Salve Regina University

Concentrated Study: Typography

Room: Antone Center 122

Course Section Number ART-341-01

Tuesday-Thursday 9:30 am-12:50 pm

Office hours by appointment: Office AC 207

Instructor: Erik Kowalski




This is an advanced studio class where the emphasis will be placed on a concentrated topic. Primarily these subjects are associated with specific design intent, such as poster design, packaging, typography, motion graphics and information display. Since there are numerous aspects to the graphic design profession, topics will vary each time the course is offered. Students may take this course more than once for different topics. Lab Fee. Prerequisites: ART241 and ART100.


  • Cultivate a deepened affinity for the letterform through the exploration of form and meaning.
  • Use experimentation as a method of discovery.
  • Examine the concept of letterforms as image.
  • Examine word and image relationships.
  • Explore no-tradational methods of problem solving
  • Create work that communicates the essence of word, narrative, story, haiku, song, etc.



This is a studio course, we meet as a group twice a week for 220 minutes. During the semester depending on the topic/issues being covered, the course will include elements of the following: lecture/demonstrations, group projects + discussions, individual work time, small group working and critique sessions, and final critiques.

The work load for this class includes 2-3 hours of outside work for each hour inside of class. This equals 8-12 hours of outside class work per week. This amount may increase based on the nature of the subject and the intense learning curve required to master the skills necessary. A large portion of project development including research, sketching, ideation, and final execution will take place outside of class. Class time may be used working on various aspects of project development but the emphasis will be on process and final analysis.  Each student is expected to work productively during in class work sessions.

The lab will be available during evening and weekends for all students registered in graphic design courses.

Each student is expected to take each project to a highly innovative and conceptual solution.  This can be achieved by understanding and following the guidelines of good art and design process and spending the necessary time on each assignment. It is not reasonable to expect successful solutions to complex problems with one or two quickly executed ideas. It is important to generate many ideas for each visual solution to the assignment. Each stage of the visual solution must be thoroughly investigated.

You will be evaluated throughout the semester in three different areas, which will each have an effect on your grade: Attendance, Participation, Studio and Critique performance and Assignments. Please be aware that you are 100% responsible for your work and contribution in this class, or any other.  It’s up to YOU.


In keeping with the format of this studio course, students are expected to attend class and be prepared to work. Unlike a standard academic class, a participatory demand is placed on the student to engage in in-class studio development. Therefore it is mandatory that students attend, produce and discuss work in class. In addition, homework and/or outside of class work are required and project specific. There should be evidence of progress from each session to session.

Three unexcused absences will result in the lowering of your grade, one letter grade. Six unexcused absences will result in automatic failure. There will be no excuse for missing class unless approved by the instructor. Students must directly speak to the instructor in advance of the absence or within 24 hours of a missed session to have it approved. In the event of illness, a doctor’s note is recommended. An email message or voice mail message does not necessarily constitute an approved absence. Chronic lateness or leaving early is disruptive to the class as a whole…thus, three tardies shall be considered one absence. You will be also be marked absent if you are over half an hour late, leave class early, not prepared for critique and/ or to work in class.


Complete the assignments given and participate fully during class sessions. It is essential that you ask questions and share opinions during critiques and discussions. Participation involves giving attention, looking, listening, preparing questions and sharing thoughts, ideas and questions. Participation helps you learn to be more articulate and prepares you for a career as a professional.


Deadlines are a major factor in the operation of any work environment. Therefore, all assignment deadlines are absolute. No work will be accepted beyond its due date. Turn in your work by the deadline even if you feel it is unfinished. It’s better to be present and participating during class discussions.  Assignments turned in on time can be revised during the last three weeks of the semester. If you are unable to turn an assignment in at it’s proper time for a legitimate reason, you must make arrangements with the instructor beforehand and must receive permission for a different due date.

Also never attempt to plagiarize; as the cliché goes: In the larger picture, it will only hurt you. Do not throw away any work completed during the semester.  Please keep all work organized in a portfolio.

All work for critiques is due at the beginning of class.

Allow adequate time before critique to finish and mount projects for class discussion (not 10 minutes before class!)


Each assignment will be graded according to the following criteria (when applicable): design principles, preliminary sketches (willingness to explore many directions at an early stage of a project and the ability to communicate and develop those ideas on paper), risk taking, research, writing, originality, visual aesthetics and craftsmanship, based on the criteria established in the assignment statement and project objectives. Projects will be weighted in importance based on the complexity of the concepts and the solutions required.


Throughout the course of the semester you will be expected to participate in the curation of the class blog, ( yes the one your reading right now). You will be posting home work assignments, writing blog posts, and other  things typography related such as; experiments, observations, good type finds, bad type finds, and progress on your current work for peer feedback.

