The most important personal accessory for any graphic designer.
Keeps all info in one place; makes you look interested and interesting.
Get into the habit of note-taking, very often we forget names, places, authors, mentioned facts… soon after the meeting
Always useful to explain a concept with an illustration.

What is Graphic Design anyway?

Graphic design is, as Robert Jensen puts it, a “mongrel profession,” combining the separate disciplines of photography, printing and typography, art, and advertising. The field of “graphic design” has only been around for 100 years or so, yet the pervasiveness in our society affects more people than traditional fine arts. Many of the artists remain anonymous, and there isn’t a much-written history besides the books the artists themselves published. A lot of graphic design is still a service industry. It is goal-oriented. If it doesn’t make money, it’s art.

1. You Are Lucky

to be here in NYC for the first time. Your eyes are open to things, like a zoom lens.
I did short movie clips when I lived in Tokyo, using an iPhone attachment, edited and stabilized with afterEffects. One of the assignments will be a poster or booklet about a place in NY that you got to know closer. We will talk about that later, but keep an eye open for a place that interests you and start thinking about the best ways to do the research.
If this is your first time in NY, you’re lucky because it’s like watching a classic movie for the first time. The world is kind of obsessed with this place, its culture, and its people. When I get asked about my favorite places here I show them this.

2. I will Burst Your Bubble

Critiques can be crucial. In art school, all of a sudden, your exceptional talent will be just average. To critique doesn’t mean to find something wrong. It is an assessment of whether the goal was reached, and how. There are many ways to reach the goal, we want to find the most successful ones.
Some of my former students told me that after my class they are scared to go into the real world. NYC is a competitive place. But it is not about how often you fall down, it’s how fast you can get up.


What can be the motivation?
Money, bragging rights, the satisfaction of doing things, personal growth, fun, satisfaction with a job well done, ego, status, validation, professional recognition, fear of rejection, ridicule, or failure.
Over time fear will be overcome by confidence,

How can we Critique Graphic Design?

Goals, purpose, stakes, (Allison Yasukawa cards)

3. File Names

File naming conventions are important: I worked in many companies, that all organize their server a little differently. Within each company, it would get confusing if there wasn’t a specific file naming system for co-workers, and yourself, when you need to find a file 10–20 years from now in your back-ups. Then you know what to search for.
I usually name my files “Client_ProjectName_2019-06–19_R1v1.ext”.
It’s good because:
1. Easy to find project name and client
2. A date will let you find the latest version, and if a client looks at the file I send to approve, we can double-check that we are looking at the same version. the Asian way (Y/M/D) will order the files in the folder alphabetically, the US (M/D/Y) or European (D/M/Y) will not.
3. R1 means the first Round before the client sees it, v1 is internal versions before showing the client.

Problematic file names:
It’s not good to call a file “// The Final&%20Thing060519”, why?
Not good because:
1. Using slashes can confuse servers to mistake them as folders. 
2. There is rarely anything “final,” and the word “final” will be hard to search.
3. When we add spaces in a file name, the computer adds an invisible code, a “%20”. This shows up when the file copied to a server. Not terrible, but it could be confusing.
4. ‘&%$#@&*{}[]<>/\|… These extra glyphs are all symbols that are used in computer code and might create mistakes.
5. always add an extension to a file, like a .psd (photoshop document), or .ai (Adobe Illustrator), or .jpg (Joint Photographic Experts Group). That way, the computer knows how to open the file.
One last thing; thisIsCalledCamelCase. It’s how programmers name their files. The first letter is lower case, and then each new word starts with a capital letter. Spaces confuse programs, discs, and servers.


CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow Black (K‑stands for the Keyplate)) is the printing colors that are printed in a traditional 4‑color offset printing process.
RGB (Red, Green, Blue) are the monitor’s colors. Their brightness is measured from 0–255, it’s a binary system if you like nerdy computer stuff.
So, CMYK is for printing, RGB for monitors. When you set up files keep that in mind or you might be surprised how the colors change because RGB can be much brighter and electric-looking.

Pixel vs Vector

We’ll discuss that when we start the tutorial on Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop.
Short version: Vector programs like Illustrator, 3‑d programs, or shape layers in photoshop work with points that have Bézier handles. If you stretch the bezier handles longer the curves running to that point will get smoother. Pixels record each individual pixel. For example, a printed photo on a postcard usually has 300dpi (dots per inch). If the resolution get’s below 100 our eyes can start to see the printed dots. TV screens all used to be 72dpi (pretty low) but retina screens doubled that and I am sure pretty soon it will be even higher.
The advantage of vector points is that the file size is small and it can be scaled up to any size. For photos or paintings, only pixels are possible, but once you scale it down you cannot enlarge it anymore. And there is a maximum of file size that the printer can manage in case you are printing a billboard. However, the vectorized graphic or type will always look sharp.


We will talk a lot about how trends and conventions evolved. For graphic design historic events like the printing press, the industrial revolution, and the 2 world wars questioned the value system and the status quo and therefore people started looking for new alternatives. Bauhaus and the “International Style” intentionally designed democratic and unadorned grids. there is a sense of order and equality. After that Postmodernism opposed and distrusted at its heart the grand theories and ideologies. Right now you might say the sustainability of products with low carbon footprints and the green deal will influence the graphic designers’ work, as well as social media trends and emerging technology.

Strategies if the Job is too Large?

What can be done to make the job a little less difficult?
Make a plan, breaking it into smaller steps

There is much more we can talk about, like…

Where can You do Research?

Writing a Blog

Public Library

Used Books on eBay or amazon