Quizes and Exams
Class Projects and Assignments That are Due before the Final

Outdoor Sign Project

It's an outdoor sign for Click here for all the details and materials. You must fulfill the following five requirments:
  • Create a PMS color scheme
  • Create a composition involving the product or a portion of the product in the design
  • Choose a typestyle
  • Create a clever idea that will serve as an example of good outdoor advertising design (remember that less is more).
  • You must turn in a hard copy on 8.5 x 11 inch paper landscape.



Life Stories


Look & Feel Project: Logo for Video Project

This is the name of the company for which you must prepare a logo. However, the big challenge is to create an icon that evokes one's Life Story. What should it be? Suggestion: Look at vintage wood cuts or engravings for inspiration.

You must fulfill the following four requirements

  • Create a PMS color scheme
  • Choose and set a typesyle and create a logotype
  • Create or design an icon to accompany the logotype (see example above)
  • You must turn in the logo in both color and black and white formats, and they can be on an 8.5 x 11 inch page.

The Kindergarten Ad

Click here for the photo library from which you will choose your photo.

Your assignment is to create an ad promoting kindergarten enrollment. Your headline must be of few words and evoke the importance of enrolling your child in kindergarten. The call to action tagline at the bottom of the ad is "Log on to www.dubuqueschools.net/kindergarten to register online." Finally it must include the logo from the Dubuque Community Schools available here.

You must fulfill the following four requirements

  • Choose and set a typesyle
  • Create the ad in Photoshop for a single page printout.
  • You can turn in a color version or a black and white version or preferably both.


The Music School Ad


You must prepare an ad, 8.5 x 11 inches page size 200 dpi for the Northeast Iowa School of Music (NISOM), a Dubuque based school of music. The concept is simple and straight forward. The school wants to promote children enrollments in their music programs. The ads are squarely aimed at parents of children in third and fourth grades. You must design the ad in color, however the likelyhood is that it will be published in black and white. You must write the header, brief copy extolling the virtues of music for students, and assemble the ad in Photoshop.

Click here for the Photo Library. Click on the logo above to download the layered source file. Check NISOM's website for information and copy for the ad.

You must fulfill the following three requirements

  • Choose and set a typesyle
  • Create the ad in Photoshop for a single page printout.
  • You will turn in a color version (if possible and you have access to a color printer) and a black and white version (mandatory)


When it's test time, the link above will automatically download your exam. You must complete this on your own with no collaboration with other students in the class. I will know if you copy from one another, and the risk is too great. You will download the exam first to your personal media drive or what have you. You then open it in Microsoft Word and complete the exam, saving frequently. Then rename the completed exam per instructions on the top of the first page of the exam itself. Send the test back to the instructor via the following e-mail address: olsega@mchsi.com. Do not send anything to me via the Clarke e-mail network. Each question is worth 10 points. There are no bonus questions, and you must answer all questions to the best of your ability.
Textbooks for this class

and why you need them...

The Seven Essentials of Graphic Design

This is the textbook we will be using in this class. The 7 Essentials of Graphic Design by Allison Goodman

At the conclusion of this course, you will know and be able to recite on demand these seven essentials of graphic design

It is a book that will be an excellent reference and important part of your resource library as you embark on your career as a professional communications person. The lessons learned in this book will last your lifetime.

For the next eight weeks we read a chapter from this book every week and take some time in class to discuss that chapter.

Link to Course Projects and Bibliography

Combining Craft and Theory:

It has been the instructor's experience that many communications people, regardless of where they ply their trade (industry, education, consultancy, big business, small business), must have "trade skills." That means in our profession layout and design skills, advertising production skills, and logistics management skills. This is especially true today because of technology. Because many of the tasks that were to exclusive domain of the tradesman (prepress for example) can be rendered on a computer in a desktop publishing program. This means that the communications professional in a small (and even several large businesses) does not necessarily delegate or defer design and productions decisions, but often plunges in and does the annual report themselves using PhotoShop and Quark Xpress.

In this class you will learn equal amounts craft and theory. But we have only 8 weeks, and you must attend every class so as not to be left behind. We will move very fast because we have a lot to learn and a lot to do.

Introduction:  Gary Olsen, Instructor


This course has been designed with the Communication Department’s overarching objectives as a basis for transferring knowledge to our students on the topic of Advertising Design and Production.


#1 Students will gain knowledge of the latest in evolving theoretical and practical applications in the communication  field utilizing various resources and methods of inquiry.


#2 Students will grow intellectually (through a strong liberal arts base) in their oral and written communication and critical thinking skills.


# 3 Students will become aware of the ethical and spiritual implications of communication  on a diverse and global level.


#4  Students will be knowledgeable of the latest in technology, software applications, and visual comm. Skills with the ability to demonstrate the skills in using technology.


The following “course matrix” outlines the basic objectives and learning goals of the course.



Course Outcomes


Assessment Method

Type of Outcome
V=value or evaluation

of Total Grade

What Dept. Objectives are Met


Students will demonstrate an adequate (at least 70 percent of assigned materials, discussions, hands-on experiences and core components of the course) understanding of the theoretical foundations of advertising design and production. 


Students will be instructed in the nomenclature and common standards and practices of advertising design and production.  The information is distributed through lecture and web-based instructional materials. 

A mid-term and a final exam will be the primary assessment methods. Each exam has 10 questions each worth 10 points.  Students must score a grade of 70 or above to attain a passing grade.  There are further evaluations that are based on observations by the instructor of students in class. The instructor will determine:

·      The level of student engagement in discussion

·      A student’s ability to work collaboratively with others

·     Display individual creativity

·     Show resourcefulness and initiative

·     Meet or beat required project deadlines

Each is worth a point (they represent a total of five points that will be added to cumulative test scores and can serve to raise a grade.

