Week 1: Principles of Visual Communication
The principles of visual design including composition, color, typography and branding will be introduced and guidelines for making design decisions will be discussed. The aim of the session is to develop a general understanding of techniques for approaching design decisions as well as the verbal and visual vocabulary to describe and evaluate them.
Assignment: Each student will post to their blog an example of good design and analyze it for it’s underlying sytems of grid, typography, color and composition.
Week 2: Signage and Wayfinding Systems
We will examine signage as one of the most basic and omnipresent examples of visual design. Signs include all the elements of 2-d design including color, composition and typography and also serve as the most rudimentary form of user interface. We will explore graphic systems and look at how these systems can effectively define user behavior and work from micro to macro scales.
Assignment: Students will photograph 4-5 examples of unsuccessful signage and present and discuss their examples and recommendations on how to improve them.
Week 3: Typography
This session will concentrate on the fundamentals of typography, and particularly on how typographic form and visual arrangement communicate and reinforce a message. The class lecture will include an introduction to basic letterforms and typefaces, typographic terminology, and a brief history and theoretical overview of type. We will explore techniques for infusing meaning into typographic compositions and discuss how to make successful typographic choices.
Assignment: Choose a Create an expressive word
Week 4: Composition
In this class we will look at composition and explore techniques for achieving balance and clarity. We will take a deeper look at the grid and other constructs that can be used as an organizing principle. We will look at how these constructs have been successfully applied to photography, printed and digital designs.
Assignment: Create a business card for yourself applying the principles of typography and layout that have been discussed in class. Be prepared to review the card in both digital and print form. Bring 17 copies of your printed card trimmed to size to class.
Week 5. Logo and Brand Design
Logo design will be discussed and explored with a look at many classic examples of logo design and an analysis of what makes them successful or not. We will discuss what branding is and isn’t and the various communication elements that define a brand.
Assignment: Choose a logo designer and come to class prepared to present their work and a particular logo that you find successful. Develop a logo for ITP.
Week 6. Color Theory
Color theory will be introduced in this session. We will explore the mathematics of color and discuss how to make effective color choices. We will look at the wide range of digital tools available for selecting and manipulating color and discuss the differences between digital and print color models and how to translate between them.
Assignment: Take the color hue test. Use your skills in Processing to create a dynamic color composition. Your composition should be created by applying a manipulation of 2 of the 3 variables of hue, saturation or brightness.
Week 7. Information Design
Facts and data are often a critical component of a message. This session will explore techniques for displaying statistical information. Students will be presented with an overview of data display typologies and discuss their appropriateness to various data problems. We will discuss the ways the format of presentation impacts the interpretation of the data.