Our final week of class will be devoted to helping you put the finishing touches on your electronic portfolio, which is due during Finals Week. I know how busy you’ll be with final projects and exams in all of your classes, so I have eliminated all readings and homework assignments that aren’t part of Unit #4. Here’s how we’ll spend our time in class:
- On Tuesday, we will spend the entire class session in workshop mode. By this point, you should have all of your portfolio artifacts converted into their appropriate formats, and these artifacts should be added to your website. Please spend adequate time working on your portfolio before class so we can address any technological challenges that you may have encountered with the SEU Folios system.
- On Thursday, we will conduct a peer critique session, which will give you the chance to view your classmates’ portfolios and work out any remaining kinks in your site. Please come to class ready to display and explain your complete portfolio, including reflective components and a customized theme.
- We will not meet as a class during Finals Week, but your deliverables for Unit #4 (the electronic portfolio and the accompanying memo of transmittal) are due no later than Wednesday, December 14, at 3:30 p.m. (Early submissions would be even better!) Before you submit your project, please review the assignment sheet, especially the evaluation criteria, which I will use to grade your portfolio. When you are ready to submit your project, please send me an electronic copy of your memo (in .doc or .pdf format) named as follows: “Full Name 2329 Unit 4 Memo.” Your memo should include the URL for your portfolio, and the portfolio itself should stand on its own (i.e., anything you want me to evaluate should be part of the actual website). Submitting your memo will let me know that your portfolio is ready to be graded.
And that’s it for Information Design! I’ve had a great time this semester, and I can’t wait to see your finished portfolios. If you want to meet with me individually for help with your portfolio, please come see me during office hours (M/W 9-12) or email me to set up another appointment.
Welcome to the home stretch of the semester! I hope you’ve been enjoying your Thanksgiving break, and I hope you return to campus with fully charged batteries. The remainder of our semester will be dedicated to the Electronic Portfolio project, which is due during finals week. We’ll begin next week by wrapping up the Document Makeover project, then we’ll turn our attention to some of the fundamental concepts of designing documents for the web. Here’s a quick overview of Week 14:
If you have any questions about these plans, or if you want me to look at your Unit #3 project before you submit it, please come see me during office hours (9-12) on Monday morning. Otherwise, I’ll see you in class on Tuesday!
This will be an unusually brief update, since we have a short week next week (Happy Thanksgiving!). I just need to remind you of a few items:
- Your first priority for this weekend should be the take-home exam, which is due at the beginning of class on Tuesday. The instructions for the exam are pretty straightforward, but if you have any questions, please let me know.
- After you finish the exam, you should move forward on your Unit #3 document makeover. If you need help with your document, or if you want me to review an early draft, please come see me during office hours next week (M/W 9-12).
- Our entire class period on Tuesday will be a workshop session, so make sure you have copies of your electronic files (and your laptops, if necessary) for Unit #3. I will be available during class to answer technical questions and offer advice for turning your rough drafts into final drafts.
Good luck with the exam and your document makeovers! I’ll see you in class on Tuesday.
I hope our recent InDesign workshops have helped you feel more comfortable with designing sophisticated documents. If you need more help with InDesign, you can come see me during office hours, or you can draw upon the thousands (and I do mean thousands) of online video tutorials that teach how to accomplish specific tasks within InDesign. (For example, try typing “How do I wrap text around a curved picture in InDesign?” into Google, then click on the “Videos” tab.)
Your primary homework for this weekend is to begin developing an InDesign template (i.e., “master page”) and a style sheet for your Unit #3 document. Next week in class, we will cover two final chapters in Document Design that should help you with the Document Makeover project, then we will conduct a review session to give you some feedback on your early drafts.
- On Tuesday, we will review Chapter 9 in Document Design, then conduct a final InDesign workshop on working with charts, tables, and lists. Please come to class with electronic copies of your Unit #3 files, in case we have time to work on our individual projects at the end of class.
- On Thursday, we will review Chapter 8 in Document Design, then hold a peer critique session on your Unit #3 documents. Please come to class with printed and electronic copies of your Unit #3 documents, regardless of how far along you are with your project.
