Media Graphics (Archived: 2014 Spring)

303 | Spring 2014 | Reynolds School of Journalism, University of Nevada, Reno
Professor: Katherine Hepworth, PhD | Office: RSJ 205 | Office hours: Wednesdays & Thursdays 1-2pm (book here)



Tuesdays & Thursdays 11am-12:15pm in RSJ 201

Professor Katherine Hepworth | Room 215F (office hours Tuesday & Thursday 8:15-9:15am)



To learn enough graphic design basics to use typography, images, color and layout to communicate a message effectively in a range of visual mediums. We will cover enough technical skills for you to use most web-based design services quickly and effectively.


Required resources: 303 Pack

1. Hardware: USB Thumb drive 8GB or larger

2. Sketchbook and pen
3. Cloud service: Google Drive or Dropbox

4. Access to WebCampus


Optional resources

Text books:

- The Designers Desktop Manual, Second Edition by Jason Simmons

- The Fundamentals of Creative Design, Second Edition by Gavin Ambrose and Paul Harris

- Safari Books Online: has a variety of helpful textbooks

Software covered

- Adobe Illustrator CS5

- Adobe Photoshop CS5

- Adobe InDesign CS5

Class structure

The classes are divided into two halves: tech and process.



'Tech' covers your development of technical skills, and involves a review of your tech homework. Your development of tech skills will be assessed through formal quizzes on WebCampus and informal quizzes during class.



'Process' covers effective ways of using technical skills. Your development of process skills will be assessed in your process journal.




The homework you are assigned after each class will form the foundation of the following class, as well as performing a step you need to successfully complete your Final Assignment. It is important that you complete the homework assigned after each class so you can participate in the following class. You are strongly encouraged to complete all homework, whether or not you attend class.


To succeed in this course, you will need to do between 3-6 hours of homework per week, depending on your initial skill level and the stage of the course.


1. RSJ 201, the student graphics lab, has all required software and typefaces.

2. has all required technical software tutorials.

3. @one (on Level 1 of The Knowledge Center) can be used for all necessary printing.

4. The Wolf Shop (in the Joe Crowley Building) is where you will find sketchbooks and pens.

Extra expenses

Please budget at least >0 for costs associated with this subject. These costs will include sketchbook, paper, pens, cardboard and printing. Graphic production is not cheap.



Mark allocation

Journal: 20%

Major assignment: 20%

Minor assignments: 20%

Professional participation: 20%

Quizzes: 20%



You are required to post to your journal after most classes. Each post is reviewed in the following class. Journal posts review your learning in the process part of class and document the process of building your class projects.



Your journal is marked at the end of semester. Journals will be graded according to the following rubric:



Professional participation

This mark is made up of two qualities of behavior and speech: professionalism and participation.


Professionalism means behaving and speaking in class in a manner appropriate for a professional workplace. You will gain marks for professionalism by:


- turning off your cell phone before class

- coming to class prepared, having completed all your homework

- treating your classmates and professor with courtesy

- restraining yourself from using social media during class

- keeping organized throughout the semester

- taking responsibility for your own work, including:

+ seeking help when needed

+ accessing digital resources (Wiki, etc)

+ managing your production resources (paper, printing, camera etc)

+ backing up your work

+ keeping digital files organized

+ managing your time well


Participation means active and engaged discussion. You will gain class participation marks by:


- contributing to class discussions

- listening to other students carefully

- speaking about your work with the class

- providing constructive criticism of your classmates’ work

Grading assignments

You will gain marks in all assignments by:

- submitting work that demonstrates your passions and plays to your strengths

- sophisticated execution of the principles learned in class, from the readings, and from

- demonstrating proficiency at using Adobe Creative Suite

- clean and polished final submissions

- submitting work on time




You will AUTOMATICALLY FAIL any assignment if:

- you submit work late WITHOUT pre-arrangement with Katherine.

- you miss a class when the assignment is due, do not hand up the work before class, and have not notified Katherine

- your work does not follow the requirements of the brief

- your work is not submitted through the appropriate Assignment upload page in WebCampus.



Major assignment

Re-design the cover of a novel, technical book (such as a text book), or a magazine.Your final assignment has several parts:

A Develop an original creative concept for the cover

You will do visual research on the cover, individual and collaborative brainstorming to generate ideas, draw thumbnail cover sketches to refine your ideas, select several concepts to sketches in detail, and finally choose one concept to pursue.

B Build the cover in Indesign

You will learn to use Adobe software to make a cover to professional technical standards. This requires you to select a color palette, finalize the cover composition, typeset the cover text, and develop cover imagery. Finally, you will prepare the cover for print.

C Print and shoot the book cover

You will print the cover, affix it to a book/magazine, shoot the work in a professional studio shoot, and edit the studio shoot images.

D Blog your work

Plan your blog post, write copy, add images, and upload your finished post.



Your major assignment will be graded with the following point distribution:


40% A concept development (consistency and sophistication)

30% B finished cover

15% C photos of cover

15% D blog post of cover on your personal site


Minor assignments

There are four minor assignments to be completed in the course.

Minor Assignment 1 - Briefing > Strategy Presentation

Minor Assigment 2 - Website Header

Minor Assignment 3 - Professional Head Shot

Minor Assignment 4 - Final Presentations


Quizzes will be completed on Webcampus at the end of each section. Quizzes will test technical knowledge you learn by reading the assigned texts and watching the tutorials each week.

Gaining and losing marks during absences

When you are absent, you can make up some marks by arrangement with Katherine, by completing the required homework and draft turn-ins. You cannot make up class participation or professionalism marks when you are absent.

Grade allocation

Grading in this class will be by XP (experience points). At the start of the class you will have zero XP points. You earn them by completing tasks - the better you complete the task, the more XP points you will get.

Final grades will be allocated the following marks:



































You are expected to:

- arrive early or on-time for class

- be in a sober and fit state to work during class

- stay until class discussion and/or your work has been completed

- notify me of any absences prior to class

Academic success services

Seeking help outside of class is the sign of responsible and successful student. Your student fees cover usage of the

- Math Center: 784-443 or

- Tutoring Center: 784-6801 or

- University Writing Center: 784-6030 or

Course communication

You are welcome to send your questions or concerns to me via e-mail. Some important tips for email communication with Katherine are below:


- always include “JOUR303” in the subject line

- use your official UNR student email account

- let me know via email if you cannot attend a class


- send emails with random subject lines (ie does not include JOUR303)

- send any attachments, images, jokes or forwarded emails

- request review/critique of your work via email

Disability services

Any student with a disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations is requested to speak with me or the Disability Resource Center (Thompson Building Suite 101) as soon as possible to arrange for appropriate accommodations.


Cheating, plagiarism or otherwise obtaining grades under false pretenses constitutes academic dishonesty according to the code of this university. Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and penalties can include canceling a student’s enrollment without a grade, giving an F for the course or for the assignment. For more details, see the University General Catalog.

Recording Devices

Surreptitious or covert video-taping of class or unauthorized audio recording of class is prohibited by law and by Board of Regents policy. This class may be videotaped or audio recorded only with the written permission of the instructor. In order to accommodate students with disabilities, some students may have been given permission to record class lectures and discussions. Therefore, students should understand that their comments during class may be recorded.


Please don't be late or leave early without telling Katherine beforehand. Note: tardiness directly correlates with poor grades.