Syllabus: 2D Design & Color

ART 112 Section 002L

Fall 2017

T/Th 1:50–4:00 pm

A/C S-217, 216 & 215


Karina Cutler-Lake

Office: A/C 517


Office Hours:

Thursdays 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. & by appointment

Course description:

Students will produce a series of projects designed to develop visual and technical skills that enable them to apply the principles and elements of 2D design in a creative way. Beginning problems in color theory will be introduced. Lab fee: $10.

Welcome to 2D Design & Color! I look forward to working with you this semester. Please read this document carefully, especially so you may understand what I am looking for, and how this course operates. If you need clarification on anything, ask.

The following Elements and Principles of Design are the main focus of this course:

Visual Elements




Texture & Pattern



Principles of Composition

Visual Hierarchy

Unity (Harmony) & Rhythm

Transparency and Layers



Most work produced and studied in this course will be abstract in nature. However, the Elements and Principles of Design can be readily applied to figurative work as well.


Here are our main learning objectives:

•Complete understanding of the Elements of Design: dot, line, shape, texture & pattern, color, space

•Complete understanding of the Principles of Design (a.k.a. Principles of Composition): visual hierarchy, layers& transparency, unity/harmony & rhythm, balance, contrast

•Knowledge and application of basic Color Theory

•Introduction to the creative process, and how it may help you as an artist and/or designer

•Basic familiarity with Adobe Illustrator CC

•Basic familiarity with Adobe Photoshop CC


Breakdown of final grade:

20% attendance and engaged participation

30% “exploration” assignments. Keep these in sketchbook, which will be handed in twice.

50% projects directly relating to elements and principles.


Recommended textbooks:

Gonnella, Navetta, & Friedman. Design Fundamentals: Notes on Visual Elements & Principles of

Composition. Peachpit Press, 2015

Smith, Keri. How to Be an Explorer of the World. Penguin, 2008


Essential website:, where you’ll also find all assignments along with the class schedule. It also features an always growing list of useful design-related resources, which I have gathered with the needs of my students in mind. I don’t use D2L. I also use Google Drive to share content: you will receive an email link to these resources during the second week of class.


Pinterest: I have collected a large number of 112-related visual examples on Pinterest. You can find me under my full name or my username (that is, Karina Cutler-Lake or just cutlerlake). I have set up individual boards which contain pertinent examples to most of the visual ideas we will be exploring. I am always adding to these.


Featured artist/designer: I will choose a professional artist or designer to share with you on a regular basis, likely through a very informal Pinterest slideshow or video clip. I will choose our subjects as we go along, influenced by who is in the class (i.e. you) and what we are working on. It is my hope that by semester’s end, I will have introduced you to at least a handful of artists and/or designers who can inspire you and influence your work as you move ahead in our program. Stay tuned.


Materials and Tools

Essential & everyday (BE PREPARED):

9-inch x 12-inch sketchbook with paper heavy enough for mixed media

Block of acid-free colored paper (find in scrapbooking supplies)

A variety of drawing pencils


A small set of quality colored pencils or markers

Good pens, black ink (Uniball pens are my favorite)

X-acto or utility knife with replacement blades

Portable cutting surface (self-healing is the best)

Ruler (12, 18, or 24 inch)


Glue Stick(s)

A small variety of inexpensive brushes

Some sort of mark making tool (brush, pen, stamp, paint, marker, etc.) that you’ve always wanted to try

A container to carry the above things in

Camera (the one on your phone will work great)


Good to have if you’ve got ‘em:

Charcoal and/or pastels

30/60 or 45/45 degree triangles

Scotch Tape

Watercolor, acrylic, and/or gouache paints

Any interesting papers or found objects

Any random art supply you have lying around but don’t know what to do with


Old magazines to cut images out of

Extra materials purchased with our (very modest) lab fee will be made available to you during class. You will have (again, very modest) storage space in 217. Be sure to obtain a locker in the basement to protect anything that needs protecting—see the Art Department Office on the 3rd floor.

Important: keep all projects and exercises completed during this class for your Post-Foundation Portfolio Review, which is required of all majors.



The full list of what we’ll do each day (as well as what you need to do) can be found here.It is subject to change and revision as we move throughout the course (due to sick days, snow days, or useful detours), so please check it once or twice a week.


I keep an eye on attendance. Attendance is mandatory—if you aren’t here for the entire class period (this includes studio time), you miss important info as well as essential work time. Three unauthorized absences will result in one lowered final grade, four will result in two lowered grades, and so on. Three late arrivals (or early departures from class) will count as one absence. Authorized absences are as follows: prior approval from instructor or documentation from a health professional. Six absences — whether authorized or not — will result in either failure of the course or an incomplete (the instructor’s discression). Please don’t schedule medical appointments that conflict with class. If you must miss class for health or personal reasons, the Dean of Students can help you communicate the situation to your instructors.