.
    3. Two shapes (an “e” and an “a” work well) placed back to back will appear uncommunicable and unfriendly.
    4. A point placed against a soft curve will cause a sensation of discomfort. (An A and an e work well.)

    For these sketches start with letterforms to become better acquainted with them before you try images. The principles of balance function the same, weather applied to type or image. It is easier to understand the fundamentals of an abstract visual language if you begin with simple shapes and letterforms and progress to pictorial designs. What design dynamics are influencing each of the situations in the statements?
  2. (Assignment 13) Using traditional collage and/or computer software such as Illustrator, select letterforms or simple shapes to demonstrate the following principles. It can be fun to use a font like Wingdings for clip art shapes.
    • A shape can balance several shapes.
    • A large shape can be balanced by a group of smaller shapes
    • Shapes can be balanced by negative space.
    • A dark shape can be balanced by a larger lighter shape.
    • A large flat shape can be balanced by a smaller textured shape.
  3. Assignment 14 Prepare a classroom presentation based on a written critique of a poster, an advertisement, or an illustration. Describe how the design achieves or fails visually or intellectually its unity.
Class 23
Presentation of assignment 15
 Word Illustration
This project asks you to concentrate on placement, contrast, and kinesthetic projection to create a balanced and interesting design. 
Choose a word to illustrate. Practice on those listed below. Then find your own word from class discussion or your own research. A dictionary can be useful. Do a minimum of 10 thumbnails. Base these thumbnails and your project on existing typestyles. Search for an appropriate one. Do not use pictures to tell your story. Let the letterforms communicate their message visually through size, color, value, shape, structure, texture, placement, and kinesthetic projection. Tell visually what the word says intellectually. Be able to describe the tensions and balancing forces.
Use black and one shade of gray if it will strengthen your design. If you use a computer-generated solution, stay within the same design limitations of size and color. Do not allow the seductive nature of the software to lure you into distorting the basic shape of the letterform. Enjoy it for its clarity and beauty of design. Retain its integrity.
Rain Allover
Jaguar       Black and Blue
ReflectionWrong Font
Divide    Alone
Dance     Repeat
Invisible Swiss cheese

Class 24
Progress on assignment 15
Lecture Good Gestalt

Class 25
Assignment 15 due and critique

Class 26
Catch up day. Open Lab

Class 27
Lecture Trademarks and logos

Class 28
Final review
Catch up day, Open Lab/ portfolio reviews

Class 29


Suggested readings:
Adobe Photoshop classroom-in-a-book
Adobe Illustrator classroom-in-a-book
Adobe InDesign classroom-in-a-book
Sketchbook-blank paper-no line paper (why did I just say that, well because it just so happens I have gotten mocks on notebook paper) Okay, sure some of the greatest lyrics of all time were written on restaurant napkins, but John Lennon never had to hand it in for a grade. Imagine.
A variety of drawing instruments.-pens of differing widths and colors, pencils, etc.) We have a scanner and can scan hand done works for modification on the computer. These works have a warmer feel and are sometimes, I stress sometimes, are best for a particular design.
Cutting tools-scissors and an Ex-acto knife.
You will find you will possibly need other materials. Foresee what you might need and be prepared for class. Do not rely on the college to provide these materials.


Grading scale:





59% and below= F



  1. Critiques:

    Projects will be judged for viability both conceptually and in regards to the proposed scope of the project. Other factors influencing the critique and ultimately the grade one receives is clarity and relevance of the project, craftsmanship, the degree of difficulty, the quality of the design process (the usefulness of sketches, sketch intent, independence in decision making, the ability to selfcriticize and evaluate the projects progress), the quality of visual resolution of the project (text, image, and expression), the clarity of communication, originality, and completion by due date.

  2. Exams (including the final)
    The exams are primarily over vocabulary used in the design and advertising field.
  3. Sketchbook/journal
  4. 4. In class activities
  5. Participation in class
  6. Projects



Work is to be of high quality and the student will demonstrate an excellent understanding of this art form at a high level.

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles and elements used in the art form.
  • Demonstrate sensitivity to the medium chosen
  • Demonstrate creativity with the medium chosen
  • Demonstrate a high quality of craftsmanship
  • Presented in a professional manner
  • Demonstrate exemplary knowledge of a variety of techniques to be applied to the art form
  • Demonstrate new insights and working methods applied to the art form
  • Demonstrate historical knowledge in a variety of mediums
  • Demonstrate an exemplary ability to analyze the art form
  • Demonstrate and exemplary ability to interpret the art form

    “B” Meeting

     Work is to be of medium quality and the student will demonstrate a proficient understanding of this art form at a good level.

