Jessi Fisk
Art Teacher

New High School Graphic Design Program

Hello everyone.  The high school I teach at will be offering a graphic design class for the first time next year.  I'm starting the program and am currently in the process of creating an outline for curriculum.  I would love to have input from anyone who currently teaches high school graphic design classes or has experience in this area.  Any input or suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated. 

Which Adobe program/s do you recommend I start with? 

My school has 1 hour periods 5 days/week.  Would it be possible to cover Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign in a year long course?  If so, am I on the right track starting with those programs or do you have other suggestions that would be better?

I hope to grow the program over the next few years into Graphic Design 1, Graphic Design 2, and also offer it as an option in our AP Art (portfolio/college credit class).  I'm looking for guidance into what each of these should cover.  Basics of several programs in Graphics 1 and then cover the same programs more in depth in Graphics 2?  Or introduce new programs as students advance?  

Again any input you can give will help.  Thanks in advance

5 / 5 • 23 Ratings

Comments (239)

Write a reply...
or Join for free to view all comments and participate in the discussion.

Erin Petry

Posted on 5/31/19 4:39:30 AM Permalink

I’d be interested in resources as well. We are adding Graphic Design ​next year too. I’m especially interested in a curriculum map/pacing guide.

Michele Sherrill

Posted on 5/6/19 8:40:41 PM Permalink

​If anyone is still reading this discussion, please send me any information on the scope and sequence of a year-long Intro level course and a more advanced course as well. I taught myself to use Photoshop and Illustrator in order to teach it, and I'm adding Animate this year. I abandoned InDesign because that's offered in a Printing Tech class at my school. I teach the Intro course differently every year and haven't found a good balance - there's not enough time! I'm thinking of trying to move some content to an advanced course.

Thank you!

Sara Cubberley

Posted on 9/21/19 9:52:39 PM Permalink

Hi Michele, In my graphics class, I start with Illustrator because students tend to get some Photoshop exposure in other classes or by self-interest. I spend two nine weeks in Illustrator, assigning each project to make use of specific tools. During the third nine weeks, I switch to Photoshop, then use the final nine weeks for a little bit of everything— plus some animation.

Tyler Hills

Posted on 10/21/18 11:01:12 PM Permalink

​I'm a first year graphic design instructor working with high school students. I have a small amount of resources left to me from the previous instructor, but I'm always looking for more ideas/help. If anybody has cirriculum, syllabus, rubrics, project ideas, etc. I would really appreciate it.

nova rollo

Posted on 8/2/18 2:16:22 AM Permalink

​Is anyone getting their Graphic Design students to ACE level certification?

jamie calvo

Posted on 8/1/18 6:15:51 PM Permalink

​Wacom Tablets -

There must be a donation

Jamell Newman

Posted on 7/25/18 2:46:04 PM Permalink

This post looks 3 years old so I'm not going to go into detail unless you really still need ideas. Instead check out the course​ website. I highly suggest creating a similar portfolio for your students' work. Check it

Hope the program is doing well!

jermaine hankerson

Posted on 8/9/18 11:20:00 AM Permalink

I would like more information on your portfolio as well. ​

corey shepherd

Posted on 7/4/18 5:36:27 AM Permalink

​would it be possible to see your scope/sequence? If so that'd be great I teach 9-12 alternative education and I'm proposing we buy CC for all students. My email:

thanks so much

jermaine hankerson

Posted on 8/9/18 11:21:00 AM Permalink

I'm starting a new program at my school as well and I don't have a scope and sequence. Can you share yours?

