DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

SYLLABUS – ART 141, Surface Space Time - 2D Design

Times: 0003 MW 4:10-6:40 PM

Location: Luther Bonney, 424

Instructor: Jan Piribeck janp@maine.edu (207.400.6829)

Office Hours: M 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m. (Luther Bonney 4th floor ART OFFICE)

T 3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (John Mitchell Center 265 - G) or by appointment  

Electronic Portfolio: https://usm.digication.com/art_141



The course will engage students in learning the value of the creative process and will provide an introduction to the fundamentals of 2-D design through a series of exercises and applied problems in visual organization. Students will develop skills that are relevant to fine art and design interests and applicable to other aspects of their lives.



Upon completion of the course it is expected that students will:

  • Have an increased ability to read images (visual literacy)
  • Be able to manipulate the elements and principles of two-dimensional design to create effective visual compositions
  • Have the capacity to create expressive designs using a variety of processes, media, tools and techniques
  • Be able to use, orally and in writing, the vocabulary, theories and principles of design
  • Recognize that the term “design” has various meanings that are contingent and evolving
  • Demonstrate skills of effective communication and analysis based upon speaking and writing critically about personal design-work, peer design-work and the artwork of artists discovered through research and field trips
  • Have an increased capacity to develop inventive concepts and problem solving strategies
  • Understand workflow issues and how to develop good work habits


During the semester students will:

  • Explore the role of design in communication, decoration and self-expression
  • Complete basic exercises having to do with visual organization and literacy. The focus will be on the basic visual elements and principles including: line, shape, space, value, texture, color, unity, variety, balance, scale and proportion
  • Engage in contemporary processes: appropriation; juxtaposition; re-contextualization; layering; interaction of text and image; hybridization; gazing
  • Spend at least one third of the semester studying basic color theory including the color attributes of: hue, value and intensity.
  • Be introduced to the psychological and social dimensions of color symbolism (relativity of color associations)
  • Participate in class activities such as: critiques, demonstrations, lectures and discussions, which will cover creativity and concept development
  • Do reading and writing assignments
  • Be introduced to a diverse and compelling range of images


Students will be expected to:

  • Devote approximately 4 hours of work outside of class gathering materials, completing assignments, reading, writing and attending special events
  • Produce a portfolio of work to be submitted for mid-term and final review. NOTE: Failure to submit the portfolio will result in a failing grade.
  • Attend exhibitions and public programs sponsored by the USM Art Gallery and Art Department and other local galleries and museums; extra credit opportunities will be announced throughout the semester


It is impossible to really “make up” missed demonstrations or critiques, and getting the information second-hand is rarely satisfactory. As a result, if you miss 2 or more classes for any reason it is likely that you will receive an unsatisfactory grade. Please turn off your cell phones, and come to class with your supplies in hand and ready to work!



Grades are based upon these factors:

Is the work conceptually inventive? Have you demonstrated a solid grasp of problem content? Did you really grapple with the ideas presented in each assignment Is the composition visually compelling? Is every square inch fully engaged? Have colors been chosen well? Is the image unified? Energized? Balanced? Well crafted? What was the nature of your learning process? Did you use class time effectively and come prepared to learn? Did you take risks? How substantial were your contributions to team meetings and critiques?



A = Outstanding. Expansive investigation of ideas and excellent composition. All assignments completed on time, with at least one extra credit project presented. Insightful contributions to critiques. Goes substantially beyond minimum requirements.

B = Above average. Substantial investigation of concepts and compositions; excellent craft. All assignments completed on time, insightful contributions to critiques.

C = Average. All assignments done competently and completed on time. Strong participation in critiques.

D = Marginal work. Two or more late projects, limited investigation of ideas, poor craft or incoherent compositions, or excessive absences. Limited contributions to critiques.

F = Unsatisfactory work. Course failure due to minimal idea development, poor craft, disjointed compositions, lack of participation, late assignments, or excessive absences.


NOTE: The university is committed to providing students with documented disabilities equal access to all university programs and services.  If you think you have a disability and would like to request accommodations, you must register with the Disability Services Center.  Timely notification is essential.  The Disability Services Center can be reached by calling 207-780-4706 or by email at dsc@usm.maine.edu.  If you have already received a faculty accommodation letter from the Disability Services Center, please provide your instructor with that information as soon as possible. Please make a private appointment the instructor to review your accommodations.


SUPPLIES: Please pick up a design kit prepared especially for this class at the Art Mart, 517 Congress Street, Portland by Wednesday, January 21rst; the cost of the kit is approximately $100. No substitutions please. The instructor will e-mail the exact cost of the kit by January 14th and will verify when it will be ready for pick-up. 


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.