ART 331 | Information Design


This course is an introduction to the creative visual presentation of information. Emphasis will be placed on traditional research methods as well as “Design as Research” to discover decipherable, communicative, and conceptual methods for presenting visual information in a variety of formats.

Process Books and Project Books

As a general rule be complete and show all process.

Process Books

These contain all of the project steps within one module. A process book is due each Monday at 11:00pm except on weeks that a major project is due. Complete process books receive points for completion.

Project Books

Project books contain all of the process books completed during a project. For example process books for Module 01, Module 02, and Module 03 are combined together to make one process book for Project 01.

On weeks projects are due, the project book takes the place of the process book that would normally be turned in.

Designing your own Process Book

Some of you may have a process book design that you have been using for other classes. You are welcome to use the other design as long as it contains all of the process steps in the basic class process book.

At some point you need to create your own process book design. Making changes to the Master Pages and Paragraph & Character Styles is one way of to use the class process book while having your own unique process book design.

Working Ahead (optional)

If you would like to work ahead in the class there are some things that you can do to get a jump start. Project 02 begins in Module 04, there is some preliminary development that can be done. Project 03 is a research based project, that begins in Module 08. The quality and breadth of research on the topic you choose can be greatly enhanced by getting a head start. This project requires sourcing of all information.

Working ahead is not required but because of schedules and situations of online students there are times when it is beneficial.

However | the instructor needs the work turned in at the scheduled time and will not be able to give significant feedback to students working ahead until the class is scheduled to be covering the material.

Caution | When working ahead read the instructions carefully and make sure that you are addressing the learning objective of the assignment. For example, the first project is a step-by-step instruction app. Experience has shown that most students assume that the goal is to create an app. In fact, the app is a side benefit. The learning objective is to create clear, visual instructions without the use of language. Working ahead may result in the need to redo work that misses the point of the assignment


5 Main Skill Ideas


The University has stated that students can expect to spend 3–4 hours in homework time for every credit hour they take. As such, you can expect to spend 9-12 hours on coursework for this class each week. Please plan your time accordingly.

You will have one weekly due date, on Mondays at 11:00 pm MST. This allows you one full week between each studio critique. We chose this setup to allow you time to work as well as time to both give and receive ample feedback. Use these deadlines to stay on top of projects as well as one way to collaborate with your group on your projects.

It is your responsibility to keep track of the course schedule. We recommend using the Calendar feature to help you stay on top of what is due & when.

Every project will list steps to complete weekly. You must upload the required items before the due date/time


This course requires the following materials. Use your best judgment and purchase what is readily available in your area (for example, you may want to purchase a different brand of pencil or marker, etc.). We have suggested the following brands for their reliable output quality.

Required | purchase right away

Digital Camera or high resolution phone camera | Cost: $—varies | A simple point and shoot with a minimum 4 mega-pixel. You do not need an SLR style camera. If you use a phone camera, it needs to be high quality. If you cannot afford a camera perhaps you can borrow one.

Adobe CC | Cost: $20/mo (approximate student price) Adobe offers student subscriptions for $19.99 per month.

Useful/Suggested Items | purchase as needed

18-in Metal Ruler (corked or rubber-backed preferred) | Cork/rubber backing helps reduce the chance of the ruler moving while cutting. The ruler must be metal. Plastic rulers are easily nicked and damaged by sharp blades.

HB or 2B Graphite Pencils | Cost: $0.25 ea. | Standard #2 pencils will work as well, mechanical or wooden.

.5mm (Fine Point) Gel Pen, Black | Cost: $0.85 -$1.25 ea. | Pilot makes a great pen; so does Uniball. Choose a pen that writes with a solid black line every time. Do not use ball point Bic pens as these don’t always write a solid black line. Pens that use the term “Rollerball” will work for this purpose.

White stick eraser | Cost: $1.70

X-Acto Knife w/#11 Blades | Cost: $2.89 | Any brand hobby/art knife should work. But we recommend #11 style blades.


Your grade is based on the following criteria:

Design Projects (80%) 

Quality of work and meeting the project goals and requirements

Project Books | 10% of this project grade | Project books are graded based on the depth, breadth, and completeness of the process evident in them, their organization, and the quality of work included therein. We expect you to apply the principles of design and typography to the project books just as much as we expect you to apply them to the final projects themselves.

Re-Submission Process | If you are unsatisfied with the quality of a final project (that was turned in on-time), you may re-do the project as often as you like prior to the last two weeks of class and receive a new grade (please provide both the original and the reworked project books with a note as to what was changed). This re-submission process applies only to the studio projects and project books.

Note: my hard drive crashed is not a viable excuse for being late. You should backup your work and have access to alternative computers in the event of a crash. Use a free cloud storage option like Google drive or

Process Book PDF’s (10%)

Each week a module process book is due except for weeks that a Project Book is due. This is primarily a grade for completed weekly progress. The points are only earned if the process book is complete and on time. Late or incomplete work will not earn points. However the pages need to be completed for the project books where they are 10% of the final project.

Community Participation (10%)

This segment of the grade is a combination of a grade given by the instructor and participation on the Peer Review Discussion Board.

Participation grade from the Instructor

These points are awarded by the instructor based on the over all experience with the student during each project.

Discussion Board Peer Reviews

Each week, one of the steps in the design process will be captured as a jpeg then shared and critiqued on a discussion board. Follow the instructions on each discussion board.

You will be providing feedback to a group of your peers. It might be a good Idea to have a discussion with your group about when you would like the first post.

Peer discussions can not be made up at a later time, because at that point it isn’t really a discussion. They are due on Monday and will close on the next Thursday at 11:00 pm. This gives everyone some quick feedback in order to go on to the next process step.

Instructor Feedback

The instructor will post feedback for each design will be no later than Thursday of each week. This will allow enough time for students to apply the feedback and insights given on their projects before the next steps are due on Monday. 


Emails & Announcements

Information regarding the course, projects, assignments, etc. will be sent to you by email and posted to our I-Learn site at various points throughout the semester. “I’m not prepared because I don’t check that email account or visit I-Learn” is not an acceptable excuse—check your campus email account and our class web page frequently!

Syllabus Updates

This syllabus may be updated periodically during the semester as long as the instructor posts an announcement notifying students of the change/clarification.