COURSE TITLE: COMD 1200 • Graphic Design Principles II • Sec D144 • Spring2020

1 class hour, 5 lab, 3 credits

Wednesdays 11 : 30 AM – 2 : 00 PM in N-1118/1119


Fridays 11:30AM–2:00 PM in N-1118/1119

Instructor: Professor Anita Giraldo
Phone: 718-260-5839 • Office: N-1111
Office hours: Wednesdays 2:30 – 4:30 PM in N-1111 or any other time by appointment.


This course explores creative visual thinking and its importance to communication design. Students will experiment with image-making techniques and learn to use graphic elements to communicate concepts and ideas. The course will emphasize the integration of communication concepts, type and graphics and its relationship to multiple disciplines such as advertising, graphic design, web design, illustration, broadcast design production, and others. Students develop projects from thumbnails through final presentations.

Project Requirements:

The professional design process of concept, meetings, and thumbnail sketches through to presentation and final approved art will be followed for four projects with small homework projects in between to support the realization of the project. Students will have one week after each formal class critique to revise their projects for the final grading.

No low resolution (72 dpi) Internet art is permitted. YOU MUST CREATE/AUTHOR ALL YOUR IMAGES. Images cannot “rezed up” so begin with 300 dpi images and re-process them for digital use.

Goals and Methods of Assessment / Grading (Goals #1 – #5 are each 20% of the final semester grade):

Goal #1: Preparation: The understanding of how to prepare for doing a project before actually doing it: Following directions, assembling materials, conducting research.
Method of Assessment: A strict all-or-nothing pass/fail grade for the completing simple assignments.

Goal #2: Process: The understanding of the steps and procedures used in professional design. Method of Assessment: Thumbnail, rough and comprehensive homework sketches, through to final art, are required and graded.

Goal #3: Concept: The understanding of the importance of clever imagery in professional design.
Method of Assessment: The combination of symbolic (ideographic) imagery must quickly tell a story without the “crutch” of headlines and explanatory text blocks. Ideographs and pictographs combine to create a clear and creative promotional message.

Goal #4: Craft: The understanding of the importance of quality imagery and presentation in professional design.
Method of Assessment: The use of high resolution (300 dpi) graphics is required. 300 dpi raster imagery scaled up more than 25% from original size begins to look blurry. Options include taking photographs, creating digital / hand-made art, scanning real objects.

Goal #5: Punctuality: The understanding of the importance of a responsible attitude toward arrival time, and meeting design and production deadlines. Students who know they will be absent must e-mail homework via .pdf or .jpeg to me that day (or before).

Method of Assessment: Each deadline assigned to the steps of the design process will be graded. Sign-in: on-time and late sheets.

Student Outcomes:

The assignments and class discussions are geared to ensure that each student begins to:
1. have an understanding of the production steps required when creating promotional graphics.

2. have an understanding of the tools (both conventional and digital) available to designers.

3. explore the various aspects of dynamic page layout.

4. use and value conceptual thinking, as opposed to the mere collaging of images.

5. analyze, critically yet productively and diplomatically, proposed designs during a presentation.

6. assemble, cleanly and professionally, their artwork for presentation, exhibit and / or portfolio.

7. have a strong appreciation for project pacing and deadlines.

General Education Goals: How the Goal is assessed:

Information Literacy

The student will demonstrate the ability to find proper resources.

Assess, through class discussion if students have developed the ability to find information trough proper resources.

Oral Communication

Listening: The student will demonstrate the ability to discern pertinent information from irrelevant information.

Evaluate how well students absorbed and consequently applied the learning though oral critiques of projects.

Thinking Critically

The student will demonstrate the ability to evaluate strengths and relevance of arguments on a particular issue.

Evaluate through class critique to determine how well students were able to advance their project concepts through creative, critical and technical decisions.

Attendance (College) and Lateness (Department) Policies: READ CAREFULLY

Attendance Policy:

While CUNY does not have an attendance policy, attendance is taken and is important to success in this class. Both absences and arrival more than 15 minutes after the start of class will be marked. If excessive, the instructor will alert the student that he or she may be in danger of not meeting the course objectives and participation expectations, which could lead to a lower grade.

