AR 114 Graphic Design I
                                    Albertus Magnus College
                                     Jerry Nevins, Professor

                      Phone: 773-8546, office, 203 Aquinas Hall

Preferred method of contact is email. I will respond the same day.

                                     Class Blog Mod 3, 2024


Graphic Design I is intended to be a fist course in computer aided page design. The skillful combining of images and text become the core of this course. It is a working studio class and through demonstrations and hands on work you will learn to solve visual problems using Adobe Photoshop 2024. This "hands on" experience is the key to success in this class. In the end, you will work on traditional design problems leading to a portfolio illustrating concepts learned.

From postage stamps to giant billboards, graphic design permeates our environment. Understanding how to apply basic design concepts to the presentation of informative or persuasive material is crucial to communicating with an audience. Typography, image, space, color, and form will be integrated as the term progresses. The main emphasis of the course will be on you and your work. . By actually working, taking risks, experimenting, making mistakes and creating with the computer, much is to be learned.

Student Learning Outcomes:


Intro to Photoshop
Editing photographs for use in your projects
Fonts and Typefaces
Finding image resources on the web
Layers, scale
Page layout and design
Creating images for print and for web pages: managing file size.

Aesthetic: To create works that consciously use the following two dimensional design principles:


All projects summarized video/expectations

Week 1 Join the class blog, post a brief autobiography and a picture of yourself if possible. Download and install Photoshop. Watch several of the videos:

How to post to the blog

Download Photoshop CC 2020

Free Video Tutorials on using Photoshop from Adobe. 42 short videos in all...

Master List of Graphic Designers to write about each week... (and Typographers) There are 68 and each has an article in Wikipedia to begin your research.

Photoshop is installed on and available on all public computers on the Albertus Campus. This includes the Library, Room 315 Aquinas Hall, If you are having any trouble with your computer, and this might include viruses, breakdown, slow or old computers, etc., you should plan on using the available computers on campus.

Tech Help: Please contact Albertus ITS Helpdesk for issues related to installing software on your machine, viruses, etc.

Design 4 variations of 2 letterforms in a square....

Warm up Exercise video:
Design a series of square letterform designs

Part I

Part II

Important! Resolution should be no less than 2000 ppi on the long dimension.


4 major projects to be executed digitally. Online class will post work to class blog. Your final portfolio will include the final, as well as the progress versions of each project.

Week 2

Begin work on the stammp project, decide on your project, gather your images.

Video: How to gather and save your images for the stamp project

Project 1
Design U.S. Postage Stamp.

Guidelines for designing a U.S postal stamp

Every new stamp issued from 1997 to present

How to Find and Save Images For Your Stamp Project Video

Link to download scallop template for your project Be sure to click on the image to get the full size version. Rt click on it then either "save as" or "copy"


"How to" Stamp project video 2019 in HD

Stamp project explained again. How to crop the image properly.April 2019

Adding Type to Stamp Project Part I

Adding Type to Stamp Project Part II

Finish Up Stamp Project Part III


Project 2

Poster Design.

Begin by taking one of the posters found in the following links and "copy it" as closely as you can. This is to serve as a warm up exercise.

Read Lessons From Swiss Style Graphic Design

Video: Pick Swiss Posters and copy them in Photoshop

I want you to take posters from the Carnegie Melon collection copy it. It is important that you do this at high resolution, that is, 12" x 17" x 240 dpi. Post the original then post your version. Unless you have good illustration skills I would concentrate on posters that are designed using typography only. The point is to learn about margins, sightlines, type hierarchy, legibility, color schemes… The list goes on. Copy at least 2 from the CMU collection in high resolution, 12"X18" tall X 240 dpi

Cope 2 or 3 from this site, Swissted Mike Joyce uses mid century Swiss design to create punk rock posters. The basic ways he creates them are all do-able by Graphic I students and they are a great way to learn about layer blends, graphic shapes to fill the frame, Type as Design, etc.

Project 3
Design 2 posters for an art or cultural event. Size: 13" X 19"X 240 dpi

The second part of the project, is to create your own original poster in the style of Swiss design. You would pay attention to the same issues clarity, simplicity, hierarchy, color scheme and impact. You can research an actual event in Google using a search term like New Haven arts calendar, New Haven events etc. It needs to be a real event with a place, a time etc. Do draw on the design ideas you have been looking at. If you go to Google images, and type "Swiss poster", you'll see many more examples of contemporary applications to this design idea and perhaps find some simple ideas that you could use in your own work. My day students have been very successful using ideas from the Swissted designs for this project.

The Swiss Poster Collection at Canegie Mellon University

One of the largest collections of movie poster images online.

Armin Hoffman Poster Designs

Poster Designs using the letter "B"

The International Poster Biennale in Warsaw

September 11, 2001 poster project

Rene Warner's mega link list

Palestine Poster Project

Master List of Movie Poster Designers

30 Inspiring Poster Designs



Project 4
CD design

Video: How to Lay Out the Cover

In this project you will design all of the elements that go into a CD jewel case. This includes the front cover, inside the front cover, the back cover (tray card) with the two spines and inside the back cover, under the CD.

In this project, you will design the artwork for a CD jewel case. You are to take an existing and published CD found on and redesign it from scratch. This will include the front cover, inside the front cover, and the back including the spines.

This will consist of two separate panels… The front panel measures 9.5" x 4.75" at 240 dpi. Place a margin line at 4.75 inches. On the right will be your front cover and on the left will be the inside portion of the front cover. There's a fold at the margin line. All the panels should flow together in terms of stylistic similarity and color scheme. The back panel is a separate document which is 5.905" x 4.625". Place a margin line at 1/4 inch in from the left edge then place a second on the right side also a quarter inch in from the edge. Do a Google image search to look at what's included on the back panel. In addition to a playlist, there are the logo of the publisher, a barcode, legal boilerplate, etc. pay attention to the design of the spines and they must include the name of the album and the artist as well as a small record label logo. Again do a Google search and Google images using the search term "back of CD" .

