Traviss_Student Design Samples

 Design Skills

I feel that it is a waste of time and technology of we only focus on the medium and not the content. To be sure, digital media is a discipline as exacting as any classic studio discipline. Sadly it comes with many bells and whistles that can be mistaken for design when, in fact, they are decoration. The trick is knowing the difference. This page shows some of the assignments in the Commercial Art Technology program that focus on Design Skills. It is always a balancing act to integrate these more creative challenges with teaching the computer skills necessary to complete these assignments.


 Illustrator, 3D Revolve Exercise
Praise Angel
Praise Angel

This image was created as an exercise using the 3D Revolve feature in Adobe Illustrator. We had just finished learning about the symbol feature. You can see here that this student created an amazing image that took this exercise far beyond the minimal level to satisfy the assignment.

Shape Drawing


The Shape Drawing assignment is done after the Illustrator, Chapter 4. The Challenge is to create an architectural themed drawing using only the basic Shape Tool and the  Pathfinder feature in Illustrator. This is a

 Design Book_Figure/Ground


The Design Book is a series of basic design assignments that are meant to introduce Commercial Art Technology students to basic design principles. These assignments are based on online course Art 104: Design and Composition

I have modified this course to include computer skills where possible. This particular assignment is one of the first in Design Book unit. I have found that traditional tools are the best for this activity. Surprisingly, the simple task of reversing the figure /ground relation is a challenge for some students.

 Design Book Texture Quilt


The texture quilt is one of the later assignment in the Design Book  that relies heavily on photoshop skills. The typical student is instructed to layout a geometric pattern in Illustrator based on traditional quilt patterns then copy those paths into photoshop to use to make selections and paste textures into their design. I discourage students from attempting to create an image using textures. It almost never works, almost. This was a very well executed design that is the exception.

 Parable of the Isms
Don't have a Cow, Man
Don’t have a Cow, Man

This is one of my favorite assignments for my students to work on. This assignment demonstrates the four concepts of layout defined in the Non-Designers Design Book  that describe four basic properties that are essential for creating effective and attractive layouts: contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity. This unit could be an entire field of study. There are an unlimited number of ways we can apply layout skills. Unfortunately we have a large amount of material to cover in a limited amount of time. This assignment is part of a larger unit that focuses on page layout.

The concepts covered in unit are far reaching and should be a consideration for every assignment in the Commercial Art program. The fundamentals of layout are as important in a business card as they are on a web site.

Golden Ratio


This assignment could also have been on the Computer Skills page. This was an exercise that required the students to use the various tools in Photoshop to create an overlay pattern based on a provided guide. The student then had to use the Paste Inside function to populate the areas defined by the pattern and finally use Adjustment layers to create a focal point specified by the Instructor. This is an example of how I try to incorporate computer proficiency into a creative challenge. There are more examples of this assignment on the class website:

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