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GD 50 Course Syllabus

Web Design

Instructor: Rusty Robison

California State University, Fresno

Catalog description: Prerequisite: GD 41, GD 39. Introduction to web design for graphic designers, focusing on current web standards. Emphasis on page structure, typography and user experience design principles. (6 lab hours). (Course fee, $30).

Prerequisites for the course: GD 50

Course Specifics

This class focuses on designing for the web. Students will learn the differences of designing for web and interactive design compared to print design. They will learn the basics of website structure and organization, plan layouts, understand and use appropriate color theory and typography for Web design. Students will learn fundamentals of writing their own markup for implementing their designs. Including HTML5, CSS3, and basic java script; as well as learning to use File Transfer Protocol (FTP) uploading a fully developed and functioning website to a server. The will also be introduced to fundamentals of user experience design (UX), user interface design (UI), and usability research methods.

Course goals

  1. Integrate and apply the principles and elements of graphic design to web.
  2. Understand basic concepts for designing information architecture, wire frame design and high fidelity design for the web.
  3. Write custom HTML and CSS to create functioning website from scratch using current web standards, and user experience research.
  4. Be familiar with the vocabulary of the Internet.
  5. Refine file management skills.
  6. FTP to upload functioning site to ISU server space.
  7. Use diverse approaches and tools to solve problems.

Student Learning Outcomes

GD1. To analyze, comprehend and evaluate the principles, theories and applications of graphic design as they apply to designing for the web. (THEORIES & PRINCIPLES ASPECT)

GD2. To demonstrate the capacity and ability to be a critical, creative visual thinker and to synthesize and apply processes, skills in the evaluation and application of graphic design. (CREATIVE & APPLICATION ASPECT)

GD3. Analyze and synthesize social, cultural, historical and critical issues of graphic design including ethics in web design. (SOCIETAL & CULTURAL ASPECT)

GD4. Demonstrate basic knowledge of technological developments and application in graphic design for the web. (TECHNOLOGICAL ASPECT)

Course requirements

Coursework will include weekly assignments, quizzes based on readings and videos, an individual project, and a larger collaborative project. Submitting work requires careful attention to detailed instructions.

Attendance is mandatory. Success in this course relies on learning skills that build on each other over time.

Grading policy

The final grade will made up of 40% weekly assignments, 20% individual project, and 40% final project.

Required Course Materials

Students will need to have access to a computer with an internet connection. Graphics software applications, such as Adobe, will be needed occasionally, but are not a significant part of this course. Students are expected to keep up to date with current web design practices via RSS, podcasts, books, youtube, etc.

Course Policies & Safety Issues

Students who miss class must keep up with the material by consulting the class website and fellow classmates. If a student misses a technical lesson/tutorial, they are responsible for finding other tutorial resources in order to complete the assignment on time.

Technical difficulties (i.e. computer crashed, jump drive lost, etc.) will not be accepted as excuses for not finishing assignments. There are many resources available to you on campus, and numerous cloud storage services. My intention is to prepare you for the professional world where these situations are unacceptable. Always have a Plan B.

Adding and Dropping Classes

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about the adding/dropping of classes, academic renewals, etc. Students can find more information on adding and dropping at

University Policies and Services

For information on the University's policy regarding cheating and plagiarism, refer to the University Catalog (Policies and Regulations).


At California State University, Fresno, computers and communications links to remote resources are recognized as being integral to the education and research experience. Every student is required to have his/her own computer or have other personal access to a workstation (including a modem and a printer) with all the recommended software. The minimum and recommended standards for the workstations and software, which may vary by academic major, are updated periodically and are available from Information Technology Services ( or the University Bookstore ( In the curriculum and class assignments, students are presumed to have 24-hour access to a computer workstation and the necessary communication links to the University's information resources.

Subject to Change Statement

This syllabus and schedule are subject to change. In real-world situations like this, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy towards the design process. The schedule defined below provides an umbrella framework under which student teams will articulate their own methodologies and timelines.

Student Handbook

Information on student rights, responsibilities, academic honesty, etc., can be found on the Fresno State Student Handbook web page. The web page is located at: .

Tentative Course Schedule

Week 1

Introduction to Web Design; HTML Basics

Week 2

Web inspector, HTML Basics II, Spacing, CSS Box Model

Week 3

Web Typography and Images

Week 4

Web Typography and Images continued

Week 5

CSS Positioning; Project One (Type Specimen)

Week 6

Web Color, HTML5 & CSS3

Week 7

Project Two: One Page Informational Website

Week 8

Project Two: One Page Informational Website

Week 9

User Experience Overview; Ethics in Web Design

Week 10

Information Architecture, Prototyping, Wireframes; UX for Project Three

Week 11

Responsive Design; UX for Project Three

Week 12

Web Animations; UX for Project Three

Week 13

Final Project: Website Redesign

Week 14

Final Project: Website Redesign

Week 15

Final Project: Website Redesign

Week 16

Finals Week