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


This is it. One more class and that will be devoted to the final cover presentations and a little goodbye/summer party. Have your files saved out and submitted BEFORE the beginning of class. 
     So, as a recap, you should have one folder labeled with your name. Inside the folder should be your final cover artwork as a jpg. The second file is a mockup of the cover using the file I provided. That should be a jpg as well. And then the last file should be the presentation as a pdf.
     Congrats, we’ve made it. Finish strong.

We only have one more working class before the final presentations next Tuesday, May 21. Remember to begin organizing your presentation. This should include your process in creating your cover. This is similar to the presentations during the first project. Give us an idea of how you went from nothing to something. Walk us through your concepts and then technically how you made the design.
     A lot of the covers I saw were still really rough with little-to-no work done on them since I saw them last. More time needs to be spent on them. No question. So, if you had little to show then make sure you have much more to look at next class. 
     For many of you all, I suggested trying different arrangements of the typography. Matt Willey of The New York Times Magazine is a great example of how somewhat subtle typography differences can do to a cover (see video above).
We will also discuss if we want to bring any food or drinks on the last day for a little celebration. Morning class meet at 9am. Afternoon class meet at 2pm.

— Faculty survey
— Silent critique with post-it notes
— Meet individually
— Refine book cover
— Start organizing presentation

The next class we will look at your refined roughs. You can show more than one direction if you like. Bring them printed out and in color. Although the final will be digitally presented, printing these out will help get a sense of scale and allow people to make notes on them.

1. Desk crits with groups
— Give feedback on full-size roughs
2. Check-in with each student
3. Work session
4. Homework:
— Print roughs for critique 
— Should be in color

I am glad everyone enjoyed the guest talks from the seniors. I hope everyone got something out of them and were inspired and encouraged by each speaker. What stood out to me is that each one said some very similar things: do work outside of class, make work that you’re passionate about, and have initiative to figure things out.
     This was the first time I assigned the (Re)Poster project so I was curious how the process would work and what the results would be. Most successfully pushed the original flyer into something new. 
     We are working on our last project: the book cover. Research and thumbnails were pretty spotty last class. This is troublesome because it will most definitely affect the final outcome. Little exploration at the beginning tends to narrow the outcome. I hope this isn’t the case, but most of y’all needed to do way more sketches than you did. Next class we will look at 3 full-size renderings of your cover.

1. (Re)Poster
— Reflection and peer review
— Critique
2. Book cover
— Small group discussion of research, writings and sketches
3. Watch Chip Kidd vid
4. Homework: 
— Create 3+ full-size roughs


Next class we will critique the (Re) Posters so make sure you get those printed. If you are using the Print Lab in the VAC, make sure you read the instructions on the form carefully. You must get a check or money order written out to Louisiana Tech and give it to Katie in the main office. She will give you a print card. 
     I hope everyone is finished with the design because we are moving onto the next assignment which is designing a book cover. All of the project info can be found here. I am excited about this project. It should challenge you to implement everything you have learned up until this point.
     All of the preliminary work will be due next class. That includes reading the text, writing your synopses and doing 50+ sketches.

1. Check on posters and printing
— Print Lab
— Print card (check or money order)
2. Pull down type mural
3. Discuss Unit 03
— Assign fairy tale
4. Homework:
— Print (Re)Poster (due Tuesday)
— Read fairy tale and do preliminary research, writing, and thumbnails

Screen Shot 2019-05-02 at 3.59.09 PM.png

I hope the reshuffling due to the storm isn’t too stressful. If anything, I am going to err on the side of taking things too slow rather than speeding up. Like I mentioned, the final project is going to shift a little bit considering the amount of time left in the quarter. We will begin that project Thursday so be ready to start.
     That is why I am highly suggesting your posters be done by Thursday so all you have to do is get your poster printed. In the hall by Room 119 is a little container with instructions, a form, and envelope to get your project printed. You and your partner will need to get one $20 card from the front office. This will need to be with check or money order. The print will probably be about $17–18. This is cheaper than anywhere else, but you can certainly get it printed anywhere you want.
     Make sure your print file is 300dpi! If you are not sure if it is, let me know and we can figure it out. Turn in the form as you can.

