The intent of this class is to expand your illustrator horizons to encompass the interests and skills of graphic design. These include a glance at the history of graphic design, study of the basics of layout and typography, and an integration of illustration with design.

CLASS BLOG Check this class blog weekly. I’ll post links to articles and other assets here. It’s also your most current, one-stop shopping to see what’s expected for that week’s class.

SOFTWARE We’ll be working with Adobe Creative Suite 6. If you don’t own the software, you’ll need to work in Shaffer’s computer cluster to do your work. We will work predominately with Adobe’s page layout program, InDesign, although we’ll also look at correct type handling and how to create layouts in Photoshop and Illustrator.


EXERCISES Periodically in class you’ll be guided in an exercise to explore, play, expand skills, demonstrate newfound knowledge.

LOGO Make a mark. Use a combination of letterforms or a logotype plus illustration to create a logo using Adobe Illustrator.

POSTER Choose a real or fictious performance and create a poster advertising the event. Create an original illustration. Use design to establish a clear heirarchy of information, legibility from a distance and to set an appropriate atmosphere for the performance.

BOOK JACKET Choose a book you know and love to create an original illustration for the cover. Demonstrate an understanding of display type and communicate expressively the book’s tone.

BEVERAGE PACKAGING Choose a beverage to design labels for. Choose three flavors, to work in a series. Explore theme and variation, using color, title and illustration to distinguish each label.

MAGAZINE SPREAD We’ll look at your pre-existing editorial illustrations, choosing one (or more) to place in a layout of a magazine spread. You can add spot or partial page illustrations. You’ll exercise growing skills in handling text type, display type and the grid.

PINTEREST Build Pinterest boards for illustration, typography, package design, book jackets, poster design, and magazine design. Follow my boards and I’ll follow yours so we can inspire one another.

SKETCHBOOKS Keep sketchbooks with class notes and sketches of your design process. More sketches is better.

PROPOSALS For each project, hand in a written proposal with your idea and sketches if due.

CRITIQUE A final review by the class. Presentation of assignments reflects attitude and is part of the classroom participation component of your grade. Skills you use in presenting your work are critical practice for the way you’ll present work to clients. Everyone must participate, to articulate their perspective and offer constructive criticism. A print of the assignment with copies of your sketch process will be handed in after crit.

Additionally, all digital files must be archived to a Dropbox folder that will be set up for you save to. One criteria of the class is that digital files must be properly executed. You’ll learn how to package an InDesign file (and why this matters). You’ll also save pdf.s of each project in case there are problems with fonts or the like. Without the digital file, work will automatically have a lower grade.

SYLLABUS The syllabus is subject to change as the need arises. See above about checking the class blog frequently.


There’s a point system to grade students, with the following values:

LOGO: 10 pts.

POSTER: 15 pts.


BOOK JACKET: 15 pts.



EFFORT: 10 pts.

Points will be deducted for late assignments, for each unexcused absence and for excessive talking, leaving early, and inattentiveness.

INCOMPLETES Incompletes will be granted only in extenuating circumstances. If you have a valid medical excuse or family emergency and you’ve completed the bulk of course work for the semester, an incomplete is possible. You are responsible for initiating the paperwork for an incomplete.


WEEK 1—JANUARY 15 Overview, Gestalt Principles

IN CLASS Review Syllabus. Gestalt Principles talk. Type play.

HOMEWORK Start research into logo design. Choose a small business, either local or known to you (ie. your uncle’s knitting and yarn shop).

READ Thinking With Type: Pages 1–35

WEEK 2—JANUARY 22 Logo Design
DUE Logo design proposal: choice of business, description including uses needed for logo (signage, business card, menu, etc.)

IN CLASS Lecture on Logo Design. Watch video. Review: Adobe Illustrator. Work on logos.

HOMEWORK Research your client further: Write up 10-20 keywords for your logo and sketch 20 logo ideas.


WEEK 3—JANUARY 29 Logo Design
DUE Logo keywords and sketches

IN CLASS Work on logos in Adobe Illustrator

HOMEWORK Logo finishes


DUE Logo finishes
IN CLASS Logo design crit

Lecture on Typography. Choose an Old Style font and typeset: Hamburgefonts

HOMEWORK Anatomy of letterforms. Poster sketches.

