Introduction to Graphic Design – ARTS 222

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 12/12/2022

Course Description

An introduction to graphic design as a tool for visual communication. Graphic design skills and topics including a brief history of typography and printing; page layout design principles, the design process, page layout and image manipulation software, visual hierarchy, and critique will be explored in this course. Students will use the acquired skills to create basic graphic design materials for a variety of uses. (Formerly “Desktop Publishing”)

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Graphic design is a skill that is widely used in the communications, design, and publishing industries. The ability to produce well-designed visual materials is a highly marketable skill and essential for the student wishing to pursue a career in media related fields. This course is also foundational to other ARTS and COMS courses.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must be at least 200 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 100 words.

Design Assignments (8)

The first three assignments will give the student confidence in the practical application of not only design theory, but software knowledge gained from online software instruction. Typical novice mistakes will be noted so students learn to avoid them.

The student then will implement the creative process and apply the design elements to create a logo, identity (stationery) package with optional secondary branding element, and booklet. The last 5 assignments are worth double points. 


Introduction Layout Assignment

The student will demonstrate software knowledge by creating a new document utilizing margins, columns and guides. to create a unified page layout. He or she will apply alignment and proximity theory, convert images to CMYK in Photoshop, place images and format text, and export to PDF.

Hierarchy Poster Assignment

Using supplied elements, the student will demonstrate an understanding of visual hierarchy by creating two different layouts using the same headline, subhead, image and body copy. In the first layout, the image will have visual priority and the headline will read second. For the second layout, the hierarchal order will be reversed with the headline being the first read and the image the second read.

Business Card Assignment

The student will demonstrate best practices in typography especially typographic contrast, leading (space between lines), kerning (space between two characters) and visual hierarchy within one of the most limited design spaces—the business card. This exercise will serve to combat basic mistakes beginners make when designing with type and the final product will serve as a starting point for the identity (stationery) assignment later in the term.

 Logo Collection Assignment

The student will research and download well–designed logos within the wordmark, symbol, combination mark categories. His or her favorite 3 logos of each category will be creatively displayed on a letter size (11x8.5) landscape format in InDesign using margins, columns and/or guides to group and display the logos in an organized, logical manner. A one–sentence rationale for the selection of each logo will be placed underneath each logo using 9 point type following professional typographic principles.

Business Logo Assignment

The student will develop hand–generated thumbnail sketches and revised roughs for a logo design. Using those sketches, he or she will then develop a digitized logo that is original art; without using clipart.

Identity (Stationery) Package Assignment

The student will develop sketches for the identity (stationery) package. The student will create a digitized comp of the identity package in one 16 x 20 black background file. Logo use must be consistent. Logo size must not deviate significantly on any one identity piece. Secondary elements such as linear elements, bands of color, etc. may be used but are not mandatory. If they are used, they need to remain subordinate to the logo.

Multi-page Booklet Assignment

The student will plan and create a multi-page booklet in InDesign choosing appropriate typefaces, adjusting the hue, value, and saturation of color harmonies to create appropriate and aesthetically pleasing color harmonies that foster legible type on each page.

Final Logo & Identity Assignment

Refinements will be made to the logo and identity package based on instructor feedback and application of course content. This could include modifying color, adjusting a secondary branding element, allowing more space for the letter on the letterhead, creating more consistency between the pieces, or anything else that would bring it to a professional level of completion. The final presentation will again be in one 16 x 20 black background file (or medium gray if applicable). Each student will upload his or her final Identity Package to the final discussion.

Research Paper: Critique and Analysis Paper

The student will write a Critique and Analysis Paper in current MLA format that focuses on identifying effective use of the four design principles and visual hierarchy as found in the supplied poster. The paper must be at least 350 words. The student must also include 2 references; however, The Non-Designer’s Design Book, Visual Design, as well as the lecture content, will serve as references.

Quizzes: Williams Textbook (4), Krause Textbook (5)

Each quiz will cover the Learn material for the Modules: Weeks in which it is assigned. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 10 multiple-choice and true/false questions, and have a 12-minute time limit.

Quizzes: LinkedIn Learning (7)

Each quiz will cover the Learn material for the Modules: Weeks in which it is assigned. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 10 multiple-choice and true/false questions, and have a 12-minute time limit.

Design Journals (4)

The student will reflect on all that was studied and designed for the past week. In a well–written paragraph of at least 7 sentences, the student will document the most significant thing that was learned and how it will improve his or her future design work or workflow. This can be anything related to design theory, software, or the creative process.