GRAPHIC DESIGN: Typography, Color, and Page Layout- GENERAL ORIENTATION

Contact Instructor info: James Miller; email is the best way to get in contact. or through Blackboard messaging.

Class Web Site: Blackboard is the official website for the class. This site provides a place for you to send me messages, turn-in your work, participate in online Discussions, and check your grades. From there, you will also be directed to other sites as necessary to accomplish the given assignments.

Schedule: We meet Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:00 - 5:00 pm for the next 5 weeks. As the title suggests, we'll be touching upon basic aspects of graphic design that can be applied to various forms of digital media output. We'll be spending about 40 hours together, plus some time online. No previous experience necessary. Everyone comes in with their own level of skill.

San Diego Continuing Education:

Weekly Schedule: Lecture topic plus instruction/demo plus hands-on assignments; participation in Discussions through Blackboard; reading; quizzes.

Lab Time: Class is 4 hours; part of the class period will be devoted to lab time.

Navigating Blackboard

Announcements are about things I want you to remember, like assignments, homework, due dates, recent events, plus any exciting add-ons. Read Announcements regularly!

Assignments is where you will turn in your work for a grade. You will also post certain items to the Discussion Board so your classmates can see what you're doing!

Web Links are places you need to visit for info, materials, or research.

Student Sites is a list of links to the Wordpress sites showcasing your work for me, the class, and prospective employers.

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.

Resources is where you will find assigned reading material and other things you may need.


You will create a site (CMS-content management site) especially for this class. If you already have one of these sites, establish this class as a new blog. Yours to keep after the class is over and a showcase for your burgeoning design portfolio!

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 mostly output to pdf (jpg & png for posting to Discussion Board & Wordpress)
—lo-rez RGB for Web
—you will output hi-rez files for Projects that you print

Learning styles
visual, auditory, kinesthetic (what is your style?)

Independence Skills

No cell phones, please! No food/drink in classroom (keyboards).

Books: There is no textbook you need to buy. My own subscription to, an online video tutorial service, will be utilized to supplement my own lectures and demos. i have a recommended booklist here.

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 Blackboard. Read these tips on storage.

• 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)

•(Mac tutorial for PC users)

• fonts (briefly) Fonts have a voice. Sometimes they whisper and sometimes they scream.

• student responsibilities (keep all your files!)

• hold down ‘option’ key when dragging and dropping files

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

• DRMs (briefly)

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!


• There is a sign-in sheet that it is very important that you sign! The class is free. The school gets paid based on attendance and performance. Please comply!

• If you just happen to 'not' come to class sometimes, don't ask me what you 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) 

It’s about generating and manipulating images that use will use as a basis for other work. Lots of images are captured with a digital camera, but photographs have limitations. Vector information generated through Illustrator is resolution independent, scalable to any size without degradation of image quality. Illustrator is an effective tool for generating new images of your own, or scanning in drawings and tracing them with the pen tool, taking them beyond your sketchbook. It’s for people who want to take hand-generated ideas to the next level, or for people who hate to draw an want and but are good at technical manipulation and know what looks good and how to get it there. Either way, the more control you have over the software and understanding of it’s use as a tool makes you better at expressing your ideas graphically, something for which you can be paid.

Concept and application in discussions and projects on typography, page-layout, illustration (organic 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.

We touch upon both beginning and advanced Illustrator 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. What do you call waht we do

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) (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. (i.e.

Tivoli Audio
Communication Arts
Stock Logos

If something is said to be graphic . . (look at links in week 1 and show graphic style)

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 looking at many aspects of graphic design and it’s myriad forms of output, with an emphasis on good design. Knowing the tools is only part of the equation; what to do with them is a far greater challenge.

Mac basics tour and terminology

• monitor /tower/iMac

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


Topics lecture material


Week One Assignments


Aldus Manutius (25)

Go to this site:

Scroll down till you find the assignment, Aldus Manutius.

Follow the instructions and recreate the given document as closely as you can using Illustrator.

You will output a 2-page PDF that you will upload to BB. Do not submit native Illustrator files! DUE posted 7-22-15 at 11:59 pm!


Font Attributes (25)

(Go to this site:

Scroll down till you find the assignment, Font Attributes.

Follow the instructions and recreate the given document as closely as you can using Illustrator.

You will output a 1-page PDF that you will upload to BB. Do not submit native Illustrator files! DUE posted 7-22-15 at 11:59 pm!


What do you hope to get out of this class?

Talk about your experience using computers for art, graphics, image technology, or anything else you feel is relevant. Talk about any actual creative work you have done that was used for a purpose other than class, whether you were paid or not. Do you work in the field?

Self Analysis

Begin to define an editorial/identity theme by examining your own creative capacity and personal involvement with self-expression.

1. Do you have a career goal that relates to working creatively, or with some aspect of digital media that allows you to express yourself?

2. Do you wish to work in a creative or design capacity of any form? —singer, writer, dancer, actor, sculptor, painter, filmmaker, web designer, etc.

3. What is your learning style? (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) What does it take to make something real for you? (to see it, hear it, touch it?)

4. As an art student, or an art enthusiast, what is your preferred medium? What is it that you do best? (the vertical part of the “T”) —Maybe you don’t know, yet. We’ll explore some the different career paths you might take.5. Did/does your family/spouse/friends support you in your creative/media related career goals?6. If you make any art on your own, do you show it to anyone?7. What kinds of art do you like?


Homework: read the following articles:

NOTE: You may have to copy/paste the FIRST link directly into your browser! The others seem to load just fine. t shaped people article definition of t shaped skills 2 people forming a t shape creative resume article art in every day life (egghead)