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

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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 Adobe Photoshop CS2. If you have Photoshop, either a version of Elements or the larger CS, CS3, or CS4, you are welcome to use that instead.

Adobe has made Photoshop CS2 available with a permanent serial number on it's download page here:

That means you have a free, permanent copy of Photoshop. CS2 is what you need for this class and the videos are all made with CS2, demonstrating each project.

You can download a 30 day free trial of Adobe CC Photoshop, then another trial of Photoshop CS6 for another 30 days... Finally Photoshop Elements can be downloaded for a 30 day trial... All here:

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. Building your portfolio of images on each week is vital to doing well and making progress in this class.

Additionally, in order to create a sharing, participatory online classroom, you will post four of your best solutions to each project on the class blog

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 digital bitmapped or raster imaging.

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 your class participation on the class blog.

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 you 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 Demonstration using Photoshop CC 2017 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
 music video by Cyriak Harris for Bonobo

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

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 formsVideo Demonstration of project 10

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

12 Fractals: a Glimpse of Infinity 2 minute video introducing what a fractal is.... Video demonstration of project 12.

13. Knotwork, Celtic design.... from simple to complex. Great Introduction and tutorial, here. Video Demonstration of project 13

14. 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

15. A Sense of Proportion Video Demonstration of project 15

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. Post to the blog 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 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


Highly Recommended Text: Having a copy of one of these texts will greatly enhance your understanding of and ability to create novel designs in this class.

Wong, Wucius, Visual Design on the Computer, 2nd Edition many almost new copies at Amazon starting at $7.99

Lewandowsky and Zeischegg, A Practical Guide to Digital Design Available starting at $5.99 at Amazon... the link will take you there

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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