K, V


1, 2, 4

Students learn “the process of discovery” which is a systematic, step-by-step procedure of collecting important intelligence, data and materials and applying them to the client’s marketing goals.

.Through a series of lectures and instructor lead discussions and demonstrations we illustrate the steps students can adapt to almost any advertising project.

Instructor Evaluation.

K, S, V


1, 2, 3, 4

Students learn how to work together in a collaborative team to create a multimedia advertising package for a new product.

Students are divided into groups by “recruiters” who have been selected by the instructor to divide the students into two equal teams or companies.

The instructor will determine individual mastery of skills through subjective assessment of the quality of students’ work on the projects they turn in, and the variety of theoretical and intellectual skills applied to the process.

K, S, V



Understand the ethical standards and practices of advertising 

Students are required to do research on a particular market segment and determine the legal pitfalls, obligations and legislation affecting the sales of this product in various jurisdictions throughout the United States. Students must search for and find the most useful and credible sources for information.  They must turn in a paper of less than 1200 words.

Instructor evaluation.  The assignment’s point value is 5 points.

K, S, V


1, 2, 3


Class Attendance is Mandatory: You may lose up to 2.5% of your final grade for each unexcused absence. In case of sickness, a medical report is required. You are supposed to come to class on time. Arriving late at lectures is absolutely not permitted and will adversely affect your grade. The door to the classroom will be locked at the moment the class begins.

Deadlines: Assignments are due at the start of the class on the deadline day unless otherwise scheduled by the instructor.

Readings: All text-based material for this course is on the course website.

Plagiarism: Passing off the ideas or words of another as one's own is called plagiarism. It is unethical. It is also illegal, and actionable according to copyright laws. Clarke College is intolerant of plagiarism. Penalties included suspension or expulsion.


Here's the class and completed assignment list

Project 1 Logo
Project 2 Ad Layout

Project 3
Outdoor Sign

Project 4

Project 6


Biggs, Laurie L.


Brechlin, Timothy W


Burns, Margaret M.


Dillon, Ryan J.


Ellis, Mishereen A


Ernst, Amanda R.


Hanna, Lauren B.


Kluesner, Kelly J.


Kueter, Holly M.


Miehe, Richard J.


Sampson, Mindy


Schiesl, Christine


Singsank, Shannon M.


Stejskal, Teresa K.


Welsh, William F.


Wilgenbusch, Emily S.


Wolfe, Jeremy






Class #1

The Process of Discovery:  The Importance of Research and How to Systematically Approach a New Design Project

Learning Objectives of this Class:  Students will know the characteristics of two advertising strategies, Push and Pull Marketing, and how it applies to the marketing and advertising plan. Students will also be able to identify and categorize at least three examples of each (push vs. pull) advertising strategy.

Determining Look and Feel

You are assigned the responsibility of formulating an advertising campaign. Every product should have a distinctive look and feel. Perhaps your product is too new with no legacy or brand recognition to evoke recognition among consumers. If that’s the case, then it’s your job to invent a look and feel. What information do you need to know to determine look and feel?

Let’s compile a list…

Features and Benefits

  • What are the Product’s Features?
  • What are the Product’s Benefits?
  • What are the Tangibles (the product’s physical attributes)?
  • What are the Intangibles (the product’s perceived value in the marketplace)?

What’s the Marketing Plan?  When is it appropriate to use a Push or Pull advertising strategy? When can you use both?

Pull advertising is geared to draw visitors to your store, a dealership, or a website when they are actively seeking your product or service. Examples of pull advertising include catalogs, direct mail, directory listings, yellow page ads, advertising in trade journals that appear to a specific group of customers, and shopping portals on the Internet such as mySimon and DealTime.

In the retail marketplace, complex products such as computers, home entertainment systems and components, and automobiles benefit from a pull marketing approach.  The dealer, for example, becomes the closer of the sale by offering help to the consumer’s decision making process. Also the store or sales agent can offer value adds such as service or extended warranties.

One of the most effective pull advertising strategies is the trade show.  Some products, such as consumer electronics, building and home improvement products, benefit from a bazaar or open market environment where consumers or wholesale distributors can convene to “see what’s out there.”  Essentially, it puts everyone with similar interests and a product to sell those interests in one place at one time. And the pull marketing strategy is the “trade show booth.”  For four days in say, Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, all the consumer electronics companies convene annually.  The objective is to pull people into your booth, your display, your exhibit, your demonstration, your event. Once they are there, it’s your sale to win or lose.

The objective of pull advertising is to pull people who are already looking for your product, your solution, or your service into your store, your dealership, or your website, and once there, help the customer with their buying decision and close the sale.

Push advertising refers to all efforts to get the word out to an entire group of potential customers in order to hit the few that may be currently interested in your product or service. This is more commonly referred to as “mass marketing.” 

Many products that lend themselves to push advertising are consumables, foods, beverages, cleaning and personal care products. Most traditional offline advertising media include mass circulation publications, newspapers, magazines, outdoor advertising (billboards), transit advertising, newspapers, television and radio.  However, almost all media, even television, has evolved to appeal to narrower and more specific audience groups.  The best example of this is cable television with specific channels for specific interests.

The objective of push advertising is to push the brand, the product’s identity, thereby creating a lasting memory, an impression in the consumer’s mind.

What products are best served by Pull Advertising?

What products are best served by Push Advertising?

Name some examples of products that uses both strategies:

Class #2

The Process of Discovery (Continued)

We continue the process of discovery as we systematically approach our advertising design project…

Learning Objectives of this Class:  Students will learn the “five inquisitive techniques” a creative can apply to a proposed project to develop an effective advertising strategy.

