Graphic Design Project

Image Collection 10 Fri., May 18
Graphic Design Project – Draft 30 Fri., May 18
Graphic Design Project – Feedback 20 Tues., May 22
Graphic Design Project – Final Draft 120 Fri., May 25

The Graphic Design Project will be our focus for the next two weeks.

  • The first parts of the assignment, the Image Collection and Draft Graphic Design Project, are due during the first week.
  • The following Tuesday, feedback comments on your classmates’ drafts are due along with a self-critique comment about your own work.
  • Then, based on feedback you receive from your peers and your instructor, you will revise your draft to complete a Final Graphic Design Project.


In this multi-part project, you will be creating a single file in Photoshop that makes use of skills learned in the software tutorials and principles from our readings to communicate a clear message about your topic. Your project can take many forms, such as an advertisement, book cover, poster or informational graphic.

To create your project, you will use photos you’ve taken yourself along with elements such as text or other images. You may use some raw material created by someone else if you have the documented legal right to do so, but the majority of elements in your project should be your own work.

Here is a collection of student examples from previous semesters, all of which demonstrate different concepts and strengths to show the range of possibilities.

Image Collection

In the first portion of your design process, you will define what ideas your project will communicate and collect images to use.

1. Get Organized

To begin, first think about your course topic and what you want to communicate about it. Who is your intended audience? How do you want your images and the design of your Graphic Design Project to resonate emotionally?

Next, think about how you can use images and visual effects to visually represent that topic. Think about what format is appropriate for your message. For example, you might create:

  • a magazine advertisement
  • an event poster
  • the cover of a brochure
  • an online graphic for your blog

Use your inspiration file and search the web to see what styles fit your industry, topic or chosen project form.

2. Compile your Image Collection

Once you have a clear idea of the form and function, begin gathering images that you think will help express your personal perspective or personal experience with your topic and together form a cohesive visual narrative. Experiment with various combinations of two or more images to see what new meanings or potential narratives you can create. Collect three or more images you may use in your Graphic Design Project. It’s great to use images you’ve created yourself, though you can also use images created by other people as long as you have a legal right to use them. (You must have a clearly documented right to use the images.)

Many images you find on the Internet are not clearly labeled with their license and creator. Unfortunately, you have to assume any images that aren’t clearly labeled are protected by full copyright unless they fit the few exceptions outlined in our Copyright Readings, such as very old images that have entered the public domain. The good news is that many images are free-to-use, and a good starting point is the course list of Image Resources.

3. Submit your Photo Collection

Once you have at least three images you may use in your Graphic Design Project, publish them on your blog and submit the URL to Blackboard to complete the Image Collection assignment.

  • Choose at least 3 images you may use in the project.
  • Create a new post in WordPress and upload your images in that post. Use an appropriate title so it’s clear that this is your Image Collection.
  • Include at least one sentence describing your idea for the project.
  • If any images are not your own, include the link and citation so it’s clear where you obtained them. (This includes photos taken by someone you know, such a friend or family member!)
  • Publish your post and submit the URL in Blackboard.

Note: If you end up revising your idea or finding additional images, it’s OK if the images in your Image Collection aren’t included in your final project.

Grading Criteria

The Image Collection will be graded for completion, with full credit awarded if all required components are published and submitted correctly.

Draft Graphic Design Project

1. Develop Your Draft Graphic Design Project

In the next part of this project, you will create a Draft Graphic Design Project using the design concepts and the Photoshop skills you’ve learned from course readings and tutorials. Your finished draft should include a minimum of 3 images and tell a coherent story about your topic. You may use images, text and Photoshop textures and effects to create your multimedia project. Try to be creative and communicative while following design principles and showing your technical proficiency. There is no single “right” way to do this assignment, but be mindful of the grading rubric for this assignment when designing your project.

To begin, you create a new image file in Photoshop (File > New). Your new image file should be at least 800 x 600 pixels, with the Color Mode set to “RGB.” Once this is set, click “OK” to create your new file. Other dimensions, such as a square, are fine as long as the final project meets the minimum size.

Key project requirements:
• Tell a coherent visual story about your topic
• Use 3 images at a minimum, combined using Photoshop techniques
• Size of at least 800 x 600 pixels (larger is recommended)
• Include only materials you legally have a right to use

Make sure to save your draft project as a Photoshop (.PSD) file so you can revise it later! Then save a .JPG version for your blog with the method you used for the Photoshop tutorials.

