Course Description | GRD 210 Design Studio: 3-1-6 (Lecture/3 Standard Lab/3 Open Lab) This course is an advanced course in electronic publishing processes. It enables the student in the Graphic Design program to demonstrate, expand, and interrelate his/her competencies through a variety of given design situations. The course will focus exclusively on hands-on lab work using Macintosh computers and software, as reflected in a business environment. Prerequisites: All prior prerequisites and GRD 104, GRD 201 211. Additional costs for supplies range from $10 to $50.

Class Description | This course is structured as a professional business design studio and is meant to be an evaluation class for the advanced student in the Graphic Communications curriculum. The student will have all the responsibilities of a professional freelance artist. Students will be treated as business professionals, and will be given the responsibilities of business professionals. A specific mind-set is required to be successful in this environment.

The instructor will act as a guide and monitor of each student’s demonstration of: creative skills, technical skills, design skills and professional behavior while the students work with a variety of clients and projects. This will be an interactive, reality-based learning environment in which the students will be confronted with learning the problem-solving skills needed to adapt and survive in the professional world of electronic design and digital art.

This course enables students to perfect their electronic art production skills, problem solving skills, and client communication skills to ready them for employment or to transfer to a four year art degree program. This courses teaches the pre-press responsibilities of an electronic publisher, the limitations of usage involved in copyrighted material and basic business ethics. Hands-on lab work and/or field work is involved.

Design Studio Learning Objectives | Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate competence in paint, draw and pageaassembly software.
  • Expand their abilities in electronic publishing through instructor assessment of     their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Demonstrate readiness to enter the professional field of publishing or transfer to a four year art program through a number of projects determined with instructor input.
  • Have a well-rounded portfolio of electronically produced documents.
  • General Education Outcomes
  • As a part of a quality education provided by KVCC, this course addresses these learning outcomes:
  • Effective written and oral communication.
  • Ability to think critically and solve problems.
  • Ability to work in groups.
  • Information, numeric and computer literacy.
  • A highly developed sense of ethics.
  • Strong personal management skills.

Professional Conduct | You will be expected to conduct yourself in a professional manner. Professional conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • Turning OFF your pager or cell phone during class. Exceptions can be made if you have a pending family emergency — see me before class if you feel that you must monitor a personal situation.
  • Remaining attentive and alert during the entire class, even if your group is not presenting or involved with the active discussion. No reading personal e-mail or playing games during lab time.
  • Coming to class in appropriate business attire. You don’t have to dress formally, but please use good judgment. For example, holes and tears in your clothing, logo T-shirts, visible undergarments and a bare midriff do NOT qualify as “appropriate” business attire.
  • In this class you are part of a team and must be respectful your clients and classmates.  Be on time, and prepared for each class.
  • It is your responsibility to act professionally and keep everyone informed of shared information.

Attendance and Punctuality —both are Mandatory | Clients and fellow students will be depending on you. For this reason, attendance constitutes a significant portion of your grade. Coming to class late, and leaving early, is not acceptable, and will negatively affect your final grade.

The class will begin promptly at 1:30pm. The door will be closed and locked at 1:35pm.  It will be very obvious if we have to open the door for you and will inconvenience the class. This class is structured as a professional business design studio and you must be prepared to attend each and every class — at the proper time and stay for the entire class period — for the classes are the equivalent of a real-life business work day., and in business attendance, punctuality and preparedness matter!

If you must be absent for any reason, you must contact me (by phone or e-mail) the same day of your absence, BEFORE class begins. Likewise, you will be expected to contact the other students on your project team and make the necessary arrangements to update them on your progress. This may include e-mailing or hand-delivering files and other related deliverables.

Class Participation | This is a requirement for success on this class and is reflected in each session grade. The nature of the class requires group critique and active participation. The importance of this cannot be over-stated. You must be willing to put yourself out there and talk about your design and comment constructively on other’s work. Learning to give and take feedback is an important skill and you will have ample time to hone your skills in this area.

Presentations and Critiques | You will present your work in class each week, usually in the beginning of class. We will work together to critique each other’s projects and provide feedback about “what’s working and what’s not.”

Your participation in the weekly critiques is mandatory and you will be evaluated on: how well you interact with others, ability to articulate your thoughts, and knowledge of the design principles. The critiques are meant to be a positive instructional tool in which you learn how to talk about your work and others.

Please keep comments positive, and constructive, offering ideas and solutions to back up any weaknesses you see in the design. Helping another come up with successful solutions sharpens your design skills as well.

“Constructive criticism” is strongly encouraged as it serves to help the designer, and students should not be afraid to receive this type of critique. Flaming or ‘hurtful’ critique will not be tolerated. If your comments are coming off as too harsh you will be asked to restate your comment in another way.  I may “coach” you through or ask questions to get you to clarify your meaning.

When critiquing others work or presenting your own, please remember to discuss the project using the principals of design (Art101): balance, unity/harmony, emphasis, color, repetition/rhythm

If you like a design, add a comment as to what it is that you like. Stating “Whoa… that rocks!” is great, but does nothing to further the designer’s work. “Whoa… that rocks, because you have used repeating shapes to draw my attention and the vibrant colors create a feeling of energy, which would motivate this target audience!” would be a much more helpful critique.

| Civility in the classroom and respect for the opinions of others is very important in an academic environment. To create and preserve a classroom atmosphere that optimizes teaching and learning, all participants share a responsibility in creating a civil and non-disruptive forum. Neither instructor nor student should be subject to others’ behavior that is rude, disruptive, intimidating, or demeaning. Students are expected to conduct themselves at all times in this classroom in a manner that is civil and respectful of others and that does not disrupt teaching or learning.