The Five Inquisitive Techniques:

As you approach an advertising client for the first time, the process of discovery actually begins.  Certainly you will do thorough research on clients before you meet with them, however, it will only serve you up to a point and likely only help you make a good first impression.  Nothing can really prepare you for what the client really wants until you obtain answers to the following five subject areas:

What does our product look like?

  • Is it unique among similar products in the marketplace?
  • Is it new to the market, or is the market so totally new that it’s the only product in it for now?
  • If it is not new to the marketplace, how is it different?
  • What does the competition look like?
  • Does it have a unique shape, color scheme? Is the product itself its own trademark?
  • Is this a seasonal product?
  • Is this a regional product?

What does the packaging look like?

  • Where can it be found in the retail store?
  • If it’s a consumer product, what similar products share shelf space in the retail store?
  • Is there a consumer expectation of what your product must look like, and what does the competition look like?

What is your product’s legacy?

  • What is your reputation in the marketplace?
  • How long have your been in business and in this specific marketplace?
  • How is your company (not your product necessarily) perceived in the marketplace?
  • Among your competition, who has the best reputation and why?

How long has this particular product been marketed?

  • What have past ad campaigns looked like?
  • What was successful and what was not?
  • If there is no legacy, what are the public’s perceptions and expectations of not necessarily your product but any product in this marketplace?

Who is the target audience?

·          Who is the primary demographic or target market?

·          Is there competition? If so, how is market share divided among competitors?

·          Secondary Market… who is a potentially untapped resource that can grow our sales if we appeal to them?

·          Does it transcend cultural or gender lines?

Class #3

The Process of Discovery (Continued)

Learning Objectives of this Class:  This part of the process of discovery deals with choosing the correct combination of media, or as it’s more commonly referred to in advertising as the “media mix.”  Students will about audience targeting and the differences between Intrusive and Non-intrusive forms of advertising. This fundamental approach to advertising strategies influences everything from ad content to graphic choices.

What media are in our mix?

We learn the advantages of

Mass media vs. Targeted Media

Intrusive vs. Non-intrusive Advertising

Intrusive vs. Non-intrusive Advertising

The task of every advertising team is to develop an ad that will attract attention and motivate the viewer to think or act a way that is favorable to the product.

There are two advertising design strategies: Intrusive and Non-intrusive.

For example: Publications such as Time Magazine and USA Today are mass marketed to a broad audience. People read these publications for news and not for the advertising. Consequently, competition to capture the reader's attention among the pages of such publications is strong.  A copywriter and designer must quickly capture the reader's attention, often in some provocative way. Your ad is "intruding" in their news and feature space.

On the other hand, a publication which is targeted to a specific group, such computer enthusiasts, actually welcomes advertising as a source of valuable information, almost as important as the news and features contained in the publication. Thus, it is logical to assume that ads can contain much more information to help readers make purchasing decisions.  However, such publications are often filled with provocative advertising among what appears to be highly competitive advertisers.  Particularly if there is price competition among a product category (catalogers for example), ads become highly detailed price listings. Bottom line, of course, is they work among a classification of readers who are price shoppers.

Excellent examples of non-intrusive advertising can be found in magazines such as Sports Afield, Women's Day, InfoWorld, PC Magazine and any number of photography or camera magazines.

In some cases, advertising is disguised as editorial content. Product roundups, buyer’s guides, the “year in gear” editions of trade publications and product placement in Web search engines or online product reviews can be examples of advertising disguised as objective editorial content.

Daily Newspapers can contain both intrusive and non-intrusive advertising.  Advertising supplements for the local food store, filled with coupons and specials, are non-intrusive to the household manager looking to save on groceries and home cleaning products.  On the other hand, a full page ad for the BMW X-3 in the middle of the Sports Section, is most certainly intrusive. The automobile dealer display ads in the automotive section of the classifieds are non-intrusive among car shoppers who are often attracted to such sections when looking for a bargain.

The term “intrusive” when it comes to advertising should not be construed as a negative.  The most effective advertising is almost always intrusive… the well-crafted message, the provocative image, the surprise at the turn of a page or the click of a mouse that creates a lasting memory or image in the consumer’s mind is always something the viewer or reader didn’t expect to see as they were reading their paper, browsing the web or viewing their morning TV news show.

Applying these terms, intrusive and non-intrusive, in our process of discovery will help us to quickly determine our advertising campaign’s best overall look and feel.

Legislation and Obligations

  • Warning labels
  • Copyrights
  • Uses and Permissions
  • Certificates and Regulatory Obligations

Can you name some products that must contain information legislated by governments either federal or state?


Class #4

The Process of Discovery (Continued)

Creative Team Organization: Assigning Responsibilities and Matching Talent with Tasks

Learning Objectives of this Class:  Advertising campaigns are perfect examples of creative collaboration and teamwork. Students will learn the basic roles of six key members of a creative team: The project manager, the production manager, the creative director, the graphic designer, the photographer/illustrator, and the copy writer. Depending on the size and scope of the project, there can be additional key staff.  Additional staff can include copy editors, staff accountants, creative and production directors, graphic designers and appropriate clerical and office support. Conversely, there can be less, and roles and responsibilities can be combined as in a small creative firm.

Certain tasks can be in-sourced or out-sourced depending on the budget and staff size. Regardless of who actually does the tasks, the tasks must be accomplished because each is critical to the success of the outcome.

The Importance of Research

 As a rule, the more successful a campaign, the more thorough the research was behind it.