In developing your draft Graphic Design Project, is it OK to use techniques not included in the tutorials assignment? Absolutely! You are strongly encouraged to experiment with other tools and effects or seek out additional tutorials if there’s a particular effect you have in mind. (In fact, experimentation is part of the grading criteria.) If you find a useful resource, share it with your classmates on Blackboard in the “General Discussion” forum.

2. Publish your draft with a written blog post

After you have finished your draft project, you should write a 300 to 500 word blog post to accompany your design. As detailed in the rubric below, this blog post should detail your creative process including citations to works that helped inspire your design. Publish this post with both the .JPG image of your draft project and your written post.

Key post requirements:

• 300-500 words (OK to go slightly over)
• Use principles and vocabulary from the course readings in your explanations
• Follow strong blog practices as outlined in Blogging Best Practices
• Include credit and a link for any images you didn’t create yourself. (It should be clear from your link that the original work is shared under a free-to-remix license)
• Appropriate for a general Internet audience and respectful of diverse perspectives

You can use the outline below to make sure your post includes all information required by the rubric. Write in complete sentences with 1-2 paragraphs for each section. You can use the section headers if you like, but do not include the questions.

Idea and Inspiration
• What did you decide to create for this project? How does this project idea relate to your topic?Design Process
• What design influences or principles inspired you? What research did you do to inform your design and idea?
• What is the significance of the elements in your design?
• What was your design process, from beginning to end? (Use terms and principles from the course readings to explain your design choices.)Technical Detail
• How did you collect or create the elements used to create your project?
• What was your process for constructing your project using Adobe software? What tools and techniques did you use?
• What technical challenges did you encounter with the software or specific tools? What solutions did you find, and do you have tips for anyone else encountering the same problem?Sources and Materials
• Cite all materials used in your project that you did not create yourself.
• For all materials found online, include a direct link to the original and list the license type.
• For all materials that you have personal permission to use, give credit to the copyright holder and explain how you received permission to use the material.
alert-symbolYou MUST cite and link to any images not created by yourself in your blog post. It should be clear from your link that the original work is shared under a free-to-remix license.

3. Submit your post URL to Blackboard

To complete the Draft Graphic Design Project assignment, submit the URL of your completed blog post to the appropriate dropbox in Blackboard.

Grading Criteria

The Draft Graphic Design Project will be graded for completion, with full credit awarded as long as a published post containing the draft image and written blog post is correctly submitted to Blackboard. The multimedia project draft may be rough as long as it demonstrates progress toward the final version.

Graphic Design Project Feedback

After you post your draft project, you will critique your classmates’ drafts as well as your own design. For this assignment, the class is divided into feedback groups. Each feedback group includes 4-5 members. (Note that the Late Work Policy for feedback assignments differs from other assignments in this course.) Feedback groups will be posted immediately after the Draft Graphic Design Project deadline.

1. View your group members’ drafts

Feedback groups will be posted under “Announcements” on Blackboard immediately following the Draft Graphic Design Project deadline. Find your feedback group and visit each group member’s blog. For each group member, find their draft post and consider the visual stories they are telling. You may want to read their “About” pages or introductory blog posts to learn more about their course topics. It is also useful to think about the design in terms of its use of the design principles we learned about in this unit.

2. Leave a critique comment for each group member

For each group member, write 150-300 word critique of their design. You should provide at least 2 critical suggestions for improvement and 1 specific area where the design is already strong. Please offer suggestions for improvement based on the assignment rubric and our course material. You might offer technical or content based feedback. Your critiques should be substantial and respectful.

Post your critique as a “comment” on each group member’s blog post. Also collect each comment you post in a Word document or similar text document, which you will eventually submit to Blackboard. If a group member has not posted a draft post by the deadline, indicate this in your Word document. You are not responsible for leaving a comment if the draft post is not present. (Click here to download a Word document template)

3. Review comments from your group members

Depending on your WordPress settings, new comments will typically not appear on your blog until you approve them. Go to your WordPress dashboard and approve any critique comments that are pending moderation.

3. Add a self-critique comment

After reviewing feedback from your group members and instructor, leave a 150-300 word self-critique comment on your own draft post reevaluating your work. This critique can and should integrate the feedback from your peers, but can also offer further insight based on your thinking and viewing other designs. Explain what you plan to revise in your final version and what challenges remain.

4. Submit all feedback comments to Blackboard

In a Word document or similar text document, collect the 4-5 comments you wrote for your group members and your own self-critique comment. Submit this document as an attachment to the appropriate dropbox on Blackboard. Because feedback is time-sensitive, this assignment must be completed no later than two days after the deadline for partial credit.

Sometimes WordPress blogs do not display the most recent posts on the homepage. If you cannot find the latest posts from any of your group members, add a slash and the year after the URL for the site, such as for example. That will bring you to a list of all posts published this year.

