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Visual Communication Studio MMDI101-03 | Fall 2007 | T/F 1:00 - 3:50pm

PDF version of the syllabus

All communication takes place through language. However, not all language uses words. This course allows students to harness the power of visual language in order to convey messages and meaning. The elements of drawing and two-dimensional design that will be covered include point, line, shape, composition, texture, color, type, and image. Although non-digital mediums will be addressed, the exploration of digital tools (Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop) for the screen is a primary goal. Individual creativity will be stressed.

Instructor: Robert Carlsen
Contact: Terra 1213
Meetings: by appointment.
E-mail: [This address may not be active yet.]

Course Texts: [required]

Understanding Comics, Scout McCloud, Harper Perennial, ISBN 0-06-097625-x

Introduction to Two-Dimensional Design: Understanding Form and Function, John Bowers, Wiley, ISBN 0-47-129224-9


Course Goals:

Attendance Policy
This class will present a lot of material in a short period of time. This material will be complicated, technical, and detail-oriented. Prompt attendance for all class periods is essential. If you are late consistently you will not get an A in this course. This course also requires at least 6 hours a week of outside lab time. You should consider this an absolute minimum. These kinds of projects require a lot of time and energy. They will be impossible to complete unless you work consistently throughout the semester. Always take the limitation of lab hours and technical problems into consideration when planning your projects and remember to save everything and then save a back up as well.


Course work

  1. Formal documentation of the process of creating media for your projects that includes written and visual components. Documentation is turned in at midterm and final classes.
  2. Several studio projects and one final project.
  3. Regular studio exercises and class participation. Final review of class and studio assignments.


Grading Policy

Projects will be graded based on:

Grading will be based on class participation, the class projects, the documentation requirement, and a final project. All assignments must be presented on due date; assignments not handed in receive an "F"; assignments handed in late, without a proper excuse, will receive a grade penalty. Assignments will be collected on DVD at mid-term and at semester end. You are responsible for archiving and backing up your work.


[Note: this syllabus is largely adapted from De Angela Duff's class]

Week 1

ASSIGNMENT: Mark-Making, due week 2

Week 2

ASSIGNMENT: Line (Notebook Problem), due week 3

Week 3

ASSIGNMENT: Shapes, due week 4

Week 4
The Three Basic Shapes

ASSIGNMENT: Variations of a Form, due week 5

Week 5
Variations of Form

ASSIGNMENT: Composition using Relational Elements, due week 6

Week 6
Grayscale / Chiaroscuro

ASSIGNMENT: Creating Grayscales / Chiaroscuro, due week 7

Week 7
Color Theory


ASSIGNMENT: Color Theory, due week 8

Artist Presentations Due Next Week: Vettriano (Peter), Dali (Judah)

Week 8
Midterm Portfolio


ASSIGNMENT: Midterm Portfolio, due week 8

Week 9
Midterm Portfolio / Texture



ASSIGNMENT: Texture, due week 10

Week 10
Image Manipulation


Lecture - Friday

ASSIGNMENT: Image Manipulation, due next week.

Week 11
Type as Form & Expression



ASSIGNMENT: Type as Form, due next week.

Week 12
Type Composition



ASSIGNMENT: Type as Composition, due next week. Complete flower typography portrait.

Week 13
Final Assigned



ASSIGNMENT: Final Assignment (Poster), homework for week 13.

PRESENTATIONS: 11/27 Rodchenko (Katie), Josef Müller-Brockman (Jen), 11/30 Chip Kidd (Kim)

Week 14
Final Preparations



ASSIGNMENT: Final Assignment (Poster) . Final Project Evaluation (pdf)

Alternate service bureau (24hr turn around, without proofs):
Taws Presentation Plus
1527 Walnut Street
Philadelphia PA 19102

Week 15
Final Due