For example, research is can be accomplished a number of ways by a number of people. Researchers assess market size and strength as well as measure a particular advertising message’s effectiveness in the market. Most advertising firms today are first and foremost research firms.  Their entire strategy is based on “the numbers.”  Investments are too large and risks to great for a marketing or creative team to rely on guts, chances or hunches. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a little creative risk taking.  But risks are often calculated.

Media Companies vs. Creative Firms

In small to medium markets, media companies offer in-house creative services. This is especially useful to small businesses that may not be able to afford a creative firm to produce and place their advertising. In such cases a small market newspaper, television or radio station will have account executives who work with businesses to create a campaign. In this case, a creative on the staff of the media company will work directly with the company seeking to advertise or with the account executive to produce the message and the advertisement.

However, as businesses, products and services seek to reach larger more sophisticated markets, it becomes necessary to take a strategic and collaborative approach to creativity and production tasks.  Not only is thorough research important to the process, but special expertise must be brought to bear on the project to be more effective in order for the campaign to reach its intended goals. In such collaborations, creative directors and project managers can leverage special services and talents depending on budget.


The Creative Team

Managing Collaboration: The team must divide up responsibilities along areas of expertise. A Project Manager as well as other key appointments to handle the group's obligations and responsibilities:

Project Manager

·         Manages the entire project.

·         Works directly with the client.

·         Serves as a communication facilitator between the client and the team.

·         Manages the finances of the project, collaborates with the client and the team to establish a budget.

·         Manages the project’s design document that contains the contract and schedule of project deliverables.

Production Manager

Works with the team and production companies that will be contracted to apply the design to the various media forms.  These companies include:

·         commercial printers

·         film crews

·         packaging manufacturers

·         trade show and retail space display fabricators

·         outdoor advertising firms

·        audio or video production houses

·        specialty advertising firms (imprinted sportswear, unique product manufacturers and imprinters)

Creative Director

The Creative Director is most typically the senior designer and the most experienced designer on the team. The Creative Director gives work direction to the Graphic Design Team. The Creative Director has the ability to work well with the creative team and the executive account managers.  The Creative Director is responsible for the overall look and feel of the project. He or she may or may not be hands-on depending on the size and scope of the client and project.

Graphic Designer

The Graphic Designer is the team’s visualizer. The Graphic Designer is hands-on responsible for giving substance to the project’s look and feel.  The Graphic Designer has strong visual talents, from illustrative to layout. Depending on the size and sophistication of the project, there may be more than one graphic designer. There may also be an animator, for example. There may be a graphic designer who specializes in television, print, or outdoor advertising.


Almost all projects require a photographer or illustrator or both.  They work with the Graphic designer to capture important assets that will serve to illustrate the message in the campaign.  Some messages may be better served by illustration.  


This member of the team researches the details of the product and the campaign once some consensus among members of the client and creative team has been reached. This person’s responsibility is every word that appears in print or is spoken in a commercial.

The team must process its tasks and this means each team member must meet individual objectives and expectations.

Class #5

Creative Team Organization: Assigning Responsibilities and Matching Talent with Tasks

Learning Objectives of this class:  Students will recognize the four types of management tasks of a basic creative enterprise. They are: 1) Managing Assets and Agendas, 2) Managing Compositional Elements, 3) Managing the Message, 4) Managing the Process.  The students will also learn the meaning of “The Four Cs of Creative Management,” and they include Collaboration, Cooperation, Consensus Building, and Credibility.  The students will then move on to the typical first-level project goals and be divided into teams resembling creative teams one would find in a typical advertising agency or creative firm. The objective of these teams will be to function as a creative force to create an actual product launch.  They will be given five specific tasks designed to showcase their problem solving abilities and creative skills. But more importantly, this class project is designed to show the creative process in a realistic setting of collaboration, cooperation, and consensus building.

There are four types of management tasks in any creative enterprise:

1. Managing Assets and Agendas: How to organize and manage the visual design process through assessment of known assets, marketing objectives, client and staff agendas. The most important responsibility, perhaps, is mediating any conflict that may arise and moving the group toward consensus and the most effective product the team is capable of producing.

2. Managing Compositional Elements: How to create and use design software for the management of compositional elements for maximum visual impact and clarity of information.

3. Managing the Message: Through research and assessment, craft a message, and ensure that the desired information is effectively transferred to the reader and/or the viewer.

4. Managing the Process: Managing the ad production process includes media specifications from reproduction technologies to paper stocks, from direct marketing and display advertising to the new media and the World Wide Web.

Managing your project well raises your credibility

Note the word managing in the above descriptions. The success of any team or individual is dependent on your skill to manage people, events, and the unexpected.  These skills include working well with others, stepping up and being a leader when the opportunity presents itself, but knowing how to follow when an obviously good leader is identified among your colleagues.

In any creative enterprise there are critical schedules and deadlines that simply must be met. The fate of an entire project or even the company can hang in the balance of a missed deadline, an underestimated production schedule, or even a minor budget overage.

It all comes down to credibility.  If you manage the process well, you can compensate for difficulties or the unexpected. There is a lot of truth to the adage, “Hope for the best but plan for the worst.”  You must endeavor to give yourself some wiggle room in the event things go badly and you may have to scramble to recover. 

The Four Cs of Creative Management

To many people, the creative process is a mystery akin to magic.  Genius is often confused with experience and hard work.  Developing a comprehensive advertising package can be the vision of one incredibly creative genius, but the actual work that must be applied to get ideas on paper, on television, on a shelf in a supermarket are the result of a carefully managed team effort of several creative people.  To manage this process on behalf of a major national brand is a monumental undertaking requiring many skilled and creative people.