— Finish and print (Re)Poster

I realize the challenges of working with a partner. You have to figure out schedules, personalities, egos, and figure out how this thing is going to work. Most designers, if not all, do not work in isolation. We work with other designers, photographers, art directors, clients, etc. The friction of figuring out people is worth it. When two people work together, the result is something that neither could arrive to on their own.
     There seemed to be a breakdown in communication on this project. We are not necessarily trying to arrive to a more legible poster. Many of your starting flyers are extremely legible, but most are boring, expected, and not readable. Legibility and readability are different. Have fun with this. Distort the type and imagery. Cut it up. Scale it up/down. Stretch. Crop. Tear. Fold. Etc. Communicate an idea through the composition and the relationship of everything on the page. 
     Next class we will look at rough versions of your posters. Bring in a roughly 11x17” print and the original flyer. Also, make sure you have sufficiently scanned in your flyer. 600–800dpi should suffice.

1. Check-in on poster progress
2. Individual meetings to discuss mid-term grades
3. Homework:
— Continue work on poster
— Print out 11x17” rough of poster for critique

Some people worth following:
Chris Ashworth
Jerome Harris
David Carson
Experimental Jetset

One takeaway from the project Expression should be to take risks. It’s ok to try something. Even if doesn’t work out, it is ok to try something. I’d rather you risk failing than always playing it safe and expected.
     I will be out next class because I am going on the Graphic Design Trip to NOLA and BR. Pankita and Dellanee will be filling in. We will be looking at the flyers you selected and the hierarchical breakdown. You will also be discussing the article Why Collaborate? by Ellen Lupton.

1. Reflection and critique of Expression
2. Quiz and discussion on reading
The New Basics (Framing, Hierarchy, Grids)
3. Lecture: Hierarchy
4. Assign (Re)Poster
5. Homework:
— Read Why Collaborate?
— Find flyer with partner
— Deconstruct hierarchy


I usually show this video on the first day of class but completely forgot this year. It’s a beautiful quote by Ira Glass and is relevant for a couple of reasons. For one, it is encouraging to know that your work might not be good when you start. And that’s ok! We live in a culture that wants immediate gratification and design (and a ton of things) is simply not that way. It takes time. So don’t stress if you’re not making at the level you want to. 1% better every day. And secondly, the only way to get better is to make a lot of work. That has shaped how I assign projects. I want us to make as much work as we can in 10 weeks. In that way, we will get better.
     For next class, we will critique your Expressive words. Print them on good 11x17” paper. Here are a few places you can order good paper: French, Neenah, Mohawk. Also, make sure you have the following chapters read.

1. Watch The Gap narrated by Ira Glass
2. Schedule individual meetings here
— April 23–26
3. Desk crits of sketches
4. Homework:
— Read Framing, Hierarchy, and Grid by 4.16
— Finish Expressive



These are some GIF’s that capture the Vernacular installation today (this one and this one). I was pretty nervous at first, but thank you to the people who stepped up and helped.
     Someone in the morning class brought up the idea that they were bored with hunting down the letterforms and organizing them, but were surprised with how it turned out. This is a beautiful example of Gestalt. The whole is greater than its parts. There are a lot of janky letters up there—some barely legible, but they come together and make a great whole.
     In continuing our study of type, we are exploring the expressive power that type can have. For Expressive, research your word thoroughly. Find all associations to the word. Sketch!!! And bring your ideas next class.

