Home » Graphic Design Apprentice Curriculum

Curriculum for Graphic Designers at Insanitek

Insanitek apprenticeship method: Delve deeper into something you are passionate about while also fulfilling a need of business (and society) while getting paid.

Business Goals: Flash math and infographics finished — maybe graphics for a video if they are up for it/have time.

Society Service: Better understanding and literacy for science. Maybe someone will find a new idea or a kid will find a new passion because of your work! Or, maybe they will find homework just a bit less boring and a lot more fun. 😉

Key skill focuses:

  • Visual communication
    • Students engage in hands-on design practices, develop creative thinking strategies, and devise solutions to visual communication design challenges. The course familiarizes students with visual principles, and techniques that serve the basic designer needs. Students also develop fluency in the principles of visual language to form a basis of aesthetic judgment and develop methods of analysis and inquiry for creative thinking. Students combine in-studio practice with group critiques of work, and software tutorials.
  • Typography
    • Students explore creative, historical, theoretical, and applied principles of type. Through creative projects and exercises, students also explore the communicational impact of choosing typefaces, the expressive possibilities of type in static and kinetic media, as well as the foundations for hierarchy and composition for publication design. Students develop skills to enhance, clarify, and support meaning and the accessibility of typographic content. Combines creative studio practice with supporting readings, lectures, and software training.
What Insanitek can offer

2 – 3 types of projects that the students can practise various different design practice that allows for plenty of creative thinking to communicate words into a visual sense.

In the beginning the student will figure out what’s on the client’s mind and how they can work together with others. This involves figuring out a technique that allows the designer to understand and create something awesome that the client actually wants. (We’re your guinea pigs, not a paying customer, so the stress is taken off.)

In the middle, the student will explore a few different visual techniques and see if they can create intrigue with them. They will apply these to one of the most boring topics known to children everywhere: the dreaded math homework. If they can bring math alive, we know they can also bring a story to life.

In the end, they will apply the things they have learnt to creating a science infographic that brings a research paper to life. If at the time when the student reaches this stage we have a paying customer, they may work with them. If there isn’t, then we will play the part of a paying customer to create a science infographic that we’ve already chosen.

Different techniques to try on Flash Math and infographics

  • Urban
  • Retro
  • Geometric
  • Textures
  • Brushes
  • Use of ornaments
  • Working with vectors and images
  • Other

This can be done with both images and typefaces that alter the message and bring about a way to communicate with visuals.

Flash Math is a very simple type of handout communicating a specific message. Infographics communicate a message and lesson in science, and tell more of a story to the audience with fewer words.

Each project should take ~ 1 – 2 weeks. We have several to choose from in both Flash Math and the infographics areas.

Section 1: Developing methods of analysis and inquiry for creative thinking

A good graphic designer knows how to ask questions of their prospective client that both puts the client at ease and gives the designer enough info for the project. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Clear scope of the project and timeline
  • What the message is supposed to communicate
  • What the end results are desired by the client
  • How much the client is willing to spend
  • What kind of “look” the client wants — and if the designer is capable of delivering it.

Insanitek will work with the students to develop a line of questioning for each project the student works on. This will be a student led session because they need to feel comfortable with being in charge of the process that will enable the designer to do the work. We will role play with the student (sans dress up for the part) to bring about different “personalities” for the pieces in question and types of customers they may encounter.

Time scale:

~1 week, refining will come with practice in later sections.

Section 2: Exploring styles and techniques (Flash Math)

Flash Math files are math handouts for teachers to use for “warm up” or review exercises for their class. However, kids complain they are boring. We wanted to change that with the power of font faces, styling, and images.

The goal for the designer is to be able to explore styles, practise making them, and evaluate the finished projects with members of Insanitek and Apprentace to critique and analyse the message and how it is perceived.

Please note: We want a variety of styles in the Flash Math handouts to help keep teaching math fresh and interesting. We will use them all in class and also get feedback from the kids at the school.

Objectives:

  • Practise and refine questioning techniques that you started in section 1.
  • Learn and practise at least 2 different styles (can do more if time/desire)
  • Understand how the style can change the message
  • Develop an understanding how perception can change for the viewers

Time scale:

1 – 2 weeks per style

Section 3: Applying techniques to a larger message (Infographic)

Infographics are a fun way to show the story of a science paper, not just tell it. We have several science papers that have already been “translated” by a science communicator to make a mini infographic that highlights the main points of the paper. It is your job to choose an infographic that you find interesting, then choose a style and technique that you think will both tell and add to the science story. Make it come alive and have some fun with it!

Objectives:

  • Practise and refine questioning techniques from part 1.
  • Apply the a style per infographic, judge to see if the style helps tell the story of the science.
  • Show several people to get feedback and see if their impressions match what you were aiming for and still deliver the message.
  • Get public feedback

Insanitek makes every effort to contact the scientist for an interview and to review the infographic before it gets publicly published. Unfortunately, the scientists don’t always reply. However, if they do, you should be able to get great feedback from them as well.

Advanced: Video Animation

As Insanitek moves into the world of video, we could possibly work out something in the video area. However, we do not have any active projects that need immediate attention.

Things Insanitek cannot provide:

A computer, a solitary office, or fancy software. Our company is currently virtual with colleagues all over the US. We are based out of our houses with our own computers.

This is why we teach all techniques on freely available open source software such as Gimp.