Video: How to Lay Out the Cover Part 2

Artwork dimensions for Jewel case

Front 12 X 12 cm X 2
Rear 11.7 cm X 15.2 cm

. Set up your Photoshop document as follows: Front cover and inside front cover is 1 document and will be designed together on one canvas. The inside portion is to the right and the front of the case is on the left.

The cover should include the title of the album and the name of the artist. The choice of artwork is up to you.

Inside the front cover should include a playlist of all of the tracks on the disk

The back cover should have the playlist again as well as a logo of the record label, a bar code, copyright information or legal boilerplate from the record company in small type.

Adobe tutorial for Jewel case project Although the tutorial is for using InDesign, the project is just as easy to complete in Photoshop.

Some design ideas

Eisner Museum History of Album Design, Intersting flash presentations

Wikipedia article

Museum of Bad Album Covers

Visual Encyclopedia of Symbols

Project 5

Book cover project.

For the book project, you will redesign the front cover, spine and back cover of an existing book found on The overall dimensions are 13" x 9" x 240 dpi. Place your margin lines and 6 inches and 7 inches for the spine. Use information at Amazon such as a short synopsis or short reviews for your back cover. Include details like the logo of the publisher, a barcode, etc. do a Google image search to see what existing books look like and what details need to be included. Pay attention to the color scheme, type hierarchy, imagery as it relates to the content of the book, margin lines, etc. Post an image of the original book in addition to your redesign.

Create 2 book covers, including front, spine and back cover.

Legibility of type matters!

Project 5

Video.....How to get started designing you book cover, including front, back, spine and end flaps.

Academic Expectations:

Attend all classes, care about your work, make progress in the medium, help and cooperate with your classmates, take risks, make mistakes. Your grade will be based on your willingness to achieve the above as well as a portfolio of the 4 major projects as well as any smaller warm up exercises due at the end of the semester. The online class also will post 5 reviews of the work and influence of graphic designers chosen from the list "Master List of Graphic Designers to write about each week... "A maximum of 3 absences is allowed, with or without a valid excuse. After that your grade will drop.

Tradition of Honor: As a member of the Albertus Magnus College Community, each student taking this course agrees to uphold the principles of honor set forth by this community, to defend these principles against abuse or misuse and to abide by the regulations of the College. To this end, every student must write and sign the following statement at the end of each examination: "I declare the Honor Pledge." In digital classes, students will represent all work as their own and not copied from the internet.

Tradition of Respect: In our class: 1) Everyone is allowed to feel they can work and learn in a safe and caring environment; 2) Everyone learns about, understands, appreciates, and respects varied races, classes, genders, physical and mental abilities, and sexualities; 3) Everyone matters; 4) All individuals are to be respected and treated with dignity and civility; and 5) Everyone shares the responsibility for making our class, and the College, a positive and better place to live, work, and learn.

Accommodations for Special Needs: Albertus Magnus College is committed to ensuring that all qualified students with disabilities are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from its programs and services in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Office of Disability Services is responsible for the determination of appropriate accommodations for students who encounter barriers due to disability. Contact the Office of Disability Services at or 203-672-6671 to schedule an intake interview and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, the Office of Disability Services will provide you and your instructor with a Letter of Accommodation. Please discuss the accommodations with your instructors as early in your courses as possible

The Germain Center for Academic Success provides quality tutoring services to all students at Albertus Magnus College. Students can make appointments by booking through Navigate, emailing, or calling 203-773-8590. The Germain Center is open for normal hours during the academic year (Monday-Thursday, 9:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.; Friday, 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.; Saturday, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.) and abbreviated, virtual hours during the winter intersession and mod five. Further, (Online Tutoring 24/7) provides online tutoring for many subjects throughout the year -- even when the Germain Center is closed. Students can access through the link at the top of their eLearning pages. If students have any questions about tutoring, they can email

PGS offices are now located on the first floor of Aquinas Hall.

The Registrar's Office, Financial Aid, Human Resources, and the Business Office are now located in the former PGS suite, now called the Student Administrative Services Suite, found on the ground floor of Aquinas Hall.



 It is the responsibility of the student to officially drop or withdraw from a course.  However, failure to attend a course for 14 calendar days may result in an administrative withdrawal from the course. The policies on course withdrawals and administrative withdrawals may be found online at

Albertus Magnus College adheres to the definition of a credit hour in compliance with, and as defined by, NECHE commission policy.

Prevention of Power-Based Violence Resources 

If you or someone you know is concerned about, have experienced, or currently are experiencing sexual harassment, assault, power-based violence, or stalking, there are many resources available both on and off campus for students to utilize.Click on the link above or here

Required Reading:
Numerous Photoshop tutorials online at

Excellent Photoshop Videos:

Virtual Training Co. Photoshop CS2 Essential Training with Michael Ninness... Free

Any mass market bookstore will have numerous Photoshop titles for sale in the computer section. Although not required you may want to pick up a book that fits your budget and learning style to have as a reference.

Suggested Reading:

The Non-Designer's Design Book, Second Edition - Robin Williams (Author); Paperback

Layout Index: Brochure, Web Design, Poster, Flyer, Advertising, Page Layout, Newsletter, Stationery Index - Jim Krause; Paperback

Back to Syllabi






Randy Weston & African Rhythmus Duo
Swiss Poster Design at Canegie Mellon University Library
Pittsburg, Pa.

Jazz in Willisau,
Willisau Grafik-Studio
Niklaus Troxler, Willisau Niklaus Troxler Bösch AG, Stans 1991