One final bit of advice: As you create your documents for Unit #3, don’t forget everything we have read and studied this semester. Your textbooks can be very helpful as you think about issues of page layout, typography, headings, grids, etc., and the sample documents we have studied can provide great models to emulate in your work. If you want me to look at your early prototypes, remember that I have office hours every Monday and Wednesday from 9–12, and I would be happy — no, make that ecstatic — to see you there.
I have started reviewing your statements of work for Unit #3, and this weekend each of you will get an email from me (if you haven’t already) that approves your project or asks for minor modifications. Once you have received my OK on your chosen document, you should begin experimenting with different design choices for your revised document. Based on your feedback in class yesterday, it sounds like most of you will be using InDesign for Unit #3, so we will complete most of our in-class workshops in InDesign during the coming weeks. (If you want to use another program, that’s fine, too.)
During Week 11, we will compare and contrast print and online documents, and you will have a chance to create both kinds of files during our class sessions. Here’s how we’ll spend each day:
- On Tuesday, we will catch up on a few things that fell by the wayside during Week 10. First, we will conduct the WordPress workshop that we had to postpone due to the internet outage in Trustee Hall. Before you come to class, please create at least two pages on your personal SEU Folios website (e.g., an “about me” page, a resume page, a reflection on one of your portfolio samples) and make sure you are familiar with the “Getting Started with WordPress” section of the WordPress website, especially the pages linked under the “Design & Layout” and “Posting in WordPress” headings. Second, we will review pages 84–147 in Thinking with Type, so be sure to bring that book to class.
- On Thursday, we will review Chapter 5 in Document Design and analyze several successful (and not so successful) complex documents to help you plan for your work on Unit #3. By this point, you should have a rough idea of what your revised document will look like. If time permits, we will practice using some of InDesign’s more advanced features.
If you have any questions about these items, or if you want to talk about your Unit #3 project, please come see me during office hours or drop me a line via email.
For the remainder of the semester, we will be working on two projects in tandem: the Document Makeover and the Electronic Portfolio. PDF copies of both assignment sheets can now be found on the Assignments page, and you should be thinking about how you plan to proceed with each project. Next week in class, we will take some steps to help you define your plans. Here’s a brief summary of what we’ll cover each day:
- On Tuesday, we will review pages 84–147 in Thinking with Type, then we will conduct a workshop to help you select your documents for Unit #3. This weekend, you should locate at least two (but preferably more) good candidates for the Document Makeover assignment. Remember, these documents should be substantive enough to work well for this assignment (at least eight pages long, with a variety of design objects) and should be in need of serious revision, reorganization, and redesign. Bring physical copies of these documents with you to class.
- On Thursday, you will submit a short (no more than one page) “statement of work” that describes the document you have selected for Unit #3, outlines the steps you will take to redesign the document, and addresses any special challenges you anticipate encountering. I will collect and review these statements, and I will email you once I have approved your work plan. During class, we will conduct a WordPress workshop. Before you come to class, please review the “Getting Stared with WordPress” section of the WordPress website, especially the pages linked under the “Design & Layout” and “Posting in WordPress” sections. By the time you come to class, you should have created a few pages (even if they don’t have content yet) and be comfortable with the administrative “dashboard” for your site.
If you have any questions about these plans, or about working with your new SEU Folios websites, please let me know.
I thought your team presentations on Thursday were fascinating, and I hope you feel like you received useful feedback from your peers. At this point, it’s up to your team to choose which suggestions you will implement and which suggestions you will ignore, but most of you should be focused on fine-tuning, not overhauling, your identity package.
Unit #2 is due on Tuesday, which will clear the decks for us to start thinking about next two projects: the Document Makeover and the Electronic Portfolio. These projects will run in tandem for the remainder of the semester, and next week we will discuss the details for each assignment. Here’s a quick overview of how we’ll spend our time in class:
- Your team will submit its Unit #2 project at the beginning of class on Tuesday. Please review the assignment sheet to make sure your team has created all of the required deliverables, and pay particular attention to the evaluation criteria, which I will use to grade your project. To submit your project, bring printed copies of your deliverables to class (these should look like they are ready to be handed to your client), and upload a zipped file containing your project folder (labeled with your client’s name) to my Dropbox before you come to class. (I will send out the password for my Dropbox via email.) There is no other homework for Tuesday — just focus on wrapping up Unit #2. In class, I will introduce our new electronic portfolio system, then we will create accounts for each of you and get your websites up and running.
