Here, other than project instructions, are the details to the section of Graphic Design 2 taught by John McVey in Spring 2014.

course description

GD 205 Graphic Design 2 (3 credits)
Continuing focus on form, communication and problem solving, with emphasis on typography and the use of visual/graphic elements, including icons/symbols, diagrams, drawings and photographs. Throughout the core graphic design 1-2-3 sequence, exercises grow in complexity and scale, accompanied by higher expectations about typographic discipline, craft, and inventiveness.

Prerequisites: Graphic Design 1 and Typography 1, or permission of instructor

Graphic Design 2 Requirement (Graphic Design students); Studio Elective

course objectives

  1. develop a reflective practice
  2. continue to work/gain fluency with design tools (Creative Cloud, exacto knife, etc.)
  3. think broadly about exercises (design is a discursive and rhetorical practice, also involving due diligence research)
  4. gain familiarity with current developments in design, as well as design history, and with professional issues
  5. development of critical and argumentational skills with regard to design
  6. bring ideas/theory into practice, and vice versa.

The instructor continues to experiment with new and/or revised exercises, so the class will be something of a work in progress.


Competencies means, what students should expect themselves, and be expected by others, to know or be able to do, upon completion of a course. They are related to the course objectives listed immediately above, but are generally more specific.

Because they are more specific, it is reasonable to suppose that they are subject to change from year to year, as technology, genres, curriculum all evolve. In this class, most (and even all) exercises come with a list of objectives. Those various respective objectives add up to the competencies associated with this course.

expectations. criteria for credit

It is your expectation that learning happens in this class, and it is mine. Where it’s not happening to the degree it should be, we make adjustments.

Physical and mental attendance required. Do and think about the readings; think about and do the exercises, writing. Participate, bring what you know (and don’t know, your questions) into the conversation. Do this and you’ll be all right.

Excessive absences, or silences, or latenesses, will affect your grade.

It has not so far been my practice to grade every assignment. Instead, I review everyone’s full output at the end of the semester, and adjust my cumulative thinking at that time. However, I may grade some larger projects, whose spirit and objectives exceed those of the experimental exercises.

If you anticipate that you have learning differences that could be a challenge, see or contact Colleen Michaels at the Writing Studio, or Courtney Joly-Lowdermilk (Disability Services Coordinator) at Disability Services to figure out how to proceed. Both of these offices are in the 248 Cabot building. We’ll make it work.


required (a copy of each will be held on reserve in the library) —

Adrian Shaughnessy. Graphic Design : A User’s Manual. Laurence King, 2009.
ISBN : 978 1 85669 591 6

Andrew Blauvelt and Ellen Lupton, editors. Graphic Design : Now in Production. Walker Art Center, 2012
ISBN : 978 0 935640 98 4


Nancy Skolos and Thomas Wedell. Graphic Design Process : From Problem to Solution, 20 Case Studies. Laurence King, 2011.
ISBN : 978 1 85669 826 9

William Lidwell, Kritina Holden and Jill Butler. Universal Principles of Design. Rockport Publishers, 2003
ISBN : 978 1 59253 587 3

For technical issues, I recommend (and use) the Visual Quickstart Guides to the Creative Cloud (CC) versions of Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop.

Keep abreast of the design blogosphere (Design Observer, GrainEdit, etc.). Please also keep an eye on magazines that emphasize typography, such as Baseline and Eye, which are available in the Montserrat Library.

We will also be using the The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design — 500 double sided sheets, one side presenting a large visual of a selected instance of exemplary design, the second side presenting details. Indeed, we may be extrapolating from, and adding to, that archive.

Finally, the instructor maintains bookmarks on design related anythings at

Project information and visual examples at main course page.

expectations / criteria for credit

Comments/questions to jmcvey.