Tip: Rent recording gear (no cost!)

Rent professional Zoom recorders and other gear from Academic Media Services! Photo courtesy Ruth Gregory
Rent professional Zoom recorders and other gear for free. Photos by Ruth Gregory/WSU

Not so impressed with the quality of audio recorded with your smartphone? On-campus students in Pullman can rent media equipment from Academic Media Services for free. The rental desk is located in Holland 150.

  • No cost if you’re using equipment for coursework, so make sure to mention COM210!
  • 24-hour checkouts, or all weekend (get it Friday and return on Monday)
  • Zoom audio recorders are professional quality, acquired for upper-division communication courses but available to anyone
  • Camcorders, smartphone tripods and other gear will be useful for Unit 4
  • They’re always getting new and cutting-edge gear, so it’s always worth it to see what’s available.

Examples: How to improve a logo

The weekly post for Week 8 includes some common issues with students’ logo drafts. But let’s take a look at a couple of before-and-after examples:

Example 1


In the version on the left, there are a few problems: The text is difficult to read, the three stars are not evenly spaced, and the overall boxy shape looks more like a label than a logo. The designer’s intention was to use team colors of yellow and blue, but the yellow looks greenish because of the gradient.


  • Ornate script fonts don’t display well in all caps. A different font selection improves the readability.
  • The stars are evenly spaced using the Alignment tools, and arranged more deliberately.
  • The stars and text are changed are changed to white for better contrast against the gradient background color.
  • The gradient is changed to a more subtle transition from blue-green to blue, with a little light blue in the middle to add a bit of shine.
  • The overall shape is changed to a rounded square, which is more pleasing to the eye and trendy, with a white border and drop shadow to lift the logo off the background in a subtle way.

The content of this logo is still not very distinctive. What is it for? What makes it unique? The designer could still improve this logo so it has a clearer purpose.

Example 2


The version on the left is more of an illustration than a logo, and the elements are rough and unbalanced. It looks more like it was done in MS Paint than in Illustrator, and the default bright colors look childish and hurried.


  • The first step is having elements that are shapes, so those are created over again using the shape tools and the pen tool. For shapes like the mountains, it’s useful to look at other logos with that element or pictures of actual mountains.
  • The logo is given an encompassing shape with clear edges — in this case, a circle, which is a common but aesthetically pleasing shape. Inner shapes are trimmed into the circle using the Shape Builder tool.
  • The text is curved around the design using the Type On a Path tool.
  • The colors are restrained to just gray and blue, with a subtle gradient for each.
  • The detail elements — sun, trees, path — are done in a simple style that will be scalable.

The new version doesn’t include a person figure, and the visual message still comes through clearly. It could still be worth finding a way to incorporate it if the designer really liked that element, but think critically about whether all elements are really necessary.

Example 3


In the version on the left, the outline of a smartphone is clearly created in detail using shapes in Illustrator, so this is an excellent start. However, the thin lines are not scalable since they would quickly disappear at small sizes, and the outline feels insubstantial rather than eye-catching. The text also seems incongruous with the technology theme.


  • The smartphone shapes are inverted so they have a fill color rather than an outline, which makes the overall logo bolder and more distinct.
  • The shapes are also simplified to avoid any issues with scalability. The idea that this represents a “smartphone” still comes through clearly.
  • The text is changed to a more modern sans-serif font to fit the technology theme.
  • The biggest change is that the smartphone screen is now adding to the meaning of the logo by including an eye-catching gradient and a stylized “chat” bubble. In the first version, the phone could be related to anything. In the second version, it’s clear this logo represents some type of communication-related mobile product.

All of these logos could still be improved, especially depending on the purpose and message to be communicated, but these changes improve both the visual and intellectual unity for stronger overall designs.

How well do you know the academic integrity policy?

Hopefully you’ve read the course syllabus, and hopefully you would know anyway that academic dishonesty is not tolerated at WSU. But how well do you really know what the policy says about what constitutes a violation and what this could mean for your academic record?

These two videos were created by former COM210 students to increase awareness of WSU’s academic integrity policy and consequences for violations. Every year we do have students who get caught for these violations, unfortunately, so it’s a good point in the semester to review the information and make sure you don’t end up crossing the line.

Here is a link to what the students in the video are reading, if you’d like to review it yourself: Academic Integrity Reference Guide (PDF)

FAQ: Understanding the draft rubric

The feedback and revision phase is important for all four multimedia projects in this course. Along with the comments you’ll receive from your peers in the feedback assignment, you’ll also receive feedback from your TA about the strengths and weaknesses of your draft.

In Blackboard, you will see two rubrics for your draft project: one for your score, and the other for more detailed feedback. The following video explains the two rubrics and how they relate to the way the final version is graded:

Once your draft is graded, you can access those two rubrics by going to “My Grades” in Blackboard and clicking the “View Rubric” link below the assignment name.


The most important thing to note is that most assignments in this course (including your draft project) are graded for completion, meaning you get full credit as long as you successfully complete all parts. The final version of each multimedia project is graded to a high standard with a rigorous rubric. Earning a “C” is typical on the final projects, and this is balanced by all the other assignments where you can earn 100%. For this reason, it’s important to go through the feedback rubric for your draft project and ask your TA questions if you’re not sure how to improve on certain categories.

Tip: Citing your images

Photography by Dave Nixen via Flickr
Photograph by Dave Nixen via Flickr

Many of you are using our course list of Image Resources and other resources to find free-to-use images for your Graphic Design Project. We do not require you to follow a particular style of citation, but the following information must be clearly included:

  1. where you found the image
  2. who created it or owns the copyright
  3. how you know you have the right to use it
  4. a direct link to the image and its license information

It’s recommended that you list the citation information at the end of your post. You can do this explained in writing, or in a list format.

You can include this information in a written explanation. For example, to describe the image above, I might write:

I found the image at the top of this post by searching “photographer sunset” on Flickr. It was taken by Dave Nixen in 2012 and is labeled with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license, which allows me to share and adapt the image as long as it’s attributed correctly and isn’t being used for commercial purposes.

Or, you can include this information in a list of citations. For example, I might describe the image above this way:

Image Citations
“Rough Water Shot” (waves image) by Dave Nixen, 2012. Shared on Flickr.com with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license. https://flic.kr/p/b8X77B

If you are using images you found with Google using the license search feature, you must click through and get the link for the image that confirms its free-to-use license.

You must click through to make sure the image page includes information verifying the license.
You must click through to make sure the image page includes information verifying the license.
We're in luck! This photo's page clearly shows that it's labeled at Public Domain and free to use.
We’re in luck! This photo’s page clearly shows that it’s labeled at Public Domain and free to use.