Process & Production

Prof. Ian Besler

Process & Production

COMD-242 | Pratt Institute |

Prof. Ian Besler


Week 2: Professional Portfolio Research

Week 3: Labor Day (No Class)

Week 4: Page Layout and Pagination

Week 5: Publishing, Proofs, Presentation, Mounting, and Binding

Week 6: Project 1 Presentations and Critique

Week 7: Acquiring Photographic Imagery, Cameras, and Scanning

Week 8: Manipulating Imagery, Tools, Filters, Layers, and Masks

Week 9: One-on-One Midterm Check-in

Week 10: Typesetting, Manipulating Display Type, Type as Shapes

Week 11: Project 2 Presentations and Critique

Week 12: Color Models, Color Correction, Post-Production

Week 13: Die-Cutting, Laser-Cutting, Engraving, Embossing, and Embroidery

Week 14: Advanced Image Manipulation

Week 15: Advanced Layouts

Week 16: One-on-one meetings

Week 17: Project 3 Presentations and Critique


Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesign
  1. Adobe InDesign: Basics (Google Slides) (PDF)
  2. New Document, Navigation & Workspaces, Pages Palette, Master Page, Rectangle Frame Tool, Save, Export to PDF, Package

  3. Adobe InDesign: Typography & Layout (Google Slides) (PDF)
  4. Type Tool, Character Palette, Paragraph Palette, Glyph Palette, Styles Palette, Character Styles, Paragraph Styles, Text Frame Options

  5. Adobe InDesign: Interactive PDFs (Google Slides) (PDF)
  6. Interactive PDFs, Hyperlinks Palette, Exporting Interactive PDFs

Portfolio Design & Book Binding

Portfolio Design & Book Binding
  1. Book Layout Dummies (Google Slides) (PDF)
  2. Portfolio Design Process, Book Layout Dummies

  3. Book Binding (Google Slides) (PDF)
  4. Book Binding Methods, Kettle Stitch Book Binding

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator
  1. Adobe Illustrator: Basics (Google Slides) (PDF)
  2. Raster vs. Vector, Artboards, Navigation, File Menu, View Menu, Guides, Grid, Transforms

  3. Adobe Illustrator: Shapes (Google Slides) (PDF)
  4. Rectangle Tool, Color Tool, Color Panel, Swatches Panel, Spot Colors, Eyedropper Tool, Stroke Panel, Gradient Panel, Gradient Tool

  5. Adobe Illustrator: Advanced Shape Control (Google Slides) (PDF)
  6. Anchor Points, Paths, Pen Tool, Curvature Tool, Object Menu, Path Sub-Menu

  7. Adobe Illustrator: Advanced Layout (Google Slides) (PDF)
  8. Object Menu, Arrange, Group/Ungroup, Lock/Unlock, Hide/Show, Layers Panel, Align Panel, Symbols Panel

  9. Adobe Illustrator: Frame Animation (Google Slides) (PDF)
  10. Animation & Frames, Illustrator Paste on All Artboards, Export for Screens, Photoshop Image Stack, Timeline Palette, Exporting Animated GIFs/Videos

  11. Adobe Illustrator: Clipping Masks, Pathfinder, Blends (Google Slides) (PDF)
  12. Clipping Mask Tool, Pathfinder Panel, Blend Tool

  13. Adobe Illustrator: Stylize & Appearance ( (Google Slides) (PDF)
  14. Transparency Panel, Drop Shadow, Feather Effect, Appearance Panel

  15. Adobe Illustrator: Expand, Live Paint, Symbols, Patterns (Google Slides) (PDF)
  16. Expand, Live Paint, Symbols, Patterns

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop
  1. Adobe Photoshop: Basics (Google Slides) (PDF)
  2. PSD File Format, Image Formats, Photoshop Layers, Marquee, Lasso, Magic Wand, Image Menu, Image Size, Canvas Size, Desaturate, Invert, Gradient Map, Halftone Patterns


Project 1: Interactive Digital Portfolio

Project 1: Interactive Digital Portfolio

Create an interactive, digital PDF portfolio to capture project development research, process, iterations, final outcomes, and personal reflection on a collection of creative work that reflects your perspective and point-of-view as a creator.

