Course Content and Outcome Guide for GD 120

Course Number:
GD 120
Course Title:
Graphic Design I
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces the basic concepts of graphic design, including design elements and principles. Emphasizes the design process, developing an idea from thumbnail sketch, through tight roughs, to a comprehensive design. Focuses on the importance of presentation, industry standards and professional tools and techniques. Required for entry into the Graphic Design program.

Addendum to Course Description

This is a screening course for graphic design majors. A grade of a "B" or better is required to continue in the program.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Students should be able to:

• Create professional-level graphic design projects using foundation principles and elements
• Apply the professional-level design development process of thumbnails, tight roughs and final comprehensive designs
• Apply industry-level standards and practices in presentations.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Projects will be the major criteria for evaluation. Emphasis will be placed on professional standards including following project specifications, creativity, presentation, ability to meet deadlines and critique participation. Additional methods of assessment may include quizzes, exercises, assignments, and attendance.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Students should be able to:

  • Correctly use graphic design tools including t-square, triangle, ruler, pens, X-acto and utility knives
  • Correctly use graphic design materials including matt board, bristol board, spray mount, tapes, tracing and vellum papers
  • Develop design solutions using professional design process methods including
  • thumbnails, tight roughs and final comps
  • Hand-render cleanly and accurately
  • Research and use outside resources for highest quality output
  • Identify design elements and principles
  • Demonstrate visual hierarchy, focal points and eye flow
  • Enlarge and reduce artwork to specific sizes
  • Identify the differences between serif, sans serif, script and decorative type
  • Identify continuous tone and line art images
  • Design with emphasis on both positive and negative space
  • Successfully combine typography with a complex shape
  • Demonstrate variations in scale with various design elements
  • Choose appropriate paper for stationery and business cards
  • Mount and flap artwork using professional presentation materials and methods
  • Verbally communicate design process and intent
  • Discuss work in front of a group, using appropriate design terms and vocabulary
  • Analyze and critique designs both independently and in a group.

Themes, Issues and Concepts


• Communication

• Professionalism

• Processes


• Good vs. bad design

• Quality

• Attention to detail


• Creativity

• Time management