Course Syllabus

Welcome to Introduction to Graphic Design. This is a rigorous course that teaches you how to follow the process graphic designers use to solve problems. You’ll also learn how to use important design principles to improve the quality of your design work.


By the end of this course, students should be able to do the following things:

  1. Recognize the principles of design during active critique.
  2. Demonstrate how to use the principles of design to create dynamic compositions.
  3. Demonstrate how form communicates.
  4. Demonstrate ability to follow the full design process.
  5. Demonstrate how visual symbols communicate.
  6. Demonstrate proficiency in Adobe Illustrator.

General Information


To be eligible to take this course, students need to be enrolled at BYU-Idaho as an art or web design and development major, have art with an emphasis in graphic design as part of a cluster, or be given permission after filing an Online Course Authorization form.

Proctored Exams and Assessments

This course will use an online proctoring software called Proctorio. This makes it possible for students to take assessments and exams without a human proctor present. Proctored exams can be accessed like any other exam, once the software has been installed. Exams will be recorded by Proctorio and reviewed by the BYUI Testing Center. Any questionable exams will be forwarded to the instructor for further review.

For step-by-step instructions on Proctorio installation, please refer to this help guide article.

Time Expectation

Plan on spending 9–12 hours per week to complete each module.


The weekly schedule will be the same throughout the course. Each week there are two major deadlines. The first is in the middle of the week, this deadline is for uploading your process book for peer review. Reading quizzes and reviews of your classmates' process books will be due at the end of the week. 

For the first four days of the week, you will need to do the following:

Work on the module. Midweek, export a PDF. You will also embed or attach it as a single file to the discussion board. It may be a work in progress, but make sure to include enough content that others can critique it.

Before the end of the week, you will need to do the following:

Give and receive feedback, then take the reading quiz.

Office Hours

Office hours may be held once a week. (Please see your instructor's profile for office hours.) Students can submit work in progress for live feedback. The sessions will be recorded for use by all of the class members.

Supply List

All materials should be exactly as specified, except for the drawing tools. The following brands have been selected for their reliable output quality. Students will be graded on the quality of their sketches, so keep this in mind when purchasing supplies for this course. This course requires the following materials:

  • Text:
    Graphic Design School: The Principles and Practice of Graphic Design, 6th Edition.
  • Adobe CC
    • NOTE: The Creative Cloud version of the Adobe software is required for this course. Older versions of the software will not work with the course materials.
    • Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop.
    • Cost: The subscription is free for students enrolled in this class. Read How to get access to Adobe CC as an online student? to learn more.
  • OS: Mac or PC
    • Cost varies.
  • Access to scanner and/or digital camera
    • Cost varies.
    • You will be scanning sketches into the computer often throughout this course. If you do not have access to a flatbed scanner, you may use a digital camera to capture images and place them in InDesign.
  • HB or 2B graphite pencils
    • Cost: $0.25 each.
    • Standard #2 pencils will work, as well.
  • Fine point ink pen, black
    • Cost: $0.85 each.
    • Pilot makes a great pen, as does Uniball. Choose a pen that writes with a solid black line every time. Do not use ball point Bic pens because these can write in grayscale. Pens that use the term “Rollerball” will work for this course.
  • Sanford Berol Prismacolor Art Markers Black PM-98
    • Cost: $1.99 each.
    • Students may use a different type of black marker, but these are nontoxic and safer than other brands.


A module covers a unit of time, usually a week. This course is divided into 14 modules.

During each module, students will have projects to work on, reading assignments and quizzes to take, and discussion boards to participate in. Be sure to review what is due at the beginning of each module. Pay attention to deadlines and follow all directions for submitting your work.

Project Information

The projects you’ll create for this course are the most important parts of the course. Everything else you learn during the semester will help you complete successful projects. The Overview pages introduce each project, the Process Book assignment pages provide step-by-step instructions.

Process Book

A template of the final process book has been created using Adobe InDesign. The process book consists of several parts, including cover, project, activity, and ponder pages.

  • Cover pages include a quote. Students should customize the process book each week with their names.
  • Project pages record the steps you have taken to complete the project you are working on.
  • Activity pages record stand-alone activities that introduce you to concepts specific to the module.
  • Ponder pages provide an opportunity for you to think back over the module and record your learning experiences.

Each process book template is completed and submitted at the end of each module. At the end of the semester, all of the files will be compiled into a completed PDF book and submitted.

The process book files in the Downloads folder are saved as IDML files. IDML files always open in Adobe InDesign with the file name "Untitled." One of the first things you should always do is rename the document. Please use the following naming system:

  • art130-m01-your-name.indd

Some recommendations and suggestions for this course include the following:

  • Maintain and use the original file structure.
  • Keep a backup of your files.
  • If necessary, add pages.
  • The book is intended to document the process.
  • Craft it with care. Make each page look its best.


Once the process book is complete, export it as an interactive PDF. The following specifications are required:

  • Pages.
  • 96 resolution.
  • Naming format: [course]-[module]-[first name]-[lastname].[extension] (example: art130-m01- john-doe.pdf).


