top of page

Visual Communications 1


This course teaches students to communicate ideas and information using type and illustration. The computer and the Adobe Suite will be the primary tools students use. Students should be aware however, that while the computer is the primary tool for this class, the main objective is learning design. Topics covered include the elements and principles of design, color theory, typography, design basics and development

Open Minded Graphic


The difference between Illustrator & Photoshop:




Intro to Illustrator

Introduction to Illustrator


Tool Panel

Menu Bar


You can open 

as many you need 

from the "Window"

on the Menu Bar

Use the following instructions to complete your first four assignments.  These exercises will help familiarize you with Adobe Illustrator.  Feel free to take notes as you work so you'll remember how you accomplished specific tasks

Assignment 1: Learning Basic Tools

These instructions use an older version of Illustrator than what you are using. Therefore, 

some of the tool names are different. However, the picture of the tool is the same. You may 

change the colors and add your own artistic touches, but you will need to include the same number of strokes, at least one of each weapon depicted, and have some bodies that are merged and some that have overlapping arms. 

Abstract Straight Lines
Elements of Art
The Elements & Principles of Design

Learning Outcomes:

  • To have a working knowledge of the design elements and principles and how to use them. 

  • Design Vocabulary to communicate and evaluate work

  • Ability to manipulate space to meet specific objectives

Click here to see how line can be represented as texture

or movement. This will help give you an idea for completing your assignment. 

Color Spectrum Print T-Shirt
Color Theory
Color Theory

Learning Outcomes:

  • Color theory helps us to understand the possibilities of color in art and design and appreciate the different ways that artists use color.

  •  Color terms help us to express how this visual element it is used in art and design. It gives us the vocabulary to clearly state our feelings about an artwork or design.

Click on each of the buttons below to learn about color theory and terms. 
The final button is a Color Theory Quiz over all of the material.
Vector Portrait

Low Poly Profile
You will take a 'selfie' and turn it into a vector self portrait! 

1. Upload your selfie in to Illustrator.

2. Create a new layer that you will draw on, and lock the layer that has your photo.

3. Using the pen tool, you will create various size triangles that follow the contours of the face.  Smaller parts of the face will require smaller triangles.

4. You will also choose colors and values that help give dimension to your face. There should be a wide range of value and even the most subtle changes will make your portrait successful. 

Intro to Photoshop
Intro to Typography

Learning Outcomes:

  • To have a working knowledge of the history of typographic design

  • Learn and utilize typographic tools available in Illustrator

create your own portfolio.

Go to and sign up with your school Google account. 

Look through the templates for 'Portfolio & CV'

Choose a template. 

**You can make changes to color schemes, font choices, etc. However, part of having a successful website and building a brand, there is consistency throughout the entire site.  You are going to build your portfolio throughout the semester and add your assignments to your portfolio.  Your 'final exam' will be publishing your site so that I can see it and grade you on your "brand".


Remember, you can make as many changes as you want along the way. I won't be able to see your site until we publish them.  Be sure to add assignments as you go and keep it up to date to avoid cramming at the last minute.  

Intro to Photoshop

Creating a Focal Point: Color, Emphasis

You will learn how to use some basic functions in Photoshop.  You will begin by learning how to colorize a basic stock photo.  Once you have the basics down, you will further these skills by colorizing an original photo that you have taken.


MORE PHOTOSHOP PRACTICE: Creating a Silhouette

You will learn how to create a silhouette in Photoshop by cropping and creating clipping masks. You will take your own photos and turn them into silhouettes.  You will create 2 different projects.



Project 1:   iSilhouette

Based on Apple advertising campaign, you will take your own photo and create a traditional silhouette.

Project 2:   Self Expression

Once again, you will take a picture of yourself and turn it into a silhouette. However, this time, you will use photographs to fill the space and background. These images should visually describe you in some way.

Surrealism and Photoshop - Proportion, Unity
Photoshop can be a powerful tool to manipulate photographs. You will learn how to eliminate objects and combine photographs in an effective way.  In doing so, you will create your own Surrealistic image. The key to a successful work is craftsmanship and proportion.


Step 1: Besides colorizing, you will need to learn and master the following tools in Photoshop

Step 2: Discover how Surrealism originated, look at examples, and then design your own work!

All images from 
@serialshooters via

PBIS Calendar -Color, Variety, Pattern, Unity

With a partner, you are going to design 1 MONTH for 2 DIFFERENT calendars = 2 designs total.

  • You and your partner will be assigned a month

  • As a pair, you will create one design in Illustrator, and one in Photoshop. You will need to base your design off of the provided examples so there is consistency throughout the calendar. 

  • Find a quote the promotes our PBIS philosophy at CNHS.  Your quote should be positive and inspirational. You may use the same quote for both calendars, or find 2 quotes. 

  • The quote should be part of your design.  Placement, font choice, size, and spelling are ESSENTIAL components of your page. 

  • Your document size will be 62p0x47p0 (pica units) - translates approximately to 10.3333x7.8333in


bottom of page