Stacy Asher

Art, Art History + Design

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Graphic Design

Fall 2019


GRPH 221 / Graphic Design 01

This course offers an investigation of the creation of meaning through visual form. Students will explore the relationships between form, process, perception and intention while investigating meaning through typography, image generation and manipulation, sign/symbol/icon, and visual contrasts. The dynamics of two-dimensional imagery in both representational and abstract contexts will be the focus of study. Principles of composition, expression and spatial representation are addressed. 

The goals of this course are to explore the concept of visual language through design process and principles, investigate form/content/aesthetic expression & visual communication, and develop the use of the tools, materials & methods of the graphic designer. Visual research as a graphic design practice will be applied.

This course uses a studio format in which information from lectures, in-class demonstrations, group projects and design research are applied to hands-on projects that develop critical and creative processes. Students apply these practices to the production of projects while receiving and providing criticism in group discussions and individual critiques.


Week 01 / 01


Course Syllabus
Course Deliverables

Course Schedule

Platform: Google Collections, Behance, Google Drive
, Google Docs, UNL Box, social media

Textbooks / Resources

Visible Signs (Second Edition):
An Introduction to Semiotics in the Visual Arts (Required Reading Range)
 2nd Edition
by David Crow  (Author)


Visual Research:
An Introduction to Research Methods in Graphic Design (Required Reading Range)
 3rd Edition

by Russell Bestley (Author), Ian Noble  (Author)

Introductory Reading

Chip Kidd's A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design

Compose 5 questions that you have from the reading.
Highlight 3 things that you discovered about the field of graphic design that interest you.

Create a Google Document and be prepared to turn this in.
See "Readings" page in Canvas.

Who is Chip Kidd?


Week 01 / 02

Review reading. Work in groups of 3 to discuss the reading and present questions and things that you discovered.

Design Research Activity 01
Start a Graphic Design Collection

Gather your graphic design specimens and place them in a folder and upload to UNL BOX. Have a link to your archive ready to share on Tuesday. [100 minimum samples to begin with. We will learn about forming a system for categorizing and archiving this aspect of your visual research and extend this activity in to a formalized visual resaerch exercise]


Design Research Activity 02

Organize a space for you to work. Set it up so that you can be efficient, productive and comfortable working for extended periods of time. Allow room for you to work off of the computer and for you to cut, paste, glue and build smale scale objects.

Photograph that place / space. Print out an 8 1/2" X 11" image of this space in Black and White and have it ready for discussion on Thursday.

Assigned Readings

What is graphic design?

Who becomes a graphic designer?

What a graphic designer needs to know?

Write 5 questions you have from the readings.

Design a concept map for each of the readings.

Be prepared to turn this in.


Project 01
Visualizing the Food Industry:
Image, Icon, Symbol

How can you use graphic design to represent various aspects of the food industry and its impact on culture, the environment and society?


Design Research Activity 04

Go to your favorite grocery store. Orient yourself to the flow and organization of its contents. Collect 25 graphics, represenations, photographic in form from at least 5 of the various food groups. 125 total images

Grains, Meat, Dairy, Fruits, Vegetables, Cereals, Snacks

How wil you organize these artifacts? What do these artifacts tell you? What are you interested in investigating futher?

Week 02 / 01

Project 01
Visualizing the Food Industry:
Image, Icon, Symbol

Index, Metaphor, Hidden Meanings


Week 02 / 02

Project 01
Visualizing the Food Industry:
Image, Icon, Symbol



Format of deliverables.

Interactive Devices


Some good stuff you will want to know more about.


Type Image Relationships 

Learn how to see white space.

Image Show White Space


Learn how to enjoy the white space.