VSAR 316: Graphic Design

FALL 2015 CRN: 41598/9 Lecture/Lab

Fridays 9:00 am - 12:50 pm (9-10:50 & 11-12:50)
Arts 239 Sept 04 - December 11, 2015

Instructor: James H. Miller
email: jmiller@csusm.edu  
message: 760-750-4137 (VPA Dept)
office hours: by appointment, Fridays,
4:00 - 5:00 pm (after intro class)

VPA Department Contact:
Administrative Coordinator Linda Muse,
(Best source for information since adjunct faculty are
not on campus except during class time.

http://www.csusm.edu/calendar/ (art events

http://www.csusm.edu/calendar/artCal.html (art events)


Fall_2015_finals schedule.pdf [This class scheduled to have it's final exam from 7:00 am - 9:00 am on December 18. We can agree as a class to meet at a different time if there are no other scheduling conflicts.]

Due Dates:

  • Projects and other due dates announced in timely manner.
  • Blog postings due by next class meeting
  • All Art Events and Assignments due by last class meeting.
  • Final Project presentation on last class meeting, digital AND printed!

GRADING: 90%+=A, 80-89=B, 70-79=C, 60-69=D, <60=F
Participation counts! Especially when a student is on the cusp of the next letter grade . . .

Artists: David Carson (video), David Carson (site), Milton Glaser (video), Milton Glaser (site), Michael Doret, Barbara Kruger, Joshua Davis, Paula Scher, Sheppard Fairey

Description: Beginning Graphic Design will introduce the student to ways in which computers and vector-based output tools can be combined to create original art using Adobe Illustrator CS5 in conjunction with the Adobe Creative Suite of tools. Concepts and applications will be discussed. Projects focusing on color theory, font management, typography, illustration (technical, botanical, landscape), page-layout, logo, poster, and portrait design will be covered. Exploration using tools and techniques to produce projects to digitally create and enhance original and existing images for output to print, Web, and other electronic media, and as a tool for creative expression. Students will experiment with different conceptual approaches to art making and develop aesthetic strategies. The history of graphic design and contemporary graphic design artists, such as Milton Glaser, Michael Doret, Joshua Davis, Barbara Kruger, Paula Scher, and David Carson, will be discussed and analyzed.

The class will combine lectures, screenings, group discussions, research, presentations, critique, and a writing component, as well as attendance of Art Events.

Content: This course will introduce the student to how computers and vector-based output tools are combined to create original art using Adobe Illustrator. The idea is planted to create something that will bring to fore the artistic side of graphic arts without begrudging the commercial; good graphic art is good art! Concept and application in discussions and projects on typography, page-layout, illustration (botanical and technical), logo design, poster design, and self-portraiture will be covered. 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.

Adobe Illustrator:
Vector based artistic output, either scanned and traced manually or by “Live Trace;” or generated with provided tools, holds the advantages of infinite scalability and smooth lines at any magnification. Illustrator is the primary tool of photo conversion of bit-mapped and pixel-based files into resolution-independent files for sustained clarity for output to print and Web as well as the technical and artistic illustrator’s choice.

Collaboration: As a beginning class that will none-the-less be addressing some advanced techniques, there will no doubt be many questions as you master the software. Make a point to ask your neighbor to the left and your neighbor to the right for help before overtaxing your instructor. This becomes less of an issue with a smaller class.

Quick Design Checklist—An abbreviated version—one page.
You're not done with your poster until you run it by this list!


SCHEDULE>subject to change!

Syllabus: Please note that the syllabus is updated regularly to reflect changes in schedule, class direction, unforeseen events, possible guest speakers, etc. Content will be added over the course of the semester.

(week 01) September 04 + Orientation

(week 02) September 11

(week 03) September 18

(week 04) September 25

(week 05) October 02

(week 06) October 09

(week 07) October 16

(week 08) October 23

(week 09) October 30

(week 10) November 06

(week 11) November 13

(week 12) November 20


(week 14) December 04

(week 15) December 11

(week 16) December 18 — No Class Meeting.


Consider taking the Advanced Class next semester!

  • Advanced Graphic Design & Visual Media

    Fridays, 9 -12:50, Arts 239



Art Events


Credit Item List

File Storage

Required Text

Student Sites

Student Work