Fall 2019 - IAT 102 D100

Graphic Design (3)

Class Number: 6235

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Tue, 8:30–10:20 a.m.
    Location: TBA



Introduction to fundamental design principles for visual communication. Organized as a continual interplay of theory and practice, students will examine historical, philosophical, perceptual and semiotic approaches to understanding graphic design, and will explore principles of form, such as structure and composition, hierarchy, form, color, space, scale, typography, and legibility and readability through hands-on projects. Traditional time-based and interactive media forms will be compared and contrasted.


This course will introduce you to the fundamental principles of Graphic Design. Organized as a continual interplay of theory and practice, we will examine historical, philosophical, perceptual and semiotic approaches to understanding and creating Graphic Design. This includes Graphic Design principles, e.g. the typographic grid, colour theory, as well as type styles, spacing and legibility. You will work within small groups and manage your time and collaboration independently.

Together with Spatial Design (IAT 233) and Information Design (IAT 235), this course lays the foundation for upper level design courses. You will acquire the design foundations necessary for all other design classes.


  1. Be able to apply design process (sketching, rapid viz, iteration), thinking (evaluate, analyze, synthesize), and visual elements (form, type, composition, colour) to solve visual design problems.

  2. Utilize principles of visual design to communicate clear messages across digital and non-digital forms of media to a given audience.

  3. Interpret the meaning of visual designs as well as the constraints of different media (digital and non) to help create effective visual designs.

  4. Be able to communicate, explain and critique considerations of visual design using appropriate methods and terminology.

This is not a software course; you are expected to show a high motivation for independent learning of software skills.


  • Quizzes 30%
  • Major Projects 60%
  • Lab Assignments 10%



Software: Adobe InDesign, Photoshop & Illustrator (it is not required that you purchase this software as it is available in student labs)

Materials: You will require a sketchbook in addition to writing utensils (i.e. pen or pencil)


Required readings will be provided digitally through Canvas.


Supplementary readings will be available online.

Thinking with Type, 2nd revised and expanded edition: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & StudentsPaperback– Jul 21 2010

  • Princeton Architectural Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (July 22 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568989695
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568989693


ISBN: 978-1568989693

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html