INFO 246-12 (2-Units)
Information Technology Tools and Applications
Advanced Topic: Graphic Design for Librarians
Summer 2020 Syllabus

Valerie Colston
Office Hours:
By appointment, virtually. Questions are also encouraged through email.

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning June 1st, 6 am PT unless you are taking an intensive or a one-unit or two-unit class that starts on a different day. In that case, the class will open on the first day that the class meets.

This course runs from June 1st - July 27th. It will open on Canvas on June 1st.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

Students will learn basic theoretical and practical application graphic design skills that will enable then to complete tasks typically assigned to Librarians. Fundamental training on how to locate and use available software, and other design resources and such as fonts, images, color charts, and other design tools, graphic design software, and how to create a portfolio will also be presented.  Course format:  Illustrated Lecture, Video, Forum Discuss, 3 Graphic Design Projects, and Portfolio.

Course Requirements

10 Forum Discussions (10 points each)  20% of Grade

Project #1  100 points                              20% of Grade

Project #2  100 points                              20% of Grade

Project #3  100 points                              20% of Grade

Portfolio      100 points                             20% of Grade


Project 1 – 100 possible points

Grading: Project #1 Graded on a 100 point scale (20% of the course grade) based on quality and meeting deadline. The project should demonstrate an understanding of the basic terms and techniques of graphic design illustrated through two different software to create a Social Media design.  In addition, the design should clearly communicate a message directed to inform and motivate possible library patron audiences who frequent social media.

Project 2 – 100 possible points

Grading: Project #2 Graded on a 100 point scale (20% of the course grade) based on quality and meeting deadline. The project should demonstrate an understanding of the basic terms and techniques of graphic design and use no more than two fonts to create a Flyer that incorporates a library program, or other informational theme that would be used in a library setting.  Projects should reflect an understanding of the principles of design learned in class.

Project 3 – 100 possible points

Grading: Project #3 Graded on a 100 point scale (20% of the course grade) based on quality and meeting deadline. You will create a well thought out, and complex graphic design project that reflects a library theme (i.e. movie trailer, website design, program guide, etc.) Storyboard.  The Storyboards will be presented to the class. You will have an opportunity to work collaboratively on this assignment.

Helps to fulfill course learning outcomes #1, #2, and #3

Helps to satisfy Core Competency H and M

Portfolio  – 100 possible points

Graded on a 100 point scale (20% of the course grade) based on quality and meeting deadline.

Complete a portfolio (digital or traditional.) Include the Assignments 1-3 and projects completed on the forum.

Forum Participation—100 possible points

(20% of the total grade) based on 2 timely and quality forum posts per unit.

Course Calendar


Main Activity



June 1-7

Introduction to Course, Overview of assignments and projects.

Lecture Topics

Overview of Graphic Design Skills and Projects Performed by Librarians.

Disc #1: Introduction to Graphic Design

Forum Entry #1 Introduce yourself.  How will you use graphic design in your career goals? Share your experience in Graphic Design, as an observer or creator.  Discuss experience with graphic design software. Include reference and graphic design examples.

Respond to 2 others.

250-word min initial post and 100-word min follow-ups.

Read (Colston, Chap.1)

View Video Lecture 1


10 Points Overall



June 8-14

Exploring Design Methods and Theories in Graphic Design.

Lecture Topics

Students will learn a method for describing, analyzing, and interpreting design. Practical tools for exploring design theory will be presented.  Students will critique quality graphic design models and learn skills for creating their own individual designs.

Disc #2: Topic: Design Analysis and Theory.

Forum Entry #2: Using the method used for critiquing graphic design, select and analyze a design project created by a Librarian or Designer.

Respond to 2 others.

250-word min initial post and 100-word min follow-ups.


10 Points Overall

 Read (Colston, Chap.2)

View Video Lecture 2 


June 15-21

Graphic Design Software and Tools. 

Lecture Topics

After examining close up models of various Graphic Design software, and examples. students will examine the strengths and challenges of two Graphic Design software programs by creating a simple Graphic Design project using a Library theme.