The work captured in this portfolio should consists of content that you have created prior to beginning this class and can be wide-ranging, so feel free to include drawing, design, illustration, photography, interactive, creative writting, poetry, or any other work that reflects your creative perspective. This could consist of personal, self-initiated work that you have completed on your own, or work that you have completed for other classes.

  1. Project 1 Brief
  2. Exercise 1.1 Brief
  3. Exercise 1.2 Brief
  4. Exercise 1.3 Brief



Basic Course Information

Basic Course Information
  • COMD-242-02 Process and Production
  • Department: Communications Design
  • Monday 4:30 p.m. to 8:50 pm (Eastern)
  • Class Website:
  • Location: Online
  • Credit Hours: 3
  • Prerequisite courses/skills/other restrictions: All foundation year classes or equivalent

Instructor Information

Instructor Information
  • Ian Besler
  • Visiting Assistant Professor
  • Communication Design Department Steuben Hall 4th Floor, Room 404
  • Office Hours: Mondays 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (by appointment)

Bulletin Description

Bulletin Description

This course introduces students to the production process of print-based media. Through a number of weekly short assignments students will explore and apply a variety of both analog and digital processes and presentation techniques. These assignments will function as an introduction to a range of design tools using both traditional and emerging technologies. Students will be tasked to determine, step-by-step, how best to execute and present a design solution. In addition to professional standards in publication software, focus will be on demonstration the potential of combining different tools and techniques into the designer's workflows.

Course Description

Course Description

The aim of the Process and Production course is to help students understand, and begin to utilize, the various technical tools that can be used to realize an effective print-based design in its final form of reproduction. Communications Designers need to master a variety of analog and digital processes in order to produce successful media. This course helps students to explore different tools and develop the technical skills to confidently create visual imagery for print-based solutions.

Students will be introduced to photography, scanning and other technologies to create, acquire and manipulate imagery, as well as to a variety of printing processes including offset, lithography, silk-screening, digital printing and laser-cutting. Students will learn how to prepare comps to produce professional design solutions, integrating multiple assets, and to consider technical aspects such as resolution, file formats, color models, support and printing materials, etc.

The course also articulates how the selection of specific design tools and production processes affect the final ‘look and feel’ of a design product. Students will be encouraged to explore workflows leading to alternative aesthetic qualities.

Through a number of short assignments students will be asked to create and execute a design solution applied to a specific design brief. Each one of these assignments focuses on a particular process, tool or technique, and will be supported with presentations and in-class exercises. In addition to professional standards in publication software focus will be on demonstrating the potential of a variety of tools and workflows integrating multiple digital and analog techniques.

While the focus of the course is on the application of skills and the use of the tools involved in the production of a project students will also learn how to craft new tools, in forms such as templates and style sheets, and how to approach new software, in essence ‘learning how to learn technology.’

Course Goal(s)

The course goals for this class are to:

  • To introduce a variety of manual and digital processes to execute print-based visual communications solutions.
  • To investigate and understand how material and technical production processes influence the aesthetic quality of final outcome.
  • To gain an understanding of photographic and printing reproduction processes.
  • To gain proficiency with professional creative software and function of photographic and printing equipment.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the best tools and techniques to create and realize successful Visual Communication solutions, employing the use of a working vocabulary for communication with pre-press and other production professionals.
  • Use photographic, scanning and printing technologies appropriately.
  • Demonstrate operational level skills integrating photographic, illustrative and typographic components into a design.
  • Use and customize new tools — grids, libraries, color palettes, templates and styles —to automate the design process.
  • Prepare comps and prototypes of print-based work, and to prepare digital art for its reproduction.

Course Calendar/Schedule
  1. Week 01 (08/24/2020) — Class Introductions
  2. Week 02 (08/31/2020) — Exercise 1.1
  3. Week 03 (09/07/2020) — No Class (Labor Day)
  4. Week 04 (09/14/2020) — Exercise 1.2
  5. Week 05 (09/21/2020) — Exercise 1.3
  6. Week 06 (09/28/2020) — Project 1 Final Critique, Project 2 Brief
  7. Week 07 (10/05/2020) — Exercise 2.1
  8. Week 08 (10/12/2020) — Exercise 2.2
  9. Week 09 (10/19/2020) — Midterm Check-in Meetings
  10. Week 10 (10/26/2020) — Exercise 2.3
  11. Week 11 (11/02/2020) — Project 2 Final Critique, Project 3 Brief
  12. Week 12 (11/09/2020) — Exercise 3.1
  13. Week 13 (11/16/2020) — Exercise 3.2
  14. Week 14 (11/23/2020) — Exercise 3.3
  15. Week 15 (11/30/2020) — Exercise 3.4
  16. Week 16 (12/07/2020) — Exercise 3.5
  17. Week 17 (12/14/2020) — Project 3 Final Critique

