Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.

MMEDIA 3EE3 Graphic Design (C01)

Academic Year: Winter 2020

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Robert Hamilton


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 315

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27955

Office Hours: Tuesdays 10:30 - 11:30

Course Objectives:

This course examines the language and techniques of visual problem solving with a focus on communicating with design. Students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between content and material, and how these impact form and communication. Students will use digital tools and traditional methods to explore typographic conventions and design principles as they develop their design assignments. These assignments, along with readings, class discussions and critique, are intended to provide students with the fundamental formal, conceptual and technical skills needed to produce well-considered and resolved 2D work.

1. To use typography as a communication tool—both conceptually and visually—in order to communicate information and ideas.

2. To demonstrate the principles of design in order to communicate information and ideas.

3. To solve design and technical problems using self-directed and peer- assisted learning techniques in order to create visual communications that meet the requirements of the project.

4. To communicate ideas, design concepts and opinions clearly and persuasively to others in order to justify design choices.

5. To seek and accept critique of one’s creative work from peers
and Professor in order to continually refine a project by integrating feedback.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Portable storage drive, digital camera, access to printer

All course readings are available on Avenue to Learn.

Method of Assessment:

Detailed descriptions of individual assignments will be presented in class. You are encouraged to begin working on assignments well in advance of their due dates.


Project 1, 20%, January 22

Personal Ad: create a personal ad for the typeface.


Project 2, 20%, February 5

Monologues: design a series of three posters.


Project 3, 20%, March 4

Campaign of protest: design a series of three posters.


Project 4, 20%, March 25

Print is dead - or is it? Design a cover of a novel.

Grading for each assignment will be based on conceptual and formal qualities of the submitted work.

Presentation 10% 

You are to choose a designer from a provided list to present and discuss in class. You will present a historical overview of the designer, examples of their work and discuss why you find their work interesting.


Attendance 10%

Regular attendance is required to successfully achieve course outcomes.


Please Note: Students must be the sole author (or authors in the case of group work) of submitted images. All photos must be taken during the period of the assignment - not before. Students must be prepared to submit original photos as taken from the camera or Photoshop files with layers intact, on request - not doing so will result in a zero for the assignment.


Completed student work is to be submitted to Avenue to Learn for grading. Hardcopies may also be required to submitted in-class along with digital files for grading. Grades will be posted to Avenue to Learn. For more information on project submission and assessment, please see detailed guidelines on Avenue to Learn. 

Work submitted in this class must be completed between January 8th and April 1st, 2020 and cannot be completed for another class. 

There is no final exam for this class, meaning that term work may seem more intense than in courses with a final exam. 

You are responsible for making sure you understand the project parameters and are encouraged to begin working on projects and exercises well in advance of the due date. You are responsible for material covered in class including those classes for which you are absent. 


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


Attendance is mandatory. The participation grade will be determined by the student’s contribution to a supportive and critical atmosphere during class. Late assignments will be penalized by 5% per day of the week (weekends included). Extensions will be given if requested before the assignment’s due date and if the instructor considers the reason legitimate.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Integrity

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  • plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  • improper collaboration in group work.
  • copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Authenticity / Plagiarism Detection

Some courses may use a web-based service ( to reveal authenticity and ownership of student submitted work. For courses using such software, students will be expected to submit their work electronically either directly to or via Avenue to Learn (A2L) plagiarism detection (a service supported by so it can be checked for academic dishonesty.

Students who do not wish to submit their work through A2L and/or must still submit an electronic and/or hardcopy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to or A2L. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, other software, etc.). To see the Policy, please go to

Courses with an On-Line Element

Some courses use on-line elements (e.g. e-mail, Avenue to Learn (A2L), LearnLink, web pages, capa, Moodle, ThinkingCap, etc.). Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of a course using these elements, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in a course that uses on-line elements will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

Online Proctoring

Some courses may use online proctoring software for tests and exams. This software may require students to turn on their video camera, present identification, monitor and record their computer activities, and/or lockdown their browser during tests or exams. This software may be required to be installed before the exam begins.

Conduct Expectations

As a McMaster student, you have the right to experience, and the responsibility to demonstrate, respectful and dignified interactions within all of our living, learning and working communities. These expectations are described in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (the "Code"). All students share the responsibility of maintaining a positive environment for the academic and personal growth of all McMaster community members, whether in person or online.

It is essential that students be mindful of their interactions online, as the Code remains in effect in virtual learning environments. The Code applies to any interactions that adversely affect, disrupt, or interfere with reasonable participation in University activities. Student disruptions or behaviours that interfere with university functions on online platforms (e.g. use of Avenue 2 Learn, WebEx or Zoom for delivery), will be taken very seriously and will be investigated. Outcomes may include restriction or removal of the involved students' access to these platforms.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

Request for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar "Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work".

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances (RISO)

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the RISO policy. Students should submit their request to their Faculty Office normally within 10 working days of the beginning of term in which they anticipate a need for accommodation or to the Registrar's Office prior to their examinations. Students should also contact their instructors as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for classes, assignments, and tests.

Copyright and Recording

Students are advised that lectures, demonstrations, performances, and any other course material provided by an instructor include copyright protected works. The Copyright Act and copyright law protect every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including lectures by University instructors.

The recording of lectures, tutorials, or other methods of instruction may occur during a course. Recording may be done by either the instructor for the purpose of authorized distribution, or by a student for the purpose of personal study. Students should be aware that their voice and/or image may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak with the instructor if this is a concern for you.

Extreme Circumstances

The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email.

Topics and Readings:



Suggested Resource

Project 1

Project 2

Project 3

Project 4

Jan. 8

Thinking with Type: Letter

P1 Assigned




Jan. 15

Thinking with Type: Grid; Text





Jan. 22

Design Elements: Choosing and Using Type

P1 Due

P2 Assigned



Jan. 29

Exploring the Elements of Design: Principles + Elements of Design





Feb. 5

Type, Image Message: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop


Drafts due for critique



Feb. 12

Typography Workbook: Expressing the Unspoken


P2 Due

P3 Assigned


Feb. 26




Drafts due for critique


Mar. 4

Experimental Typography: Breaking the Rules



P3 Due

P4 Assigned

Mar. 11





Three Cover Sketches

Mar. 18





Refined Cover Spreads due for critique

Mar. 25





P4 Due

April 1