Graphic Design Course

Mr. Michael Delahunt

Pinnacle High School's Graphic Design Teacher 2001-2002


Assignments for 1st Quarter:

All on paper! Refer to class handouts and to your notes.


Assignments for 2nd Quarter:


  1. Design a Poster Promoting a Activity in "Road Trip Across America"
    Due Oct 24

  2. Alter a Photo of a Family Member
    Due November 6th, 16th, 27th

  3. Find a "PhotoShop Trick" Assignment
    Due October 26th and October 31st

  4. Make a collection of 50 logos
    November 6th

  5. Design Three Logos
    November 30

  6. Design Stationery
    December 12th

  7. Final Assignment: First Semester Portfolio
    Due December 20th


Assignments for 3rd Quarter:


  1. Make a First Incongruous Image: with human parts
    January 15

  2. Make a Second Incongruous Image: with no human parts
    January 22

  3. Designing with Type: Design Your Name
    January 25

  4. Absence of Ugliness: a writing assignment
    Due January 28

  5. Designing with Type: Design a Personal Web Page Concept
    Due February 12

  6. Retouch "Iron Man"
    February 25


Assignments for 4th Quarter:


  1. Make 3 New Versions of Pioneer Pete
    March 7

  2. Layer Basics
    March 15

  3. How to Use Adobe ImageReady

  4. Two animations
    April 10

  5. Stationery for you as a Graphic Designer

  6. Designing CDs and CD Packaging
    "A" Project due May 13
    "B" Project due
    May 22

  7. Final Exam Project:
    PowerPoint Portfolio: Best Designs of Second Semester

    due June 3



What's This "Graphic Design" Stuff All About?!

This course introduces you to art intended to communicate information and advertising. The focus is on studying and using layout and design concepts used in the graphic design field. You will employ both analog media (drawing with pencil and paper, etc.) and digital media -- using up-to-date computer tools (graphics hardware and software - for drawing, painting, layout, typography, scanning, and photography).

Graphic design is the creative planning and execution of visual communication. Graphic designers create a combination of shapes and forms, words and images, in order to reproduce them in some flat medium (paper, cardboard, cloth, plastic, video, computer, or projection screen, on poster, billboard, or other signage) or in a three-dimensional form (fabricated or manufactured) in order to convey information to a targeted audience. All graphic design has a purpose or function. Usually its purpose is to sell or explain something -- to express, inform, and influence the thoughts and actions of its audience.

Our primary objective will be the achievement of all Arizona Academic Standards, with greatest emphasis on those in the Visual Arts:

1 Creating Art: Students know and apply the arts, disciplines, techniques and processes to communicate in original or interpretive work.
2 Art in Context: Students demonstrate how elements of time and place influence the visual characteristics, content, purpose and message of works of art.
3 Art as Inquiry: Students demonstrate how the arts reveal universal concepts and themes. Students reflect upon and assess the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others.

Students will maintain good studio organization and use of tools as expected by the teacher. Students will maintain facilities in an appropriate working condition.


The Arizona Dept. of Education has said that our Paradise Valley Unified School District's visual art curriculum is among the best in the state.


I frankly don't put much store in the notion of talent. I'm convinced that every student simply needs the best opportunities an educator can devise for him and her to excel. So my goal is to design my lessons in such a way that all or nearly all students succeed at challenges which are satisfying and meaningful to each. I assess each student's work on the degree to which each achieves the objectives of the assignments. Please contact me if you have any special interests in or concerns about the art program.


ArtLex has thousands of articles about art terms used in art production, art criticism, art history, aesthetics, and art education. I wrote and published ArtLex for my students, to help them increase their understanding of art concepts, readings, writings, and conversations. Some of the hyperlinks found on the pages about my secondary graphic design program will take you to ArtLex articles about terms on these pages.



I taught art at three elementary schools in the Paradise Valley Unified School District (northeastern Phoenix and north Scottsdale) from 1986-2001. I began publishing information about my classes on the Web in 1995. I taught at Pinnacle High School during the 2001-2002 school year, and posted these lessons that year. Since then I teach at Copper Canyon Elementary. I will maintain these lessons as time permits.

Finding that the students who were enrolled in my graphic design course had no patience for listening to me lecturing to them [shocking!], I posted my lessons and assignments online, and held students accountable for getting the basic instruction they needed that way. From that point, when I addressed the class collectively, it was usually limited to a couple of minutes at the beginning and end of each session to remind students of deadlines for assignments, to wish them well, etc. Presenting lessons this way removed the need to monitor students' attention to lectures, and allowed me to devote more time to working with individuals. My move to more individualized instruction led to a much more cheerful and cooperative group of teenagers. Although there are no lessons posted for the first quarter (during which the classroom's 40 computers weren't working) all work was produced with pencils and paper to introduce students to the most basic art and design issues they would have to deal with when they were working with their computers.

Most of the lessons here are adaptations of exercises devised by other educators. Thanks especially to inspirational educators Barb Barrett and Kim Shipek, to the people at Adobe Software, and to Robin Landa, whose book Graphic Design Solutions (Delmar Publishers, 1996, paperback, c. $30) was the most helpful to me of the dozens from which I drew inspiration.

- Michael Delahunt-



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Copyright © 2001 - current year Michael Delahunt, M.F.A.