Course Requirements
Recommended Reading
  • Pocket Guide to Color Reproduction: Communication and Control by Miles Southworth, Graphic Arts Publishing, Livonia, NY, 1979
  • A Half Century of Color by Louis Walton Sipley, Macmillan, New York, 1951
  • Color in the 21st Century: A Practical Guide for Graphic Designers, Photographers, Printers, Separators, and Anyone Involved in Color Printing by Helene W. Eckstein, Watson-Guptill, 1991
  • Selecting Colour for Print by Eric Paxton Danger, Gower Technical, Brookfield, VT, 1986

Materials necessary for this course include any media and supplies that you prefer to use for the production of sketches, finished comps and presentations, as well as any that may be required by your instructor for specific assignments. Digital scans, printouts and storage media will also be required.


Students will be introduced to a variety of standard publication software.


Students will become familiar with the photographic, scanning, printing, binding and laser cutting technologies available at the Imaging Lab, as well as to external resources to execute professional print-based solutions.


Students will be required to complete weekly assignments as homework during the semester. Each assignment will focus on applying specific tools and techniques introduced in class throughout the term and together cover the course’s learning objectives and competencies. The last three weeks of the class, students will apply the skills they have acquired to publish a Portfolio/Process Book such as the one developed in the Research, Analysis and Process course.

In-Class Sessions

Students will gain knowledge and understanding of the subject through theoretical lectures followed by practical demonstrations and supervised in-class short exercises, which will serve as an introduction to each one of the weekly assignments.

Weekly Assignments

Students will be assigned weekly assignments throughout the term. Each project will be roughly 4-6 weeks in duration. These correspond to, and spotlight principles, concepts and/or techniques addressed by, the corresponding class lecture/presentation and will help students to assimilate a series of design principles related to dynamic media and acquire the practical skills to create effective time based design solutions.

  1. Interactive Digital Portfolio
  2. Digital Portrait Illustration
  3. Fictional Currency System
Class Participation

Class participation is an important part of this course. Students are expected to contribute to classroom discussion at every class meeting: to ask questions, make a comment or observation, respond to questions asked by faculty, guest presenters, or classmates. Students are expected to work in class and be ready to sketch, work with analog or digital processes and present and discuss their assignments every week. Class participation will be monitored and the student’s grade will reflect the contribution made each week.

Assessment & Grading

Student level of achievement of the course Student Learning Objectives is graded on the criteria listed below. Each individual assignment will be reviewed and assessed in class. Grading will mainly reflect how well your work employs photographic and reproduction equipment, editing and printing processes to create sophisticated print-based visual communication solutions. While focus will be on technical execution and not on conceptual development, the ability to select specific tools, processes and techniques to best convey a topic will be also taken into consideration. Students should also demonstrate proficiency with software tools. Assignments will also be graded on the ability to explore multiple processes and aesthetics and to pay attention to detail to craft sophisticated, well-presented print-based designs. The final grade for the course is based on evaluation of assignments, including quality of problem solving, originality of ideas, deadline adherence and presentation of the work, as well as class participation Attendance and class conduct are also considered (see Policies below).

  • 20%……Project 1
  • 20%……Project 2
  • 30%……Project 3
  • 20%……Class Participation
94% - 100%
84% - 93%
Sustained level of superior performance demonstrated in all areas of Course Requirements
76% - 83%
69% - 75%
59% - 68%
Above Average
Consistent level of performance that is above average in a majority of the Course Requirements
51% - 58%
44% - 50%
Performance that is generally average and Course Requirements are achieved
34% - 43%
26% - 33%
20% - 25%
Below Average
Performance and achievement of the Course Requirements
F 0.0 0% - 19% Failure
Accomplishment of the Course Requirements is not sufficient to receive a passing grade
INC N/A N/A Incomplete
Automatically expires after the following semester

Assignments not completed by due date are automatically downgraded.

