Communication and Media Studies 236

COMS 236: Print Production

Prerequisite: Any one of the following: COMS 104, COMS 223, COMS 235, COMS 247, or permission of instructor

Credit Hours: (3)

Principles and practices in the production of print and digital media with emphasis on computer graphics and desktop publishing. Course also covers theories of typography and visual communication.


Detailed Description of Course

The production of serial publications, which include daily and weekly newspapers as well as magazines with various publishing frequencies, involves a consideration of basic design principles and a variety of skills ranging from writing to manipulation of computer generated images. Increasingly, publication production also involves an appreciation for the changing nature of the technological medium in which pre-press production takes place.

Design principles for any publication or work of graphic art involve such considerations as perspective, balance, proportion, sequence, unity, and contrast. These principles are qualitative issues at play in any individual's work, and students are encouraged to understand them in light of their own aesthetic standards and apply them to their own creative efforts.

Computer programs provide a means by which any person, even those who claim to have no artistic talent, are able to create original designs in a clean and effective formats. Programs employed in the lab will be based on the Mac platform and include the most current software.

The changing nature of media technology and the role media technology has played in social upheaval are considered theoretically, employing critical, empirical and historical viewpoints. The main focus of the discussion of changing media technology, however, is on a practical level and is designed to help students anticipate the next generation of technology.


Detailed Description of the Conduct of Course

Students meet for two hours of lecture and two hours of computer laboratory work per week and have access to the computer laboratory after hours. Lecture sessions involve instruction in basic design principles and the changing nature of media technology, as well as skills such as pre-press preparation of photographic materials and writing of headlines. Lab sessions allow students to put design principles and skills to work in practical examples with the computers. The course begins with simple design problems and the simplest computer programs and increases in complexity as the semester proceeds.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

1. Students will be able to understand the basic principles of visual communication and the integration of visual elements into typographical communication media.
2. Students will learn how computers work, the impacts of computers on graphic design and publication production and the theoretical implications of the computer revolution.
3. Students will discover the practical techniques and changing nature of graphic production and "desktop publishing" in general.
4. Students will understand how to produce a professional graphic product using computer-aided design programs and to intelligently select among the many tools available to professionals in the field.


Assessment Measures

In-class and take-home assignments consist of work in areas such as magazine and newspaper design and other design problems. Grades are based on quantitative criteria, such as accuracy of execution and attention to detail, and such qualitative criteria as general concept, scope of work, and visual coherence and impact.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

Revised 2013

Clay Waite, Chair