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

GDS 110 Typography I
Project 3: Illustrated Type (Buzz)

Instructor: Paul Young


To develop conceptual thinking skills. To communicate ideas visually and verbally. To explore typography styles. To develop systems of visual organization.

Secondary objectives

To utilize Illustrator as a layout and production tool.


Design a cover for a special edition of the Daily Illini's alternative weekly, Buzz Magazine. The content of the cover must be predominantly type, illustrated in such a way to visually convey a message (see examples).

The cover text to be illustrated can be one of the following:

  • Spring Dining Guide
  • Best of Champaign-Urbana
  • Holiday Gift Guide
  • Summer Fun Guide
  • Local Music Guide
  • or a topic chosen by you and approved by the instructor

Required elements for the cover design:

  • Buzz logo
  • "Special Edition"
  • "Champaign-Urbana"
  • "FREE"
  • publication date

The cover of Buzz is printed in 4C process. The trim size for this tabloid publication is 11.5 x 12.25 inches. The live area is 10.25 x 11.5 inches.

Per our syllabus, you may ONLY use the standard "core" fonts installed in D019 for your assignments unless you obtain prior approval from the instructor (see Parkland's Core Fonts Specimen Sheet). Please talk to your instructor if you need to use a non-standard font from the Adobe Font Folio collection.


1. Research: Create a Pinterest board titled "GDS 110 Project 3: Illustrated Type" (see example). Find 10+ samples of existing editorial covers that are predominantly type. Search both online and offline (see Library Resources) for creative inspiration to pin to your new Pinterest board. With each pin, note the designer (if known) and why you chose it as inspiration. Link the URL of your board to your personal Process Page for grading. Share your research by re-pinning your best pins to the group board for this project (follow this board to receive an invite). Also print select research samples for your Process Book.

2. Develop the concept: In your sketchbook (journal) begin to conceptualize ideas for this project (see examples of sketches). Make at least 10 sketches of all possible directions you might take this project. Edit your concepts down to your best three ideas and redraw them on 8.5 x 11 white paper using a felt tip pen. Scan (scale/crop in Photoshop: no wider than 1000 pixels), increase the contrast (see tutorial) and publish your concepts on your personal Process Page for critique. Also print your sketches for your Process Book.

3. Proof: Based on the critique of the above, use Adobe Illustrator to translate your sketch into a digital file. Publish a low-res PDF (instructions) linked from your Process Page for critique. Also print a high-quality color proof on 12x19 paper for your Process Book.

4. Final critique: Based on the critique of the above, revise your design (if needed), then print a final proof on 12x19 paper for critique (see printing tips). Prepare a presentation to justify your design decisions. Also publish a high-res PDF (instructions) on your personal Process Page.

5. Grading: Based on the critique above, refine your design (if needed). Submit two copies of your final proof with your name on the back for grading. One proof will be returned to you after grading. File the graded proof in your Process Book for individual review along with all the preliminary work you did for the project (research, sketches, preliminary proofs, final proofs). Also submit a high-res PDF (instructions) via Cobra's dropbox. You will not receive full credit for this project if any of the above elements are missing.

6. Portfolio presentation: If you are happy with the results of this project, consider including it in your portfolio. If necessary, continue to make refinements until you are 100% satisfied with the project. Be sure to save all your files for future editing.

7. Extra Credit: Submit your project into next year's student show by printing an art gallery quality proof and mounting it on foam board. Also prepare an archival quality JPEG (1000px wide, no larger than 200K) and submit your project using the online entry form at Your project may win a cash prize and be published in a showcase of student work on Parkland's website.

Last updated: 2/7/18 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young