Graphic Design Layout and Typography

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ART 225

       Course Name: Graphic Design Layout and Typography

       Credits: 3 (0 lecture; 6 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

ART 224 or ART 216 or consent of instructor

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course examines common graphic tools available in layout design, typography, and underlying design principles. Content includes typography and type design, ways of using illustrations and photographs in layouts, basic tools of graphic design for specific desktop publishing projects, properties of letter forms and converting letter forms into legible work. Student project to create type, modify it, and add it to existing fonts. Course project oriented and uses software for manipulation of layouts and typography for purpose of making final output. Adobe InDesign used as the main software.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Explain the importance of appearance in effective layout design.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to control the reader's eye in layout design.
  3. Use typography in layout design.
  4. Use basic design principles in layout creation.
  5. Create and modify typefaces.
  6. Use color in an effective manner in layout design.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• 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. Structure of Design: Visual Elements
    1. Line
    2. Shape
    3. Light and dark
    4. Color
    5. Texture
    6. Perspective and depth
  2. Organization of the Elements
    1. Unity
    2. Balance
    3. Rhythm
    4. Proportion
  3. Techniques
    1. Contrast
      1. Tone
      2. Shape
      3. Size
      4. Juxtaposition
      5. Sharpness
      6. Complexity
      7. Variation
      8. Exaggeration
    2. Harmony
      1. Balance
      2. Symmetry
      3. Simplicity
      4. Unity
      5. Opacity
      6. Singularity
      7. Flatness
      8. Repetition and regularity
  4. Principles of Typography
    1. Origins of the alphabet
      1. Pictograms
      2. Ideographs
      3. Phoenician, Greek and Roman alphabets
      4. Small letters and punctuation
    2. Types
      1. Sans Serif
      2. Serif
      3. Script
      4. Special character and symbols
    3. Families of type
      1. Specimen sheets
      2. Key letters
      3. Color of type
      4. Personalities of type
      5. Visual change between type over time
        1. Garamond, Baskerville and Bodoni
        2. Century Expanded and Helvetica
      6. Display type
        1. Roman and Egyptian
        2. Sans Serif and Script
    4. Description
      1. Size
        1. Points
        2. Pica
        3. Conversion to inches
      2. Weight
      3. Width
      4. Slant
      5. Style
    5. Anatomy
      1. Point size
      2. Cap height
      3. Serif
      4. Counter
      5. Ascender
      6. Baseline
      7. Descender
    6. Relationship to page
      1. Leading and kerning
      2. Line length
      3. Alignment
      4. Rules
      5. Headlines
      6. Widows and orphans
    7. Designing with type
      1. Function of type
      2. Ornate type
      3. Creating moods with type
      4. Altering of characteristics of existing fonts
  5. Page Structure
    1. Anatomy of a Page - Terminology
      1. Gutter
      2. Overline
      3. Deck
      4. Bleed
      5. Folio
      6. Margins
    2. Organization
      1. Grids
      2. Style
      3. Columns
      4. Margins
      5. Headlines
      6. Captions
  6. Nature of Color
    1. Application to page
    2. Feelings
    3. Color relationships
    4. Color and the marketplace
    5. Local color
      1. duotones-quadtones
      2. without black
  7. Four color
  8. Basic components of Graphic Design
    1. Parts
      1. White space
      2. Bleeds
      3. Drop shadows
      4. Borders
      5. Boxes
      6. Screens
    2. Methods
      1. Repetition
        1. Grids
        2. Headlines
      2. Organizational elements
  9. Imaging and layout design
    1. Illustrations
      1. Drawing
      2. Clip art
      3. Charts and diagrams
      4. Manipulating illustrations
    2. Photographs
      1. Tonal scales
      2. Sequence
      3. Sizing
      4. Retouching
  10. Application of design principles
    1. Brochures
    2. Advertisements
    3. Catalogs
    4. Projection material
    5. Flyers
    6. Newsletters and forms
    7. Charts and diagrams
    8. Business communications

VII.  Methods of Instruction

This course will be presented using a combination of lectures, slide presentations and work at the lab’s computer workstations.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Attendance at all classes and labs.
  2. Attendance and participation in all critiques and quizzes as scheduled in the course calendar.
  3. Complete assigned exercises and print all assignments.
  4. Final exam.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

  1. High capacity storage drive
  2. Ink-jet paper

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

The final grade will be based upon the following elements and their weights.

  1. Quizzes = 25%
  2. Three critiques during the semester = 25%
  3. Final exam = 25%
  4. Final critique = 25%

Multiple choice quizzes will be administered at each of the first three critiques.  The critiques offer the student the opportunity to show work in progress to the instructor and to the class and to obtain feed back on the work presented.

XI.   Other Course Information

Please note:
Some of the activities, lectures and assignments in this class may include imagery that is controversial, uncomfortable, shocking, has nudity, and personally unpopular to one's beliefs. If a student objects to this practice, he/she is encouraged to discuss with the instructor early in the semester alternative ways of completing course requirements.

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
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.