VISC 304

Design Understanding

VISC 304: Exploration of the relationships among people, places, and the visual objects and information they use. Attention on the different roles of the designer as observer, empathizer, communicator and experience builder. Introduction to information design processes and procedures of understanding by ordering data into useful and persuasive information tools and experiences. Various methodologies will be explored for visualizing information for clarity, resonance, and editorial voice with special attention to the relationships among audience and context in the creation of meaning.

 Projects examine advanced structures of typographic space, work-image structure, and typographic details and aesthetic — Provide an overview of the expressive and aesthetic dimensions of design — Develop a critical perspective on the technological & aesthetic qualities of design — Explore the use of imagery and typography — Solve design problems while working within specific limitations — Demonstrate independent problem solving — Enhance technical proficiency

Health and Safety

To protect all of us, everyone must wear a mask in the classroom as required by the Protect KU Pledge and by University policy. Violations of the mask policy in classrooms are treated as academic misconduct. If you come to class without a mask, I will ask you to put one on. If you do not put on a mask when asked, you will have to leave class. Violations will be reported, and consequences will follow, up to and including suspension from the course.” Also please read:

Required for Entry into Buildings
The CVKey app asks questions regarding your current state of health and your travel history. You will be required to complete the health assessment each day you plan to be on campus. If your answers meet the required health status, the app will generate a QR code for you to scan at building entrances. If your answers indicate a possible risk for COVID-19 infection, the app will direct you to contact a health care provider. If you choose not to use the CVKey app, you will be required to print off and complete a paper health assessment form each day and carry it with you while on campus.

You are allowed in the VisCom studios from 7am - 10pm. Chalmers Hall (and all campus buildings) will be closed after 10pm for cleaning. You can use the studio during, before and after class time. You are welcome to use the studio if you feel safe. There are some rules: you must be 6 feet apart, only 10 students can be in 307, 308, 312, or 313 at one time, if there are more than 10 in the room, please find a different studio. 307, 308, 312, or 313 are all reserved for VisCom students. When you enter a room please take a wipe and clean down your space before you sit down. Wash your hands often. Keep your mask on.


This course is required under the majors studies section on your degree check sheet you must receive a minimum grade of a “C+” (2.3) in both VISC 302 and 304, and participate in a portfolio review of all course content. The Portfolio Review is of all projects produced in both the fall and spring semesters in Visual Communication Design courses. The Visual Communication Design faculty use this review to determine if the students’ work is at a satisfactory level. Supplemental to the grade portion of the Portfolio Review, students are also evaluated on attendance, work habits, attitude, and the ability to listen and learn from constructive criticism.

A grade of “C” (2.0) or below, in either studio, automatically eliminates the student from proceeding into the major. Students that fall into this category do not have the option of repeating any VISC course work and need to transfer to another major.

The review will be online this Spring Semester. You will also be posting your final projects, sketches, project overview to a Behance page. You are in the final semester of the Review Year. We will use your Behance to look at all the work you have done this YEAR. VISC 202, VISC 204, VISC 302, VISC 304 so make sure all your projects are up on Behance. Fix any errors, update how you show off your projects, but do not redo any projects from scratch for the review. We need to see your progress. Of course if you did a project over you would do it better now. That is not the point of the review.

Process. If a process book was part of the project make sure you include a link to it on your behance post. You can remove this later if you want but for the review please make sure you have it linked and working.

Project Statement. Please select any project from VISC 202, VISC 204, VISC 302, VISC 304 and write a project statement that includes your rational for the decisions you made, your critical thinking skills, your process. Explain your design decisions. (*this can be about your favorite project, your least favorite, the one you learned the most from, the one you wish you could do again...) (use this google from to submit: the professors will have access but not your classmates). 400 - 500 words long. Tip: write it in a word processing program where you can edit, correct typos, grammar and then copy and past into the google form)

More information about expectations and link to the google form will be provided closer to the date.

All projects from VISC 202, VISC 204, VISC 302, VISC 304 should be live on Behance.
All projects that had a process book should have a link to that process book on the post.
Project Statement submitted via provided google form.

Faculty will meet one on one with each student about the review before May 14th.


Throughout the semester you are required to work a minimum of 3 hours of homework per 1 credit hour. A 3 credit hour studio will have a minimum of 9 hours of homework per week.

Many of you will find that you will need to spend even more time per week. Studio course projects require a great deal of time in order to develop and complete. Please be aware that not all project work can be done at home or at your convenience. If you are expecting to work a full-time or near full-time job (over 20 hrs. per week) it will most likely have a negative impact on your performance and grade. It is very difficult to try and balance both a full-time job and a full load of studio classes.


