Photographic Alphabet


What interesting and unique alphabet can you capture using your eye and your camera?  This project ask you to observe your environment in search of objects which can be seen or interpreted as letterforms.


– all letterforms should fall under one all-encompassing concept, i.e. architecture, nature, etc.

– you must photography the entire alphabet from A-Z and numbers 0-9.  This can be done in all caps, all lowercase or a mixture of both.

– for presentation purposes, photos must be either all vertical or horizontal.

– NO handrawn/created letters or photos of other types of printed lettering, i.e. signs, billboards,banners, etc.

– your performance will be judged on creativity, originality and quality of photograph.

– once you have taken all pictures, renumber the files.  01 should be A, 02 B,  and so on, 35 will #9 and 36 #0.  You will set up the in Photoshop using provided instructions:  In Photoshop, click FILE | AUTOMATE | CONTACT SHEET 2.  Choose the folder which contains your renumbered photographs.  Final size will be 10” x 16”, or vise versa, depending on vertical or horizontal photos.  Resolution 300, RGB color.   Rows and columns 6 x 6.  Manually rotate, move, crop photos as needed. In photoshop type out your name at the bottom in 12 point type.

– save your file as a PDF, put your name in the file and upload it to the google drive under : PRINTING FILES | ALPHABET.


Color Grid

Project Overview

This Project asks you to create the most interesting and unique color compositions possible. The goal is to study how color is affected by pattern and context, see color relationships, and begin to work with complex grid structures. Making incremental changes can bring about large variety within a system. In this assignment we will focus on changes of color.  There are several parts to the project so be sure to work methodically and carefully.



Analogous Colors | Complimentary colors | Cool colors, Warm colors |Monochromatic colors | Simultaneous contrast | Color, Hue, Shade, Value, | Intensity, Grid, Shape | Form, Balance, Harmony |Relationship, Repetition  | Pattern


Part 1

In your sketchbook design six 2 inch squares. Follow these rules in your design.

Each square design may be diagonally, horizontally or vertically, or any combinations of such. (two elements, no more than three per square) 

Color grid01

Part II

Once you and your professor select a 2 inch modular design from your sketches, create a linear grid structure based on the shape. This grid will serve as the pattern for all of your compositions. You may orient your pattern any way you wish. See linear grid examples. By having the same grid structure underlying all the compositions we can focus our attention on how different color schemes and choices affect the artwork.

color grid02

Select 3 colors per composition. Potentially you could use a maximum of 18 different colors to complete this assignment, though you should use the same color in more than one composition a few times to see how that same color behaves in different contexts. On occasion, colors may be placed next to themselves, thus eliminating the grid and creating what appears to be a new form.  Be careful not to go overboard and always serve the overall aesthetic value of the work.

In all you will create 6 different color compositions, one representing each of the following terms:

-Analogous colors

-Complimentary colors

-Cool colors

-Warm colors

-Monochromatic colors

-Simultaneous contrast



Stage 3 and 4

stage three: visual icon influenced by something else

3a.  Transform the icon to reflect the meaning of an applied action term.  Incorporate the word form in the design.


 stage four: visual icon combined with another object

4a.  Combine the icon with a letter form that most clearly represents the symbol.

4b.  Combine with another symbol; trade with someone.

4c.  Combine with your own body part; formal relationship OR combine with your body part in a functional meaning.

4d.  Combine with a related texture to amplify meaning.

4e.  Added to; to physically alter its visual connotation.

• You need to develop four solutions for each stage by sketching and than pick one to develop on the computer

• Maintain the format of  5” icon on a 6” x 6” white field

Stage 2

Now that you have developed and refined the icon for stage 1, deconstruct and

transform the visual qualities of the form to make a more dynamic and thought

provoking statement.

2a.  Deconstruct the icon as related to the function/meaning of the image.

2b.  Deconstruct the icon as related to a chance operation.

2c.  Change the form, if curvilinear to a rectilinear form, or vice-versa.

2d.  Transform part of the form: distortion, scale,change, inversion, etc.

2e.  Crop the form to it’s maximum limit, but still maintain its visual recognition.

2f.  Create repetition by use of ornamental pattern.  No icon should overlap the next, but organize it so it is logical and predictable.

• You need to develop four solutions for each stage and than pick one

• Maintain the format of  5” icon on a 6” x 6” white field


several icons

Design an icon that suggests a quality or fact, an image that symbolizes the activity that it represents.  The icon/symbol you create should be independent of time, simple and so coherent in its composition, that no part of it may be removed without diluting the message.

Main focus should be on a strong, concise and concrete visual statement.


Stage one: creation of the icon (1a)

hand icon

• Choose, mostly from your memory, an object by comparing it to a symbol, cliché and archetype (prototype).

• Sketch the first ideas without the use of a template or ruler to initially construct these thumbnails.  Make 50 multiple fast versions.

