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COURSE NAME: "Introduction to Graphic Design"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: Sabrina Schmidt
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: M9:00 AM 11:45 AM

The aim of this course is to give students a comprehensive introduction to visual communication and to demonstrate how Graphic Design can be an effective and powerful tool for business. It covers a broad spectrum of different design disciplines, ranging from corporate identity, branding, brochure design, poster design, to packaging and illustration, and provides precious insight into the world of Graphic Design. The course is open to all students, particularly those who do not have a background in design, and complements other courses including Business, Management, Marketing and Communication.

Students will learn and apply the basic principles of design (e.g. composition, alignment, contrast, visual hierarchy) through a number of projects that cover different design disciplines. Under the supervision of the instructor, students will carry out graphic design projects that address those basic principles of design. Each project is introduced with professional case studies, technical background information and resources, as well as detailed tutorials for the use of the principal Adobe Creative Cloud Apps.



For specific inquiries or to set up an appointment please contact Prof. Schmidt via email on [email protected] 

Any changes to the schedule, additional course information, requirements, due dates, etc. are announced via Moodle.


How to work with a design brief

How to develop a visual concept

How to use colour

How to work with imagery

How to work with type

How to prepare artwork for print

How to use Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop


Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Profile: Pentagram DesignSusan YelavichPhaidon9780714843773  
PosterConcept and design of a poster25%
LogoConcept and design of a logo25%
BrochureConcept and design of a brochure25%
Final examConcept and design of a portfolio25%

AWork of this quality shows excellent mastery of the course content along with exceptional levels of technical skill, artistic awareness, originality, resourcefulness, commitment, quantity of work and improvement. There has been excellent collaboration and leadership in group projects, and there have been no attendance p
BA highly competent level of performance with work that directly addresses the content of the course, with a good quantity of work produced.
CAn acceptable level of performance: the work shows awareness of the course content, but is very limited in quantity, quality, commitment and skill.
DThe student lacks a coherent grasp of the course material and has failed to produce much work. The student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FNegligent in attendance, academic honesty, or engagement with the course content.


All scheduled classes are mandatory.

Absence, late arrival, missing or incomplete assignments and/or assignments sent after the established deadline affect the final grade.

Students are responsible for catching up with any course material they miss.

Make-up work is not offered, except in exceptional circumstances and after consultation with the Dean of Academic Affairs.

Examination policy
A major exam (oral, midterm or final) cannot be made up without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed.

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Meeting place: Mac Lab, Largo Fiorentini 1 (Inside Art Studio: Internal 3).


Session 1: Monday, January 18:

Introduction to course


Session 2: Monday, January 25:

Brief project #1: Poster; Session focus: Introduction to Illustrator: working with the basic tools; working with colour; working with shapes


Session 3: Monday, February 1:

Project #1 contd.; Session focus: Working with type


Session 4: Monday, February 8:

Project #1 contd.; Session focus: Working with a grid; creating illustrations with Illustrator


Session 5: Friday, February 12 (Make-up day for Monday April 5):

Project #1 contd.; Session focus: Working with imagery


Session 6: Monday, February 15:

Project #1 contd.; Session focus: Creating final artwork


Session 7: Monday, February 22:

Brief project #2: Logo; Session focus: Characteristics of a logo


Session 8: Monday, March 1:

Project #2 contd.; Session focus: Logo systems


March 8 - March 12: Spring break


Session 9: Monday, March 15:

Project #2 contd.; Session focus: Corporate identities


Session 10: Monday, March 22:

Project #2 contd.; Session focus: Creative resources


Session 11: Monday, March 29:

Brief project #3: Brochure; Session focus: basic types of folds; introduction to InDesign: working with the basic tools


Session 12: Monday, April 12:

Project #3 contd.; Session focus: Coherence in design


Session 13: Monday, April 19:

Project #3 contd.; Session focus: Working with images in Photoshop


Session 14: Monday, April 26:

Project #3 contd.; Session focus: Preparing artwork for print


Session 15: tba:

Final exam: Portfolio