An illustration of the management process can best be described as “The Four C’s of Creative Management.” Think of these as four legs of a chair. Without any one of them, the chair will ultimately fall.  It may balance precariously for a while, but no one would want to sit on it. The Four Cs are:

·          Collaboration: Collaboration, simply put, is getting many head together to solve a problem or meet a challenge. No one player can win a baseball game alone. You have to respect the input of the rest of the players even if the ball is never hit to left field on a particular game day.

·          Cooperation: It is earned through a process of mutual respect and appreciation. Many experienced project leaders like to assemble their own teams of professionals they’ve known and worked with before. The relationship between the client and the creative agency is always important and should never be taken for granted.  

·          Consensus Building:  In the creative process, there needs to be opportunities to sign off on various stages of development so that the creative team doesn’t go too far down a road that may be a dead end.  The design agreement or contract contains built-in opportunities for consensus building called “sign-offs” or scheduled deadlines in the production time line. These are often referred to as “project reviews” for prototypes, ad copy, alpha and beta builds product labels, packaging, electronic media or point-of-purchase displays. The client has opportunities to sign off on the project at certain points and this allows the creative team to proceed.

·          Credibility:  This is the natural outcome if collaboration, cooperation and consensus building are managed correctly. If any one of the four Cs is weak or missing, credibility will be the ultimate casualty.

Do you want it cheap, good, or fast?  Pick two.

Working with clients can be very challenging. In an ideal world, clients pick creative firms based on their perception of your ability to deliver quality, and any costs will be well worth it.  Alas, this is not an ideal world.  Especially among small businesses, there is a different reality that is more often motivated by price.  Sometimes a client is testing the waters with a design firm by handing out a small but challenging project. It may not be all that calculated, but resulting from an emergency situation in which the client finds himself.   There is a proverbial wisdom that takes the form of a question every account executive should ask a new client when a situation appears acute. 

“Do you want it cheap, good, or fast?  Pick two!”  If you want it cheap and good, it won’t be fast.  If you want it good and fast, it won’t be cheap.  If you want it cheap and fast, it won’t be good. This strategic questioning, though it appears somewhat frivolous, will assuredly earn you more credibility if not respect, and you haven’t agreed to take on the project yet!

First Level Project Goals:

The class will now be divided into companies or teams, each with an assigned goal of objective provided by the instructor.

Each team must determine who among them will be responsible for tasks that must be performed so the team can reach its objective.  Each team must appoint a member to the following positions (Note: due to class size and time frame, the instructor has combined positions and their responsibilities):

·         Project Manager/Production Manager

·         Creative Director/Graphic Designer

·         Photographer/Illustrator

·         Copywriter/Researcher

Responsibilities and Deliverables

The team leaders are responsible for taking the contributions of the group and distilling them into the most effective concept. Here are the team's project goals:

Logo design requires developing a production-ready graphic. What is a production-ready graphic? One that is ready for target media distribution or manufacture as in packaging or publishing.

Look and Feel: this transcends the logo design to prototypical ads and packaging concepts. A color scheme and some texture samples evolve from those colors used in the logo design. Target media is selected for tests of the look and feel:

·         A Package Design

·         A Newspaper Ad

·         An Outdoor Sign

·         A Stand-Alone Point of Purchase Display for Retail Space

·         A Website Splash Page

Teams must prepare a presentation that will present their samples at a Client Project Review event to be scheduled. Student team members will each be required to contribute to the presentation offering their ideas and concepts.  Teams are encouraged to make use of any and all technology and resources available.

Class #6

The Assignment

Learning Objectives of this class:  Students have now been divided into teams that resemble actual creative teams that one may find in a typical advertising agency or creative firm. The teams will be given the same production assignment, and there objective is to produce a logo, a package design, point of purchase display, copy and a layout for a full-page newspaper ad. This hands-on assignment is designed to encourage a team approach to problems solving and strategic planning. It is also designed to encourage delineation of duties, application of the best or most qualified talent for the task, and to demonstrate, first hand, the importance of product/market research and development.  The ultimate goal of the class is to conduct formal demonstrations and presentations to the class at the conclusion of their projects and to showcase the students’ work.

The Assignment:

Natural Spring Water from Dubuque, Iowa

Dubuque Iowa’s water supply, long considered among the highest quality and purest water supplies in the nation if not the world, comes from artesian wells that were actually discovered accidentally during the 19th century when the community was a mining settlement.  A lead mine at the foot of Eagle Point began flooding uncontrollably, hence the mine’s owners abandoned their mining interest and turned their mine into the first community waterworks. Dubuque’s water quality is continually evaluated and on occasion has been entered into competitions with other municipalities.

In the last two decades, the modern bottled water industry has exploded in the marketplace. What really propelled the craze of bottle water on a level comparable to the enormous US soft drink market began with the sparkling (carbonated) mineral water craze that began by the importation to America of Perrier from France in the early 1980s. The virtues of Perrier water was its unique sparkling taste and allegedly healthful mineral content. In Europe such celebrated brands as Pellegrino (Italy) and Perrier were common on restaurant and café tables. But when American’s royalty, Hollywood film stars began drinking and preferring Perrier to other beverages, a craze began. The craze didn’t die but evolved from sparkling water to just plain and pure bottled water brands. The way was paved for domestic water companies to carve out their share of the market.

The bottled water industry in America actually began more than a century ago, but it only served areas of the country that had poor quality municipal water supplies or poor tasting tap water. In 1888, George J. Schmitt worked as a pharmacist's assistant in the Gale and Block Drug Store, located in the Palmer House Hotel. The pharmacy was selling spring water, and Schmitt realized that here was a product that could be delivered directly to customers.

Otis Hinckley was, at the time, a water delivery man for the White Rock Corporation. Hinckley and Schmitt became partners and purchased water from White Rock for delivery to customers. Their business rapidly expanded to include many varieties of spring and bottled waters, along with water cooler service to offices -- an innovative service which they pioneered.

