Breaking The Grid: An Introduction to Graphic Design

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Summer 2018 quarter (Full Session)

Taught by


Previous coursework in visual/media arts will be helpful but not necessary.
This course requires basic knowledge of computer technology.

This course is an exploration of the fundamental principles of graphic design through a series of weekly assignments and group critiques, supported by short readings, class discussions and seminars. The readings will introduce the students to the vocabulary of design exploring the human heritage of our imagery through history with a focus on women graphic designers. This class concentrates on developing the skills to manipulate and merge core design elements such as type,shape and image to transmit content and values. We will investigate the use of elementary tools such as composition, color, hierarchy, scale, rhythm, and visual metaphor. In the first half of the course, you will work essentially by hand and explore simple analogue processes such as collage techniques, Xerox machine, and Letterpress Printing. In the second half of this course, we will transition to working with computer technology, using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign software (there will be a few workshops to help with this transition however this is not a software-based course and you will be responsible for teaching yourselves) for different approach of graphic design work. Finally, to tie back together our analog and digital practices and knowledge, we will also learn how to generate type-high 3D printed prototypes to bring back to the letterpress studio. The assignments are designed to help you develop a working process that leads to a body of accomplished visual work, as well as an analytic and critical vocabulary engaging that work, laying a solid groundwork for more study.

Program Details

Fields of Study

art history media arts media studies visual arts

Preparatory For

design, graphic design, arts


Summer Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

Tuesday: 12pm - 5pm 
+ 2 to 6 hours outside of class of reading and lab work to meet weekly assignment deadlines

Online Learning

No Required Online Learning

Special Expenses

Approximately $65 for texts: Thinking with Type, 2nd revised and expanded edition: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students, by Ellen Lupton, Princeton Architectural Press, 2010. (ISBN 978-1568989693) - $25 • Women in Graphic Design 1890-2012 (English and German Edition), by Sabine Bartelsheim (Author), Ute Brüning (Author), Gerda Breuer (Editor), Julia Meer (Editor) - Jovis - December 31, 2012 - $40


$100 for project supplies