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles and elements used in the art form.
  • Demonstrate sensitivity to the medium chosen
  • Demonstrate creativity with the medium chosen
  • Demonstrate a medium quality of craftsmanship
  • Presented in a somewhat professional manner
  • Demonstrate proficient knowledge of a variety of techniques to be applied to the art form
  • Indicate knowledge of some new insights and working methods applied to the art form
  • Demonstrate some historical knowledge in a variety of mediums
  • Demonstrate proficient ability to analyze the art form
  • Demonstrate good ability to interpret the art form

    “C” Approaching

    Work is of a developing quality and the student will demonstrate a developing understanding of this art form at a beginning level.

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles and elements used in the art form.
  • Demonstrate some sensitivity to the medium chosen
  • Demonstrate some creativity with the medium chosen
  • Demonstrate a developing quality of craftsmanship
  • Presented in an acceptable manner
  • Demonstrate developing knowledge of a variety of techniques to be applied to the art form
  • Indicate knowledge of some insights and working methods applied to the art form
  • Demonstrate some historical knowledge in a variety of mediums
  • Demonstrate developing ability to analyze the art form
  • Demonstrate beginning ability to interpret the art form

    “D” Not Meeting

    Work is of a substandard quality and demonstrates a deficiency understanding of this art form at a insufficient level.

  • Demonstrate occasionally an understanding of the principles and elements used in the art form.
  • Demonstrate some sensitivity to the medium chosen with difficulty
  • Demonstrate some creativity with the medium chosen with difficulty
  • Demonstrate a substandard quality of craftsmanship
  • Presented in an unprofessional manner
  • Demonstrate deficient knowledge of a variety of techniques to be applied to the art form
  •  Does not demonstrate a knowledge of insights and working methods applied to the art form
  • Demonstrate insufficient historical knowledge in a variety of mediums
  • Demonstrate deficiencies in their ability to analyze the art form
  • Demonstrate deficiencies in their ability to interpret the art form
  • “F” Failing
  • The student does not meet any of the criteria, portfolio, performance, craftsmanship, interpretation, or analysis.

    Classroom Policy: 

    1. Break times are scheduled by the instructor at appropriate intervals.
    2. No private software is to be loaded onto the school’s computers.
    3. No software games are allowed in lab (unless in course curriculum).
    4. Headphones are required if listening to music during studio time. No headphones are allowed during a lecture.
    5. All cell phones are to be off and out of sight.
    6. Keep all casual conversations during studio time to a whisper.


    Students are expected to attend all classes. If a student misses class for any reason, he or she is responsible for making up the work missed in class. After three absences the instructor may withdraw a student from class. Absences do lower the grade.

    No early outs or late arrivals. Please, when you arrive please do so through the classroom door and not the emergency exit. At this time you may leave through the emergency exit just not enter there. You are allowed 3 excused absences during the semester. After that your grade will suffer.

    Attendance and Withdrawal Policy:

    Failure to complete assignments, especially projects, may result in you being dropped from the course. Please keep up with the course topical outline.  DACC's withdrawal policy, as well as our policies on issues such as plagiarism, may be found in your Student Handbook.  Plagiarism will not be tolerated. I have and most likely will drop you from the class if discovered. This of course all depends on the severity of the offence. If you miss three class periods, you may be dropped from the course. If you are having difficulty finishing an assignment, email. Let me know when things happen. Do not wait until midnight the night before an assignment is due to complete your work. Give yourself a cushion in case something goes wrong.

    Handbook is available in the Information Office in Vermilion Hall.


    Membership in the DACC community brings both rights and responsibility. As a student at DACC, you are expected to exhibit conduct compatible with the educational mission of the College. Academic dishonesty, including but not limited to, cheating and plagiarism, is not tolerated. A DACC student is also required to abide by the acceptable use policies of copyright and peer-to-peer file sharing. It is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with and adhere to the Student Code of Conduct as contained in the DACC Student Handbook. The Student Handbook is available in the Information Office in Vermilion Hall and online at:

    Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Testing & Academic Services Center at 217-443-8708 (TTY 217-443-8701) or stop by Cannon Hall Room 103. Please speak with your instructor privately to discuss your specific accommodation needs in this course.

    Fall 2015
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