Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan for Week 5
Class: Intro to Graphic Design Theory and Process (Online Version of the Course)
Grade Level: College Students (Ages 18-50 in class)
Class Time: Online Course, Expected time is the three class hours plus homework time so approx. 9 hours.

Week Overview
At this point in the course, the students have been given a general overview of graphic design, the different areas a designer might work in, and the process of creating a design. This week I present a more in-depth look at the research phase of designing a project. The goal of the week is for students to understand why research is important for a graphic designer and how they can use it to make a project better. We will cover popular techniques for research like mood boards, focus groups, and word mapping. Students should be able to use the word map and mood board techniques in their own projects by end of the class.

Instructional Objectives

  • Evaluate the process of creating graphic design and working in the profession.
  • Describe how a graphic designer gathers the necessary information about a project and what information might appear in a client’s design brief.
  • Differentiate between types of virtual and actual research that contribute to a successful design project.
  • Discuss the strategies graphic designers use to define the problem to be solved in a project.
  • Give an example of each of the techniques used to record research in visual formats.
  • Outline the steps of the research process that lead to creating a graphic design.

Key Terms
Students should be able to define the following terms by the end of the week:

  • Deconstruction
  • Focus group
  • Mood boards
  • Observational research
  • Positioning chart
  • Unique selling proposition
  • Word mapping

A computer with Internet Access (necessary for taking an online course anyway)
Access to Blackboard site for Course
Pinterest (http://www. pinterest.com)
Text 2 Mindmap (https://www.text2mindmap.com/)

Reading for Week (completed before the start of class)
Chapter 4: Researching a Graphic Design Project in Guide to Graphic Design by Scott Santoro
Students can either read the book, listen to the audio file of the chapter, or use the interactive reading experience online.

Students will begin by responding to questions on Blackboard in order to set the stage for the topic. He questions the students will respond to are:

We will be talking about research this week. When you begin any type project that will involve research of some sort, what is the first thing you do? Does it depend on what you are researching, i.e. a new car to buy versus a school assignment? What do think the most important thing is to do when researching? Why is research important to the success of a project?

They do not need to respond to each other. The goal is more for them to reflect on why research may be important in general before moving into why it is important to the graphic design process. The students will then either read the lecture or watch a video version of the lecture notes for the week. This allows for all learning styles and preferences to be addressed.

The students will then begin on the weekly activity to support the material. The activity allows the students to put the techniques and skills discussed in the chapter and the lecture to work. Students will be given a design brief for a fictitious logo project, Cordog Bleu. The students will use the design brief to begin the research process. Students are encouraged to explore both dog food as a product and the competitors of the client. Students will complete this on their own but share their final results with the entire class. They will use the design brief to complete the following:

Write a short paragraph (4-5 sentences) about what direction you would plan to go if were actually going to make a logo for the company. It should include reflections on the company and their product. You may also want to conduct some research by looking at competitors to see how you might want to differentiate their logo from the competition. You also want to look at the given examples of logos they like. For example: I plan to create a logo that reflects the upscale aspect of the client’s market by including rich colors. (Link to creative brief for the dog food company)

Mood Board
The book and my lecture talked about mood boards. Mood boards are a collection of images that represent the direction you plan to go with a project. They should include colors, images that might represent the target audience, images that represent the feel you want for your design, and images that may inspire your design. Using the below information, you need to create a mood board for the logo design. The paragraph you wrote should serve as direction for this step.

To do this, you need to sign up for pinterest (pinterest.com – unless you already have an account). Pinterest is free. You need to post at least 15 items to the pinterest board you create. You will then post the link as part of your discussion posting for the week.

Example a client sent to me: http://www.pinterest.com/philomathkid/logo-ideas/ (Does not represent this project)

Word Map
The last step in your research process will be to create a word map. Word maps involve brainstorming words that you associate with the company and their products. You will create a word map using http://www.text2mindmap.com/. It is free to create the word map. Start with dog food company in the center and then create words from there. You can keep branching off at different levels. You need to have a minimum of 50 words on your word map. I have posted a very basic example below (is not an example of this assignment). When you complete your word map, click the download button. Chose the download image button. This will download an image to your desktop (or other location).

(Image example of a word map)

You will then post the word map image with your paragraph and the link to your pin interest board to the Research in Practice discussion board. After completing your post, you need to reply to TWO of your classmates. You should comment on whether or not his/her solution is appropriate given the brief. You could also comment on the imagery and colors chosen. How effective do you think their research was?

After completing the assignment, the students will be instructed to post a reflection on the assignment to their blog (students are required to maintain a blog as part of the course requirements). The students are asked to reflect on why they feel research is important to the success of a graphic design project. They are also asked to reflect on what they learned from the project and how they can use these skills to complete their first project for the course.

Project 1
The first project is also introduced at this point. The students will need to use a similar process to come up with a name and develop a logo for a new restaurant. I pick a different type of cuisine each semester. The type of cuisine is typically something very if any students have heard of to further make the research process necessary (Icelandic and Tasmanian Cuisine are past examples) They will be required to submit their research process for review before beginning sketches. I provide feedback at that stage and make sure they are on the right track.

I can assess student learning by how well they complete the activity. The activity forces them to put the concepts to use to demonstrate understanding. Students who produce thoughtful, well-reasoned mood boards and word maps that support the direction provided in the creative brief. I can also assess learning through their reflection at the end of the week. The reflections can provide insight as to what students understand and what they may need further assistance with to be successful with the first project. Moving forward, I can further assess learning as they work on their first project.


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