GPH 304 Career Practices in Visual Media

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Stephen Luecking, Instructor

This course introduces students to the business, communication and organization capabilities needed to professionally manage their careers in visual media. Rather than learning to produce visual content students will acquire, at an introductory level, the skills that enable them to continue to practice their art after graduating into their fields. These include such business skills as basic bookkeeping, time and space management; such promotional skills as portfolio creation and writing resumes, artist statements and press releases; such client interaction skills as establishing a design charge, concept presentation and writing concise design narratives. Finally, the course will cover the legal aspects of intellectual property, copyright protection and fair use.



Students will gain fundamental and practical abilities in the following:

1) Digital photography of design objects.

2) High resolution, museum quality printing of digital imagery.

3) Composing and publishing portfolios in digital and printed format.

4) Studio organization and design of workstations.

5) Ergonomic and health factors in studio design and in digital production procedures.

6) Expository writing of design concepts in aesthetic and technical modes.

7) Business writing of resumes, letters and memorandums.

8) Creating a budget: Overhead, contingency and time appropriation.

9) Keeping a ledger, posting accounts and calculating a balance.

10) Managing prospectuses and contracts.

11) Understanding intellectual property, establishing copyright and fair use.


The course is structured around a series of lectures, discussions and practicums addressing the objectives above. In keeping with its professional nature the course will meet for two three-hour sessions per week.

Session 1: Introduction

· The business letter, writing a letter of intent

· Writing a resume

Session 2: Digital Photography

· Lecture on digital photography.

Point-and-shoot, prosumer and SLR cameras, .raw, .tif and .jpg files, focus and lighting, shooting modes, resolution.

· Demo on set-up and lighting.

Session 3: Digital Printing

· Lecture on digital printing technology.

Inkjet vs. laser, archival and non-archival inks and paper, chemistry and physics of ink and paper, print resolution: dpi and ppi.

· Demo on inkjet printing.

Session 4: Portfolio

· Lecture on portfolio purpose and presentation

Types of portfolios: digital (.html), book and presentation; publishing a portfolio, principles of presentations, organization of a portfolio, how to use a portfolio, sample portfolios, on-line resources.

Session 5: Work Period/Portfolio Preparation

Session 6: Writing Professional Documents

· Writing copy: rules of thumb for more dynamic prose – active vs. passive voice, verbs vs. adjectives, complex sentences and subordinate phrases, Latinate and Germanic English.

· Practicum in writing artist statements and design narratives

Session 7: Critical Writing

· Theories of criticism, writing a review.

Session 8: Business Writing

· The business letter, writing a letter of intent

· Writing a resume

Session 9: Work Period/Writing

Sessions 10 & 11: Budgeting and Bookkeeping

· What and why of a budget, determining credit lines, determining debit lines, depreciating equipment, budgeting a project, budgeting for taxes, sales taxes.

· Budgeting time and overhead, determining contingency.

· Keeping a ledger and posting accounts

Session 12: Mid-Term/Begin Studio Design

Session 13: Studio Design, Part I

· Anthropometrics in space design, scale factors, traffic flow, storage spaces, work surfaces, accessibility.

· Practicum: Bubble diagrams and system design, plan and profile drawings

Session 14: Studio Design, Part II

  • Ergonomics in workstation design, in furniture selection.
  • Continue practicum.

Session 15 & 16: Portfolio Practicum

· Layout and organize book to include artist statement and resume, upload book file to

· Create template for presentation portfolio

Session 17: Lag Period

Session 18: Legal Issues

  • Defining intellectual property, history and purpose of copyrights, declaring copyright, registering for a copyright, fair use: when and where others can use your work and when you can use others.
  • Using contracts.

Session 19: Review

Final Critique of Course Products/Checklist

ü Writing folio

ü Artist statement

ü Resume

ü Design narrative

ü Critical review

ü Studio design

ü Floor plan

ü Profile

ü Workstation detail

ü Portfolio

ü Printed book

ü Presentation layout

ü .html folio


60% of the course grade is based on the execution of the items in the checklist. 20% is based on the Midterm exam, and the remaining 20% represents attendance and participation.


Business of Art: An Artist's Guide to Profitable Self Employment, Center for Cultural Innovation


Standard photo editing and publishing software, e.g., Adobe Photoshop, Corel Photo-paint, Adobe InDesign, Corel Draw.


Office: TBA; Email: ; Phone:

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