Why is bottled water so popular? It transcends mere convenience. There are certain implied guarantees in bottled water that it is pure, without chemicals, and absolutely sanitary. It’s not what’s in bottled water that makes it preferred, but what is NOT in the beverage. In a marketplace that has become super sensitive to food additives, pollutants finding their way into our food and water supply, and a desire for diet and health conscious Americans to eschew sugar and calorie filled soft drinks and alcohol, bottled water has become more popular than any category of packaged beverage.

The bottle water industry is highly regulated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) categorizes bottled water as a “packaged food product” through stringent standards for safety, quality, production, labeling, and identity.  If certification and licensing is required it may be required on the labeling. Depending on the states in which it is bottled and sold, there are specifications that must be published on the label. Also, there is the Universal Product Code (UPC bars), and which states require a cooperage or recycling deposit that can be redeemed at the beverage retailer.

Here are some websites you can consult for additional research:

·         http://www.bottledwater.org

·         http://www.bottledwaterweb.com

·         http://www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/bw/bwinx.asp

The List of Deliverables

The Logo

Each team must develop a product name and logo that incorporates the name, Dubuque. This is the crucial look and feel development stage of the process. You must:

1.       Identify a Type Style or Type Family

2.       Identify a symbol (existing or created) will serve your brand’s identity?

3.       Develop a Color Palette for all materials developed on behalf of the brand

The Package

Once the logo is developed, your team must apply it to a label design for plastic recyclable bottles from a small size (20 oz) to a large (1 liter) size. 

1.       The labels must be applied to the bottles to create prototypes.

2.       Prototypes must be incorporated into a marketing presentation for the class.

3.       Prototypes must be created for photography for ads, banners, posters and point-of-purchase display.

4.       Your Team must create an innovative point of purchase display.

The Message

Your team must develop an advertising strategy for your product that includes a media mix that is both print and web based. You have to develop copy that introduces the produce to the consumer and promotes certain benefits your product represents. What are the tangibles and intangibles of your product?  It’s important that your team identify those and include them in some creative way in your copy.

1.       Your responsibility is to create ad copy for a newspaper ad

2.       A Website Splash Page

3.       A Point of Purchase Display

4.       Any ancillary copy required on the packaging

Class #7

What makes a Graphic Design Effective?  The Elements of Good Graphic Design

Learning Objectives of this class:  Students will learn the seven essentials of graphic design, and they include Research, Typography, Contrast, Layout, Grid Systems, Identity Design and Critique & Analysis

The following class content notes are to be used with the textbook recommended for this class The Seven Essentials of Graphic Design by Allison Goodman


BOLD, ANGULAR CAPITAL LETTERS SHOUT! while thin, curvy letters in upper-lower case whisper.

What are the five considerations when choosing type? (Reference Chapter 2)


Contrast doesn't just make a design visually engaging, but it is a prime organizing factor for a design's information.

Contrast Via Shape

Contrast Via Value

Contrast Via Color


A design's layout is a map for the viewer.

The elements of a clear hierarchy (Refer to Chapter 4)

Grid Systems

Invisible except to the trained eye, grid systems are a subtle but vital part of the design process.

What is the reason for a grid system? (Refer to Chapter 5)

Identity Design: Logo & Logotypes

Recognition is what every company or organization wants. (Refer to Chapter 6)

Critique and Analysis

Critique and analysis actually opens your eyes to infinite possibilities.

Class #8

The Importance of Shape and Texture in Layout and Design

Learning Objectives of this Class: Students learn the importance of shape and texture in layout and design.  There are 4 elements that can comprise shape in a layout, and a variety of the 4 elements can combine to create entirely new shapes. They include the photograph or illustration, the logo or trademark, type elements (headlines, paragraphs, titles, and kickers), and key lines. Students also learn the value of Texture. Texture can be applied two ways. It can be depicted graphically as in multi-color process reproduction, or it can actually be applied physically to a particular advertising piece through choice of printing substrate (paper).


A good composition is an evocative arrangement of shapes, and sometimes it can consist of a shape within a shape, within a shape, all of which combine to direct a viewer’s attention, evoke a mood, condition a recognition response (logos and brands).

These are the visual elements that comprise shape in a layout:

  1. Photograph or Illustration
  2. Logo or Trademark
  3. Type Elements (headlines, paragraphs, titles, and kickers)
  4. Key lines (borders)

What is a texture?

It is the fourth element of design, which is defined as an object’s visual or tactile surface characteristics and appearance… In graphic design, texture is most often used as a secondary element to reinforce an idea, rather than as the primary element to communicate a concept.

Some examples of how texture is used in design:

  • Special paper stocks, embossing and foil stamping
  • Solid spot color
  • Intaglio or mezzotint
  • Dramatic use of black and white photography opposed to color can be interpreted as a textural element.
  • In process color a texture can be simulated and placed in the background on which other compositional elements are placed.


See the following example on the Web to illustrate this class lecture:


Class #9

The Importance of Structure in Design

Learning objectives of this class: Students will learn how to achieve structure and balance in advertising design through the use of contrast, unity, value, color, and the application of asymmetry.


Q: What is Design Structure?

A: Finding the appropriate use of the elements of line, type, shape, and texture to create a strong and effective design.

Q: What are the FIVE primary principles of structure?

1.       Balance

2.       Contrast

3.       Unity

4.       Value

5.        Color


Q: In composing our design, is it our goal to achieve balance?

A: No. True balance and symmetry lead to boredom. In a busy newspaper ad filled with two equal columns of line items, all details of the ad’s composition blend together in one gray shape. The viewer doesn’t want to work that hard to figure out what the designer is trying to achieve.

