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from year Raven taught Digital Foundations

Lab Room K115

© Mike R. Owens

 JULIE RAVEN,  Theater Arts & Computer Instructor; LAB ROOM K115


[email protected]


This is an elective course called, Foundations of Digital Design, which is designed to give students a variety of graphic design skills.  Over the semester, we will learn some Microsoft Word and PowerPoint Basics, Photoshop, and how to manage color, fonts, images and layout. Mostly you will be applying some very specific Principles of Design that are used everywhere in marketing for your projects and assignments.  Students who enjoy this type of work might want to consider the Digital Media & Design Core in their 11/12 grade selection, Yearbook or Digital Photography electives in the future.

You do not need to know a lot about computers, but you do need to be willing to learn.  My experience is that people can learn computer skills at a different pace and sometimes students can be far apart in their abilities. We can deal with that as long as everyone is willing to learn new concepts and new ways of doing things.


  • Because this is a lab class, there will not a lot of homework- maybe some reading from time to time or bring in a digital image or an image to scan. That means that you must come to class ready to work during the entire period.
  • Occasionally, a student might finish early, please have a book or textbook to read quietly so others may concentrate and continue to work on their project; this includes NO iPods, cell phones or any other distracting device during class time. Also, no food or drink is allowed in the lab.  Using the internet for game playing is NOT allowed either as this slows down the internet speed for the entire school campus.  Sometimes a Technology employee of the district will track your computer and even come to our lab, a class suspension or more may result.


  • Your grade will be based mostly on the projects you turn in, with a small bit of effort and participation factored in.  Each grading period you will have a few main projects to complete and often times short in-class assignments (some saved, some not). 
  • RAVEN'S LAW: in this course we not just teacher/student, but really employer of an advertising firm and you, my employee, the designer.  Projects are NOT turned in and done, until I have deemed them acceptable to show to prospective client.  Whining or apathy will be reflected in your work ethic grade--20% of each grading period.

We have a staff web page:


Scroll down for “R” for Raven, and look to list of headings on the left.

This year, Pete Stefanisko is the lead instructor and myself; Julie Raven and Gene Sandwina are creating the course with him.


  • If I am absent, check the Foundations Class web page for instructions, sometimes you are directed to look for a different heading on my home page. 
  • If you are absent check the web page from home or immediately upon returning to class so you can advocate for your education and make-up work. Because of Photoshop computer program and sometimes even Word or PowerPoint, it is nearly impossible for students to keep up with assignments when on a vacation, long illness, or out of the country.  Students can often find me on A days at lunchtime here in the lab to make-up work.  I am not available after school since I am also the theater director and theater coordinator (other jobs).


  • Since the course is mostly taught with exercises and tutorials by instructor at the beginning of the block and then independent work/projects during the other 1/2 of the block LATE ARRIVALS are not acceptable whether in the morning 1st block or after lunch 3rd block.  Parents may need to be contacted for repeated occurrences.

You can reach me best through e-mail with any concerns or questions you may have. Photoshop is a complex,artistic and fun program, the Design Principles you will learn will have see the world of marketing and media and even fine art in a whole new way. I look forward to a great semester!



Designing Success

The Psychology of Logos

From: Inc. Magazine, May 2004 | By: Bobbie Gossage

     It's not just the iPod and Target toilet brushes. Even small companies with prosaic products are finding that design can be the difference between success and failure.

Paul Swenson's company, Kortec, makes machines that make the plastic for beverage bottles. And while there's nothing stylish or flashy about the business, Swenson is finding that he pays more attention to design than he ever thought he would.

(here is Kortec’s webpage-

 check out the logo in the left hand corner)

 Back in 1996, when his machines were still just prototypes, CEO Swenson decided to pay a visit to a creative consultant, Richard Emmanuel, and ask him to design Kortec's logo and letterhead. Swenson recalls telling Emmanuel that he wanted something that looked big and strong: "Not some wispy willow tree." He feared the logo would be expensive, and in fact, at $25,000, it wound up representing about 15% of the young company's total expenses for the year. But Swenson was adamant about getting a good design.

 Why? A major factor was the price tag on Kortec's own machinery, which ranged from $500,000 to $1 million (today it sells for $2 million to $5 million). "People won't want to spend $1 million on some podunk little company that's never done this before," he remembers thinking. "We knew we could go someplace else and get something for a couple thousand or we could try to make something on the computer, but when it came to making that first impression, we didn't want to blow it."

