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

GDS 172 Typography II
Project 4: Direct Mail Promotion

Instructor: Paul Young


To develop conceptual thinking skills. To communicate ideas visually and verbally. To apply design and typography principles to real-world visual communication problems.

Secondary objectives

To utilize Adobe InDesign as a layout and production tool.


Design a direct mail promotion for University YMCA's monthly International Dinner & Performance Night. The country and cuisine is up to you, but the promotion should visually capture the flavors and culture of the country being featured. The inside panel should function as a flyer that can be posted on bulletin boards.

The production specifications are as follows:

  • trim size: 7.5 x 10 inches (folded to 7.5 x 5 inches)
  • colors: 4-color process printed both sides with bleeds
  • copy: must feature menu for the event
  • fonts: must use the official YMCA font (download Cachet)

Your project must communicate a creative concept and show an understanding of design principles (unity, emphasis, balance, color theory, etc.).

Note: Legal high resolution stock photos and illustrations are available from Photospin (contact your instructor for access). Students may NOT use illegally download images (see FAQ).


1. Research for inspiration: Rsearch your client. What is the University YMCA all about? What is its mission? Who is the target audience? Find examples of flyers, posters and brochure designs with creative use of typography, photography or illustration in the Parkland Library (see resources). Scan (instructions) and publish your research on your personal Process Page for critique (be sure to caption each image and cite the source). Also research/publish high-res legal images of the country/culture of your choice. Be prepared to explain why these examples are successful.

2. Develop the concept: In your sketchbook 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 the computer to execute at least two versions of your best idea. Publish one multi-page low-res PDF (instructions) on your personal Process Page for critique. Be prepared to talk about what design principles are utilized in your design. Also print high-quality color proof(s) for your Process Book.

4. Final critique: Based on the critique of the above, fine-tune your designs (if needed). Submit high-quality color proof(s) for final critique (see printing tips). Prepare a presentation to justify your design decisions. Also publish one multi-page high-res PDF (instructions) on your personal Process Page.

5. Grading: Submit two copies of your work 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 proof). Review your Process Page and make sure you have an accurate record of your process. Also submit one multi-page 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 preparation: 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 the annual student show using a protective envelope. Also prepare an archival quality JPEG (see example and instructions) 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: 1/3/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young