Exercise Intro:

Before we begin to create develop our own broadcast graphics, we should really look at other peoples’ work for inspiration. Can you think of any memorable intro graphics, title sequences, transitions, interstitials, etc that are really memorable? It might help to start by thinking about your favorite tv shows and/or movies. Make a list if you need to. Then go online and find the intro graphics or title sequences for those shows. Here are a few examples of title sequences or logo reveals that I really love:

True Detective

(by Elastic for HBO, 2014)

For a solid rundown of how this sequence was made, check out [this article].

Stranger Things

(by Imaginary Forces for Netflix, 2016)

For a solid rundown of how this sequence was made, check out [this article]. 

American Gods

(by Elastic for Starz, 2017)

For a solid rundown of how this sequence was made, check out [this article].

Exercise Guidelines:

Find three (3) examples of graphics that you really like. For each example, write down

  1. what you like about it
  2. what you think works well
  3. how they relate to the content of the show or film
  4. briefly how they did it (or how you think they did it, if you can’t find the information online)
    • e.g. "video, motion tracking, 3D animation, and compositing"
  5. how you might improve it
We will then present everything we’ve found and discuss our findings as a group.

[Click here for the course syllabus]. The boilerplate description of this course is as follows:

Practices, concepts, history, and social ramifications of design. Typography, layout, identity, visual/physical structure, graphic iconography, and relationship of form to function. Theoretical and/or historical issues relevant to contemporary practice. prereq: art 101 or art 102.

Boring! But legally speaking, this is totally accurate, and indeed we will be touching on almost all of these things during the course of this class. More specifically, however, we will be designing broadcast graphics for a somewhat large project with the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment. Below are the details (subject to change).

Working title: BACK TO SCHOOL MASTER CLASS SERIES (Draft 7/13/17)

The Goal

  1. Six 30-minute episodes featuring renowned NYC public school alumni, across all sectors of the media and entertainment industry, returning to their high schools in each of the five boroughs for an inspirational conversation with students.

  2. The creation of 30-second, 60-second and 3-minute reels for promoting the series broadcast and program.

  3. Development of the production itself into a Master Class of its own, pairing Lehman College media students with faculty and industry professionals.

  4. Creation of Behind-the-Scenes content to document the process from beginning to end.

The Process

In collaboration with MOME, Lehman College will put together a production team of Lehman faculty and staff, students, and industry professionals. The project will be conducted in an environment that is equally professional and educational.

The Content

Each piece will consist of:

  1. Conversational discussion with the alumni as they tour their neighborhoods and return to their schools to speak with students.
  2. Interview discussion with a student from their school.
  3. An assembly at the school at which the alumni will speak with the students.
  4. B-Roll or supportive footage of the location (borough and NYC) that gives the viewer a real feeling of the borough they are in.

The Look

These pieces would be shot on higher end cameras and should take full advantage of the optics of the camera to help define the look and style of the pieces. Specifically:

  1. Shots should be composed keeping a shallow depth of field in mind.
  2. Rack focus within a shot whenever appropriate to help reinforce style and pacing.
  3. Stylized interviews on the street, in the neighborhood, or at the school.
  4. Possible use of 3D/4D images.


The graphics packaging is a very important component of this project as it will provide branding, and act as a consistent “glue” that will collectively present them as a cohesive series. A single graphics package will be created and used consistently. The package should be clean and identifiable yet simple and clear in its messaging. The package will consist of:

  1. An opening sequence- :10 which resolves to the title of the series as well as providing for a customized titling of the individual segment.
  2. A closing resolve of the project title- :05 with :10 pad
  3. A quick transition that can be used wherever necessary/desired to segue from shot to shot (roughly 8-20 frames TBD)
  4. A lower third which can be brought on as needed for name IDs, and such.
  5. A “bug" or small iconic representation of the series that will be placed in one of the corners of the screen throughout the piece to help identify/brand the pieces.

The Music

A musical score should be created for the pieces to be used in the open, the close and as an underscore. Additionally, more customized underscores could be created as dictated by any special needs of a particular piece/location. Functionally, the score for the opening/closing sequence should be created in concert with the animation of the opening as they can greatly enhance/influence each other. This will be created by Lehman Students and Faculty.

In most of the courses I teach, I am entirely agnostic in regards to the materials or medium my students work with. People assume that I am a ‘digital guy’ because I know my way around a computer, can hand-code HTML, and I like to use PhotoShop, Illustrator, etc. But the reality is, I first got into art by using pencil, pen, ink, markers, crayons, and collage – image-making tools that are all around us. At that time, I actually hated computers and opted to never touch one. I only started using computer aided design programs because of the speed, immediacy, and ability to separate the content from form…and to make fake IDs.
That is all to say that in this course, you can use any medium you feel comfortable with. Or you can perhaps explore materials that you’re not entirely comfortable with in an effort to discover some creative urge you didn’t know you had. Here are just a few media that I like to use for 2D design.

Pencil and paper

  • Simple and direct, this is actually my preferred medium for starting any piece. Having learned to put pencil to paper when I was still young, there is a lessened barrier between what I want to create and what I am able to sketch out.
    prolly drew this in 1996 or 97...idk.

Pen and ink

  • Sometimes exact, often unpredictable, and somehow always very captivating. Pen and ink is a simple way to achieve high-contrast, expressive, and immediate works of art and design. Below are some of my early pen and ink drawings.



  • Collage can be achieved by hand, like the work of Kurt Schwitters, Max Ernst, or Henry Matisse:
Kurt Schwitters, "No Charge for Delivery." 1947
a page from Max Ernst's surreal masterpiece, "Une semaine de bonté (A Week of Kindness)"
Henri Matisse, The Snail, 1953

But it can also be achieved through digital means, such as the piece I created below entitled Old Money (2008): a digital collage of photographs and old Vietnamese currency:

"Old Money" (2008)

Digital media

  • CAD programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. The picture below is almost entirely digital collage:tree of boobs landscape WORKPRINT


  • Wood cut, lithography, silk-screening, and other printmaking techniques


  • Full disclosure: I actually became interested in art through photography at the age of 8. I would take all sorts of photographs with 35mm film. Gradually I got into medium format, alternative processes, and digital photography. The same elements and principles of graphic design that appear in traditional art and graphic design are found within photography, making it an interesting medium to tackle these concepts with. Photography also plays a big part in graphic design as well, as images are often paired with type (this very web page is a good example).
  • "Vatican Square" (2011)
  • The image above is a high-dynamic range panorama of Vatican Square, in Vatican City. It is actually a collage of 16 images I took in 2011.


  • Fabric, buttons, thread, and other fiber-based materials fall into this category. My project 21 Trucks of San Antonio Texcala is a fiber-based design. I find that the immediacy and texture of fiber allows me to render point, line, form, space, and color in a familiar and exciting way. 

Found objects

  • I love the aesthetic of reused, recycled, and out-of-context materials. Just rummaging through the garbage for scrap materials can be very inspiring, breaking the mundane process of sitting in a studio making something. Artist Robert Rauschenberg was well known for using found objects in his ‘combines,’ works made from materials he found near his studio in lower Manhattan. The image below is of Rauschenberg’s 1995 work entitled Rebus, just one of his many combines from that period.
    Robert Rauschenberg, "Rebus" (1955)

Something I Haven't Thought Of?

  • Y'all fill in the blanks. All I ask if that you be creative, are prepared to defend your artistic choices, and that it makes the class more interesting!