 Emmanuel designed Kortec's bold yellow-and-black K logo to reflect the "massiveness" of the machines that mold the plastic. "Simplicity," he says, "is the keynote to beauty." Swenson says he felt a return on his investment even in the confidence he was able to exude when presenting his business card for the first time to potential clients. Today, he says, "everyone in our industry recognizes that logo. People have always thought we were a bigger company than we actually are. It's all about creating a positive impression in the minds of the clients, and it's hard to do that with a stupid little thing you made yourself on Microsoft Word."

 Looks matter more than ever. We've all heard critics and consumers wax poetic about iMacs, iPods, and even Target toilet brushes. Interior design has become a national pastime, and shows such as Trading Spaces, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy enjoy a popularity that Bob Vila could only imagine. In her recent book, The Substance of Style, author Virginia Postrel (a former Inc. staff writer) argues that we increasingly make purchasing decisions based on how products make us feel. "In a crowded marketplace," she writes, "aesthetics is often the only way to make a product stand out." In other words, for more and more companies--even manufacturing companies with relatively prosaic products like Kortec's--design is becoming extremely important. It can sometimes be the difference between success and failure.

These days, even an investment research firm like Morningstar is keenly aware of making a good appearance. In the early '90s, founder Joe Mansueto hired the late Paul Rand (a renowned graphic designer who created logos for IBM, ABC, and UPS) to design the Morningstar logo--narrow red lettering with a rising sun as the O-- for $50,000. "Keep in mind this was back when our revenue was only a couple of million dollars. It was a lot to spend," says Mansueto, but he reasoned that it was for a high-quality product that he wouldn't mind keeping for a long time to come: "A logo is something that you want to last." He considers it one of his best investments and continues to put an emphasis on incorporating aesthetically pleasing forms and visuals in the company's print materials, CD-ROMs, and website. "I know that as a consumer, I'm drawn to products that are designed well," says Mansueto. "My house is filled with Sony products because I like their design."

(here is the link for the Morningstar logo:

   Notice at left similar name, not similar product.

The arguments for good design are especially compelling for consumer products, particularly those made by smaller companies that don't have big advertising budgets. "Big brands like Coca-Cola and Budweiser spend lots and lots of advertising dollars to create an aura around their products," says Michael Bierut, a graphic designer and partner at Pentagram, a multidisciplinary design firm with offices in the U.S. and Europe. For smaller companies without that luxury, he says, their entire chance to convey a message about themselves to the customer is often in the look of the packaging.

 For the Flying Fish Brewing Co., whose packaging Pentagram designed, that boiled down to the labels, the caps, and the cardboard cartons. On the one hand, says Bierut, "if it looks like Bud, people will just buy Bud." On the other, "the design needs to follow a certain amount of convention." If something looks too radically different, he says, people aren't as trusting; they suspect it's of lesser quality. "At the most, you want to project an attitude," he says. "At the very least, you want them to know this product won't kill them."

 ( here is the link for the Flying Fish logo: )

    At the most, you want to project an attitude. At the very least, you want them to know this product won't kill them."

Before he started Flying Fish, which is based in Cherry Hill, N.J., founder Gene Muller had worked in advertising. He'd met Bierut on a project and decided to send him a case of beer bottles with blank labels and a note that read, "This space available for good design." He told Bierut that he wanted something fun, something different from the "mountain-range motif" that everyone else seemed to be doing, something that would pop out on the shelf next to a hundred other beers. Bierut sent back several ideas, but the one that Muller liked best was the fish-bone propeller plane. He says the eye-catching imagery not only helped sell his beverage, but the company's merchandise sales (T-shirts, hats, pint glasses, even scrunchies) have been surprisingly strong. "Whenever we go to festivals, we always sell a lot of merchandise," says Muller. "That's been a really nice side benefit."

In some competitive industries, such as the restaurant business, aesthetic appeal is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity. "There are plenty of restaurants with good food. Design is equally as important," says Stephen Starr, a Philadelphia restaurateur whose multiple fine dining enterprises include Morimoto, an ultramodern Japanese restaurant (complete with booths that change color) designed by Karim Rashid. Though Rashid is famous for designing stylish, low-cost home decor items such as trash cans and dish-soap containers, he had never designed a restaurant before. Starr says he chose Rashid because he felt the designer had a great sense of the current Eastern aesthetic. "I wanted something modern and cutting-edge, something you would see in Tokyo today," says Starr, who is opening another Morimoto in New York City this year, this one designed by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando. While Ando has done restaurants before (as well as churches, shopping malls, and factories), he is best known for the cultural institutions he has designed, including the Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum in Japan, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis, and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Texas.

