Introduction to Visual Communication
I. Course Prefix/Number: GRD 101
Course Name: Introduction to Visual Communication
Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 2 lab)
III. Course (Catalog) Description
IV. Learning Objectives
A. Identify the fundamental elements and principles of design
B. Explain the how media are used in the creation of imaging
C. Incorporate the design process into image-making.
D. Use color in an effective manner.
E. Produce images that demonstrate mastery of key skills.
V. Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.
There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
VI. Sequence of Topics
1. The cradle of civilization
2. The invention of writing
3. The Asian connection
4. The discovery of printing
6. The Graphic Renaissance
7. The Industrial Revolution
8. The Modernist Era
9. The Age of Information
B. Perception and Imaging
1. Visual selection
2. Gestalt grouping
3. Memory and association
4. Space, time and color
6. Illusion and ambiguity
7. The morphics
8. Human personality
9. Visual concepts
C. Elements of Two-dimensional Designs
5. Color theory
3. Digital imaging
E. Principles of Design
1. Unity and variety
7. Patterns and grids
9. Symmetrical balance
12. Illusion of space and movement
F. Problem Solving
1. The design process
2. Fine art process
3. Source of ideas
4. Convergent and divergent thinking
6. Visual research
7. Critical thinking
2. Form, subject and content
4. Contrast and compare
7. Purpose and Intent
VII. Methods of Instruction
This course will be taught using a combination of lecture and demonstrations. Software demonstrations will use the appropriate Graphic Design software.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
VIII. Course Practices Required
B. Participate in critiques with completed work.
C. Complete two required notebooks with assigned exercises.
D. Produce a minimum of four 8" x 10” prints mounted on 11" x 14” board.
E. Final exam.
IX. Instructional Materials
Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton’s Schedule of Classes.
Suggested textbook to cover fundamental principles and practices of design, such as: “Launching of the Imagination: A Guide to Two Dimensional Design,” by Mary Stewart (McGraw Hill), or other relevant text.
X. Methods of Evaluating Student Progress
Completion of projects and participation in critique are required. Course instructors will base grades and evaluation on specified elements and percentage weights.
XI. Other Course Information
If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.
Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.
Resources and support for
- pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
- victims of sexual misconduct
Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.