Each of you should make regular contributions to the blog totaling to at least 20 by the end of the semester. The majority of these can be simple and image based, however you will be required to post at least 3 “formal” entries to the blog on design / typography related topics. I will be assigning each of you topics from the book 100 ideas the changed graphic design, or you may propose your own topic to the instructor.

Your three formal posts should include thoughtful analysis of the topic and include several relevant images, also when applicable links to relevant articles and videos. Each post should be at least 500 words in length.

PROCESS ( 30% )

This should include a book or folder of all of your process work. Keep track of all of your process through the semester. This includes notes, research, brainstorming, sketches, and versions of the work you are doing. General assessment of this will come on a regular basis during the semester to ensure that you are working and making progress. This aspect of the class is designed to encourage taking chances, failing, starting over, rather than settling for the first idea and crating a ‘safe’ solution.

Submission of process book: Summarization and documentation of your process is due at the end of the semester. The format is up to you, but the more organized and succinct the better. This should include reflective statements of your progress throughout the semester that addresses what you learned and what you would do differently. Ways of formalizing the presentation can be discussed towards the end of the semester. The goal should be should be to formalize your thoughts into an actual designed document that you show to perspective employers.

PROJECTS ( 50% )

Each project will be given a letter grade. You will receive a written grading sheet/evaluation for each assignment, in addition to verbal evaluations during critiques. Any time a student does not understand the nature of the grades given or comments that were made concerning their work, they should see the instructor during office hours or make an appointment for an individual assessment of those comments.

You should be aware that I have high expectations that each of my students follow the guidelines we’ve just laid.  This syllabus is our own little contract with one another.

A: Excellent This is usually work done by a highly motivated student meeting all of the performance criteria as set forth by the assignment. Work shows through exploration and growth beyond set/expected perimeters. Work is finely crafted, conceptually strong and visually interesting.

B: Good This work is above average but lacks the qualities that give it the stamp of excellence. It shows better than average design sensitivity and meets all of the performance criteria as set forth by the assignment.

C: Satisfactory This work is average. Work is handed in on time and has fulfilled all or most of requirements of the project, but it lacks strong conceptual and/or visual interest and thoughtful and imaginative resolution. This work may also have significant problems with basic design principles and craftsmanship.

D: Poor Below Average This work is handed in on time, but lacks many or most areas that show understanding of design principals, craftsmanship and/or does not meet the criteria for the assignment.

F: Unacceptable Work that is not handed in on time or at all and has not met any of the guidelines and standards of design set for the assignment.

Disability Accommodations | Students with disabilities should submit a Notification of Disability Form to the professor within the first two weeks of class. This form is available through the Academic Development Center, McAuley Hall. Students are advised to speak directly with the professor concerning specific requests for reasonable accommodations (e.g., extended time testing).

Use of Salve Email |All official email communication at Salve Regina University involving faculty, students, and staff is to be conducted using Salve email (addresses ending in Students must regularly check their Salve email for important notifications from their faculty, the Registrar, and others.

Plagiarism | Plagiarism is best defined as incorporating the words or ideas of another person into a paper or presentation without properly crediting the source from which they came. Plagiarism is a violation of ethical practices. The author who commits plagiarism attempts to claim another person’s work as his or her own. Thus, plagiarism is both a form of intellectual theft and intellectual fraud.

In its worst form, plagiarism may consist of directly copying
large or small portions of either printed works or, as frequently happens in schools, written papers of another student. There are, however, more subtle forms of plagiarism as well. Paraphrasing, or changing an author’s ideas or words, is also a form of plagia- rism if the source of the idea being paraphrased is not acknowl- edged, and this form of plagiarism is equal to direct copying.

No matter what the cause, colleges and universities consider plagiarism to be a serious offense—the most serious academic crime there is. Faculty members react against plagiarism because they consider it an attack on one of the values that colleges and universities hold sacred –honesty in the pursuit of knowledge.

Because colleges and universities consider plagiarism a serious offense, they treat violations seriously. A first offense may result in failure of the course involved, plus an entry on the student’s permanent record.


In case of inclement weather, there may be a cancellation of our session in the lab with expectations that all students should check in via email or MyInfo. You will be given ample notice of such cancellations as best possible. If you have not been notified that class is cancelled, and I’m not present at the beginning of class it should be assumed that class will be held (that I’m just late for some reason). Notifications of cancellation will occur via an email from me or someone from the office will post a notice.

Additional requests and requirements 

There will be no cell phone usage allowed in class.

Please turn cell phones off when entering the classroom.

There will be no text messaging allowed.


Computer storage device of your choice:

External hard drive, Cloud based storage,

flashdrives (beware that these are not always reliable, and are very easy to loose)


Folders for process work

Cutting Mat – self healing (12 x 18 inches)


Ruler/Scale (metal)

X- Acto knife and blades

Rubber cement

Rubber cement pickup square

Double stick tape

Assorted sizes of permanent black markers

Black Boards as needed for final presentation

Various paper as needed

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