Publication Design: Your Booklet


  • Subject: Something important to you
  • Dimensions: At least 7″x9″
  • Page-count: At least 12 pages
  • Format: Booklet
  • Binding: Saddle-stitch (staple)
  • Full-color
  • Try to balance words and images
  • Implement a grid
  • Utilize dynamic layout
  • Make the imagery your own
  • I *prefer* you write the copy

A note about your subject:
Please choose something that is unique, meaningful, or otherwise important to you. It should be something about which you would *want* to write a small book. It should also be something for which you could create interesting images. Also, choose something you could share with others.
In other words, try to avoid a subject that’s SOOOO personal that no one else could relate. However, this isn’t a brochure, either. So avoid topics sooo general that they have nothing interesting or connective about them.
It’s not an academic paper, per se. But you want to strike a balance between subjectivity with relatability.

TIMELINE – 2 weeks
Thr Feb 15: Begin / Research / Sketch
Tue Feb 20: Review concepts
Thr Feb 22: Work Day
Tue Feb27: Group Critique
Thr Mar 01: Implement Changes/Work Day
Tue Mar 06: Project Due

Publication Design: Editorial Redesign

For your first project, you will redesign a 2-page spread from a print publication. Your objective is to synthesize the form and content of the article. This means, you will need to read the article and try to understand the point of view of the author. Then you create a layout that supports that meaning… a healthy relationship of form and function.

Keep in mind, your objective is to redesign the article. Don’t rely on what’s already there. You should design not only a new layout, but also use new type, new images, new color, etc.

Speaking of new typography, carefully consider your type pairing (1, 2).

Also, develop a 6 or 8 column grid as the underlying structure for your article. Draw 15 layout thumbnails on the provided paper for Thursday.

Tue Jan 23: Begin Project
Thr Jan 25: Review thumbnail sketches / Begin layout in InDesign
Tue Jan 30: Discuss layout / Work Day
Thr Feb 01: Group Critique / Bring printed 8×10 pages
Tue Feb 06: Implement changes / Continue Development
Thr Feb 08: Individual Critique / Work Day
Tue Feb 13: Implement changes / Work Day
Thr Feb 15: Project Due – 2-pages mounted on black matboard

Spring 2018 – Publication Design

Publication Design (syllabus)
T/R 6:00-8:50pm

Assistant Professor Dennis Schmickle
Office: B20

The Grid

A typographic grid organizes text and images across the pages of a document. A grid can consist of a single column framed by margins, or it may have multiple columns. When you design a grid, you typically begin with vertical divisions (columns), and then add horizontal divisions.

Your project: Create a new document in InDesign. Your page size is 8 x 8 inches. Create a grid with 1/4-inch margins all around and four vertical columns, 1/4-inch gutters. When your document appears on screen, use guidelines to divide the grid again horizontally. Arrange the text below on the grid. Create three different designs on three different pages, all using the same underlying grid. You may use any sans-serif typeface: Helvetica, Futura, Univers, Gill Sans. Do two layouts using 8-pt type with one weight only, and one layout that uses any type you want.

For Tuesday: Bring three designs to class, each trimmed to the edge.

Use this text:


Various forms of dysfunction appear among populations exposed to typography for long periods of time. Listed here are a number of frequently observed afflictions.

An excessive attachment to and fascination with the shape of letters, often to the exclusion of other interests and object choices. Typophiliacs usually die penniless and alone.

The irrational dislike of letterforms, often marked by a preference for icons, dingbats, and—in fatal cases—bullets and daggers. The fears of the typophobe can often be quieted (but not cured) by steady doses of Helvetica and Times Roman.

A persistent anxiety that one has selected the wrong typeface. This condition is often paired with okd (optical kerning disorder), the need to constantly adjust and readjust the spaces between letters.

The promiscuous refusal to make a lifelong commitment to a single typeface—or even to five or six, as some doctors recommend. The typothermiac is constantly tempted to test drive “hot” new fonts, often without a proper license.

Some of the links we looked at in class:

Thinking With Type
AIGA Eye On Design
New York Times Year in Illustration
Edel Rodriguez
Pentagram (Editorial Design)
The Smudge
Ryan Duggan (pooping dog)
Mag Culture on Instagram
George Lois
AIGA Design Archives
Chris Ashworth
Christ Ashworth on Instagram
Colors Magazine
Josef Müller-Brockmann
Armin Hoffman
Armin Hoffman (2)
Dada archive

Type+Image: New WPA Posters

Project Brief:

The Works Progress Administration  generated hundreds of posters, murals, and other works of art. Many of the pieces were reflective of the time: after WWI, into WWII, with traces of Art Deco.

Your assignment is to design a *new* WPA poster. Something that encourages good ideas like voting, environmental conservation, or other positive ideas. (There are plenty of things to make posters against, but part of your objective in this case is to find a positive approach.)

ALL IMAGES utilized in this poster will come from your own hands/process. NO INTERNET images. That’s not to say that an image from the internet can’t serve as reference or part of some kind of process, but no copy/pasting.

Your poster is to be 18”x24” with no more than 3 base colors. Remember, white (or what ever your paper color is, doesn’t count as a color, but black or anything else does. You can even use colors to overlap to create more colors. Like we discussed in class.

And finally, your poster will have a simple animated version, using either the frame-by-frame or video timeline methods demonstrated in class.

View hundreds of WPA posters here. 

Type + Image: Modular Type

Second Wave by WeWorkForThem
Second Wave by WeWorkForThem

Your objective for this project is to design a creative and expressive typeface from three basic shapes. Of course, all letterform design is modular, in a way. Once you have a stem, curves, transitions, and the like, you can use those parts and pieces to create an entire typeface. That’s exactly what you are going to do, but with just a few shapes. Often, we think of the bauhaus and their heavily geometric and modular ideas. Here’s a link to a great looking workshop on modular type.


  1. You will begin by drawing your modules on graph paper. Try out a few different combinations of shapes. Try a circle, square, and quarter-circle. That would yield a typeface like Josef Albers’s Kombination Schrift above. Then maybe try some less geometric, more organic shapes. Then mix the two styles together to get something new and interesting.
  2. Then test your design by designing a series of letters and numbers with those modules. You might instinctively start out with A, B, C, etc. But that isn’t really the best way to go. Instead, start out with A, E, N, S, G, and 2.
  3. Next, transfer your final selection of modules to clean, white paper and carefully cut them out. Use the cut out shapes to create upper-case A through Z, and 0 through 9. Trace the shapes with pencil and fill in with marker on white paper.
  4. Scan the results of your tracing and markering and digitize in Illustrator.
  5. When that is finished, design a poster promoting your new typeface, featuring A-Z, 0-9, the name of the typeface,  and your name set in that typeface. Put you name and class on the back of the boards.


  • Design with your hands
  • Design a typographic system
  • Implement a creative typographic solution
  • Analyze typographic design processes


Tue Oct 31
Draw shapes (modules) on graph paper
Test by designing characters with those modules on graph paper
Thr Nov 02
Develop letterforms
Tue Nov 7
Start re-drawing in Illustrator
Thr Nov 9
Refine letterforms / Start designing promo poster
Tue Nov 14
Refine poster
Thr Nov 16
Project Due


• 15” x 20” board with promotional composition featuring A-Z, 0-9, name of typeface, and your name
• Project Notebook