Balance is all about creating mood

When things appear slightly or especially radically out of balance, the effect evokes a variety of moods including humor, drama and tension.


Effective advertising design is all about contrast. Contrast can strengthen an idea.

There are several ways to achieve contrast. Among them:

Photography or Illustration

Type Size and Thickness

What many neophyte designers fail to recognize is the effect a block of body copy has on the overall contrast of a design.

Color and Value

Color and value is all about effecting the right contrast among color combinations to evoke a mood.

What should you consider when striving for contrast?


How do you achieve unity in your design?

Through the management or manipulation of value and color.


Q: What is value?

A: Simply put, it’s defined as the relative lightness or darkness of an object

Value creates mood.

Q: Besides setting the mood, what else does value create?

A: Movement and direction

What should you consider when using value?


Q: What does color add to a design?

A: It adds dimension.

There are warm color and cool colors

Warm colors project while cool colors recede.

Symmetry vs. Asymmetry:

Asymmetry (forcing a design element out of balance) can strengthen a design. By throwing a design out of balance you create tension.

What should you consider when striving for balance?

Class #10

Outdoor Advertising  Refer to visuals on http://www.garyolsen.com/GoClarke/Ad_design_class/classnotes.htm#lecture8

Learning Objectives of this Class:  Students will learn the three strategic design strategies of effective outdoor advertising. They are: 1) Effective outdoor advertising ideas are simple 2) Outdoor Advertising must be easy to grasp and this is best achieved through the use of high contrast, 3) Images and graphics communicate visually more effectively than words.

A brief history of the oldest media form on earth

Outdoor Advertising is one of the oldest advertising media in existence. Until recently, most large pictorials were hand painted on the sides of buildings and on poster panels. Outdoor Advertising on large strategically placed sign panels is a uniquely American phenomenon that had its start in the 19th Century.

Before outdoor advertising was even referred to as a media form, it was pretty much out of control, and in some metropolitan areas, a visual nuisance. For example, as circuses came through a town, every available space... on fences and barn sides were covered with posters. "Bill posters" and sign painters plied their trade until civic beautification advocates passed legislation to control them. Many fences and buildings contained the words "Post No Bills" meaning “no posters or signage allowed.”

Circus impresario, P.T. Barnum, in the 19th Century, literally invented the modern American outdoor advertising industry.  As soon as railroads made it possible to take his Great American Museum show on the road, Barnum had built specially equipped rail cars on which imprinting machines were installed. The “advance men” would ride the rails a few days ahead of the actual circus train to cover an intended stop with posters. A team of bill posters, armed with brushes, buckets of paste, and rolls of circus posters, would cover every barn, board fence and building wall they could, seldom asking permission. If a bill poster met opposition, a nominal bribe would quiet the property owner. As time and the circus marched on, the bill posters became despised by city fathers for unsightly and deteriorating posters they left in their wakes, so cities began passing ordinances forbidding unlicensed bill posting. However, some enterprising towns provided special bill posting areas and charged for the privilege of posting signs. Eventually, local companies saw the opportunity to sell advertising space to local businesses and work effectively within the regulations.

Outdoor Advertising became a legitimate media form as the nation discovered the automobile. Suddenly, roadways became prime real estate for advertising. The industry grew steadily as the nation became laced with highways. In the 1950s and ‘60s, highway beautification legislation became popular in an attempt to regulate what critics called “the visual pollution” of outdoor signage. What this effectively did in some communities was legislate outdoor advertising out of existence. In several markets, where outdoor advertising was represented by strong and influential owners, like Ted Turner’s father in Atlanta, Georgia, outdoor prospered in growing industrial and commercial areas of cities and towns. 

Today, outdoor advertising is a highly regulated industry. There are zoning laws which contain billboards in industrial and commercial areas. Actually this is good for outdoor advertisers because it puts their message right in the marketplace where people are shopping and commuting.

Today, outdoor advertising has become even more dynamic a media with the application of computer graphic technology. Instead of signs being painted by hand, or screen printed by section, they are painted by computer using a process similar to a giant ink jet printer. Designs are often spectacular in scope with or protruding extensions that break the rectangular frame.

On relationships with clients

Most clients are risk averse when it comes to any form of advertising, but particularly outdoor. There’s something about seeing your brand on an outdoor sign that’s 48 feet long and 14 feet high that inspires thrills or dread. Some of the best ideas in outdoor advertising are by nature risky.

A local designer and outdoor specialist once confided to a class of ours, "I designed this fantastic board with a giant screw. The caption was something to the effect 'Remember your last car deal?' It didn't sell the client."

Often a client that may be an outdoor advertising neophyte wants to put too much detail on a board which cannot be read when driving by at 60 mph.

The best advertising designs work on an emotional level. That's what all advertising has to do, but especially outdoor.

Outdoor advertising design approaches

Less is more in outdoor advertising. It's not what you put in a composition. It's what you take away.

It should be a goal that you find the essence of a product. Often you don't even have to show the product to convey the message.  One of the best samples was illustrated on a video which Kathy brought to class. On that video, a designer was describing the "Got Milk?" campaign for the American Dairy Association. The boards showed a giant cookie with a bite out of it and the message... "Got Milk?" Another board showed a pair of Hostess Cupcakes with a bite out of one and the trademark icing on top spelled the words, "Got Milk?"   This campaign was deemed one of the most effective campaigns even though it never actually showed the product.

On the three objectives of outdoor advertising:

1. Get attention with a simple idea. This means think visually. Do in picture rather than words.

2. Be Provocative by either warming their hearts, shocking them, or making them laugh. Evocative images that make people smile or laugh are effective because they are memorable. Making people feel good is not a bad objective in creating memorable advertising.