Class Project #1



Disc #3: Topic:  Proficiency of common Graphic Design Software

Through your analysis, demonstrate your proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies;

Project#1: Create a simple social media design using two different software programs, identify the software and the process you went through in designing the Graphic Design.. Respond to 2 others.

Discussion:  10 Points Possible

Respond to 2 others.

250-word min initial post and 100-word min follow-ups.


10 Points Overall

Class Project #1 100 Points Possible


June 22-29

Lecture Topics

Exploring Fonts.

Looking at the role and impact of fonts in graphic design projects.

Create Project #2 Flyer or Poster



Project #2

Disc #4: Following the guidelines presented in the class lecture, share and critique your Assignment Project #2 in the discussion area.

Respond to 2 others.

250-word min initial post and 100-word min follow-ups.


10 Points Overall 

Project#2 Name and discuss at least 2 elements of composition and the reason for your choice of the fonts you used. Relate topic to one article from reading list. 

Read (Colston, Chap.9 & 2)

View Video Lecture 4 


June 30-July 5

Lecture Topics

Images, where to find them, how to change them, and what to do with them.


Disc #5: Think about the role that images play in creating graphic design projects and where they can be located, created, or manipulated.

Forum Entry #5: Share an image that you have located and changed for a project.  Tell us what tools you used and if you photographed the image or accessed (website address) the image.  What function might it serve in a future project?

Respond to 2 others.

Discussion:  10 Points Possible


(Colston) Chapter  4

View Lecture Video 5


July 6-July12

Lecture Topics

Outlining  Project #3

Library projects such as academic guides, newsletters, website design, movie trailers, PowerPoint presentations, displays, training materials, library procedure manuals, community resource directories, blogs, podcasts, etc. storyboard.  Optional:  Collaborative project.  May require collaboration and leadership skills to complete.  Chose collaborative team.

Disc #6: Reflections on weekly progress. Describe leadership qualities of a Designer and the role they play in creating collaborative graphic design projects.

Forum Entry #6: Describe leadership qualities of a Designer. Relate topic to one article from the current reading list. Example from list: “8 Qualities of a Design Leader”” (Memoria, 2006).

(Colston) Chapter 5, 6

View Lecture Video 6 

Discussion:  10 Points Possible


July 13-July 19

Lecture Topic

Review, Show, and Share

Assignment Project #3 Due

Disc #7: Present your Graphic Design project plan as a Storyboard Presentation.

Project #3

Forum Entry #7 Post Project #3 to the forum and respond to 2 others.

Read (Colston) 7

View Lecture Video 7

Discussion:  10 Points Possible


July 20-July 26

Lecture Topic

Traditional, Online or Both

Creating, Analyzing and Critiquing Your Portfolio

Portfolio Project is Due

Disc. #8 Importance of creating and maintaining a portfolio.

Forum Entry #8

Portfolio Project #4

Post your portfolio or share your online portfolio website address.  Post to 2 others.

Discussion:  10 Points Possible

Read (Colston) Chapters 8 and 10

 View Video 10

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

INFO 202, other prerequisites may be added depending on content

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate satisfactory skills and confidence in planning and implementing basic graphic design skills that are required to create flyers, posters, signage, bulletin boards, displays, newsletters, program guides, and additional design tasks typically assigned in the library work environment.
  2. Analyze and discuss the elements of design and composition as they relate to graphic design. Students will learn how to incorporate the principles of design effectively into their projects and critique other's designs.
  3. Compare and learn the availability and efficacy of common graphic design software and design tools for creating quality design projects and inspiring confidence. Students will discover which products best serve their artistic style, preference, and design results.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 246 supports the following core competencies:

  1. H Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.
  2. M Demonstrate professional leadership and communication skills.


Required Textbooks:

  • Colston, V. (2019). Graphic Design: A practical guide for librarians. Rowman & Littlefield. Available through Amazon: 1442276991arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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