Of course, not everybody's buying the idea that you have to be pretty and spend big bucks to profit.

Companies like Newport Furnishings, a Phoenix-based furniture retailer, have enjoyed phenomenal revenue growth by taking the opposite approach. In the case of Newport Furnishings, that meant selling its cheaply priced designer furniture out of a stark, no-frills warehouse. "If you go to a Pottery Barn in the mall, it's really a beautiful presentation. That stuff pretty much sells itself," says founder Chuck Haney. "But there's a big price tag that goes with all of that." And apparently there's room for his strategy--his company has grown 909% since 1998.

(here is the link for Newport Furnishings:

 Postrel argues that adding flair to your business doesn't have to translate into higher costs and higher prices. Just look at Starwood Hotels, she says. When the company gave its hotels an aesthetic makeover, it kept the same budget but intensely scrutinized its costs. It ended up getting rid of the most expensive piece of furniture in their rooms-- the armoire that most hotels use to hide the television. "They thought, 'Hey, if we get rid of that armoire, we'll have more money to spend on the bed, the chair fabric, or a larger desk,'" says Postrel. "Better design is not necessarily something that has to be super expensive. A lot of times it's just a matter of thinking about it."

1.  Do you like the logo Emmanuel created?  What design principles does it show?

Why did Kortec think it was worth it?


2.  What examples of the influence of good design do we see in popular culture?  How has it affected TV, products and even how we buy things?


3.  What does the writer say about design in restaurants?  Do you notice design of stores and restaurants- does it change where you spend your money? 


4.  The last company, Newport Furnishings, doesn’t spend its money on fancy stores, but on offering low price.  What stores do we have around here like this?  Are they well-designed, or do we go there just for the low prices?


LOGO SEARCH   Open word, format palette, (remember to format each logo after you drag or insert it, to TIGHT)


Choose 5 that are really well known that you see in the stores all the time.
  sample below  (5)

Then choose 10 that are less well known to the Average teenager.  sample below  (10)

Cisco Systems, Inc.  is a multinational corporation with more than 66,000 employees and annual revenue of US$39 billion as of 2008. Headquartered in San Jose, California, it designs and sells networking and communications technology and services.

Try the links below for your internet search.

(This one will be less NEW to you because its ads from all over the world)

After # 25, hit the >> button for more....

START planning on paper your own, LOGO.
Try to make a name for a company or product that interests you or interested you in your childhood.  Imagine that audience that wants to buy that product or use that service.
Either of your name or your own pretend company.
**Note product cannot be illegal or embarrassing to
teacher or your Grandma.

Not acceptable products...
  Illegal Drugs
Illegal practices, services, guns, weapons, weapons of mass destruction, instruments of torture, Adult entertainment, male/female body enhancements.

1.  Think of company, product, service
2. Think of several names that are UNIQUE and communicate about the product service
3.  think of a graphic, symbol, character, animal that could help the company be unique and memorable.
4. Think what this company sells, what is their most popular

On graph paper with colored pencil, NOT computer.
You can use computer for FONT style ideas, but you have complete a excellent color drawing first.

TODAY IN CLASS  2/26 or 3/1
Save as -- speakernotes.docx
COPY these questions below and then ANSWER for your logo presentation up in front of class.
  1. You are the designer in an advertising firm.  I, Raven am your boss. Question #1, who is the client that wants YOU to design a logo (example:  Nike, Cookie Clouds- a new designer cookie company)?
  2. What does the client sell?  Several products? One product? Or is it a service (example:  limousine, dog grooming service)
  3. Focusing on your answer in #2, what is the audience the client is trying to reach?  What kind of person are they? Their age? What activities are they doing that they would NEED the client's product or service?
  4. WHEN you present your logo to us, Explain the REASONS, emotions behind HOW you designed the logo (the shape, what it means, what the audience should think of, what feelings the logo should communicate)
  5. WHEN you present your logo to us, Explain the COLOR CHOICES you chose.  Click on this crayon to go to a LINK

Earlier this week
Looking at Award Winning Websites (some fun, some for profit, some to HELP the planet, people, animals)
Go to this one first, WAIT for it to load, watch for a girl in cubes
Scroll down to different categories and play.... (some might be blocked , others like automobiles are really cool.


8695 Windsor Road, Windsor California 95492 Phone 707.837.7767 FAX 707.837.7773