Origins and Issues in Design: Course Syllabus

Course Description

This course is a survey of the history of graphic design from the Industrial Revolution through contemporary practice. Lectures illustrate major movements as the role of graphic design in society is explored including its relationship to industrial and architectural design. Both technological and societal changes and their impacts on design in past and present eras are addressed.


You must take ART 210, ART 211 and ART 214, with a grade of “C” or better and complete the Visual Arts Milestone (portfolio review process) before taking this class.

Learning Objectives

Students will develop an awareness of design history and how it relates to them. Explore the connection between design and its milieu, showing how both interact and influence each other. Define the changing role of the designer through history, showing the logical development of the designer’s role as it is currently being perceived. Understand the different approaches to design taken by different designers and how individual goals and personalities effect design.

Writing Intensive Requirements (WI)

The UMBC Writing Intensive (WI) Program was established to provide an intensive writing experience in the discipline. The idea is to integrate writing into courses in all the majors across campus giving students the opportunity to use what they skills learned in freshman composition courses and gain an understanding of the forms of writing used in their major discipline.

Required Texts

There are two required books for this course. Both are listed below but won’t be available in the bookstore due to an unexpected late minute instructor change. I’ve arranged to have copies of both books on reserve in the library for 3-hour periods.

Policy on Classroom Expectations

First, you are being asked to read the assignments carefully and critically. Students will be held responsible for reading and printing out the readings listed on the syllabus. Readings will be posted on the class blog. Each week there will be a quiz consisting of 10 questions from the readings, class lectures, and discussions. The quizzes will be posted on the blog and are due before we start class each Tuesday.

In addition to the quizzes, you will be asked to write two case studies. One on a historical piece of design (pre 2000), one on a contemporary design piece of design. The contemporary case study will involve conducting an interview with the designer or design team.

Assignment Questions

24 hours prior to a project or exercise being due I will not answer assignment related questions via email or before/during/after class. You should not be starting an assignment 48 hours before it’s due! I will still answer assignment related questions regardless of deadline if you stop by during my office hours.


5 classes is considered a typical course load 15 credits a semester × 8 semesters = 120 credits. Each class is 4 contact hours 4 hours × 5 classes = 20 hours. Each class also has 4 hours of outside work each week 20 classroom hours & 20 outside work hours = 40 hrs). I will assign projects and readings each week to fit within that formula. If you can’t commit to a minimum of 4 hours of outside work each week you won’t do well in this course.

Finally, read the class blog carefully before asking questions. 99.9% of your questions have already been answered and are on the blog, including your grades, my office hours and contact info! If you email me a question that is already on the blog I’ll remind you to read the blog.

Policy on Grading

Over the course of the semester you will earn points by completing online quizzes from the readings, writing topical essays, and writing two case studies.* The writing component of the course is worth 50% of your grade, the weekly quizzes make up the remaining 50% of your grade.

This means that you have to complete both the writing assignments and the quizzes to successfully pass the course. Failure to keep up with either will result in a low or failing grade! As a reminder, since ART 335 is a requirement for the Graphic Design major, you will need to earn a letter grade of “C” or higher to have it count towards the major. Anything below a “C” will result in you needing to retake the course.The semester grading scale is as follows:

Extra Credit

Extra credit towards the quizzes will be given for attending lectures and events relevant to the history and contemporary situation of art and graphic design. To receive credit, students should submit (in a timely manner following the event) a one-page summary-response that discusses what you learned from the event, and how you are going to apply that knowledge to your own work. I will only accept the extra credit responses hand written or printed out and handed to me during class. Emails get lost and I can’t keep track of the extra credit that way. You must see me for approval before you attend the event. Each event attended with be worth 20 points.

Policy on Late Work, Incompletes, and Make-Up

Professionalism will be stressed. Treat this class as you would a job. Late arrival to a client meeting or missed deadlines will cost you a job and your ex-employer a client. Therefore, all assignments must be completed on time, and are due at the beginning of class.

An assignment not ready for the start of class will be considered late. Assignments lose 10% each day not class period they are late. Assignments over 7 days late will be given a 0, no exceptions. Turn in your Assignments even if you aren’t finished, it’s better to turn in something. Getting partial points is better than getting a 0.

Policy on Attendance

Students must be on time to class, prepared with all the tools and materials necessary for that day’s work and have completed personal conversations so class can begin on time. If a student does not have materials to work with, or is talking away ignoring the start of class, it will be noted. Unless UMBC officially closes, there are no excused absences for weather.

You get two personal days (unexcused absences). On your third absence your final course grade will be lowered by one full letter grade. Your fourth unexcused absence will lower your final course grade by two full letter grades, meaning if you had an A, the highest grade you can receive is a C. Your fifth absence will result in a failing course grade. There are no exceptions to this policy. The only excused absences—illness or participation in UMBC organized mandatory activities—must be accompanied by a note from the UMBC Student Health Center, another health care provider, or UMBC faculty/coach.

