MAT-135 :: PROJECT 1

Foundation Design Book

30% of Semester Grade


Core Concepts
This project focuses on the exploration and refinement of foundation design principles core to all graphic design, with a primary emphasis on Point/Line/Plane. Students will work through a process of investigations in layout/composition using fundamental shapes and line, applying principles of design such as balance, tension, unity, hierarchy, similarity, contrast, and rhythm/pattern.

The culmination of these progressive explorations will result in a final design book, and it will also provide the process materials necessary to complete a single-page portfolio spread.

Progressive Phases and Due Dates
This project has several progressive ‘phase’ due dates and tutorials on how to develop specific process stages of the book. This structure aims to help students stay on track with the completion schedule and to successfully explore and develop all required elements.

Specifically, the entire weighted project is a grouping of smaller assignments, spanning several weeks, that ultimately lead to a common set of goals:

  1. understanding foundational design principles
  2. learning to manipulate form
  3. learning how to use standard design software tools to communicate ideas though visual design
  4. discovering how these principles create the foundation of all aspects of design, regardless of complexity
  5. learning that the iterative design process is crucial in creating strong and inventive work
  6. creating an end-product that documents your best, refined foundational studies to illustrate that you understand these principles, process, and work-ethic.

Primary Areas of Investigation Specifically Include:

  • POINT: Spatial relationships, proximity to edges and each other, white space
  • LINE: spatial proportion, progression, interval, balance, harmony/unity, rhythm
  • PLANE: axis rotation, depth, perspective, motion/direction
  • Exploration of Texture and Pattern
  • Introduction to typographical letterforms as shapes
  • Basic layout through Point, Line, Plane, text, and imagery.

Assignment Objectives

  • Explore and refine line and shapes within primary areas of investigation listed above, building in complexity
  • Practice the iterative process of graphic design
  • Successfully manipulate foundation-level applications of vector and raster graphics
  • Use industry-standard tools to investigate concepts critical to understanding graphic composition, such as color, tonal balance, line manipulation, rotation, texture, and basic typographical applications.
  • Successfully document and organize the process of ‘making’ to better understand the importanance of iterative design 
  • Successfully integrate all required components into a well-crafted and visually pleasing final work (book)

What to Expect

Take an assignment walk-though:

Folder Structure

To help you get started in an organized way, feel free to download a zipped project folder that has the empty ‘phase’ folders built in so that you can save files in into an organized structure as you create and download new files. Additionally, this empty folder structure also has a subdirectory called “Examples” in case you want to download any example work provided by the instructor for reference.

Here’s a screenshot of the basic folder structure created for you in the compressed, downloadable file:


If this outline seems confusing right now, don’t worry: you don’t have to completely understand where we are going with everything at the moment. The reason the assignments are broken down into manageable chunks with progressive deadlines is so that you can take them one step at a time.

Go Ahead and Dive In!

Your next step is to get started with the first assignment within Project-1, so go ahead and do it now by expanding the “Phase 00” link below within the Project Assignment Phases section!

Project Assignment Phases

This project will have different grading components and phases. Click the desired phase requirement or grading summary section below to view the complete process information for each.

^Back to Top^

Digital Art, Design, and Communication Education