course description

The purpose of English/DTC 336 is to encourage you to think about the ways that design, that is the purposeful arrangement of parts or details, makes meaning. We will examine primarily two-dimensional design in order to question how various arrangements, colors, shapes, and sizes encourage certain understandings. Together we will interrogate how we shape design, as well as how design shapes us. Throughout the semester we will be analyzing and creating texts with an eye on the rhetorical dimensions of design—that is, the ways in which design functions as an available means of persuasion.

Course Objectives

  • Engage with the role design plays in the reception and understanding of texts.
  • Learn how to define the rhetorical situation and to identify and apply rhetorical strategies to texts.
  • Explore design as a historically evolving concept.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of design concepts such as space, unity, page architecture, and type.
  • Demonstrate collaborative skills through collaborative projects and presentations.

Required Texts

  • White, Alexander W. The Elements of Graphic Design. New York: Allsworth Press. 2002.
  • Williams, Robin and John Tollett. Robin Williams Design Workshop. 2nd Edition. Peachpit Press, 2007.
  • Student Subscription to for Illustrator tutorials. Please see email for more information.


  • Attendance: Because we will be working collaboratively on many assignments, and because learning is a communal effort, your regular attendance is vital. Each absence beyond three will result in a loss of 50 points. Extensive tardiness will be considered in assessing absences.
  • Late work: Acceptance of late work is unusual and must be discussed in conference with the teacher.
  • Students with Disabilities: I am committed to providing assistance to help you be successful in this course. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. Please visit the Disability Resource Center (DRC) during the first two weeks of every semester to seek information or to qualify for accommodations. All accommodations MUST be approved through the DRC (Admin Annex Bldg, Rooms 205). Call 509 335 3417 to make an appointment with a disability counselor.
  • Academic Honesty: All students are expected to act in accordance with the WSU policies on Academic Honesty found in the Student Handbook. These policies include falsification of information, fabrication of information, plagiarism, multiple submissions, and various others. Information about these policies can be found in the Handbook. These policies will be discussed in class and students will be asked to acknowledge that discussion and a basic understanding of the policies. For additional information on the plagiarism, WSU has a great new site at