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GMD-120 - History of Graphic Design - Shannon Doronio

Course:History of Graphic Design
Professor:Shannon Doronio
  • Online
  • OnlineLive
Course Length:
  • Applies to All Course Lengths


WELCOME to (what I hope is) the most fascinating Art History course you will ever take! I am Shannon Doronio (you can call me Shannon), and I am your instructor for this course.

We are living through a historical moment of visual communication saturation. We receive visual messages, prompts and persuasions that are meant to affect behavior in a way that is favorable to the message sender—and not all message senders are created equal! You may receive information from a shoe company, a politician, a beauty brand, and a non-profit group all in one Facebook/Instagram session. We are also living through a historical moment of information sharing. Any question that comes to mind—can be answered through a Google search or ChatGPT query—and answers will be produced. But again, not all answers are created equal! The internet has given a hypothetical equal platform to experts and non-experts.

In this course, we present expert answers to the questions “Where did the culture of visual message-sending come from?” and “Who gets to design all of it?” We will explore the history of graphic design and its response to politics, conflict, fashion, architecture, fine art, and its intrinsic connection to technology. While there is some global aspect to all of this, this course focuses primarily on American/Eurocentric history of graphic design.

Course Description

Surveys the origin and evolution of graphic design, including the development of typography, advertising, poster design, illustration, corporate identities and trademarks.

What to Expect in this Course

Evaluate and critique past and current trends in graphic design. Together, we will review lecture slides and discuss the ground-breaking designers overlooked by our textbooks. You will need access to the internet, use of the Canvas learning app, and ZOOM.

Types of Assessments

There is a 2 part exam for each of the 5 learning units, a discussion post for each of the 5 units, and a designer report. I also have a generous extra credit policy, and accept late work as long as you advocate for yourself and communicate with me. 

Textbook Information

cover image for History of Graphic DesignMeggs’ History of Graphic DesignAuthors: Philip B. Meggs, Alston W. Purvis
Hardcover: 696 pages
Publisher: Wiley; 6 edition (May 2, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1118772059
ISBN-13: 978-1118772058

Other Relevant Course Information

5 week course vs 16-week course: Time Commitment Myth Buster

If you registered for a distance learning course believing that there will be less of a time commitment than is required for a 16-week on-ground course, I am going to poke a hole in your logic. It is true that you will spend less calendar time completing this course—but the hourly commitment is the same. This is a compressed version of the 16-week on-ground course which meets for 2 hours and 40 minutes per week—the study time, the lectures and the workload is identical between the two versions of this course. Be ready to commit 10-12 hours per week to reading, reviewing lectures, participating in discussions, and completing quizzes.

No Face-to-Face Meetings

There are no face-to-face meetings for this course – it is entirely online. Therefore, reliable and consistent access to the Internet is mandatory. If you are struggling with reliable and consistent internet, please reach out to me so I can connect you to resources. 

Instructor Drops and Withdrawals

Because of the 100% online nature of this course, the only evidence I have of course participation is your daily completion of online coursework. Failure to make consistent progress, demonstrated through completion of coursework may result in a course drop or withdrawal.

Drop Scenario 1: A student who does not login* in to Canvas within 24 hours of the start date to complete the Course Basics Module will be dropped. No exceptions.

*Although the class is not accessible until the first day of class, I highly recommend logging into Canvas at least one week ahead of time so reduce any delays in the Canvas login processes.

Drop Scenario 2: A student who does not complete the first exam will be withdrawn.

Drop Scenario 3: A student who does not complete more than a week’s coursework without communicating with the instructor will be withdrawn.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 01/18/2023 Sub#: 748