GDES-270 spring 2021 / David Ramos, American University Design

Tools, materials, and resources

Course sites and services


We’ll use a Canvas site for turning in work and receiving grades, for posting assignment sheets (which are shared between several sections of this course), and for hosting reading materials that are under copyright. (Canvas )

I’ll send any critical, all-class messages as announcements within Canvas. Make sure that Canvas will notify you when you receive a message. (How to set Canvas notifications settings.)

Course website

(You’re here!) This is the main course website, which includes the schedule, deadlines, and links to resources. Bookmark it—you’ll keep referring to it over the semester.

Zoom (videoconferencing)

Link/password on Canvas .

Miro (online whiteboard)

Link on Canvas .

Slack (asynchronous discussions)

Posting is optional, but will count toward your participation grade. Link on Canvas .

LinkedIn Learning (software tutorials)

The AU Library provides access to LinkedIn Learning, formerly We’ll be using the site’s tutorials to cover basic technology skills. The AU Library provides instructions on how to set up your LinkedIn Learning account.


You’ll need:

Creative Cloud

The Art Department/Design Program provides access to Adobe Creative Cloud.

Here’s the department guidance:

  1. In the first week of classes, you will receive an email from “Adobe Creative Cloud” that gives you all of the information you need in order to create an account and then download whatever applications you need.
  2. Please check your spam folder if you don’t receive this message.
  3. When you sign in and are asked what type of account you are using, choose “Enterprise.”
  4. If you have any issue with the link provided in the Adobe Creative Cloud email, you should be able to go directly through the site and sign in/create an account via the main page using your email.
  5. If you continue to have issues, please tell your instructors so they can coordinate with the Department.

We’ll use Adobe Illustrator particularly heavily. Work through the LinkedIn Learning tutorial on the program. (The AU Library provides instructions on how to get access to your LinkedIn Learning account.) If you have extensive experience with Illustrator, contact me about whether you can skip the tutorials.

Your Creative Cloud license gives you access to Photoshop, as well. You may find Photoshop useful. See the Photoshop Basics course on LinkedIn Learning for tutorials.

Supplies and materials

If you’re in the U.S., the department will mail you a supply kit containing:

There is one optional textbook:

Lupton, Ellen, and Jennifer Cole Phillips. Graphic Design: The New Basics. Second edition. New York, N.Y.: Princeton Architectural Press, 2015.

This book is available as an ebook from the AU library. The first edition is also acceptable.

Reading in Graphic Design: The New Basics is suggested but not required; there will be no quizzes on the material in the textbook, but you will do better work if you complete the reading.

AU support services

American University offers an array of support services.