VISC 204

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

A symbol 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)

As a designer you will need to master the translation of images into different formats using visual tools such as abstraction, reduction, interpretation, etc. 

In this project, designers will have the opportunity to blend the essence of two seemingly unrelated nouns using various graphics prompts to create visually striking and meaningful logos that represent the sum of the two nouns. 

The project will move in three phases. In phase one designers will research and sketch out initial combinations of the two nouns they have been assigned using pencil and paper. The goal here will be explore the ways the nouns can be combined to form one symbol or image. In phase two designers will explore how to translate successful sketches into a logo or symbol using graphic prompts / categories. In phase three a final group of logo and symbols will be produced in Adobe Illustrator and designed to maximize legibility and usability.

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

These symbols should be in (one color) black / white only. No Grays.

1) Process Book (PDF) (Under 100 MB)
2) PDF of Template / Presentation of your Symbols
3) AI File of your Presentation with all elements properly finalized and exported

8 / 22 / 23  


Choose Cards / Nouns
Talk Through Phase One


Mind maps / Research around your nouns. Build out a mind map of your two nouns and look for places where they intersect / cross over. Spend time here as this is going to make the rest of the project easier. 

Create a reference sheet for your nouns.

Business Name Ideas (15-20) Think about what your nouns combined could be? Get weird. 

8 / 24 / 23  


Review Mind Maps / Research
Object Translation Intro
In-Class Symbols Workshop


(60) Sketches pencil and paper of ideas about how to combine your nouns. Think abstract and specific. Do we need to see all of both nouns? What are alternative ways to represent your nouns? Think beyond the pictorial / expected. Push yourselves here this is your time to explore what this can be.

8 / 29 / 23  


Review Sketches 


Using your discussion from critique today refine your sketches using tracing paper and/or additional sketches. Narrow to your best (10) ideas. Explore 5 variations of each. Can you show us less? Use closure? Simplify? Abstract? Remember to think about legibility specicallfy at small size. 

8 / 31 / 23 


Review Refined Sketches 



Using your (10) refined sketches from class choose (4) graphic prompts from below and refine your sketches using these graphic prompts.

1) Geometric Shapes. Render your ideas using circles, triangles, and squares.
2) Thick and Thin. Using only two different thicknesses of strokes
3) Uses a non traditional marking tool. (Not pencil / pen etc)
4) A version that is one continuously long line
5) A version printed/stamped through a stencil (Think about how stencils work)
6) Badge / Crest
7) Right Angles
8) Closure
9) Repetition (Use the same shape repeated)

9 / 5 / 23 


AI Demo
Review graphic prompt sketches 


Move your top (25) favorite / best / most interesting sketches into the computer using the tool and tricks we talked about during the demo. Focus on creating clean vectors.


9 / 7 / 23  


Work Day (No Class)

Alex on Campus from
8:30-10:30 for Office Hours



Refine illustrator studies and iterate on them. How can you improve legibility? Spacing? Etc? 

 Print in B/W for class.

9 / 12 / 23  


Review refined illustrator studies.
Choose Most (3) successful.


Choose most successful (3).

Do (3) Explorations of each focusing on simplicity, scale and legibility.

Print Explorations all on one 8.5x11 sheet.

Print top 3 favortie / best both large and small on one 8.5 x 11

9 / 14 / 23  


Review iterations / variations
Review Final deliverables / Template 
How to finalize logos / symbols for clients

Presentation Template


Finalize all elements and put them into the presentation 

9 / 19 / 23  


Project Due


Begin homework for project two