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Communication Systems





Credit Hours


Investigates the elements, layout, and information structures in branded visual identity systems.

Through this course students will continue to investigate the elements, layout, and information structures within the context of a branded visual identity system. This course focuses on a holistic approach mindful of brand attributes such as: message, meaning, audience, personality and tone, context of use, and execution. Together, we will examine the rules and decisions applicable to create visual consistency across multiple communication touch-points.

Learning Objectives

Explore and understand how elements and approaches affect the efficacy of a crafted communication

  • Graphic elements (type, color, image, scale, balance, rhythm)
  • Grid structures (multi-column, symmetrical, asymmetrical)
  • Information structuring (function, hierarchy, weight, consistency, contrast)

Learning Outcomes

When completed, students will be able to craft a consistent and compelling system of communication artifacts demonstrating their knowledge of the principles and practice involved.

Format & Grading

This class meets for a full day once a week. The morning session will consist of lecture, critique and homework assignment. Readings will occasionally be assigned to supplement lectures. The afternoon session will supplement the morning lecture topic through additional lectures and in-class exercises. In some instances, studio time will be used to start homework assignments.

A constant stream of effort throughout the semester in the form of completed assignments and class participation will be the basis of grades. Assignments include single week exercises, multi-week investigations and the cumulative semester deliverable. Each week students will be required to do something new to demonstrate cumulative knowledge throughout the semester. Timeliness is critical; due to the iterative nature of the class, late assignments will NOT be accepted. Final grades will be comprised of 3 parts:

  1. Professionalism + attitude | respect, mindfulness of time, participation, and presence
  2. Performance + iteration | rigor and depth of exploration
  3. Concept + execution | originality and appropriateness of idea, demonstration of design principles

Enrollment Restrictions

No prerequisites. This course is open to all Institute of Design students.