Introduction to Graphic Design

Art 160
Introduction to Graphic Design
Spring 2019

VAC 115
001 T/Th 8–1150am
002 T/Th 2–550pm

Jake Dugard

Office No. B17
OH: M/W/F: 8–11:20am
or by appointment


I hope everyone feels a little more confident in what they are doing, but it’s ok if you are still figuring things out. That is part of it. Growing/learning pains.
Next class we will hear everyone give a presentation on their Translations and get to hear a bit about the process that they used in creating some of them. For information regarding the presentation, refer to the assignment sheet. Designers have to know how to talk about their work so see this as an opportunity to practice.
We will also discuss the reading assignment. Write 3+ things down in the margins and/or in sketchbook. What are 3+ things that you learned or stood out to you or are things you want to implement in your work?

— Complete 25+ translations and make presentation
— Read The New Basics pgs. 98–115 and in Notes on Graphic Design and Visual Communication pgs. 8–9 (discussion on 3/26)


“By experiment, we mean the process of examining a form, material, or process in a methodical yet open-ended way. To experiment is to isolate elements of an operation, limiting some variables in order to better study others. An experiment asks a question or tests a hypothesis whose answer is not known in advance.” — Jennifer Cole Phillips, Graphic Design: The New Basics

I am glad we are finally digging in on the first project. I loved the exploration I saw in the use of materials and how quickly y’all dove in. Again, we are making 25 of these studies. Pursue more than 25. We will refine and narrow later. Move quickly. Don’t overthink. Make sure you are documenting the steps you take in making these to share later.
     We will continue to work on these next class. Be ready to show the ones you’ve already made with your peers at the beginning of class. Bring in new materials if necessary. 
Why are we doing this? That’s a great question.
Translate means to express the sense of (words or text) in another language. Graphic designers, in many ways, are translators. Typically we work within the field of graphic, visual language. Sometimes our role as a designer requires translating our ideas in spoken language. Back and forth. Idea to visual to speak. 
Translating our environment. Translating what clients say and need. Translating information into visual, graphic form. Logos, icons, emojis and other graphic elements usually are distillations of people, places, and things. 

— Continue to work on 25+ translations
— Read The New Basics pgs. 98–115 and in Notes on Graphic Design and Visual Communication pgs. 8–9 (discussion on 3/26)
— Watch The primitive power of logos with Michael Bierut and Susan Kare (discussion next class)


I thought the discussions around The good, the bad, and the ugly were great. There were a lot of insightful observations. I had one observation. Don’t let your research be shallow. What I mean by that is that for this exercise, some people simply typed “good design” or “bad design” into Google and let it spit out preconceived ideas of good/bad design for you. This resulted in several of the same works up on the wall. This is inconsequential in this exercise, but don’t let that be the case for when we start designing familiar artifacts like posters, logos, etc. Simply searching “good poster design” will pigeonhole you into making shallow, unimaginative, and expected work. Regardless, I found the conversation informative so thank you for participating.

We need to be working on a couple of things over the weekend. Finish organizing your photos into folders on your laptop. Here is a way you could organize your folders/files: Introduction to Graphic Design > Unit 01 Design as Form > Part 01 Observations > Point, Line, Plane, Space, Texture, Pattern. Keep your files nice and tidy. Be ready to show and tell your photos next class. We will also have a discussion on the reading below. I encourage you to buy the book, but if you can’t, use that pdf that someone found and print it out so you can highlight and take down notes. You will also need to bring supplies for Part 02: Translation. Be ready to start making next class.

— Finish uploading and organizing images
— Gather materials for Part 02
— In The New Basics, read pages 6–47, 68–79, 200–213

I am excited to get this class going. I hope you are excited too. We will have a lot of fun making stuff, learning different processes of working, observing, using our hands, different tools, and pushing ourselves to be curious. For next class, be sure you have your printouts for The good, the bad, and the ugly and bring those supplies I mentioned in class (definitely your laptop, some pens, pencils, sketchbook, and camera/phone with camera). Also, go ahead and order the book so that starts making its way to you. We will begin readings soon.

— Gather supplies
— Work on The good, the bad, and the ugly assignment
— Order book