AVT 311: Graphic Design Methods and Principles

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Prerequisites: AVT 215 (+ AVT 104 and 180)—or permission of instructor


The course emphasizes developing multiple design solutions that require some research
as to the demographics, history, and/or culture. It further develops skills in design and typography, introduces conceptual problem solving, audience considerations, and the broad-based tools that designers must use to develop effective visual communication solutions. An emphasis is placed on the design methodology.


  • Develop visual sensitivity and competency in graphic communications by following
    a disciplined design methodology
  • Define problems, research, conceptualize, establish priorities, and develop
    graphic alternatives
  • Collaborate with other designers and other creative team members
  • Introduce students to design history, perceptual psychology and information design
  • Further develop computer design skills in page layout and image creation programs
  • Develop the ability to effectively communicate design concepts visually as well as verbally


Through lecture, studio and critique, students will design a series of projects developed from rough schematic level to final mounted presentation. The learning objectives are achieved through a series of sequential projects. We will build on concepts learned in the initial content areas and apply them in subsequent projects. Students shall provide a solution to the visual communication problem, and keep record of the process, conceptual development, and exploration of ideas that lead to the solution.

Textbooks & Materials


Due to the dynamics of the course your attendance, participation and punctuality are critical to your successful completion of the class. You must be on time—and prepared—with no exceptions. Not being properly prepared with required assignments is considered an absence from the class. Final projects are due at the beginning of class. Projects turned after the start of class are automatically reduced 1/2 letter grade. Late projects (after the due date) will not be accepted.

If compelled to miss a class, you must contact Cory, my TA, via email with an acceptable explanation* within 12 hours to be excused. If absent, you are responsible for materials covered in class—please "buddy–up" with a classmate for this information. Two unexcused absences will gravely effect successful completion of the course. Excessive tardiness will also affect your final grade (3 unexcused late arrivals equals an unexcused absence).


Students will be expected to demonstrate college level research, writing and presentation skills in the execution of all projects.

All final projects will be graded by the following criteria: concept, development, and presentation. Concept—developed through schematic thumbnail sketches and computer roughs—has the same weight as execution. Proper presentation on required materials also has equal weight as the first two. Final semester grade is determined by final project grades (60%), assignments (10%), quizzes (10%) and class participation (10%). There will be written final exam worth 10% of your grade.

If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations
please see me immediately. All academic accommodations must be first arranged through the Disability Resource Center (DRC).

Additional Requirements

A non-returnable digital portfolio on CD of all final projects must be turned in at the final class. Creative presentation of the digital portfolio CD (i.e., case, labeling, layout & design) will be part of the grade.


Personal communication devices must be turned to "silent mode" and put away.
Eating during class time is distracting in many ways—please finish any snacks or meals
prior to our class.

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