Contact info: James Miller; jmiller@csusm; email is the best way to get ahold of me. Office hours by appointment after class. I usually hang out as long as anyone needs help.

Class Web Site: http://www.voiceonapage.com Look for the heading on the left, 'adv gd.'

School of Arts Dept. Web Site: http://www.csusm.edu/sofa/

Weekly Schedule (weeks 1 - 16): Lecture topic plus instruction/demo plus assisted lab time.

Lab Time: Class is just under 4 hours. I give as much one-on-one as I can, time permitting.

Navigating voiceonapage.com/VPA 409 agdvm

Syllabus contains the rules and regulations, Credit Items and due dates, topics of the class plus the weekly plan. This is subject to alteration and is refined as the semester progresses, but will not change substantially without due notice.

Announcements are about things I want you to remember, recent events, plus add-ons not listed in Syllabus weekly schedule. (CHECK COUGAR COURSES FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS)

Independence Skills are a list of questions to be answered and a minimum skill set to be mastered to more fully engage yourself in this class.

Credit Item List shows the the things you need to turn in for credit, due dates, and point values.

Student Sites is a list of links to the Wordpress sites showcasing your work for me, the class, and prospective employers. [This is not used every semester]

Topics (under misc) is lecture material. Look here as well as Orientaion, Assignments, Projects, and Blog postings to study for the Quizzes.

Turning Projects In

File Management

Bring your files to class, even those you have already posted! Sometimes the website does not let me see the detail that the illustrator file will. Bring it all to class on a separate drive!

Assignments and Projects

You will output to PDF unless otherwise specified

Learning Styles

No cell phones, please!

Textbook: Thinking with Type, 2nd revised and expanded edition: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students [Paperback]

—Recommended: The Abobe CS6 Illustrator WOW! Book by Sharon Steuer, Adobe Press. Cool projects that really flex Illustrator’s creative muscle. Beyond a beginner’s book but approachable just the same.

—Recommended: Adobe Illustrator CS6 Visual Quickstart, Peachpit Press. A manual for looking up individual problems and solving them piecemeal. Not a teaching tool.

—Recommended: Adobe InDesign CS6 Visual Quickstart, Peachpit Press. A manual for looking up individual problems and solving them piecemeal. Not a teaching tool.

File Back-Up and Storage: Keep an independent backup of all the work done in this class, in editable form on independent safe media storage not associated with Wordpress.

• on computer where you sit (last resort)

• on portable media (throw out trash, empty recycle bin!‑this is a big deal!)

• cross-platform (right click = control click)

• fonts (briefly)

• student responsibilities (keep all your files! bring them to class!)

• hold down ‘option’ key when dragging and dropping files (look for green +)

• Bring your files to class, even those you have already posted!

• DRMs (briefly)

—PDFs (briefly)*****you can open PDFs in Illustrator! ******** When you download a file from my site it is usually a PDF!
—print final project (plus load to site)

Attendance Policy:

To succeed in this class it is important to attend the class regularly, ask questions, read the material, accomplish assigned work, and become engaged in the process. I encourage comments and questions, and conversation relevant to topics concerning the class. You need to arrive to the class ON TIME with your pagers and cell phones turned off! 

• If you choose your cell phone over class activity you will be dismissed for that day!


• Send me an email if you are going to be absent for legitimate reasons. If it exceeds three, it can negatively affect your grade! Telling me the class before and expecting me to remember doesn't work, I want it in writing.

• If you are not here when I take roll, then you are absent! Please don't ask me to baby-sit tardy and absentee students!

• If you just happen to 'not' come to class sometimes, don't ask me what you just happened to have missed—talk to your neighbor! Exchange email and/or phone numbers with someone in the class.

What is this class about?

This class serves as an overview of the graphic design industry, and related fields. You can think of graphic design as ‘commercial’ or ‘applied’ art. (art dept) 

Contemporary artists in the medium will be discussed and reviewed in the context of the class, and in the larger perspective of overlapping disciplines in the digital arts community.

We touch upon both beginning and advanced Illustrator/InDesign techniques to make art both aesthetically (art for arts sake) and commercially, from the perspective of a working graphic artist (art for a reason).

