Project: Visual Communication

Creating Visual Communication - Graphic Design 101

Teachers, find the full curriculum for this project here

Sometimes you need to tell a lot of people you’ve never met about something. There are so many ways to do so but one great way is with a visual product, such as a poster, flyer, video or something else! Below is the same method that graphic designers and engineers use.

Step 1. Define the problem:

You’ll need to figure what you want to communicate and how to communicate it:

  • Message – Get the word out! What is the message you want to get across?
  • Audience – Who needs to know? Brainstorm any potential audiences you want to reach.
  • The Hook -- What will make your audience become interested in your message?

Step 2. Criteria and Constraints:

All engineers and graphic designers work with criteria and within constraints.

  • Your own experience -- What made a great product? What made a not so great one?
  • Ask the experts -- We asked GMRI’s creative director Petri Tuohimaa: “What makes great graphic design?” Check out what he had to say.
  • Record it -- Jot down a final ‘best practices’ list alongside any constraints you have to work in (time, money, ect). When you make your product, keep these in mind.

Step 3. Research and Brainstorm:

Most of us want to go straight to the ‘prototype’ stage, but by doing research you will save time, money and make a better product.

Try to get to know your audiences better. What do they care about? If people are going to listen to your message, it needs to be interesting to them, not just to you.

Step 4. Prototype:

Now it’s time to actually create a prototype (or a ‘proof’ in graphic design).

Don’t spend too much time making prototypes. Stretch outside the box and give yourself a short amount of time to work.

Step 5. Review:

Having someone review your work can be difficult, but always helpful! Learning how to get helpful feedback is often the hardest part of becoming a successful artist or engineer.

Have more than one person look over your design. Listen to their ideas and comments, ask clarifying questions if you need to, but try not to argue with them. How you use their feedback is up to you.

Compare your product to the list of best practices and constraints. How well does your prototype meet them?

Step 6. Redesign and Final Product:

It is critical that you have at least one redesign after getting feedback. You’re now working on refining your design toward a finished product!

Congratulations! You’ve now followed the engineering design process (which graphic designers use as well!) and created work following best practices.

Step 7. Make and post your flyers

Now that you’ve designed great products, you need to make them work for you! Don’t forget to post your products to tell your message.