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Poster Design

Type, image, and organization are the building blocks of visual communication. This is true whether a designer is working in a static format (such as a book or a poster), or an interactive format (such as a touch screen or an application interface). These building blocks remain the same whether the goal of a project is to communicate pure information (such as an instructional manual), or to communicate something more emotional (such as Maya Lin's Vietnam Memorial).

In this assignment, students will create a poster for a lecture series that will be displayed in a University student center. Students will use text and images to communicate informational and emotional content.

Your poster will be 11" x 17", vertical orientation. The final poster must be printed on paper (at least 80-lb) at full size and mounted on foam core using spray mount, trimmed flush to the edges of the poster. 

Use an underlying grid to create your design. You must use ALL of the text provided. You can select any number of images from the ones provided. You may also create graphic elements such as rule lines and shapes. You may explore color, or design in black and white. You may choose your own fonts.

Students will complete this as an individual assignment.

Learning Goals
  • Develop a proficiency in laying out type and images
  • Explore the information and emotions that they communicate
  • Lectures
    • Organizing information
    • Image
    • Color
  • Design tools
  • Materials
    • Foam core board (will buy as a class)
    • Spray mount (will buy as a class)
    • Paper (11" x 17")
  • Printing
    • UCSD Imprints (near Perks coffee in Price Center):  prints 11x17" color with 90lb paper for about $1. 
    • ACMS C-Plotter located in the Applied Physics & Mathematics Building (must be submitted 48 hours in advance)
    • FedEx Kinkos
  • Readings
What to do
Utilize all of the text and select from the images provided here. Here's a google folder with the images.

Produce at least ten sketches of different designs using grid, content, and images. Sketching roughly in pencil is the fastest way to look at a page layout holistically.

Create a document in InDesign or Adobe Illustrator. Your poster size will be 11" x 17" in vertical layout.  Your final design should be printed on 80-lb paper (or greater) at full size, mounted on foam core, and trimmed flush to the edges of the poster.

For your digital iterations, employ a variety of typefaces and sizes to explore hierarchy. Instead of making one big text box, break up the content and move it around the page. If you are not confident with color, try just using color in the background.

On the important links page, upload a single PDF (named A2-Lastname-Firstname.pdf; eg., A2-Dow-Steven.pdf) with the following content in this order:

  • Title page with your name, pID, date, and email
  • 10 sketches (can have multiple on one page)
  • All digital iterations you create in the lead-up to the final design
  • Final poster design
Grading Rubric

Grades will be based on the following:

  • Do the solutions conform to the rules?
  • Does the solutions make use of hierarchy, image, and grid?
  • Does the solution express an emotional quality through type and layout?
  • Does the solution offer a clear point of entry?
  • Is the information visible and accessible?
  • Are the deliverables presented in a professional and timely manner?