Critique sessions are required. You will be well aware of critique days and must attend and present.

Academic Integrity Standards

Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions, and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting, and citing sources.
As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion.

Required Materials:

  1. 8.5 x 11 sketchbook for thumbnails. If a digital one is used, set up a blog or sketchbook to save all the images gathered for this class.
  2. 12″ roll of tracing paper–white or goldenrod
  3. White artist’s tape
  4. Two magic markers, one chisel point, one fine point
  5. Two flash drives, one master, the other back-up. I will not accept the excuse that you lost your flash drive or work on it.
  6. Pencils or varying hardness, sharpener, eraser
  7. X-acto knife with blades
  8. Metal straight-edge, 12″ or longer
  9. Flexible transparent ruler. Schaedler rule is best (expensive, but an investment)
  10. Ultra-smooth, ultra white illustration board for hand-painted projects*
  11. Black and white plaka and three ROUND paint brushes of various thickness, two leak-proof containers***

**Order this soon, it’s not a usual stock item. If you can’t find white, just black is required. Can share one among yourselves.


Each week you are to fill in pages of your sketchbook  (or blog) with drawings, images, ideas, notes, etc. The visual notes may be pertinent to the assignments or may be sketches of notions that may have floated into your sphere of ideas.

The pages will be graded, upon announcement. There is no right way or wrong way of doing this. But you must constantly be adding to your idea book.

The Final is in two parts:
a) The DESIGN HERO poster, due one week before class ends for group printing

b) A fully designed ISSUU document, the free electronic platform for magazine publishing of the entire semester’s work, including sketches.


Week One:

Wed.29Jan : Review of the entire semester, Icon discussion, 77-square brainstorm grid distributed. Assignment: • Study this syllabus. Quiz on it coming up. Details to follow.

• Start a collection of images, some that may be icons, of your assigned word. Paste them in your sketchbook, redraw on top of them.

• Icon is assigned; start filling in the grid. • 1/2 Finished grid is due next session.
• Continue adding to your sketchbook

Fri.31Jan: The Icon. Lecture Lesson. Syllabus Quiz. How to make a PDF: a Portable Document Format, How to name files.
Assignment: a)  Continue adding to your sketchbook with an expansion of your icons. Review on Wednesday. b) Purchase all your supplies for the next class. c)Bring all supplies to the next classes. You will be graded. d)Finish filling in the grid

Week Two:

Wed.5Feb: Finished grid with all 77 sketches due. Personal Critique.

• Short Quiz on Syllabus
• Sketch  review
• Enlarged sketches on mini grid in pencil.

Assignment: • Fill three sheets given with treatments of three different icons

Fri7Feb: Critique of Icon.
Discussion: • Image as Identity. Bring icons into the computer, refine. Add color. • Quick review of Illustrator • Naming images and making PDFs

Assignment: a) Bring the three best sketches into the computer—either through direct drawing or scanning.     b) Refine sketches in bxw and color and upload. c)  Make bxw prints; bring them to the next class.

Week Three:

Wed.12Feb: No Class

Fri.14Feb: Review of sketchbook and icons. Critique of color files.

Assignment: a) Final refined sketches of icon in bxw and color. b) Print color files as per template; upload digital version.

How to make sketches into icons: 24 x 24 px, 64 x 64 px, 88 x 88 px

Critique of all icon work; Ligature is assigned.
Discussion: Type as image
Assignment: a) In pencil, on tracing paper, from the type book given, make 100 ligatures of two letters, or two numbers.

b) Read this: lettering/
c) Bring your completed color icon, ready for printing. We’re going to to print it.

Week Four:

Wed.19Feb: Personal Critique of Ligatures. Collection of Icon Project

Assignment: a) Continue drawing ligatures; b) Make three of them 6×6 inches in the computer and refine. c) Print the three pages

Fri.21Feb: Critique of refined Ligature

Discussion: Image and the Brand
Assignment: a) Refine and enlarge to 5×5”–five inches in one direction. b) Try adjusting each one working with proportions. c) Bring at least three of them. d) Bring supplies, cut board if you can, If not, I’ll help you do it in class.