Each class is a significant financial investment by each student, is based on sequential information and projects, and requires the full participation of each student. Each session of class missed or coasted through is a wasteful and impedes the student’s ability to succeed in that class. For those reasons, students are required to attend classes in which they are enrolled and/or intend to enroll, must be on time for each session of class, and must remain in attendance for each entire session of class. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each session of class. In the event of any absence, students are responsible for obtaining all missed information, materials, and assignments from the class period(s) during which they were absent. Students who are absent must complete all assignments by the due date originally assigned for the work.

For each class that meets twice per week, only three absences will be allowed for any reason during the course of a given semester. A semester total of four absences in a given class that meets twice per week will result in a penalty of one letter grade in that class.

A semester total of five absences in a given glass that meets twice per week will result in a semester grade of “F” in that class. In case of exceptional circumstances, instructors may make exceptions to this policy at their discretion.

Your instructors will submit an Absence Warning Form after two absences for a class that meets twice per week.

If you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, you should not go to any KU classroom or space. — do not go to school if you have symptoms,


If any scheduled course meeting conflicts with mandated religious observance, the student must notify the instructor prior the day of the observance that the student will be absent.


Because of the fast-paced, project-based nature of studio curricula, absences as the result of a medical condition will count in the same way as non-medical absences. Excessive absence for any reason, as outlined in this policy, are irreparably detrimental to a student’s ability to succeed in our studio curriculum.


If you have special needs as addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), please notify me immediately so that appropriate accommodations can be provided.


The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, retaliation, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. Please contact the University’s Title IX Coordinator at the office of Institutional Opportunity & Access<> with any inquiries. To report discrimination or if you need guidance on discrimination concerns, please call the office at 785.864.6414. There, you will find an easy Complaint of Discrimination form for reporting discrimination. If you need guidance on discrimination concerns or wish to report discrimination please call or email the office. The Department Chair is also always available to speak with you and assist you through this process. [Call 911 for emergencies or the Public Safety Office for non-emergencies at 785.864.5900. KU Crime Stoppers is also available at 785.864.8888.


For each project Process, Product and Craft will together make up the final grade each project.

50 % Process: includes demonstrated process of idea development, research, type/image studies, concept development, quantity and quality of sketches. More than just one idea explored, prepared for class and critique participation. I will keep track of your process. And you will hand in a process book at the end of each project.

40 % Product: comprehension of problem, originality of solution, appropriateness of solution, typography, visual invention, visual aesthetic, application/translation of concept, followed the assignment sheet or directives given in class.

10 % Craftsmanship: presentation of final, neatness, precision, technical proficiency, appropriate materials, poor craft can reduce a project grade by 1 full grade. You are learning to be professional and craft is a large part of being professional.

A superior / excellent/ exceeds expectations
B very good
C satisfactory / meets expectations
D unsatisfactory / did not meet expectations
F unacceptable

Completing the minimum requirements outlined on an assignment sheet qualifies as “C” level (or average) work. Work that exceeds minimum expectations will earn higher points in the “B” range, work that is exceptional earns an “A”. Conversely, work that does not meet the requirements for the project will earn a lower grade than “C”. The degree and quality of effort with which a student engages in the different criteria (above or below the minimum requirements) for each assignment determines how well they do.

Grade Percentage
Project 1: 30%
Excercise: 5%
Project 3: 30%
Project 4: 30%
Professionalism: 5%


All projects and assignments are due on the date set by the instructor. Late projects will be penalized by lowering the project grade by one full letter grade for each day that it is late. Late projects will not be accepted beyond three days after the original due date. Projects are due at the start of class. Instructors may elect not to accept late work, but must note their policy regarding late work in the syllabus for each class.


Design is a collaborative profession. Clear verbal skills are all important in communicating your ideas to clients and Design team members, and professional conduct can have a significant impact on the ability of a Designer to succeed. Because of the importance of professionalism in communication and conduct, students should maintain themselves according to the following guidelines:

— Attend each session of class in its entirety.
— Come prepared to present their concepts, discuss how the form of their design supports their concept, and describe how they arrived at their ideas.
— Participate in critiques and discussions with a spirit of mutual respect. Providing comments to one's peers is a privilege. Students will benefit from both giving and receiving feedback - one does not have to “like” another’s work, but must provide insightful commentary in a courteous and productive manner.
— Maintain a positive and open-minded attitude.
— Demonstrate self-discipline and eagerness to participate.
— Consistently strive for the highest standards of quality in work and conduct.

Failure to abide by the guidelines and policy notes stated in this policy can lower a student's grade by one full letter grade or more, and can result in administrative withdrawal from one or more classes.

Students are required to turn their cell phones off or on silent and refrain from browsing the web, using social media, checking email, text messaging, etc. during class, lectures, and demonstrations. Students may use these devices only during designated break times.

In studio classes please have your video on and your audio muted. The video feed must be turned on during studio classes. If you have a reason why you can’t turn on your video for a studio please discuss it with your professor before class starts.

