Graphic Design Exercise 1

In this exercise, we will go about making a very simple presentation. The principles learned in this exercise can be applied to print layouts, website banners… etc.

Step 1. Organization

Read through your content, organize content into slides. What will help students to focus and understand what you are saying? How can you make it interesting or (gasp!) entertaining?

Think of the pacing when organizing the information. Break it into “scenes”. Are there certain points that are important that could be highlighted, or information that is has dramatic/emotional appeal?

Details – Organize your own content or find a Wikipedia article that you would like to turn into a presentation. If you are drawing a blank, use the page for “rice” (for absolutely no reason, but it is fascinating!).

Step 2. Thumbnailing

Express those scenes as thumbnails. Is an image enough to express the “scene” or, maybe, one or two short and succinct sentences?What are interesting approaches to displaying the content? Try showing, not telling. For example, if you are talking about colonialism and beauty ideals, maybe think of finding a cover from a fashion magazine from Latin America.

Step 3. Finding Elements

Go look for creative common images for your presentation. Would a photo make sense or an icon? A photo could be used for a specific scene, i.e. something historical, or you could use an icon/symbol to represent a general idea or principle.

Google Image Search

Step 4. Image Editing

Let us edit those images using Pixlr or Powerpoint. We will attempt to remove the background.

Shantala’s presentation for cropping and removing background.

Pixlr – eraser tool, brushes and sizes, and save as transparent png.

Step 5 – 6. Typography and Structure

Open a new document in Powerpoint, adjust size (we’re not on CRT screens anymore).

Create guides on the master page. Structure your grid to your content. For example, are you focusing on images, or are you focusing on short sentences?

Find a body font and an appropriate size for the main content (body size). The font you choose should represent your content well. If in doubt, go with a classic like Helvetica or Times.

Massimo Vignelli, the graphic design legend, only used 5 typefaces: Times New Roman, Helvetica, Futura, Century, and Bodoni.


Create a consistent hierarchy by scaling up and down from the body size. Try it at a scale of 1.5 or 2 or adding 5 or 10 point sizes.

Look at Google Fonts which has a variety of Open Source fonts which are of good quality. Choose with the ‘serif’ or ‘sans serif’ options for your main (body) type. The other categories of display, script and handwritten should be used for only Display/Headlines if at all. Be careful choose any typeface and go with something conservative. Some of these typefaces are not well suited for a professional look. (But hey, whatever you need to do!)

Step 7. Putting it together

Explore the page. Move stuff around and experiment. Don’t be afraid to move your guides, adjust the images and their cropping, and playing with the type sizes for better readability.

Step 8. Break and Reflect

Take a break and look back at it. Refine, edit and iterate.


Schedule of Events:

4:00 Museum Closes

4:15 Goodman goes to her office

5:00 Sanderson goes to his office

7:36 Maravillas sets alarm, locks up and leaves the museum to walk home

10:05 Sanderson leaves for the movie theatre

10:30 Sanderson attends a movie

12:36 Call to SFU Security

12:40 Suspicious Mazda 3 reported to police in UniverCity

12:48 Keypad disarmed with code at the museum

12:54 Back office entered, lights turned out, wires cut to security cameras

12:55 The glass casing is smashed with a rock hammer and theft of the Quartz Parrot occurs

12:55 A call is placed by a student

1:01 SFU Security gets report of loud crashing

1:03 SFU Security finds no problems at School of Business

1:08 The keypad for the museum is re-armed and set

1:08 A rock hammer is tossed into the trash in Saywell Hall

1:21 SFU Security discovers the break at the Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology

1:45 Maravillas arrives at the Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology to see what has happened

2:12 Goodman catches the last 95 bus

2:15 RCMP arrives to investigate

2:48 RCMP find the rock hammer in the trash in Blusson Hall. No prints are found on it.

3:00 RCMP investigate the suspicious Mazda but it is no longer there. A single latex glove is discovered where the car was parked.

3:57 RCMP find a Leatherman multi-tool in the southeast corner of Lot C.

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