WEEK 5—FEBRUARY 12 Posters
DUE Hamburgefonts, poster proposal and sketches

IN CLASS Work on posters
HOMEWORK Refined of poster design

WEEK 6—FEBRUARY 19 Poster Design

DUE Sketches for poster design
IN CLASS Work on posters.
HOMEWORK Work on posters

WEEK 7—FEBRUARY 26 Poster Crit

DUE Finished printed posters
IN CLASS Poster crit
HOMEWORK Proposal and sketches for beverage packaging

WEEK 8—MARCH 5 Packaging
DUE Proposal and sketches for beverage labels
IN CLASS Work on label designs


WEEK 9—MARCH 19 Label Design
IN CLASS Work on beverage labels
HOMEWORK Finish up your beverage labels

WEEK 10—MARCH 27 Label Design Crit
DUE Printed beverage labels
IN CLASS Beverage label crit
HOMEWORK Choose a book to design the jacket for, start
sketching thumbnails

WEEK 11—APRIL 2 Book Jackets

DUE Book jacket sketches
IN CLASS Work on book jackets
HOMEWORK Finish book jackets


Not everyone will be going but it’s an inspirational experience. Guest speakers this year including Scott McCloud and Aline Kominsky-Crumb.

WEEK 12—APRIL 9 Book Jacket Crit
DUE Book jackets
IN CLASS Book jacket crit
HOMEWORK Choose a pre-existing editorial illustration of yours to place in a magazine layout; write headlines, cut and paste body copy, etc.

WEEK 13—APRIL 17 Magazine Design
DUE Magazine layout sketches
IN CLASS Work on magazine spreads
HOMEWORK Work on magazine spreads

WEEK 14—APRIL 24 Grand Finale
DUE Final magazine spreads
IN CLASS Final Crit: magazine spreads


• No working on computers during lectures, presentations or critique.

No texting during class

• All devices that receive calls or messages must be silenced and put away.

ATTENDANCE Attendance is required. One absence for the semester will be tolerated; however, you are still responsible for turning assignments in on time. Two unexcused absences will lower your final grade by one letter grade. Three unexcused absences may result in failing the course. Mechanical failures (alarm clocks, car failure, etc.) are not valid excuses. Lateness of an hour or more will count as an absence. Chronic lateness or skipping out early will lower your grade. There is a 10 minute grace period and then class will begin. If you are truly sick, you  must bring a note from the health center or a doctor.

Academic Integrity

Syracuse University’s Academic Integrity Policy holds students accountable for the integrity of the work they submit. Students should be familiar with the policy and know that it is their responsibility to learn about course-specific expectations, as well as about university policy. The university policy governs appropriate citation and use of sources, the integrity of work submitted in exams and assignments, and the veracity of signatures on attendance sheets and other verification of participation in class activities. The policy also prohibits students from submitting the same written work in more than one class without receiving written authorization in advance from both instructors. The presumptive penalty for a first offense by an undergraduate student is course failure, accompanied by a transcript notation indicating that the failure resulted from a violation of Academic Integrity Policy. The standard sanction for a first offense by a graduate student is suspension or expulsion. For more information and the complete policy, see

Disability-Related Accommodations

If you believe that you need accommodations for a disability, please contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS),, located in Room 309 of 804 University Avenue, or call (315) 443-4498, TDD: (315) 443-1371 for an appointment to discuss your needs and the process for requesting accommodations. ODS is responsible for coordinating disability-related accommodations and will issue students with documented Disabilities Accommodation Authorization Letters, as appropriate. Since accommodations may require early planning and generally are not provided retroactively, please contact ODS as soon as possible.

Religious Observances Policy

SU religious observances policy, found at, recognizes the diversity of faiths represented among the campus community and protects the rights of students, faculty, and staff to observe religious holidays according to their tradition. Under the policy, students are provided an opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirements that may be missed due to a religious observance provided they notify their instructors before the end of the second week of classes for regular session classes and by the submission deadline for flexibly formatted classes.

For fall and spring semesters, an online notification process is available through MySlice/StudentServices/Enrollment/MyReligiousObservances.

Any class related information that is missed as a result of religious observances is available through an appointment with the instructor.

Student Academic Work Policy

SU policy on student academic work may be found art:


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