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

GDS 222 Graphic Design III
Project 4: Advertising Campaign

Instructor: Paul Young


To develop conceptual thinking skills. To communicate ideas visually and verbally. To collaborate with a commercial photographer. To apply design principles to real-world visual communication problems.

Secondary Objective

To utilize the Adobe Creative Suite as layout and production tools.


Create an multi-media advertising campaign for a product, service, event or brand. The client and subject matter is up to you, but the campaign must have a strong visual concept behind it. The ad campaign must use original photographs created by you in collaboration with a Parkland student in ART 130 Studio Photography (which meets Mon/Wed 6-8:50 in D017).

Required deliverable:

  • Print execution (magazine or newspaper ads: min of 3)

Additional deliverables (choose 2):

  • Outdoor execution (billboard or bus board: min of 1)
  • Web execution (animated banner ad: min of 1)
  • Internet execution (animated email "newsletter": min of 1)
  • Direct mail
  • Point-of-purchase (POP)
  • Viral
  • Etc

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

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 for inspiration: Research existing award-winning ad campaigns in the library (see resources). Look specifically for creative concepts and creative use of photography. Publish your research on your personal Process Page for critique (be sure to caption each image and cite the source). Be prepared to explain why these examples are successful. Sorry, Internet sources will not be accepted for this project.

2. Marketing Research: Research the client you will be designing the ads for. If appropriate, visit the business. What is the history of the client? Are there any unique selling points for this product or service? Who is the target audience? Who is the competition? Acquire a reproduction quality logo of the brand. Analyze your research and write a written statement of objectives in the form of a memo (see sample brief). Be sure to include descriptive adjectives in the "character" paragraph (see vocabulary wheel). Have your brief reviewed by the Writing Lab, then email your brief as an attached Word file or a shared Google Doc to (see instructions).

3. Incubation: Absorb the information you have gathered and sleep on it. Allow your unconscious mind to make connections for you.

4. 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. Be prepared to discuss how your design fulfills the client's marketing objectives. Also print your sketches for your Process Book.

5. Interview the photographers: Review the portfolios of the students in ART 130 Studio Photography and choose 3 photographers to interview. During the meeting, share your concept sketches with the photographer and discuss possible directions to take this project. Email your top 3 choices (in order of your preference) to your instructor. Your instructors will play the role of creative director and make the final assignments.

6. Art direct the shoot: Meet up with your creative partner and discuss the details of the shoot. Aquire the necessary assets for a sucessful shoot and schedule it. After the shoot, review the selects and prepare a presentation to your creative director.

7. Print proof: Based on the critique of the above, use the computer to execute at least two versions of your print campaign (present at least one proof with an alternate font choice). 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.

8. Final critique: Based on the critique of the above, fine-tune your designs (if needed). Then execute the rest of the campaign. 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.

9. Grading: Based on the critique above, refine your design (if needed). 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, brief, 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.

10. 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. Be sure to email a final PDF to your creative partner in Art 130.

11. Extra credit: Submit your project into the annual student show by printing an art gallery quality proof and mounting it on foam board. Also prepare an archival quality JPEG (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: 5/10/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young