Upload the completed process book PDF in I-Learn. This allows the instructor to give feedback and grade the process book.

Discussion Board

Peer feedback is an important part of this course. Each week students will upload posts to a discussion board. A PDF of their process book should be included in the initial post. This can be embedded into the discussion (preferred) or attached.

Peer Review Using Discussion Boards

Review the posts of peers, read their questions, and review their process book PDFs. Provide feedback to at least three classmates, focusing on the questions they asked. 

Grading Policies

During the semester, students will work on projects, document the process followed to create those projects, complete reading assignments, take reading quizzes, and participate on discussion boards. The grade weighting for these different activities is listed below.

Grade Weighting
Category Weight
Projects 60% of final grade
Process Books 20% of final grade
Reading Quizzes 10% of final grade
Peer Reviews
(discussion boards)
10% of final grade

Grade Categories Defined

For this course, grades have been designed to give students important feedback concerning their development as designers.

Grade Categories
A Distinguished and represents consistently outstanding understanding, application, and integration of subject material and extensive evidence of original thinking, skillful use of concepts, and ability to analyze and solve complex problems.
B Proficient and represents considerable or significant understanding, application, and incorporation of the material which would prepare a student to be successful in next-level courses, graduate school, or employment.
C Developing and represents a sufficient understanding of the subject matter. The student demonstrates average initiative to be prepared for class. Sequenced courses can be attempted, but mastering new materials might prove challenging.
D Unsatisfactory and represents poor performance and initiative to learn and understand and apply course materials. Retaking a course or remediation may be necessary to prepare for additional instruction in this subject matter.
F Represents failure in the course.

Final Project Grading Policies

Final projects are worth 60% of each overall grade. Students' project grades are calculated as shown below:

Final Project Grade
33% Creativity and exploration
33% Design quality
17% Craftsmanship and following directions
17% Submitting the project on time

Module Process Book Grading Policies

Module process books are worth 20% of each overall grade. The module process book grade is calculated as shown below:

Process Book Grade
90% Completing all of the work required in the module process book
10% Submitting the module process book on time

Reading Grading Policies

Reading, quizzes, and tests are worth 10% of each overall grade. Your reading grade is calculated as shown below:

Quizzes and Exams
75% Cumulative weekly quiz scores (quizzes are open-book)
25% Cumulative midterm and final exam

Discussion board Grading Policies

Discussions (also called peer review discussions) are worth 10% of each overall grade. The discussion grades are calculated as shown below:

Discussion Boards
25% Posting work correctly and on time
75% Providing helpful feedback to peers

Resubmitting Work (Repentance)

If a student is unsatisfied with the quality of a final project (that was turned in on time), they may redo the project as often as they like, prior to the last two weeks of class, and receive a new grade. This repentance policy applies only to the projects created for this course (not quizzes, tests, process books, or discussion peer reviews). The highest grade for each assignment will be the only grade recorded. If a lower grade is received for a redo, the grade for the project will remain unchanged. If the grade for the redo improves, the grade on that project will be replaced with the better grade.

Late Work

Final projects that are not handed in on time will receive a two-letter grade deduction in the score and will not be allowed to be redone for a better grade.

Weekly process books (work done leading up to the final version of a project) cannot be redone for a better grade.


Emails and Announcements

Information regarding the class, projects, assignments, and so on, will be posted to I-Learn at various points throughout the semester. Sometimes, updated information will be emailed to everyone in the class. Students should remember to check their campus email often. “I’m not prepared because I don’t check that email account or visit I-Learn” is not an acceptable excuse.

Syllabus Updates

This syllabus may be updated periodically during the semester as long as the instructor posts an announcement notifying students of the change or clarification.

This is a dynamic class, so it is always in flux. If the information on I-Learn contradicts teacher announcements or emails, always follow your teacher’s instructions.

This is important to remember. If there are questions about what to do when you come across contradictory information, just ask your instructor.

University Policies

Students with Disabilities

Brigham Young University-Idaho is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have a disability and require accommodations, please contact the Accessibility Services Office at 1-208-496-9210 or visit their website and follow the Steps for Receiving Accommodations. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with students and instructors by the Accessibility Services Office.

This course may require synchronous meetings. If you are currently registered with the Accessibility Services Office and need an interpreter or transcriber for these meetings, please contact the deaf and hard of hearing coordinator at 1-208-496-9219.

Other University Policies

Student Honor and Other Policies

The materials in this course are also intellectual property and taking any materials from the course and posting them outside of this course in any manner (such as posting on Course Hero) will be construed as theft. If you post course materials without authorization, the instructor has the right to impose an appropriate academic sanction (such as giving you a failing grade for the assignment and/or failing you from the course).

Please read through the document called University Policies. It gives important information about the following topics:

  • Student Honor
    • Academic Honesty
    • Student Conduct
      • Sexual Harassment
  • Student with Disabilities
  • Complaints and Grievances
  • Copyright Notice

Go to the Student Resources module to review further resources and information.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due