Design Principles Project

Part I

In Part I of this project, you’ll work with another student to create and present five slides on a specific design principle–one of these 13. All of the groups will use the Antonio template from SlidesCarnival so that there’s consistency. The five slides you’ll create are:

  1. a title slide with the name of the design principle and your names;
  2. two slides that define and exemplify the design principle:
    • What is the principle, why is it important (particularly in document design), how is it used?
    • You can have one slide that defines and one that provides an example; or you can define and provide examples on both slides.
    • Focus on the essentials and be concise. Strive to provide a quick, clear, easy to understand, easy to implement presentation of the design principle.
  3. one slide that intentionally breaks the rule or ignores the principle but is still effective;
  4. one slide that lists two or three resources for further reading about the principle (links to websites or citations in APA style).

You should design your slides with your design principle in mind; in other words, all or most of your slides should exemplify the design principle you’re discussing. Also be aware that your audience for this information is your fellow students in Writing 155A; make it relevant for them.

Go bold! Make your slides charming and delightful! Use your own examples and write in your own voice(s)!

You’ll send me your slides on Sunday 1/12 before 5:00 pm. In class on Monday 1/13, each pair will have 2 minutes to present their slides.

Part II

After listening to the design principles presentations, work with your partner to make revisions to your slides that incorporate additional principles. For instance, you might adjust the alignment or add contrast to make a slide more effective. Keep a list of the changes you make.

Equally important, make a list of the specific places where you had already, perhaps unintentionally, incorporated design principles into your slides. For instance, you might note a slide that uses visual hierarchy or that incorporates a visual metaphor.

After this, you and your partner will make a screencast in which you explain the design principles at work in your slides. Identify the key principles (including your own) and use the screencast to point to specific places in the slides where those principles are evident. Don’t mention every principle, just the ones that you think are most important in making your slides effective. Keep your screencast to around 3 minutes.

Final version

Before Friday 1/17 at 5:00 pm, upload your revised slides to Box along with your screencast explaining the design principles at work in your slides.

I’ll combine all of the slides and create a Design Principles PDF that you can use throughout Writing 155A and beyond.

Logo Project

After the exercises in which you engage with typography basics and logo design (see below), you’ll create a personal lettermark logo in black and white using your initials (or your first or last name, if it’s short). Keep in mind that the best logos are simple, scalable, memorable, versatile, and relevant. Your lettermark logo should also be reflective of your values, personality, and professional goals. For the final project, due Wednesday 2/5, you’ll turn in the following:

  • lettermark logo in four sizes when printed:
    • very small: width or height should be .25″
    • small: width or height should be .75″
    • medium: width or height should be 1.5″
    • large: width or height should be 3″
  • lettermark logo plus your full name (“lockup”) at large size (approx. 3″) 
  • logo design memo 

Working with an Illustrator artboard that’s approximately 7″ x 7″ should give you enough room to fit the various sizes of your logo. Here’s an example

Please submit a digital version (PDF) of the logo in various sizes and the logo design memo (PDF) uploaded to Box. Please also print out your logo PDF (that is, the logo in four sizes plus the lockup) and bring it to class on Wednesday 2/5.

The logo design memo should explain the process you used in designing your lettermark logo, the choices you made, and the strengths and weaknesses of your final lettermark and lockup. 

logo exercise #1

Explore the typefaces currently installed on your computer (or a lab computer). Look at Google fonts and the free font sites (see the Resources page), and download fonts that you like and that might work well for the logo project (note that you can’t download fonts to lab computers). Then use the exercise1.docx template to create your initials or name (if it’s short) in lower- and/or upper-case in various fonts. Print out the document and annotate it by noting the fonts used and any other comments (see my example). Bring a copy to class on Wednesday 1/22.

logo exercise #2

Following Illustrator tutorial #1, use Adobe Illustrator (or another vector graphics program) to create 3 artboards with different options for your lettermark logo and your lockup. Think of each artboard as presenting variations on a theme, with your lettermark initials and full name in the same font or combination of fonts but presented in different placements or at different sizes. Export your work as a PDF, and print a copy for class on Monday 1/27.

logo exercise #3

Following Illustrator tutorial #2 and continuing with the artboards that you created in the previous exercise, add a shape to different versions of your lettermark logo and lockup. Try to design several possible variations, experimenting with different shapes, fonts, and placements. Use only black and white. Export your work as a PDF, and bring a copy to class on Wednesday 1/29.


Brand Style Guide

After completing several exercises in Photoshop, you’ll use Powerpoint/Google Slides or InDesign to create a brand deck that presents your visual identity. The project is due in PDF format on Wednesday, March 4. Printing the style guide is optional.

Required elements, though not necessarily in this order (visit How to create a brand style guide by 99 designs for more details on these sections): 

  • your story/welcome
  • lettermark logo and lockup in several colors
    • business card (including logo) front and back
    • business card mockup
    • one or more other mockups displaying your logo on an item (e.g., clothing, coffee cup, billboard, etc.)
  • color palette
    • moodboard?
  • typography
  • imagery
    • moodboard?
  • voice (optional)
brand exercise #1: mood board

Using Photoshop or another image editing program, create a mood board that identifies the image styles and colors that you might use as part of your visual identity. Save it as a PDF, upload it to our class Box folder, and bring a digital version to class on Wednesday 2/12. Bring a print version to class as well, if you can.

brand exercise #2: sections

In Powerpoint/Google Slides or InDesign, create a draft of your color, typography, and imagery pages/sections, save each as a PDF, and upload the PDFs to our class Box folder Wednesday 2/19. Use the pages of other brand style guides as models, including these color pages, typography pages, and imagery pages.

brand exercise #3: mockups

Using Photoshop or another image editing program, create several mockups with your lettermark logo and/or lockup. Save these as JPGs, PNGs, or PDFs and upload these files to the class Box folder by Monday 2/24. Bring print versions to class as well, if you can.


Document Redesign Project

The purpose of this project is to redesign a poorly designed document and to write a memo explaining your redesign. You can make changes in content as well as changes in the design of the document, if you think that changing the content will make for a more effective document. As for tools, you can use any software programs that you feel comfortable with; InDesign is a good option, and we’ll be working through a tutorial on InDesign in class. The final version of the document should be in PDF format.

For this project, you will turn in three items by Friday, March 13: the original document (or a photocopy), your redesign of the document (printed out and digitally in PDF format), and a memo in which you address the following questions, though not necessarily in this order:

  • who is the target audience of this document? What purpose(s) or goal(s) is the document intended to achieve with this audience?
  • what were the primary problems with the original design of the document?
  • what specific changes did you make? why did you make each of these changes? what alternatives did you consider?
  • what design principles did you follow in redesigning this document?
  • are there any design problems that you were unable to resolve in your redesign? That is, are there any new or pre-existing design problems in your redesign?