Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

Graphic Design Exercises
Flyer: Family Services


To redesign an existing piece. To learn applied design principles by example. To learn Adobe Illustrator and InDesign production techniques by recreating the four flyers below.


A typical real-world design problem is to redesign an existing piece. Often a designer's job is simply to update and/or make improvements to an existing piece. When reworking a design, the first step is to discover the problems with the existing piece. In this case, what is wrong with the original Family Service flyer?

Some considerations to improve a design:

  • Unity: group elements together to create more proximity, repeat elements or typography as much as possible
  • Emphasis: choose one element to emphasize; create hierarchy (or accents) so that important imformation stands out; de-emphasize all other information (how small should text type be?)
  • Balance: use only one type of balance (symmetrical, asymmetrical, random, grid)
  • Use rhythm or depth only if the subject matter dictates
  • When using color, be sure your color choices are in harmony

When working with type, consider the following:

  • Use one typeface family if at all possible; if you use a second typeface, make sure it is in contrast to your first typeface
  • Use as few different font sizes as possible; if you change font sizes, make sure the size change is obvious
  • When using large type, kern visually
  • When aligning type, align visually

Prepping for the exercise

  1. download starter files; examine downloaded files
  2. launch illustrator; file > new (CMYK); save as ""
  3. practice illustrator navigation shortcuts (space=hand, space+cmd=zoom in, space+cmd+opt= zoom out; cmd zero=fit in window)
  4. file > place "fs-hands.gif" (as template); make larger

Recreate the logo in Illustrator

  1. make new layer; fill: black, stroke: none
  2. make leaf: draw circle (use shift to constrain); copy circle (option-drag)
  3. view > outline (cmd-Y)
  4. rotate circle 45 degrees (double-click on rotate tool)
  5. delete top and bottom segments (use direct selection tool; click and drag)
  6. snap right object on top of left object (drag anchor point); object > path > join (cmd-J)
  7. object > transform > reset bounding box; resize to match template
  8. make first finger: dupe original circle, delete bottom half, move and size to match template
  9. add first straight line (pen tool, click on anchor and shift click below)
  10. add second straight line (cmd-click elsewhere first)
  11. make five fingers: option-shift drag first finger; object > Transform > transform again (cmd-D); repeat; adjust size
  12. adjust position (shift-drag)
  13. move, rotate and re-size thumb
  14. finish bottom of hand with pen tool
  15. draw square to fill center of hand
  16. view > preview (cmd-Y)
  17. select left hand, window > pathfinder: unite
  18. copy leaf, fill white, rotate, position
  19. object > arrange > bring to front (cmd-shift-] ), dupe 4x
  20. select hand and 4 leaves: window > pathfinder: subtract
  21. reflect tool: option-click bottom of center leaf (vertical axis, copy)
  22. save; delete template, save as "fs-logo.eps" (version 7)

Recreate the first flyer in InDesign (centered version)

  1. file > new: letter, portrait; margins=0 (save preset)
  2. practice Adobe navigation keyboard shortcuts (opt=hand, ctrl=zoom in, ctrl+opt=zoom out, cmd zero=fit in window)
  3. view > display pref > high quality
  4. rename layer 1 "type"
  5. file > place "fs.doc" (cmd+D)
  6. change font to 10/12 Bookman Light centered; read text and compare to original (what has changed?)
  7. split text frame into four frames, rough out page
  8. new layer "art"
  9. file > place "fs-logo.eps" and "united way logo.tff" (cmd+D)
  10. object > fitting > frame to content (cmd+opt+C)
  11. scale frame and content (cmd+shift drag)
  12. change font size for emphasis (cmd+shift+> or <)
  13. adjust tracking and kerning (opt+left/right arrows)
  14. adjust line spacing (opt+up/down arrows)
  15. draw guide for centering, window > align: center
  16. fine tune, print, compare to PDF sample and make adjustments

Recreate the other three flyers

  1. window > pages: duplicate spread; go to page 2
  2. adjust your design, print, compare to PDF sample and make adjustments; repeat
  3. submit b&w laser proof with your name on it for grading
  4. file your graded proof in your 3-ring binder

Last updated: 3/2/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young