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Course Introduction

Art 1600 — Introduction to Design Foundations I

3 hours credit;
Studio course -- 6 hours meet time per week.

Fall 2019:
Section 1: Monday & Wednesday, Art 201, 1:00-3:50pm

Spring 2020:
Section 1: Monday & Wednesday, Art 201, 10:00-12:50am
Section 2: Tuesday & Thursday, Art 201, 1:00-3:50pm

Course Description

Intro to Design Foundations I explores the basic design principles and sources of design inspiration fundamental to all visual arts through readings, discussion, exercises and laboratory application.

This is a visual design theory course that introduces the core concepts of visual design — visual elements, principles of design and creative process. Composition issues and strategies valid in all areas of visual design are explored through examples, exercises, critiques and creative projects. All art and design students are required to complete this course. Also, this course serves designers in a variety of other areas. Student majors include fine arts, graphic design, interior design, art therapy, web- and interactive design, theater design, advertising and marketing.

We introduce and refine our creative problem-solving skills. We work to understand and analyze design problems, developing distinctive concept statements and then creating and refining designs that manifest that concept.

We explore designers and artists of the past and present for examples of successful visual design solutions.

The course involves a balance of lecture and discussion along with extensive design exercises and design problems.

Developed concepts ground great design.  Inspiration, of whatever sort, begins a concept. Talent and technical skills are needed to implement and present designs, but the practice of refining, revising and gradually improving solutions is the most valuable and necessary ability for a successful designer in any field.  You must be willing to develop your ideas – this is primarily a matter of disciplined analytic and creative work, not pure inspiration. You have to dedicate your attention to the problem, research existing solutions, generate ideas, and improve them.  The fact is that some designers don’t bother to improve their initial ideas.  You are expected to refine your ideas and designs as far as well-managed time permits.  You are graded, in part, on how successfully, critically, and persistently you improve your concepts.

This is not a drawing or a painting course – refined rendering skill is helpful, but drawing is primarily used here to communicate ideas, evaluate ideas, and refine graphic concepts.  That is, drawing is a means of note-taking, planning, visualizing and communicating.   Sketches are an essential part of a visual designer’s process.  You will be expected to generate many ideas and refine those ideas through your sketches.  Strong design is no mystery – it is the result of an attentive, iterative process of ideation, evaluation, and refinement.  That is, sketch and make notes, see what works and what doesn’t, then sketch again.  If you are willing to do that, you can develop your ability to use graphic language effectively.  If not, you won’t.


Course text


Assignments and Grading Policies

Art & Design Symposiums

Attendance, Excuses and Deadlines

In-class Electronics, Cells, etc. Policies

Workspace Care and Cleanup


Retained Works

Other Class Policies

Class Supplies

Supply Sources

Class Schedule

Project Descriptions

CIDA Curriculum Standards *


Greg Clayton
Design Foundations I
Design Foundations II

Senior Seminar

Photography Course
Course Schedule
Course Schedule
Independent Study
            2019 Greg Clayton/