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Studio: Graphic Design

Course Description

Discover the unique role of visual communication in daily life as you deconstruct visual messaging and leverage design thinking skills through visual art creation and instruction. This course will explore typography, photography, illustration, color theory, composition, and iconography. You’ll gain the fundamentals of graphic design software and options for creating without software subscriptions. Learn the basics of graphic design or enhance your skills as a graphic artist to investigate real-world problems and advocate for change. You will leave this course with a collection of tools and lesson plans to implement graphic design into your art room confidently. Additionally, you’ll have a body of work to show and a knowledge base to further your digital art endeavors.

For the official course description, see the course syllabus or Graduate Catalog.

Required Materials


  • A monthly membership to Adobe Creative Cloud. Individual membership is offered month-to-month and may be canceled at any time. Student and Teacher memberships are available at a discounted price, however Adobe currently offers those memberships as annual contracts. 

Additional Materials

  • Computer with basic audio and video output equipment
  • Internet access (broadband recommended)
  • Basic computing skills (see AOEU’s Technology Requirements)
  • Access to AOEU’s online learning platform, Brightspace, to view the course content, submit assignments, and engage in discussion (provided)
  • Word-processing platform (Microsoft Office, Pages, Google Docs)
Graduate Credits
All courses will now close at 11 PM Central time on the 27th of each month. Graduate Credits 3 Graduate Credits
Price Graduate Credit $1197.00
Mon 8 Sun
Nov 1 Weeks Dec 26
Upcoming Course Run Dates
Nov 1 Jan 2
Dec 6 Feb 6
Jan 3 Feb 27
Feb 7 Apr 3
Mar 7 May 1
Only 9 days remaining to enroll in the next section of this course.
AOEU Course Code
Morningside Course Code
EDUC500 AOE039

Course Objectives

  • Solve problems of visual communication through the use of typography, photography, iconography, composition, and illustration.
  • Construct a unique visual style using the framework of design thinking in the creation of visual artifacts.
  • Appraise visual and theoretical utility of design work through critique.
  • Evaluate design and art principles, as they relate to design problem-solving.
  • Teach graphic design for the art classroom, with a focus on criticism, aesthetics, and methods.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of solving for stakeholder needs through the proper application of design and art principles.

Course Breakdown

Week 1
Welcome to Graphic Design!
  1. Investigate the field of graphic design, from historical events to key designers, and learn about the framework of design thinking. Select an advocacy issue in the art classroom or broader community to take through the design thinking process.
Week 2
Building Effective Graphic Design Artifacts with Adobe Illustrator
  1. Discover and learn new processes in Adobe Illustrator to create graphic design artifacts.
  2. Learn how to teach graphic design processes in the classroom, without Adobe Illustrator.
  3. Create an icon or self-portrait for use in the art classroom.
Week 3
Fundamentals of Graphic Design – Color
  1. Learn important visual fundamentals of graphic design, specifically color theory and psychology.
  2. Create an original poster, grounded in specific color theory art elements.
Week 4
Fundamentals of Graphic Design – Typography
  1. Discover and learn new processes in Adobe Photoshop to create graphic design artifacts.
  2. Appraise fonts and other typographic artifacts for typeface design, legibility, contrast, hierarchy, alignment, consistency, and color.
  3. Defend the rules and best practices of typography.
Week 5
Visually Communicating Ideas
  1. Understand the meaning of symbolism in graphic design, including the cultural, political, and socio-economic weights behind them.
  2. Defend and critique the utility of created symbols.
Week 6
Graphic Design Beyond the Art Classroom
  1. Identify best practices for graphic design in the classroom setting, including basic and advanced processes for partnering type and image.
  2. Integrate studio practices and teachings of graphic design into the art classroom.
  3. Successfully conduct the test stage of design thinking.
  4. Design graphic design artifacts to meet the needs of clients and/or community groups.
Week 7
Advocacy and Entrepreneurship through Graphic Design
  1. Develop beautiful, meaningful graphic design artifacts for the promotion of social or community good.
  2. Organize multiple components of graphic design artifacts to show visual consistency.
  3. Evaluate design work critically to discern point of view, purpose, intended audience, and tone.
Week 8
Final Analysis and Reflection
  1. Reflect on your graphic design art journey from the beginning to the end.

Sample Assignment

Create graphic design representations for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or a similar declaration. You may create an illustrated book, a poster, an infographic, or something else.

"The design process taught me to be reflective of my own learning process, and to remember the way I felt and learned when it comes time for me to teach my students Adobe Illustrator. I will definitely be using the lessons “In Elementary School, They Call It Pencils,” “Welcome to Adobe Illustrator! Designing a Yeti,” and “Designing Flat Portrait Illustrations in Adobe Illustrator” in my Graphic Design class."
Jamie S.

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