• The goal is to create the greatest possible simplification of form, unquestionable recognition that utilizes strong form/counter form relationships.

• The icon you construct should not use any stylistic elements that distract from the intended message.

• Compare the versions before focusing on just one. Make slight modifications to solidify the symbol.

• From your sketches six icons will be delevoped into a 3” x 3” icon using rulers and sharpies. One will be chosen to be your final icon.

• Clean-up your final chosen icon to a finalized form using appropriate art tools.  Use a 5” x 5” format for this final stage.

• Compile a list of associative terms that relate to the object that you have chosen to utilize.  Then, develop 3 categories (verbs, adjectives and nouns).  Fill each category with a miniuem of three terms from your list.

• Place your 5” icon on a 6” x 6” white field.

– This icon that you build will become the basis for future exploration that will extend the icon’s initial focus and meaning. 


Killing the Grid

Project Overview

When we look at the wold our eyes are bombarded with enormous amount of visual data.  Somehow, our mind separates the various forms and colors into distinguishable groups or figures. Without this spatial sense we could not navigate in the world or read the letters between visual bodies with the dichotomy of figure and ground. The figure can be thought of as the identifiable form which distinguishes itself from the background.

Expanding on the idea, we can explore two dimensional space by upsetting the mind’s ability to distinguish between figure and ground. In this assignment we will design a space that creates a figure and ground ambiguity. Through careful cropping and balance of tone one can undo the mind’s  ability to distinguish figure from ground.  Once figure and ground are destroyed we must speak of form and counter-form because a figure no longer exists in relation to ground.

In order to master our own visual language each of us must come to an understanding of the most basic visual elements. This begins with an exploration of form, counter-form, figure and ground.

For this assignment you will kill the grid using one of the following nine letter words or phrases:

abstracts, fragments, structure, transform, peace & war, love & hate


New Key Terms:

Form/Counterform | Positive/Negative Space Relationship | Line | Contrast

Gestalt | Crop


killing the grid


Before you begin

Before you begin, create a crop window. One at 2.5 inches x 2.5 inches to help you visualize your crops.


Part A

Draw a nine square grid in your sketch book. Each square should be 2.5 x 2.5.  Arrange the word from left to right and top to bottom so we may read it more easily.  Trace the letter-forms into the squares.  Do not  trace the entire letter into each square.  Crop the letters.

Sketch the letters until they flow into one another.  The grid will become invisible when the letters flow.  Reverse the tone of the figure and ground so that sometimes the ground is black and sometimes it is white. This will help you create a composition that flows.  A minimum of 4 sketches are due.

Part B

Use all 9 letters and crop each letter retaining legibility (use Part A to guide you). Apply those letters using the computer. Use a nice square grid to arrange your word.  Each square will be 7.5 x 7.5 inches. Figure and ground should become ambiguous and fluid.  The grid should be destroyed. One composition is due.


Final Size

Part A

-7.5 x 7.5 inch sketches on nine square grid sketch book

Part B

7.5 x 7.5 inch square grid made of nine 2.5 squares done on the computer



Visual Vocabulary 2

Project Overview

Using the guidelines below visually define the list of terms on the left.  Use your sketch book to work out ideas and organize your presentation. We will critique sketches.

Some terms are the same as part 1 of this assignment. See how color can be used to define these same terms differently.


-Use cut  black  and color paper or acrylic paints on white background.

Be consistent with media.

-Visually define each term in one small box of 3 inches by 3 inches

-You may not use the same design concept to define more than one term

-No illustrative or realistic/representational imagery

-Use only basic geometric graphic element like line, circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, and dots

-Consider the composition of each term.  Each term should be treated with great consideration and care.

-Practice excellent craftsmanship (sharp corners, crisp edges, etc.


Repeat Terms:

Contrast |Hierarchy | Tension | Balance | Pattern | Progression

New Terms:

Value | Saturation  | Collage | Dominance | Complimentary color | cool vs. Warm


Example: Saturation


Some of these examples could work for other terms. Use the best concept for each term in your project.


Visual Vocabulary

Project Overview

Using the guidelines below visually define the list of terms on the above posting.  Use your sketch book to work out ideas and organize your presentation. We will critique sketches.


-Only use black ink on white background

-Visually define each term in one small box of 3 inches by 3 inches

-You may not use the same design concept to define more than one term

-No illustrative or realistic/representational imagery

-Use only basic geometric graphic elements like lines, circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, and dots

-Practice excellent craftsmanship (sharp corners, crisp edges, etc.)


Scale | Contrast | Hierarchy | Balance  | Symmetry | Asymmetry | Orientation | Pattern | Progression | Rhythm | Weight | Proximity | Density | Tension

Example: Contrast

Some of these examples could work for other terms. Use the best concept for each term in your project.