As much as we might like to sit around after graduation, at least some of you are going to need to find some gainful employment. Working creatively with images and text is, to me, the best kind of job a person can have! This class is designed to impart some imployable skills to bring to the prospective employer.

Graphic Design is about the reproduction of “image,” whether it is word, photograph, or illustration output to paper, cloth, metal or any form of electronic media.

Graphic Design appeals to those who have a creative flair as well as those who are interested in computer technology and the various forms of image reproduction.

Hard to make a living in fine art . . . . (balboa park)

Everyone nowadays is a kind of graphic designer in that almost everyone has web space in one form or another, and although it may not be built from scratch, you make choices as to color and theme. Then there’s third party websites that offer even more skins you can choose ad infinitum.  (we used to just choose our checks)

Output. Graphic Designers that work in a professional capacity, whether they have a job or they work for themselves, are intimately concerned about output. Digital only exists in the computer. Begin with the end in mind. Limitations are good. Therefore a successful graphic designer stands between the creative side and the technical side and must balance the skill sets.

Most people in this business have a strength that falls more to one side than the other. Some of the more successful designers I know unfortunately seem to have more tech than creative skill, owing to the great number of images for sale (clip art) as well as page layouts, color schemes, and other automatic tools (Publisher!). But with millions of users, the originality and the freshness and sense of custom design goes out the window. Paint by number for the masses (clip art story—birth choice, ATM images at CSUSM & on Palomar cover)

If you can charge a separate fee for writing, for illustration, for layout, for print brokerage, consultation, tutoring, photography, generating new ideas, hand-holding, etc (story—website look for technocrat Dennis)

Employable Graphic Designers can no longer be specialists (unless you work for a big company or have a really lucrative niche). By and large you need to be media specialists and be able to output for web, print, signage, silkscreen, or whatever comes up. Social Media and Search Engine Optimization are the newest essential skills.

Most of you in the “I” generation find this less challenging than us older folks who did not grow up with the computer. Things are really changing, especially with CMS sites.

Choosing to do the job of a modern graphic artist expands to include an awareness and sensitivity to current and historical events.

Ways to make money

—Brokering print production (4-over), Vistaprint, Modern Postcard

Threadless.com (t-shirts)

—Crowdspring (crowd sourcing) (cal state logo design)

—Blog sites of interest that get ads posted to them designed to appeal to the kind of person that would go to that blog.

Tivoli Audio
Communication Arts
Stock Logos

If something is said to be graphic . .

Offset Printing—Based on the phenomena that oil and water do not mix; mechanical process whereby text and images are physically transferred to paper or other substrate through the use of ink and specially prepared plates.

• As quantity increases unit cost goes down.

• Cost effective with large runs.

• Good at front-to-back registration.

Photomechanical Reproduction—Laser jet, ink jet, photocopy of any kind (uses toner, heat and an electrostatic charge to transfer image to substrate).

• As quantity increases unit costs remain the same.

• Not cost effective for large runs.

• Poor at front-to-back registration.

Graphic Design is of course output heavily to the Internet, and in manifold multi-media productions everywhere. (Junk mail and variable data printing)

Color, Typography, Page Layout—no matter what your output, good design practices still apply. These subjects will be discussed at length both as lecture subjects and as a critique.

Graphics Software: Adobe and others.

• Stop thinking about them as being used separately and begin to use them in concert. Any given publication uses all these programs (applications) and more!

InDesign—page layout and only program that allows for multiple pages

Illustrator—for drawing (logos) and rendering smooth lines at any magnification; vector

Acrobat—makes small, neat files that are good for the web and for printing workflows

Photoshop—image editing software for photographs; pixel (raster images)

• Some schools teach software classes in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, etc. Graphic design utilizes all those programs and more in the production of print, web, video, signage, illustration, etc.

—This class focuses on aspects of typography and page layout in graphic design, with an emphasis on the design limitations of output. Knowing the tools is only part of the equation; what to do with them is a far greater challenge!

Font Fight

Font Conference

Mac basics tour and terminology

• monitor /tower/iMac

• PC/Mac—right click, control click/dock