VISC 200
Animal Visual Signs 

Creating symbolism is a fundamental aspect of graphic design as a whole and branding specifically. 

A visual sign is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different concepts and experiences.

The designer needs to infuse content with resonance to engage his/her audience. Every representation—from a small period at the end of a sentence to a logo to the most complex color photograph-has a dual existence. It is an optical phenomenon with visual properties, and it is an communicative signal that functions with other signals to form a message. 

This duality simply put means: Every representation is denotative and connotative. 
Denotation—the direct meaning (literal) 
Connotation—the in direct meaning (suggests)

Throughout your design education and professional career, you will be asked to create symbols and marks. These exercises and this project as a whole will encourage you to explore different ways to create symbols. 

Please avoid looking at inspiration for this project. You may of course need to pull reference imagery of your animal but avoid looking at pre-constructed or designed symbols related to your animal. We are interested in symbols that you make not what has already been done.


1) a version that must use only flat geometric shapes 

2) a line-only version that uses just two stroke weights

3) a version that uses a non-traditional mark making tool (cut paper, tape…)

4) a version inspired by architecture (bring in a photo of the building)

5) a version stamped or printed with a stencil

6) a version from an odd pov/angle

7) a version drawn with your left hand

8) a version that is one continuously long line

9) a shape version where none of the shapes touch or overlap 

10) Closure, a version with mujo (part of it left out) in order for the viewer to create closure

11) a modular version where the whole is made of one repeatable unit

12) a version with strong light and shadows


—18x24 Poster (Printed)
—18x24 Poster (AI File on Server)
— Process Book: PDF Process Book (Under 120 MB) on Server

2 / 22 / 24  


Create an 11x17 reference sheet for use throughout this project. Really think about the images you choose here and don't jsut choose the first few you find.

Using your reference sheet and the categories above create 5-10 sketches for each prompot above using pencil and paper. The computer can be used for prompts 1 and 11. The more your explore the easier this project will be for you. Focus on ideation and not drawing the same idea over and over again.

2 / 27 / 24  


 (No Class) / Work Day


Continue with homework from 2/22.

2 / 29 / 24


Review sketches / Concepts 


Using what you saw in class today do 5-7 more studies for the (6) prompts that you don't feel as that you have fully explore or gotten an interesting visual solution yet.

3 / 5 / 24  


Review Refined Sketches

AI Demo (Sketches > AI) Tips and Tricks


Move your top (4) sketches from each category / prompt. This should invole refinments and experimentation. Don't just take one shot at it.

Pick a diverse range (Both style and concept) and the symbols that are most interesting to you.

Use the tools we talked about in class and focus on how to improve your sketches for legibility / scalability / uniqueness.

3 / 7 / 24  


(Optional Class) / Work Day

Jeremy will be on campus to offer
illustrator help.


Continue with homework from 3/4

Print all in B/W

3 / 19 / 24  


Review Computer Explorations 


Refine your top (2) from each category. How can you improve them? Make them simpler? Improved Geometry? How do they scale? Etc?

Print all in the B/W

3 / 21 / 24 


Review  Refined Computer Studies


Choose your top symbols from each category. Refine them and then print them at both large and small sizes in B/W. Print on 11x17 sheets. Print symbols at 2 in and 0.5 in relative size

3 / 26 / 24 


Poster Template
Finalzing Symbols in AI


Using the poster template create a final poster that shows all of your symbols.

3 /  28 / 24  


Review Posters
Introduce Project 3


Final Project Due Next Class

4 / 2 / 24  


Project Due
Link to Final Files
(Make a folder with your name)


Project Due