COMD 1100 – Graphic Design Principles I

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. Students develop basic skills in two-dimensional design, color and content creation while employing the design process of research, sketching and experimentation. Communication designers use the concepts explored in this course in disciplines such as advertising, graphic design, web design, illustration, broadcast design, photography, and game design.

1cl hr, 5 lab hrs, 3 cr


Prerequisite: CUNY proficiency in reading, writing and mathematics or concurrent enrollment in ENG 092R, ESOL 022R or 032R; ENG 092W, ESOL 021W, or ESOL 031W; MAT 0630 or MAT 0650 as required


Course Objectives



For the successful completion of this course, students should be able to:


Evaluation methods and criteria

Use analog media to communicate and develop concepts through sketching, design prototypes, and illustration


Students produce drawings and sketches through the development process of all projects.


Use industry-standard software tools (Adobe CC) to execute graphics, illustrations, and photo-illustrations


Students will employ these tools for multiple projects and activities.

Use the elements and principles of design in a composition. 


The students will create a pattern and describe the visual concepts used (line, space, shape, form, etc.) in a discussion.

Apply the design development process to ideate and realize projects’ creative and artistic direction.

Students will demonstrate competency by researching stylistic influences, producing thumbnail sketches and comps, and iterating designs to achieve a successful final execution.


Utilize the concept of compositional balance, including symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial balance.


Students will demonstrate competency by designing a series of patterns utilizing various forms of balance.

Apply color theory to a specified design.

Students will demonstrate competency by using color theory to create a balanced composition.

Understand fundamental concepts of digital imaging, including electronic color systems, raster and vector graphic types, and image formats/compression.


Students will demonstrate competency across multiple projects by creating digital compositions in a representative range of formats.

Design a pattern of three-dimensional forms in one-point and two-point perspective.

The students will demonstrate how volumes can be designed using perspective.

Create various design styles to define different visual identities.


The students will demonstrate the use of design concepts in a stylized design creating an identity for the subject matter.

Define and explain the design concepts and vocabulary in a critique.


Students will gain familiarity and proficiency with design concepts and vocabulary by employing it during design development and critique sessions.

Present a basic portfolio of the projects in this course for final review. 

The students will present their portfolio and participate in a formal critique.


General Education Outcomes

General Education Outcome covered:

How the outcome is assessed:

Thinking Critically

The student will demonstrate the ability to evaluate evidence and apply reasoning to make valid inferences.

Evaluate through class critique to determine how well students were able to advance their project concepts by applying evidence and using logic to make decisions.


Oral Communication

Speaking: The student will demonstrate the ability to articulate himself using relevant industry-specific language

Evaluate through class discussion and /or written tests if students use appropriate nomenclature to defend creative, critical and technical decisions in project concepts and development.



The student will demonstrate the ability to write clearly articulated thoughts in a professional, informed manner.


Evaluate how well students absorbed and consequently applied the learning though graded written portions of projects.


Teaching/Learning Method

  • Lecture/ Readings
  • Demonstrations
  • Project based lab
  • Research Assignments
  • Blackboard Descriptions


Required Text



Required Materials

Please acquire materials as described, especially the paper. If you want to make a substitution, check with me first.


The following items are recommended, but not strictly necessary:


Attendance (College) and Lateness (Department) Policies:

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 they be in danger of not meeting the course objectives and participation expectations, which could lead to a lower grade.


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.



Lost and Found (Project 1) – due 9.16


Analyze and recreate figure-ground relationships from photographs in two abstract drawings.


Pattern Potrait (Project 2) – due 9.27


Create a self-portrait using tessellating patterns of varying densities to replicate gray values.


Pixel Painting (Project 3) – due 10.21


Choose a figurative (not abstract) painting from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection, divide it into equal square sections, then paint a “pixelated” version by recreating the average color in each square.


Recomposed (Project 4) – due 11.4


Recreate the geometric composition and visual hierarchy from the previous project in a completely abstract painting,


Photomontage (Project 5) – due 11.22


Use found imagery and simple geometric forms to visually communicate a randomly assigned phrase.


Photorealism (Project 6) – due 12.13


Digitally illustrate a photorealistic scene/landscape that visually conveys a randomly selected emotion.




PPA (Participation/Preparation/Attendance)


PPA is based on regular attendance, participation and engagement during critiques and classroom exercises, and completion of homework assignments



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