GDES-270 spring 2023 / David Ramos, American University Design
Lester Beall, Rural Electrification Administration, 1937 (
J. Hirt, Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project, 1936 –1939 ( LOC).
Project 1 (link to the assignment page on Canvas) Secure any materials you’ll need for the Intro project.
Bring in an example of successful or unsuccessful design. (Bring in an object.)
Bring two photographs of a person for Project 1
Work in class
About the reading
Articles and excerpts from books are required reading. I don’t plan on giving quizzes, but I will if need be.
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.
Graphic Design: The New Basics, 2nd edition. NB1 is the 1st edition. The 1st edition generally has the same chapter titles as the 2nd. Where the chapters differ, this schedule specifies an alternative.
Studio/critique for Project 1
Send in the names of three possible designers for your
Designer presentation (form to come) Reading
The 2020 campaign gets colorful (one-minute read about colors in 2020 presidential campaign materials) Color (NB2 80—)
Transparency (NB2 154–)
Gestalt Principles (NB2 98–) or Figure/Ground (NB1 84–)
Mon: Scanner, printing
Thu: Illustrator demo
Mon/Thu: Studio/critique for Project 1
99% Symbolic, at 99 Percent Invisible (read the article, and if possible, listen to the podcast) Technology
Start working through the
LinkedIn Learning Illustrator tutorial. (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. Tech demos
Illustrator basics (~20 min. runtime)
Selections and basic line tools (~12 min. runtime)
Thu: Shadows and perception exercise
Mon: Final critique for Project 1
Visual translation. Bring in objects. Begin sketches and light/shadow studies in class. Reading
Thinking with Type, Letter (size, scale, type classficiations, type families, caps and small caps, and mixing types) and Text (tracking, line spacing, and alignment) Work through the
Bézier Game, which will help you gain control of the pen tool and drawing curves. Rhythym and Balance (NB2 48–)
Hierarchy (NB2 128–)
Color and strokes (~20 min. runtime)
Drawing (~13 min. runtime)
Continue work on
Graphic translation. Move your drawing process into Illustrator. Be sure to bring drawing materials to class.
Organizing projects (~10 min. runtime)
Alignment, stacking, and transformations (~9 min. runtime)
We’ll be discussing the reading in class on Thursday.
I’ve also uploaded a video that walks through
how to add a tracing image in Illustrator. Tech demos
Type (~12 min. runtime)
Raster images (~6 min. runtime)
Studio on Monday
Start research for
99% Invisible, Ubiquitous Icons (listen to podcast episode or read transcript, and review images in article) Grid (NB2 186–) (this week or next)
Visual translation Mon: Start on concepts for Information. For this class, prepare an outline of the text content you’d like to provide, a preliminary list of sources, and several images that you might use. Post to this project’s Miro board (see announcement for the invite link).
Thu: Studio/critique for
Posters / Type + image
Mon: Type + material exercise
Thu: studio for Information project
Thu: Turn in Information (final critique to follow)
Twenty Thousand Hertz, Ta-dum! It’s Netflix (listen to episode or read transcript) Rules and Randomness (NB2 248—)
Design and Build Lab visit
Visits to the
Design and Build Lab (East Campus, Don Myers Room 101) on Monday. Projects
Thu: Show concepts for Poster
Bring in an example of a piece of design that demonstrates notable choices, successful or unsuccessful, for sustainability
Thu: In-progress critique for Poster
Mon: Semifinal critique for Poster
Class does not meet during exam period.
Turn in any remaining work by Sunday, May 7 at 5:00 p.m. (D.C. time). Submit work on Canvas.