class structure

We will complete a typography ‘bootcamp’ over the first few weeks of the term to review and present relevant terminology and concepts related to typography, typesetting and information hierarchy. This initial time includes completion of two exercise/projects, after which time we will focus on 2–3 more comprehensive projects for the remainder of the semester. Class time will consist of lecture and discussion, both group and individual, review and critique and some work time (with more presentation and lecture in the first few weeks). Emphasis will be placed on design process and refinement. There will be a midterm and final exam. (See details in Course Outline.)

rules for the semester (that will guarantee success)

  1. Release attachment to outcome.
  2. Be curious.
  3. Investigate, explore, investigate, explore.
  4. Invest energy in the design process (See #3).
  5. Make your goal to become a better designer, create strong, thoughtful work
    and improve your design process (vs. a goal of making a ‘high grade’.)

Pro tip: No one who interviews you / reviews your portfolio will ever ask about your GPA.

Course Objectives:

  • to understand the importance of skillful typographic design in effective visual communication
  • to develop a sensitivity to the needs of viewers/readers through an awareness of the extreme subtleties inherent in typography and the principles of legibility, readability and hierarchy
  • to develop your design process, including personal methodologies that aid in creative visual problem-solving
  • to become adept at verbal communication about and critique of typography and design using relevant terminology
  • to learn to avoid ‘default design’ inherent in contemporary software by becoming aware that all digital type needs a designer’s attention. This skill set is a differentiator in our increasingly DIY culture.
  • to come to see yourself as more than an expert at relevant technology but as a visual problem solver and creator of visual culture


iCloud calendar link here


Your Responsibilities
You will ALWAYS be expected to bring to classwork that demonstrates significant progress since the last class meeting and addresses specifically the issues discussed with the instructor during previous class meetings.

File backup & Computer failures 
No allowance is made for computer or network failures. Back up your work frequently. Download OneDrive or Dropbox (free services) to back up working files. (Adobe CC offers some free backup space as well.)

Mandatory. Attendance in studio courses is essential to derive the full benefit from the collaborative studio environment.

Each student is permitted one absence per semester. For each additional absence, 1/2 letter grade will be subtracted from the final grade. More than 3 absences may result in being dropped from the course.

Two tardies equal one absence. Arriving so late that you miss a significant amount of class time counts as an absence.

Per UGA policy: A student who incurs excessive absences may be withdrawn from a class at the discretion of the professor. Note that Franklin College student must earn a grade of C or better in major required courses.

Class Etiquette
No food in class. Drinks must have secure lids. (See full UGA policy.)

Do not answer/make calls or text during class time. Turn your cell phone on silent during class and put it away. If your phone is on your desk, I may not stop to discuss your work. If you use your phone during a group discussion, critique, lecture or presentation it may effect the professionalism component of your final grade.

** We may take a 15-minute break for lunch. This is not enough time to leave to get food,
it’s only enough time to eat the food you brought (keeping in mind that you aren’t allowed to eat in class anyway, per University policy*). Plan accordingly.

Reserve email contact for emergencies only. I will answer questions in person during  Tues. 9:30–10:30 & Wed. 11:00–11:45

If your schedule conflicts with these times, email me to set up a meeting with “Can we schedule a meeting” in the subject. Include your available times in the body of the message.

Required Text:

Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students by Ellen Lupton (

Suggested Text:

Type on Screen: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Developers, and Students
Supplemental site:

Stop Stealing Sheep & find out how Type works by Erik Spiekermann

The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

related site: The Elements  of Typographic Style Applied to the Web

Additional resource texts can be found as course reserves in the Dodd Art Library.


Your final grade will be based on design process and exploration, project grades, class participation and professionalism.

>> Process Work & Design Exploration 40%
>> Projects 55% **
>> Professionalism * 5%

* Participation in critiques and discussions (communication skills are essential for designers), Collaboration with classmates as well as following the rules of class etiquette (See above).

** addendum 3/2/18: Exam simply counts as a project

Projects will be evaluated on concept [overall idea and content] and execution [design approach, formal outcome, typographic treatment, craftsmanship and presentation]

Design process will be evaluated on evidence of extensive research, investigation and visual exploration documented with each project.

• Your work should exhibit clear communication in both its visual and written components. Writing skills are invaluable to designers and will be taken into consideration where applicable.

Just like clients don’t accept late or incomplete work, neither do I.
If you arrive late to class, your work is late.

Grade Criteria

F. Little or no work completed

D. Lack of ideas and effort, poor craftsmanship, and little time invested in preliminary work and idea development

C. Average work. Fulfills the requirements of the assignment only adequately. Ordinary work with little effort in craftsmanship or attention to details

B. Above average work that is a result of good craftsmanship and idea development. Care is taken at all stages of the design process. This grade may be given if the idea and effort are strong but the final product falls short of the ambition of the concept.

A. Unusual and superior work that combines both excellent craft and ideas—exhibits consistent design exploration and effort through the entire process as well as constant involvement in class discussions.

Firearms…in …our…class:

Students are expected to abide by all laws related to firearms. The University System of Georgia prohibits weapons from being carried on campus, with exceptions for licensed handgun owners in certain areas of campus. It is the responsibility of any licensed holders who choose to carry handguns on campus to be informed about the law and to understand where handguns are and are not permitted.

USG policy on House Bill 280, “Campus Carry”
Review this video from USG, Understanding HB280

* This online syllabus version is a bit more condensed. Complete printed syllabus provided on day 1: ARGD4030syllabus_sp18_Spivey.pdf