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September 3rd: Talking about Design without Using "Thingy"


Overall Plan for the Evening

Below is the overview we're going to try to stick with tonight:

Before we get started...

If you need to use a computer lab with Adobe CS5 software, go to this link to find out what's available in Barnard's Computer Labs.

Chapter 2 in Document Design

Let's back up to last week's material that we didn't cover. I believe we were on Ch. 2 of Document Design.

What's so special about design?

The Non-Designer's Design Book is an excellent resource for beginners. I especially like the way the author efficiently explains her topics and has plenty of pictures to go along with it.

If you haven't done so, or it's been a while, please re-read p. 10 in Williams. In fact, maybe we ought to read it aloud...

Some topics for us:

  • The beauty of naming...
  • What's this CRAP? Compare to last week (or...this week)
    Contrast (Similarity)
    Repetition (Similarity and Order)
    Alignment (hmm...)
    Proximity (Order, Enclosure, Proximity)
  • Proximity, clutter, organization
    Just because you can...doesn't mean you should
  • Williams practices what she preaches--notice the number of visual elements per page (p. 32)
  • Ch. 8: Business Cards and Letterhead
    • What is the dominant element of your design(s)?
    • What's wrong with "horsey" and "dorky" designs?
    • What gets presented unconsciously?
    • What about URLs?

Analyzing Assumptions/Prejudices

Time permitting (you'll hear that line all semester), we're going to get into group discussions on analyzing assumptions. Remember, one of the main goals of this semester is for you to be able to articulate WHY you make certain design choices. Although it happens sometimes, rarely do you do something "just because."

I want us to consider more familiar assumptions first, but the goal is to get you to think about your preconceived biases in order to do this level of critical thinking about your assignments specifically and information design in general. Let's hop on over to the Prejudice and Rhetoric page if we need any reminders.

Adobe's Product Suite...An Intro

I think the computers have been upgraded/updated, so you should all be able to log on. Remember, the following Adobe products are available to complete your assignments:

  • Dreamweaver (webpages)
  • InDesign (multi and single page layouts)
  • Photoshop (bitmap graphics)
  • Illustrator (vector graphics)

What's the difference between bitmap graphics and vector graphics? Chapter 7 in your book covers that, so I'm going to hold off on that for now.

Regardless of which products you use, don't forget that each assignment has a memo explaining your document's creation. More detail is given on the Assignments Page for these memos. Don't blow off that step! Reflection is a way to get you to be conscious of the design choices you make.

Adobe InDesign CS5

The first time I taught this class I had InDesign CS2 in my office (the computer lab had CS3...). I'm no expert at these products, but I continue to learn new things. There might be slight differences in my tutorials...Oh wait a minute...I don't do tutorials, so there's no problem. We're going to go over your first assignment before I set you loose.

Remember, I expect you to work the entire time. If you're "finished," let me know...I'll fix that. Additionally, I'm not going to be on facebook or ESPN.com , so you shouldn't either. Your participation grade can go negative, so use your time wisely.

At a minimum, I want you to have a sketch of your business card and letterhead--at least images--by the time you leave. Keep everything for your portfolio.

And don't downplay these business cards...they're serious business as these guys will show you...

Workshop: Business Cards and Letterheads

Let's take a look at (very) brief InDesign tutorial from last week.

Remember, I expect you to work the entire time. If you're "finished," let me know...I'll fix that. (BTW--how are those web pages coming along). Please have others look at your designs. I don't have a formal workshop system, but, if our workshops aren't productive, I'll institute a formal structure. Your participation grade can go negative, so use your time wisely.

At a minimum, I want you to have a perfect, final product to turn in at the end of the evening...that was a joke.

Remember, your assignments must have memos. The format below will suffice:

Please do not copy and paste this. Take the time to type it out.


To: Dr. Toscano
From: [your name here]
Date: September 12, 2012 [due date]


My audience is...


I will most likely display my business card while sitting around a table with sociopathic business lawyers...

Estimated Cost

I expect 200 business cards will cost $$$.$$ and 1000 sheets of letterhead to cost $$$.$$.


The business card communicates that I am (or my company/organization is)...and these are the reasons why.... The letterhead communicates that I am (or my company/organization is)...and these are the reasons why....


Business Card

  • Logo is [describe]
  • The content is...
  • Font type
  • Font size(s)
  • Font color(s) (C=__, M=__, Y=__, K=__) or HEXADECIMAL
  • Stock--paper or substance cards will be printed on


  • Logo is [describe]
  • The content is...
  • Font type
  • Font size(s)
  • Font color(s) (C=__, M=__, Y=__, K=__) or HEXADECIMAL
  • Stock--paper letterhead will be printed on

Dominant Element in the Documents

What is the dominant element of your documents? This isn't just the biggest design element. Consider what draws readers' attention in your document. Maybe it's an image, logo, text, color, etc. that is a focal point (see Williams p. 118). Whatever it is, describe it and explain why you think it is appropriate for your document.

Software Used

My creation came to life through the following computer tools.... [Make sure you tell me what area or section or component was created by which computer tool, assuming you used more than one]


You must reference where you found images or other information used in your design(s) that you did not personally create from "scratch."

Remember, you must also reflect on changes you'll make after I look at your work (in the portfolio), so the entire list on the Assignments Page will not apply to your memos for this draft. The above sections should be included in your memos for this draft. Any questions?

Photoshop Fancy Logo Tutorial

Time permitting...

As your Assignments Page states, you'll have some software requirements. Today I'm going to try my best to show you how to make a floating, glossy, or fireball-ish effect using Photoshop. I've got a page here that will help, but this tutorial comes from a YouTube video--Web 2.0 Logo Design Tutorial--and it's specific to CS3 (Mac version).

So follow along with me, go at your own pace, but please don't distract others. Hold your questions for our pauses during the tutorial.

This tutorial has two aims: 1) to get you to do something difficult with Photoshop and 2) to get you to observe a "live tutorial." You may critique me all you want, but consider the conditions we're under and how that may affect this tutorial. Just as we all weren't on the same page during the short Web page Start-up tutorial, you'll see issues come up in this longer tutorial--that's ok! I'm trying to get us to slow down and think about the fact that an audience following a step-by-step process can have different results. Why?

Want a more advanced tutorial? If so, try to follow along with the example from Aquul on "Photoshop CS5: Glossy Blue Logo Tutorial" (an ad pops up first). Remember, I expect you'll devote time outside of class to learning this software because...why? Exactly, this is not a software instruction class.

Next Week's Readings

Make sure you read Chapter 3 in Document Design and Chapter 3 in The Non-Designer's Design Book before coming to class next week (9/10). This chapter is vital for our future discussions in this course because it introduces you to the theoretical components of the course--culture and rhetoric. Stay on top of your reading so you don't fall behind. That midterm (9/24) will be here before you know it!

Of course, don't forget your Business Cards and Letterhead (and memos).





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