AR 122 Two Dimensional Design
Jerry Nevins, Professor
Albertus Magnus College

Office: 203 Aquinas Hall


The objective of this course is to introduce you to the elements and concepts of two-dimensional design. Familiarity with the terminology, concepts and basic materials utilized in the studio by visual artists will be explored. An understanding of two dimensional design principles underlies all 2-D art from drawing and painting to photography, illustration and graphic design.

We will exploit the powerful manipulative power of the computer using Photoshop CS4 to create our two dimensional forms. All of the projects for this course will be created using the personal computer.

Design is the process of selection of all visual elements used by artists to express themselves. These elements are shape, value, texture, color, line, space and mass. Visual sensitivity and a working knowledge of the design elements is developed by solving a series of 2-D problems, employing a variety of media and materials.

Principles taught in this course have direct application to all art media and provide a foundation and direction for learning skills in other courses.

The studio experience is different from most classes and is interactive by nature. As concepts are presented, projects will be assigned to provide an opportunity to visually express an understanding of the design principles. This interactive mode functions best when all members of the class participate and share their ideas. There is a definite benefit to evaluating projects in progress to ensure successful visual solutions. Individuals are expected to be present at all studio sessions. Periodic project critiques are equivalent to examinations in other classes.

This is an A level course and is part of the general education program, "Invitation to Insight" and it fulfils the fine arts requirement. As such, the goals of the class as well as those stated above are to encourage you in:

• Creative thinking

• Informed engagement of works of art

• Developing your vocabulary in art to be able to articulate visual ideas more fully.

• Provide an overview of how the ideas in this course illuminate understanding of all two dimensional art including drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, graphic design, etc.

The major topics to be covered are:

Introduction to Adobe Photoshop CS2.

Line, Shape, Form, Texture, Perspective and Color.

Projects will be assigned to visually realize the design principles covered.

The final grade will be a composite of all completed projects and an evaluation of individual class participation.

Learning Outcomes:

1. To discover the basic principles of two dimensional design through the manipulation of black, white and gray in studying the elements of design.

2. To encourage the student to adopt a creative approach to problem solving and to become self-critical in the editing of the work.

3. To develop a vocabulary of terms specific to the visual arts and particularly two dimensional art.


Rhythm, repetition, pattern, grouping and interruption

Similarity… figure and ground

Structure, gradation, radiation

Anomaly, contrast concentration

Design using chance and happenstance.


1. Basic Elements. Dot(s) on a white background List of 720 great adjectives for this project here. Video Demonstration of project 1 here

2. Discovered Design... Random dots and the relationship of positive and negative space. Video Demonstration of project 2

3. The Grid as a Design Device. Video Demonstration of project 3

4. Mirrored Tiles.... Exploring reflection. Video Demonstration of project 4

5 Rotation... Radial Symmetry Video Demonstration of project 5

6. Develop three designs where positive space is dominant in a grid structure, Negative space is dominant in a grid structure and where both have equal weight. Video Demonstration of project 6

Inversion...the Figure and Ground

7. Create a stamp from photographic image reduced to a bitmap, explore it in repetition in a grid. Video Demonstration of project 7

8. The Quarter Circle, Combinatorics Video Demonstration of project 8

9.Four pieces exploring reflection and rotation.  The cropped letterform.Video Demonstration of project 9

10. Dimensional rendering, shadows, directed light, embossed forms Video Demonstration of project 10

11. Letterforms as a design element, radial symmetry, repetition, four pieces. Video Demonstration of project 11

12. Knotwork, Celtic design.... from simple to complex. Great Introduction and tutorial, here. Video Demonstration of project 12

13. Tesselations based on the work of M.C. Escher Video Demonstration
tutorial is here

Watch M.C. Escher create his "Snakes" Woodcut
... Shows him at work in this traditional printmaking technique

14. A Sense of Proportion Video Demonstration of project 13

Other projects to be determined.

Academic Expectations:

Ask questions about the problem and how it relates to art issues. Show an interest in your own work and what the rest of the class is doing. Do more work that is required by the class assignments. Attend class regularly. Turn work in on time. Try to improve you skills with each new problem. Do your best... help others. A portfolio of all of the semester's work will be reviewed at mid-term and at the end of the term.

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."

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.

Special Needs and Accommodations: Please advise the instructor of any special problems or needs at the beginning of the semester or mod. Those students seeking accommodation based on disabilities should provide a Faculty Contact Sheet obtained through the Academic Development Center in Aquinas Hall, (203) 773-8590.


 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.

Highly Recommended Text:

Wong, Wucius, Visual Design on the Computer, 2nd Edition

Lewandowsky and Zeischegg, A Practical Guide to Digital Design

Recommended Reading:

Arnheim, R. Art and Visual Perception. ________.

Visual Thinking, De Sausmarez, Maurice.

Basic Design:

The Dynamics of Visual Form. Fisher, M.P. and Zelanski, P.,

Design, Principles and Problems. Grillo, Paul Jacques.

Form, Function and Design. Klee, Paul.

Pedagogical Sketch Book. Larkin, Eugene.

Design: The Search for Unity. Itten, Johannes.

Design and Form; The Basic Course at the Bauhaus. ____________.

The Elements of Color. Paratore, Philip Carlo.

Art and Design. Sharpe, Deborah T.

The Psychology of Color and Design. Wong, Wucius.

Principles of Color Design. __________.

Principles of Two-Dimensional Design.

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Morphing Cell
Student Project
Albertus Magnus College
8" X 8"