Please attend class on your computer not on your phone.

You may want to use ear buds or a headset to hear better and block out any noise that maybe happening in your background.

Feel free to ask questions by turning on your audio, raising your and or post a question in the chat. If the professor misses any questions in the chat feel free to remind them to check or ask the questions by turning on the audio. The Zoom chat feature is a tool to make comments and ask questions without interrupting the speaker but be aware that your comments are public and are recorded in the minutes of the session. Be careful with using the private chat during class you could mistakenly send a message to the entire group so do not post unkind things in the chat. We can be critical of work but do not make it personal.

Treat a zoom online class as you would an in person class. Be on-time. Be prepared. Be dressed. Be aware of your background and lighting. Many will have to zoom out of the bedroom so try and make a space that is conducive to working and learning.

Lectures will be recorded. If you don’t see the recording light on feel free to remind the professor to record.

Please note: Failure to abide by the guidelines and policy notes stated in this policy can lower a student's grade by one full letter grade or more, and can result in administrative withdrawal from one or more classes.


All work you hand in for this class must be made by you, over the course of this semester, exclusively for this class. All necessary and appropriate sanctions will be issued to all parties involved with plagiarizing any course work. Plagiarism and any other form of academic misconduct that is in violation with the University Senate Rules and Regulations will not be tolerated, and may result in failing the course, suspension from the department, or expulsion from the university.

The School of Architecture and Design Policy on Misconduct
Academic misconduct by a student shall include, but not be limited to, disruption of classes; threatening an instructor or fellow student in an academic setting; giving or receiving of unauthorized aid on examinations or in the preparation of notebooks, themes, reports, or other assignments; knowingly misrepresenting the source of any academic work; unauthorized changing of grades; unauthorized use of university approvals or forging of signatures; falsification of research results; plagiarizing of another’s work; violation of regulations or ethical codes for the treatment of human and animal subjects; or otherwise acting dishonestly in research. The full policy of the School of Architecture & Design and the procedures of the Department of Design for processing allegations of academic misconduct are outlined at


The student conduct process exists to protect the rights of the community. The rights and privileges of the individual are components of a community. These rights are protected with vigilance equal to the enforcement of rules and procedures. When a student is unable to conform their behavior to community expectations and values the student should no longer share in the privilege of participating in this community.

RESPECT: You are expected to show positive regard for each other.
COMMUNITY: You are expected to build and enhance a community of your peers.
INTEGRITY: You are expected to exemplify honesty, honor and respect for the truth in all your dealings.
RESPONSIBILITY: In relation to student rights, you are given and accept a high level of responsibility to self, to others and the community.


If this course is required under the majors studies section on your degree check sheet you must receive a grade of C (2.0) or better to continue on to the next course in the sequence. A grade of C- (1.7) or lower will require you to repeat this course. In most cases these courses are only offered once a year. Students in the Department of Design must maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA to graduate with a degree in Design.


Individuals who choose to carry concealed handguns are solely responsible to do so in a safe and secure manner in strict conformity with state and federal laws and KU weapons policy. Safety measures outlined in the KU weapons policy specify that a concealed handgun:
— Must be under the constant control of the carrier.

— Must be out of view, concealed either on the body of the carrier, or backpack, purse, or bag that remains under the constant control of the carrier.

— Must be in a holster that covers the trigger area and secures any external hammer in an un-cocked position

— Must have the safety on, and have no round in the chamber.

Studio classes
These courses take place in spaces that will require students to leave belongings such as backpacks and purses away and unattended for the duration of class time. Students who choose to carry a concealed handgun in a purse, backpack, or bag must review and plan each day accordingly, and are responsible for making alternate arrangements as necessary. The university KU School of Architecture & Design’s lockers are not does not provide appropriate secured storage for concealed handguns.

Individuals who violate the KU weapons policy may be asked to leave campus with the weapon and may face disciplinary action under the appropriate university code of conduct.

*For more information on the law, safety, resources and FAQs the Provost’s Office and KU General Counsel have prepared


Students will be expected to present their work in a professional manner. Quality tools and materials should be considered as an investment in one’s future.

— dropbox or google drive space
— notebook/sketchbook for class notes and assignments (bring to every class)
— earphones: that plug into the computer
— tracing paper / Graph Paper (pad or roll min.12 inches wide)
— self-healing mat to cut on in class (not too big not too small)
— push pins (always bring to class)
— fine and thick nibbed markers for sketching
— transparent tape/ glue stick
— white paper tape or masking tape
— steel ruler with cork back (18 inches) AND a heavy ruler at least 24 inches
— x-acto knife with #11 blades
— scissors


You will also be posting your final projects, sketches, project overview to a Behance page. Behance is a social networking portfolio site., sign up in the upper left / ask for your invitation to join. It is free, there is a pro site but you do not need that at this time.