It is essential to this learning environment that respect for the rights of others seeking to learn, respect for the professionalism of the instructor, and the general goals of academic freedom are maintained. Student conduct, which disrupts the learning process, shall not be tolerated and may lead to disciplinary action and/or removal from class. Various student behavior that is considered disruptive:

  • Annoyances, minor disruptions—arriving late and leaving early, cell phone use, working on other assignments, non-project web browsing, checking e-mail, side conversations, sleeping in class, packing up before end of class.
  • Challenges to the academic environment—taking up class time with: 1) comments and/or questions that are beyond the scope of the lecture or discussion; 2) repeated interruption of an instructor’s deliverance of a lecture or presentation; 3) questions and/ or comments regarding the validity of course content, coursework and/or grading; 4)  actions that generally undermine the instructor’s ability to teach.
  • Demeaning comments—use of demeaning comments, including vulgarity and stereotyping language.
  • Dominating behavior—questions, comments and/or actions that hinder the participation of other students.

Textbooks | There is no required text for this class. However, there are professional publications in the lab that you may use for creative reference. As a professional artist, you should be collecting a personal library of books and magazines for creative reference. A personal reference library is a must for any creative professional. A creative reference library is a priceless investment in your future as an artist.


  • Students will need to purchase a backup device: USB thumb drives or external hard drives are preferred. Unfortunately, computers crashes are a reality of a design professionals life — plan for it by religiously backing up your work. Late projects due to lost files will still be considered late.
  • You will be using supplies that you have purchased for other classes. In addition to those, you will need a 8.5 x 11, 70 -100 page sketchbook or a ream of bond or cardstock to thumbnail on. Thumbnails will be reviewed, critiqued and used in your final presentations and grading. Bring sketchbook, pens, pencils, folder to every class.
  • 8.5 x 11 Folder with 32 page acetate sleeves to secure and organize your clas handouts, creative briefs, project notes, thumbnails and designs.
  • Black foamcore: as-needed for formal presentations. (Minimum 3 sheets)

Class Structure |Students/Designers will be given job assignments to produce from concept to final delivery a variety of designs for different clients. The clients we work with are Non-profits with 501C.3 status, or KVCC departments or organizations. Clients are coming In almost every class. As such please come prepared for them, dressed appropriately and use Business Etiquette.

Job assignments may be given to a group of designers or to individuals. We will have multiple projects in-process at any one time.

In the first part of class we usually will have a critique, where presentations will be made. During each class session there will be a review of all students’ progress with their projects and discussion of individual project development situations. Then we will have a working session where you will work in teams or individually on your projects. At the end of class, we will have an update on the status of projects and summarize next steps and deliverables for the next class. Most of the actual “design” work and production will be done outside of the class. I try to give you as much time as possible in class to work On your projects, but the tiem goes by quickly, especially when clients are in presenting.

As your instructor, I will monitor your progress in your projects and guide you regarding your professional responsibilities. As in any art business, you will be required to produce and complete projects, in a timely and professional manner.

Creativity is absolutely necessary for a design studio to be successful. I have found that artists work the best in a comfortable and friendly environment where they feel welcomed and relaxed. A relaxed approach helps stimulate one owns creativity. However, I will insist on professional behavior from each and every student.

Class Blog: | The WordPress Blog will be used to keep us all on the same page regarding: client information, expectations,  in-class happenings, homework and deadlines for deliverables. It Is your responsibility to check the blog — I suggest you all subscribe to the blog RSS feed to be automatically notified each time there is a new post. The lab techs may be able to help you in this regard should you run into technical difficulties.

Office Hours |I am a part time instructor and only here on Mondays and Tuesday afternoons. Office hours are one hour before class in room 220, or by special appointment. If you need to contact me during the week please use the e-mail and phone at the top of the page. I check my e-mail around noon each weekday, if something needs immediate attention call. I welcome any opportunity to help you with any aspect of this class. For communication purposes e-mail has proven most successful. Please put “GRD210: and your issue” in the subject line of all class e-mails as I read for emergencies first.

Academic Dishonesty |IMPORTANT: Plagiarism, copyright infringement and other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. The academic dishonesty policies of Kalamazoo Valley Community College will be upheld. There is a zero tolerance policy toward academic dishonesty If you are caught plagiarizing another work you will receive a zero for the project.

Grading/Evaluation System | Your final grade will be determined according to an assessment of Design Studio Learning Objectives. These objectives include your professional behavior, attendance, punctuality, and the creative, technical and professional quality of your work The grading system for this class will be made up of class meeting evaluations, project evaluations and client evaluations.

I will be keeping all grades in my grading book and will have it available for you to review your grades before class or at a break. See me to review during those times.

Class meeting evaluations | If you fail to appear at the class meeting without letting me know in advance via e-mail, will receive a zero for that session.

Session #15     excused     late
Participation/Effort   0 1 2 3 4
Concept/Ideas             0 1 2 3 4
Execution/Quality      0 1 2 3 4

Client Evaluations    0 1 2 3 4
Professionalism         0 1 2 3 4
Communication        0 1 2 3 4
Concept/Ideas           0 1 2 3 4
Execution/Quality    0 1 2 3 4

Extra Credit | The instructor reserves the right to give extra credit, in any amount, to those who facilitate a positive and useful discussion, display an exemplary work ethic or who otherwise show a commitment to excellence.

Grading Scale
4.0 = Excellent
3.0 = Good
2.0 = Average
1.0 = Poor
0.0 = Didn’t do/not turned in


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