1. Demonstrate how to use the cutter
2. Begin Vernacular installation
3. Assign Expressive
4. Homework:
— Do research, brainstorm and create 25+ sketches
— Sign up for a time to meet next week for midterm



I am glad that hearing from Abi Watson was inspiring. We will have at least two more senior GD students stop in, show their work, and answer any questions you might have. 
     If you want to follow some designers that were featured in Helvetica, here are some links to their accounts. This is an easy way to surround yourself with makers that are making inspiring work. Experimental Jetset, Build, Hoefler & Co., Frere Jones, Gary Hustwit (film maker), Paula Scher, Michael Bierut
     We will install the Vernacular project on Tuesday. I will also cut the prints down so really you just need to show up with the prints. Make sure the print out only has the trim marks and letters on there. The red and blue box layer should be deleted before printing.

1. Guest speaker: Abi Watson
— 10 minute talk then Q&A
2. Open book reading quiz and then discussion
3. Work on Vernacular
— Show and tell
— Software tutorial
— Discuss installation
4. Watch Helvetica doc
— Take notes and have discussion
5. Homework
— Print Vernacular (due next class)
— Read Framing and Hierarchy chapters in Graphic Design: The New Basics (discussion on 4.09)



Congrats on finishing Unit 01: Design as Form. Like I said in the critique, what’s important is not only the finished product/work, but also (and maybe even more so) the process that it took to get there. With a complex assignment like this, there was a lot of problem solving going on. Here are a few things that went into this project: observe and document elements of design in your environment, develop critical thinking and problem solving, learn to translate literal objects to graphic ones, develop a working knowledge of software, develop good craft and an eye for it, print your work, trim prints, cut matboard, use spray adhesive, document process, organize and give a presentation, learn and apply principles of Gestalt, synthesize different methods, materials, and concepts, and consider time management.
     I am proud of each one of you all for working through all of that. With that said, I want your work to continue to improve in the next project. So, watch out for craft. Pay attention to the details of how you present your work.

1. Interpretations critique
— Write reflection of Unit 01
— Small group critiques
2. Discuss time management exercise
3. Discuss GD: The New Basics (Rhythm and Balance, Scale, and Color)
— Moved to next class
4. Kick-off Unit 02: Design as Visual Language
5. Assign Part 01: Vernacular
6. Homework:
— Work on Vernacular (get all images/photos of letters)
— Finish reading 


Next class we will do a critique of the finished Interpretations. You will have 5 separate 10x10” compositions communicating the following principles of Gestalt: Similarity + Continuation + Closure + Proximity + Figure/Ground. Make sure you refer to the assignment sheet that outlines the full project description. 
     I hope the cutting and mounting demo was informative. Main things are set up in a space with plenty of room. Be patient. And measure twice, cut once. Do not put mounting off to the last minute. It typically leads to poor craft. Above are screenshots demoing how to output work with crop marks.

— Finish Interpretations for critique
— Read GD: The New Basics (Rhythm and Balance, Scale, and Color)
— Finish Time Management Exercise 


Translation by Abigail Smith

Translation by Abigail Smith

I love this project because of the uncertainty at first. I’ve said this many times, but this profession is about the process of going through uncertainty. As soon as you know what X is supposed to look like at the end, you’ve manipulated design into a bland, expected formula. Graphic design, a lot of the times, can be about discovery while making. 
     I was impressed with a lot of the translations. The variety from person to person and the processes and materials used were interesting. I hope everyone gleaned something new from other people’s presentations. When presenting your work, remember a few things:
     1. Slow down and speak loudly
     2. Look at your audience; don’t stare at the screen
3. Watch out for filler words (like, right, um)
     4. Be confident
     5. Be aware of body language and what this communicating

Aside from the content, start with those 5 things and presenting your work will greatly improve.

— Finish sketches and begin 5 roughs of Interpretations
— Read The New Basics Rhythm and Balance, Scale, and Color for a discussion on 4.02
— Work on Timesheet (due 4.02)

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)

Translation by Hailey Neuman

Translation by Hailey Neuman

“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