Attendance will be taken within the first 10 minutes of class. Students who show up after attendance is taken are already marked absent. Being late disrupts the flow of class for the students who are on time if I have to stop everything to update your attendance from absent to late. To avoid disrupting the class to change your Absent to a Late you will need to use the class blog to submit a late notification. Failure to do this in a timely manner upon arrival to class will result in your late arrival remaining an absence. There are no exception to this policy. Lates will be recorded in twenty minute increments. For every 110 minutes you are late, you will receive an absence. Unlike absences in grade tracker, lates will not be automatically tallied into your final grade, so I will be doing that manually at the end of the semester.

Just as important as being on time is staying for the entire class period. By the latter half of the semester I will give open class time at the end of each period for working on class related projects. You are expected to be working during this time. Leaving early will be treated the same as a late. Two early departures from class will result in one absence.

A grade of Incomplete will only be assigned to students who currently have a passing grade of a “B” or higher who are unable to complete the course due to a serious illness or personal tragedy that is well documented and out of their control.

Policy on Final Exam Attendance

The final exam will be held during the final exam period posted on the UMBC website for our class. The final exam could consist of a critique, a presentation, in class quiz, or simply turning in assignment files. In person attendance for the final exam is mandatory. Failure to attend the final exam will result in lowering your final course grade by one letter grade.

The only excused absences—illness or participation in UMBC organized mandatory activities or a common final exam with an overlapping time—must be accompanied by a note from the UMBC Student Health Center, another health care provider, or UMBC faculty/coach.

Policy on Use of Stock Photography and Other Imagery

Your portfolio is just another word for your reputation, which is just another word for your integrity. @monteiro

There is a very small place in the industry for the use of stock photography, imagery, and code. However, as a designer your are hired on your ability to create visual content, not use content created by others. There aren’t any legitimate design jobs for designers who use the work of others either claiming it as their own, or using it because you don’t want to create your own. If all designers had to do was buy or steal the work from others, why would anybody need a designer?

In this class, this means that all imagery used during the semester must be your own or supplied by me. If I suspect that you have copied the work of others I will ask to see your original sketches and digital files. If you find work that is listed as creative commons, technically you are free to use it if you cite the original author, but again, you are designers and you are the content generators.

UMBC Statement of Values for Academic Integrity

By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC’s scholarly community in which everyone’s academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong. Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal. To read the full Student Academic Conduct Policy, consult UMBC policies, or the Faculty Handbook (Section 14.3). For graduate courses, see the Graduate School website.

Access and Accommodations

UMBC is committed to eliminating discriminatory obstacles that disadvantage students based on disability. Student Support / Academic Accommodation is the UMBC department designated to:

Disclosures of Sexual Misconduct and Child Abuse or Neglect

As an instructor, I am considered a Responsible Employee, per UMBC’s Policy on Prohibited Sexual Misconduct, Interpersonal Violence, and Other Related Misconduct. While my goal is for you to be able to share information related to your life experiences through discussion and written work, I want to be transparent that as a Responsible Employee I am required to report disclosures of sexual assault, domestic violence, relationship violence, stalking, and/or gender-based harassment to the University’s Title IX Coordinator.

As an instructor, I also have a mandatory obligation to report disclosures of or suspected instances of child abuse or neglect (

The purpose of these reporting requirements is for the University to inform you of options, supports and resources; you will not be forced to file a report with the police. Further, you are able to receive supports and resources, even if you choose to not want any action taken. Please note that in certain situations, based on the nature of the disclosure, the University may need to take action.

If you need to speak with someone in confidence about an incident, UMBC has the following Confidential Resources available to support you:

Other on-campus supports and resources:

Course Calendar

Week 1

Introductions & Prologue

Week 2

The Enlightenment & The Industrial Revolution

Week 3

Photography and the birth of Mass Communications

Week 4

19th Century Design Reform & Fin de Siècle Europe

Week 5

The Roots of Modernism & the Avante-Garde

Week 6

Herbert Bayer and The Bauhaus

Week 7

The 20’s & 30’s Style

Week 8

WWII & Beyond

Week 9

The International Style & Corporate Identity

Week 10

The New York School & The New Advertising

Weeks 11

Pop & Counter Culture

Weeks 12

Post Modernism

Weeks 13


Week 14

Media/New Media Lecture

Weeks 15

Digital Design Post Disco & Design Across the Pond

Week 16

Final Case Studies Due

Anything and everything is subject to change and posts to the class blog supersede the syllabus!*

*The Really Big Disclaimer