Week Five:

Wed.26Feb: Type, Fonts and Letterforms

Discussion: Image and the Brand; computer sketches of ligature critiqued

Assignment: a) Transfer three 5×5” ligatures to your trimmed 6×6” illustration board, b) paint with Plaka.

Fri.28Feb: The Perfect Resume and cover letter.
Discussion: Look at the Perfect Resume. Use this format. Write your resume. Use InDesign to design it, upload.

• How to find the perfect job and write the cover letter to get the interview.

Assignment: a) Write your resume. Use InDesign to design it, upload.

b) Write your cover letter using the guide I gave you.  c) Keep painting your ligature. It has to be perfect.

Week Six:

Wed.4Mar: Type on the third dimension (Type on a box)
Discussion: How type must wrap around three sides (actually six) and be coherent.

Assignment: Chose one of your ligatures, print cube template and design, in pencil on tracing paper six sketches of your cube. You can also print six cubes and transfer the type design onto it. Sketches due next Tuesday.

Fri.6Mar: Critique of Ligature Bring executed ligature.

Week Seven:

Wed.11Mar: Crit and design: Type on a box
Fri.13Mar: Keep drawing and refining it in pencil.
Assignment: Finish layout in the computer. Print it on white paper.

Week Eight:

Wed.18Mar: Continue with computer work, refining box; print in class and assemble, refine further.
Assignment: Print box, see if it works, learn how to cut and fold a box. Do it again, if necessary. Execution must be perfect.

Fri.20Mar: In class, Refine computer work, and print Assignment: Fold and assemble perfectly. Bring for critique.

Week Nine:

Wed.25Mar: Critique of type on a box

Fri.27Mar: Design heros  Discussion

Assignment: a) Research your design hero. b) Find ten samples of his/her work, paste them in your sketchbook. c) Make a digital contact sheet of their work (look back!), with proper naming convention and upload. d) Start to prepare a five-minute oral presentation of your design hero for next Wednesday or the following Friday.

e) Read this:

Week Ten:

Wed.Apr1: Presentations of Design Hero

Fri.Apr3: Presentations of Design Hero

Assignment: You have a week and a half. a) Make your Color Guide (this takes 10 minutes), upload. b) In InD, Design a grid for your poster, bring four to a page, print 3 copies. Color block areas of text with colored pencil, bringing them to class. c) Choose your fonts. d) Collect the text for your poster. e) Look at these:

Here are the specs:

Format: Web

Size: 600 x 800 px Landscape (horizontal)

Margins: 36 px all sides

2 colors, one of them black; white as the base.

Spring break

Wed.8Apr: No Class

Fri.10Apr. No Class

Week Eleven:

Wed.15Apr: No Class

Fri.17 Apr: Grid/color block critique; transfer to computer, working with color transparencies.

Discussion: Layout compositions critique
Assignment: Look at this:

Week Twelve:

Wed.22Apr: Field Trip (TBA)
Fri.24.Apr: Discussion: The political poster in 1960s San Francisco. Finalize layout, begin final poster. Assignment: Have three tight sketches ready for presentation on Wednesday. b)  Open an account on

Week Thirteen:

Wed.29Apr: Critique of final sketch of Design Heroes Poster. Scan/collect materials for ISSUU doc. Design grid for ISSUU doc.

Assignment: a) Finish poster with any comments, making sure links work (if applicable), Upload. b) produce a print version, we’ll print on Friday. c) Finish Grid for Final ISSUU doc, d) block out entries, e) make map, start entering work.
Fri.1May: Critique and Printing Design Heroes poster, continue to input materials into ISSUU doc

Week Fourteen:

Wed.6May: Work on ISSUU doc; finish up any unresolved work

Fri.8May:Work on ISSUU doc; finish up any unresolved work

Week Fifteen:

Wed.13May:Last day, ISSUU doc is due with all materials. ALL MUST ATTEND.

Have a great summer.