- On Thursday, I will introduce Unit #3, the Document Makeover project, and we will begin brainstorming ideas for that assignment. In preparation for our discussion, please read Chapter 4 in Document Design and bring your textbook to class.
If you have any questions about these items, please email me or stop by during my office hours (9-12) on Monday morning.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a few days without me, and I hope you’ve had productive work sessions with your teams. Next week, we will see what you’ve accomplished as you share your Visual Identity Package with the class. Here’s what we’ll do each day:
- On Tuesday, I will hold a conference with each team, so come to class ready to show me drafts of your brand identity guidelines and sample documents. During the portion of class when you’re not meeting with me, you will hold a peer critique session with another team, which will give you the chance to receive additional feedback from your peers. If you are struggling to compose and/or design your brand identity guidelines, please refer to the St. Edward’s University Brand Identity Guidelines, linked on the Readings page.
- On Thursday, each team will deliver a short oral presentation (8–12 minutes) that explains the new visual identity to its client. We will discuss the details of these presentations in class on Tuesday, but generally speaking, you should review the organization’s brand history, introduce the new brand to the client, explain the rationale behind your choices, and help the client understand how to use the new visual identity effectively.
If you have any questions between now and Tuesday, just let me know. Otherwise, good luck drafting your materials for Unit #2!
Now that the first exam is behind us, we can shift our focus back to Unit #2. At this point, you and your teammates should have developed several potential brand identities, which you will narrow and refine during Week 7. I will be attending a professional conference in Seattle next week, so you should use our class sessions on Tuesday and Thursday to make significant progress on your visual identity package. I strongly encourage you to use our classroom to hold team meetings, develop materials in Illustrator, and help one another out with technology questions. It is highly likely that you will need to hold additional team meetings to complete this project, so make sure that every member of your team knows what he or she should be doing during Week 7. I will be available by email all week long, so if you have any questions for me, please don’t hesitate to contact me. (I’ll be attending conference sessions, but I’ll respond as quickly as I can.)
I have moved the deadline for Unit #2 from October 18 to October 20, which will give us time for a formal peer critique session and allow me to hold a short conference with each team to discuss any final concerns you have before submitting the project. On October 20, you will submit your project and deliver a short presentation, as described in the assignment sheet. Next week I will send another email containing details about these presentations, but don’t worry — the presentation is a very minor portion of this assignment. Your focus should be on the deliverables listed on the assignment sheet.
Good luck with your team meetings next week!
Now that I have approved your team’s choice of a client, you can begin drafting potential brand identities for your organization. As you do so, please resist the urge to settle on the first typeface you experiment with or the first symbol you find. Your team should develop rough drafts of several (at least four or five) logos/wordmarks during the next week. I’ll leave it up to each team to determine how best to accomplish this task, but I strongly recommend meeting together outside of class at least once this week.
Here’s how we’ll spend our time in class:
- On Tuesday, we will split the class period between an Adobe Illustrator tutorial and an exam review session. Before you come to class, please read or watch several of the Illustrator tutorials linked on the Resources page. (How many, you ask? As many as it takes to get comfortable with the basic functions of the program.) Ideally, you should find some time to visit a computer lab and actually use Illustrator before Tuesday. In addition, you should bring your copies of Document Design and Thinking with Type, as well as any questions you have about our first exam.
- The entire class period on Thursday will be devoted to our first exam. The exam will cover everything we have read so far this semester, as well as my in-class lectures and our in-class tutorials. To prepare for the exam, you should use whatever method works best for you, but I recommend forming study groups with your classmates to review your notes.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions about these plans. Otherwise, enjoy your weekend and good luck experimenting with your brand identities!