Final Graphic Design Project

Your Final Graphic Design Project will be an update of your draft post showing improvements in both your multimedia project and your written post.

1. Revise your design

Based on the feedback you received from your peers, your instructor and your own critique of your design, make revisions to improve the final product. If you find any helpful tutorials or techniques as you experiment with Photoshop, share them on the “General Discussion” forum on Blackboard.

2. Revise and republish your written post

Once you have completed you revisions to your project, you should then create a new Final Graphic Design Project post on your course blog. Your final post should be a substantial revision of your initial post from the Draft Graphic Design Project assignment, published as a new, separate post. Your post should outline the entire design process including the initial draft, a summary of the feedback you received and your process of making revisions to complete your Final Graphic Design Project. Your post should be creative and engaging and supplement the story told by your visual design. See the rubric below for further details.

Note: You may use portions of your draft post in your final post, but it must be substantially rewritten to include all information in a clear and logical way. You should NOT just copy-paste your draft post and tack on new information at the end.

Key post requirements:
• Include the JPG image of your final multimedia project
• Follow all requirements of the draft post, appropriately updated
• Outline your full design process, from inspiration through revisions
• Summarize feedback you received and changes you made from the draft
• Post must be rewritten as necessary to include all information
• Include credit and a link for any images you didn’t create yourself

Important: Your final project should be publishable outside of academia. That means that ALL images should either be taken by you or shared under a free-to-remix license like the Creative Commons license. You MUST cite and link to any images not created by yourself in your blog post. It should be clear from your link that the original work is shared under a free-to-remix license. If you are not sure, you must ask before submitting your assignment.

3. Submit your post URL to Blackboard

To complete the Final Graphic Design Project assignment, submit the URL of your completed blog post to the appropriate dropbox in Blackboard.


The Final Graphic Design Project will be graded based on the rubric summarized below or available in full from the assignment dropbox in Blackboard. Final projects are graded to a challenging standard, and it is difficult to earn a high score on all categories. This is balanced by the other parts of the project that are graded for completion.

Grading Rubric

Carefully read the Multimedia Project Rubric for details about grading. The full rubric is available to view in Blackboard. The following list summarizes the key criteria and requirements for achieving the highest rubric categories.

Multimedia Product (60%)

Content (15%)
❑ Presents a clear, nuanced, fully comprehensive communication of the topic.
❑ Utilizes unique combination of materials from varied and novel sources.
❑ Developed within constraints and requirements identified in the assignment.
❑ Does not use any copyrighted content without permission.

Design Principles (15%)
❑ Expert execution of all design concepts from course readings.
❑ Professional and engaging design; clear, compelling organization of information and ideas.
❑ Design conveys a strong sense of purpose and function.
❑ Meets all expectations and professional standards for chosen form of media.

Originality and Experimentation (15%)
❑ Original design solution with many unique qualities that presents an engaging concept.
❑ Project shows substantial exploration and experimentation, resulting in an innovative visual solution.
❑ Evidence of substantial and varied purposeful iterations from initial design to final draft.

Technical Proficiency (15%)
❑ All elements are fully refined and flawless.
❑ Uses a significant number of tools appropriately.
❑ Clear mastery of techniques demonstrated in course tutorials as well as experimentation beyond the course tutorials.

Written Post (40%)

Relates to Topic/Issue (5%)
❑ Strong, nuanced and personal explanation of the relationship to the topic.
❑ Clear, comprehensive and consistent context for design choices.

Design Process (10%)
❑ Comprehensive and insightful explanation of research process; thoughtful, articulate and personal description of design influences and inspirations.
❑ Fully articulated and thoughtful description of the design approach to project.
❑ Comprehensive, detailed and instructive explanation of the design process, demonstrating sophisticated understanding of course principles and vocabulary.
❑ Reflective and insightful description of a detailed and purposeful revision process.

Technical Detail (10%)
❑ Includes comprehensive, technically detailed explanation of how required assets were collected.
❑ Thorough, detailed and instructive explanation of how content editing was executed using software tools.
❑ Comprehensive explanation of process followed for overcoming challenges encountered while using programs or tools, including tips to avoid these in the future.

Diverse Perspectives (5%)
❑ Appropriate for diverse Internet audience and WSU community.
❑ Shows respect for a diverse Internet audience and WSU community.

Professionalism and Style (10%)
❑ Meets 300 word minimum required in assignment.
❑ Follows all best practices for blogging established in class; adds substantial value to the post.
❑ No grammar/spelling/punctuation errors. Eloquently written.
❑ All sources properly cited.