3. It’s Brand Marketing.  Remember your message is in the marketplace. Outdoor advertising is often referred to as marketplace advertising. This means it’s seen where people drive, shop, eat, and go about their business. Your objective is to inspire recall of a particular brand name as that customer is shopping or searching for a restaurant because she just saw the sign and she’s hungry. Outdoor advertising is an important part of a total advertising or marketing mix. Often, outdoor advertising coordinates with print, radio and television

On rules or no rules:

It depends on the designer you're talking to, because some say there are no rules while others say there are rules but they are made to be broken.

There are good practices, however:

1.  Simple, easy to read

2. Contrast:  Bold black type against a white background is the ultimate contrast, but there are a lot of color combinations that can work. It's important that you work with color and value to maximize contrast for the best legibility.

3.  Images or graphics communicate visually often better than words.

On writers:

It's best to tell writers "forget you're a writer." Think visually.


Class #11

How to Start a Print Advertising Project

Learning objectives of this class: Students learn the 20 Step Process of Discovery and how to apply what they learn during the discovery process to designing a print advertising project. Students will also learn the 10 Steps to Drawing up a Design Document.

How I Start Designing an Ad (step-by-step) by Gary Olsen

I've taken note at how you manage (or don't manage) the design process. In the real world of there just is too much at stake and too many risks involved in not being productive and effective. This requires a combination of management skills as well as artistic talents which must be blended in a way as to leverage the talent, get the best results possible and maintain control over costs, schedules and the relationship with the client.

So I created this annotated checklist that can be followed in sequence when beginning the design process. Of course this list is based on a first time encounter with the client. When you receive the opportunity to design an ad campaign, what are the first things you should do. What questions should you ask:

1.       What's the Target Publication?

2.       What are their ad specifications?

3.       Dimensions?

4.       Color(s)? Will I use four color, one color, spot color, black and white?

5.       What format files do they prefer?

a.       Quark?

b.       PDF?

c.        Native Photoshop?

d.       EPS?

6.       What are my marketing objectives?

7.       What is the client's agenda?

8.       Who will we be working with?

9.       What do we want this ad to accomplish?

a.       Phone call to a closer?

b.       Web visit?

10.    What are the assets of this campaign?

a.       Are they available digitally?

b.       What additional photography or illustration may need to take place for this ad project?

11.    Is there an established slogan or tag line?

12.    Is there a specific type style associated with any design or legacy element in the ad?

13.    Packaging?

14.    Where’s the Ad Portfolio of past work on this product?

15.    What other media projects have been executed for this product?

16.    When is my drop dead date?

17.    When is the publication deadline?

18.    Who is the contact person at the media company we must deal with?

19.    Can we see a proof of the ad before it runs?

a.       PDF?

b.       FAX?

c.        Color Proof?


The Ten Steps to Preparing a Design Document

A design document is a detailed agreement containing the concept treatment (description of the project), list of deliverables, design and production schedule, budget, and client contract.

1.       Now you can begin to draw up a master production schedule with intermediate deadlines as project milestones.

2.       Begin with the ultimate deadline and work backwards

3.       Schedule the first Brainstorming Session with staff.

4.       From this Brainstorming Session, we will determine the treatment with a one or more of our best ideas from this session.

5.       Draw up a design document which outlines the project from concept through production it must contain:

a.       Treatment: This is a one paragraph statement of the campaign's goals with the best idea(s) proffered by the Staff Brainstorming Session.

b.       Production Schedule and Deadlines

c.        Sample thumbnail sketches based on the treatment

d.       A Schedule of all Associated Costs of Production

e.       Copy of the Contract

6.       Establish the Budget and an estimate of costs associated with design and production.

7.       Draw up Contract to be attached to the design document.

8.       Present the contract and design document to the client at the formal design document presentation.

9.       Get the Contract signed.

10.    Begin Design and Production


Class #12

Production Steps Critical to the Success of any Project

In managing your design, there are three important things you need to know before you can begin the design process.


1) What are the PMS colors that are specified for this logo, package design, poster or advertisement? Provide Pantone Matching System Color Chips (PMS).

2) Size: What size must your design be to accomodate target applications from business cards on up to outdoor signs or the side of a mass transit bus?

3) Applications -- What Are They? Embroidery? Screen Printing? Offset Printing, Pad Printing?

In moviing your project from the Design to the Production Stage there are three important considerations to ensure success. In this critical step, the process is akin to raising a child and then sending that child into the world. At some point you must depend on and trust the skills and instincts of other trained professionals.


1) Relationships: To ensure success, it's important that you develop a communication with the printer, publisher, manufacturer, embroiderer, or screen printer. This relationship will provide you with details that could be critical to the success of this project and all future projects that run through this professional service.

2) File Compatibility: The number one problem reported by printers, screen printers, large print vendors, and embroiders is customers turning in electronic files that are incorrectly specified, improperly formatted, incorrectly sized, and generally unreadable or incompatible with the design software or platform the printer is using.

3) Transportation: Welcome to the world of large files that must be handled in special ways. Most cannot be attached to e-mail because the files are simply to large. However, files can be posted or transferred via an Internet Website or FTP site.

© Gary Olsen 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 all rights reserved. All graphics and copy in this Web site are the intellectual property of Gary Olsen and/or his clients' property, used with permission, and cannot be used for any purpose without permission. Address correspondence to olsega@mchsi.com.
© Gary Olsen 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 all rights reserved. All graphics and copy in this Web site are the intellectual property of Gary Olsen and/or his clients' property, used with permission, and cannot be used for any purpose without permission. Address correspondence to olsega@mchsi.com.