A grade of Incomplete (INC) will be considered only for medical reasons or other documented serious circumstances beyond your control. Last-minute printing problems or loss of files because you did not back them up are not legitimate reasons for an Incomplete grade.

If you are majoring in Communications Design, you are required to participate in semester-end Survey. Failure to do so will result in a reduction of all final course grades by one letter. As Survey is the 15th class of the semester, failure to show work from a particular course will also count as an absence for the course. If it is the fourth absence, you will fail the course.


Institute-wide policies listed in the “Community Standards” section of the bulletin:

Students must adhere to all Institute-wide policies listed in the Pratt Bulletin and Student Handbook, including policies on academic integrity, plagiarism, computer and network use.
Matters of academic integrity, plagiarism or any appropriation of another’s intellectual property will be handled with the utmost seriousness by the Department. This includes any imagery, text or concept that is taken from the Internet and used without appropriate credit to its original author, whether in original or moderately altered form, whether in the presentation, sketch, research, or final stage of the project. If in the instructor’s opinion any student’s work violates these policies, he or she will impose a grade of F for the final project and require its resubmission free of such violations with no resulting change in grade. In addition, such instances will be reported to the Registrar’s office for inclusion in the student’s non-permanent file. Repeated or egregious violation of this policy may result in a grade of F for the course and referral of the case to the Academic Integrity Board, who may impose further sanctions, including possible suspension or dismissal from the Institute. (For a complete copy of the Academic Integrity Code, please consult the Student Handbook or visit

Attendance is mandatory. More than two absences will result in reduction of your final grade by one letter. More than three absences will result in failure for the course. Tardiness is not acceptable. Two late arrivals constitute an absence. Chronic lateness will result in a lower grade or, in extreme circumstances, failure. Leaving class early will result in an absence for the day. Missing any class session due to travel plans (eg first day of class, last day of class, class before or after holidays) is also not acceptable.

Students with documented medical or personal emergencies will be given an excused absence and will be expected to make up any work. If excused absences number three or greater the student will need to communicate with faculty and the Undergraduate Communications Design Office to determine their future in the course. If students are absent for a technical demonstration or lecture it is their responsibility to find out what they missed.

Pratt Institute respects students’ requirements to observe days of cultural significance, including religious holidays, and recognizes that some students might need to miss class to do so. In this, or other similar, circumstances, students are responsible for consulting with faculty ahead of time about how and when they can make up work they will miss.

Classroom Policy

Students, along with faculty, are responsible for keeping the classrooms tidy and clean. Please clean up after yourself at the end of every class and/or work session. Return all borrowed tools and equipment; throw away trash and recycle materials when possible. Classrooms cannot be used for storage. All work left in classrooms will be thrown away. Follow classroom policies and procedures posted in the studios. Keeping the studio neat for your peers is vital to using a shared space.

Community Expectations

The Undergraduate Communications Design program is a community of students, faculty, and staff. In order for our community to flourish we promote active and respectful listening, health and safety in our classrooms and shared spaces, and engagement and participation in class and other departmental events and activities. Please limit and be conscientious about phone use, headphones, texting, emailing, video-game playing, or online shopping during class time; studio time is a time to work. In this department we are respectful of our shared spaces, of each other, and of shared materials and tools.


Every student and every employee at Pratt is issued an email account ending with All communication to and from faculty or staff is required to be conducted via pratt email accounts.

Policy on Students with Disabilities:

Students needing special accommodations for disabilities are required to notify the instructor at the beginning of the term with supporting documentation from the Disability Resource Center (718 802-3123). Students experiencing non-academic difficulties (e.g. death in the family, protracted medical issues) that might adversely affect their work should contact Health and Counseling Services (718 399-4542) as early as possible to establish an official record and have their instructors notified.

Required at Each Class:
  1. Weekly assignment completed to deadline date.
  2. All previously completed work on the assignment as well as all related research materials.
  3. Fulfillment of any other requirements issued by your instructor.

Personal wireless devices must be inaudible at all times and used only for class purposes.