COMD1100 GP1 SPRING 2019

Course Description:

This basic design and color theory course explores graphic communication through the understanding of the elements and principles of design, as well as the design process, including idea development through final execution. We will develop fundamental skills in two-dimensional design, color and content creation while employing the design process of research, sketching and experimentation.

The course develops the ability to see critically. We look at the history of design and art with a global perspective. We examine the history of aesthetics throughout the world, and various examples and theories of design and color to understand the language of design and how our attitudes are informed and influenced by this visual syntax. The class proceeds as a lab in which we continually ask the questions: What is a good design and why is it good? To design is to endow images with significance and meaning. As a designer, your task is to use the elements of design consciously.

A working definition of design is visual creation that fills practical demands. Communication designers use the concepts explored in this course in such disciplines as advertising, graphic design, web design, illustration, photography, and game design. An effective design successfully conveys a message. A good designer understands and is in control of a visual language. Our objective is to think as designers and become fluent in visual language through a critical examination of fine art, design and popular culture. To hone this awareness and control we isolate and examine the basic elements of design, including line, shape, form, space, texture, value, color, composition and concept. In our analysis of composition we examine unity, symmetry, asymmetry, balance, rhythm, spatial illusion and metaphor.

This basic design and color theory course explores graphic communication through the understanding of the elements and principles of design, as well as the design process, including idea development through final execution. We will develop fundamental skills in two-dimensional design, color and content creation while employing the design process of research, sketching and experimentation.

The course develops the ability to see critically. We look at the history of design and art with a global perspective. We examine the history of aesthetics throughout the world, and various examples and theories of design and color to understand the language of design and how our attitudes are informed and influenced by this visual syntax. The class proceeds as a lab in which we continually ask the questions: What is a good design and why is it good? To design is to endow images with significance and meaning. As a designer, your task is to use the elements of design consciously.

A working definition of design is visual creation that fills practical demands. Communication designers use the concepts explored in this course in such disciplines as advertising, graphic design, web design, illustration, photography, and game design. An effective design successfully conveys a message. A good designer understands and is in control of a visual language. Our objective is to think as designers and become fluent in visual language through a critical examination of fine art, design and popular culture. To hone this awareness and control we isolate and examine the basic elements of design, including line, shape, form, space, texture, value, color, composition and concept. In our analysis of composition we examine unity, symmetry, asymmetry, balance, rhythm, spatial illusion and metaphor.

Useful Sources for design:

Nature, history, culture, fine art, research, library, internet, museums, drawing from observation, photography, film, personal history, memory, and dreams. You are required to keep a clipping file of images and colors, as well as a design journal for this course that I will check regularly. Several textbooks, including Design Basics by David Lauer, are available in the library to refer to during the course or you can buy an inexpensive one online. I will be sending by email an extensive bibliography with other recommended reading for the course.

Course Expectations:

In-class and homework will explore design principles through exercises, approximately seven projects, design journal, research, field trips and written work. Grades are based on a combination of attendance, in-class work, completed projects, mid-term exam, essay, design journal, final exam, and participation in critiques. While useful, drawing ability is not essential for this course and work on computer will supplement work executed by hand with mixed media.

Attendance is imperative to your success and grade. No more than 3 absences allowed (10% of class instructional hours). After 3 absences, a student may be withdrawn from the class (code WU). Students arriving after the roll is taken will be marked “late.” After being absent three times or equivalent (2 lateness = 1 absence) a student may be asked to withdraw from the class (code W before college drop deadline). Use Late Sign-In on chalkboard so I know you’re here after attendance is taken.

Weeks 1-5 Point, line, shape & composition

  • Nature as structure
  • Geometric & organic shape
  • Positive and negative space
  • Mirroring, figure ground reversal, deconstruction and shape transformation
  • Balance, symmetry, asymmetry
  • Unity
  • Contrast & tension
  • Texture, screening of Vik Muniz documentary
  • Value studies in black, white and gray

Weeks 4-6 Pattern & perspective

  • Space, composition and creating visual interest
  • Rotation of unit form
  • Tessellations, invented structure in pattern, computer
  • Repetition, rhythm, rhythmic progression
  • Illusion of movement
  • Depth: linear, two-point, multiple point perspective; atmospheric perspective
  • Expressing volume and shadow with pencil, ink, gouache
  • Survey of Aesthetic Principles: Plato & Aristotle, Asian art, African art, pop art, advertising

Weeks 7-10 (Week 8 Mid-term Evaluations) Introduction to color

  • Color theories and color mixing
  • Additive & subtractive mixing; digital color theory
  • Color wheel, Newton, Itten

·       Complementary color

·       Saturation, tint scale, hues, values

  • Warm and cool, neutral color
  • Interaction of color, Albers, Goethe
  • Integration of computer and digital design color theory
  • Simultaneous contrast
  • Bauhaus
  • Color symbolism
  • Essay

Weeks 11-13 Composition with color

  • Rhythm, harmony, balance
  • Bezold effect, computer studies
  • Focal point
  • Communicating concept
  • Representation, non-representation, collage
  • Optical transparency
  • Online portfolios – select projects, edit and upload

Weeks 14-16 FINAL EXAM & FINAL PROJECT employing all the design principles

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