Thanks. ​

divid lewis

Posted on 6/19/18 9:01:25 AM Permalink

​My approach was a little more "old school" as I had students do all hand-made projects the first semester of GD. I wanted them to understand why masks are red and what an x-acto blade was before I showed them Photoshop. I want them to do a layout with a ruler and pencil. Memorizing where shortcuts are just makes robots. I believe this gives a more rounded experience to the student.

jermaine hankerson

Posted on 8/9/18 11:21:42 AM Permalink

I like that idea. Very smart. ​

Holly Arnesen

Posted on 8/17/18 3:05:55 PM Permalink

I am coming up with curriculum as well and this is how I'm starting out the class. They already have some experience working with some of the basic tools in Photoshop, but I am going over a lot of design basics and I want them to be a bit more comfortable with a hands-on approach before transitioning to the computer. I'd love to hear any ideas you have for specific projects!

donis krohmer

Posted on 6/13/18 9:54:44 PM Permalink

I am a retired high school graphic design teacher. We used the Adobe Suite in our district in Texas. The three software packages you mentioned are great to start. You will have time for an overview of all of them, but don't skip the basics of Color, Elements & Principles of Design and Copyright!

My best advice: After several years of teaching, I ran into Mike Skocko, on the EdEx site. He is the best! His program uses game theory to teach the kids. I tried it before retiring and wished I had had that method ​for my classes from the beginning. Search Gamification, Game-On. I also highly recommend the ACA (Adobe Certified Associate) certification. The goal of becoming certified really was motivational to the kids. There were curriculums for all of the most popular Adobe software packages, free to use and very comprehensive.

My final bit of advice: Don't let the kiddos talk you into, "only Photoshop". They will probably try it, but vector graphics and publishing are so very important too!

Jill McKay

Posted on 9/28/18 9:25:24 PM Permalink

Hi Donis,

You mentioned there were free and comprehensive curriculum for the different Adobe programs. Where did you find them?


Eric Horne

Posted on 6/5/18 7:03:52 PM Permalink

The Trinity - InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop for certain - I use WIX for our websites because it is FREE and suprsingly very powerful once you learn how

I also taught Adobe Animate, After Effects, & Premiere

I taught Muse, but again I chose WIX due to it's free-ness

Adobe Muse has a thing called Business Catalyst but it is only temporary so WIX it is...

Michael Dennis

Posted on 5/28/18 9:03:56 PM Permalink

Jerry could I also have your scope and sequence? My email is

Also, any Adobe CC curriculum ideas, lesson plans, etc would be appreciated. I am overwhelmed in the curriculum development and my school doesn't give you much planning time. I am new at this recourse and am still trying to get a grip on it. Any suggestions would be helpful.

Thanks Everyone

jermaine hankerson

Posted on 8/9/18 11:24:20 AM Permalink

Please share with me if you get anything. I'm 1 day into my program and I am starting from scratch. Thanks in advance.

Abdul Hadi

Posted on 5/22/18 7:23:02 AM Permalink

I have been combining passion for my work with teaching for many years, always with the idea that my students learn in a very practical, natural and effective way. My goal is to be independent with the tool and develop their skills in a context of working with real projects and processes.

High School Student Program [Career Enabler]

This program is designed for high school student to get them started on an exciting, creative career and are as well prepared to teach students the best design skills. This program will be held for 3 months only during the summer.

The both basic and advance levels of the program focuses on developing their under-standing of design fundamentals and they will also learn to design for print. These pro-grams will help and prepare them for the best universities and for an exciting career beyond!

Tish Siau

Posted on 5/19/18 1:22:44 PM Permalink


I am starting a new class at my local high school called "Printing & Imagery". It will be a three year course, with P&I 1, P&I 2, and then a practicum course (which we hope to turn into a full working print shop for the students by that third year). So, I am going to be teaching graphic design, but we also will go into the publications, printing, and everything you need to know to set up your art for print. I would love to hear from you about your class that you've been teaching and how it's going. Do you have a curriculum set up that you are comfortable with?

beth pleban

Posted on 5/15/18 1:59:07 PM Permalink

​I teach three levels of Graphic Design courses at my high school. GDI concentrates on Illustrator and Photoshop as well as the elements and principles of design.

Daniel Timbal

Posted on 7/4/18 2:21:13 AM Permalink

Would it be possible to share the curriculum or the scope and sequence for the 3 levels? Thanks ahead. My email is

jermaine hankerson

Posted on 8/9/18 11:25:06 AM Permalink

Yes. I'd like to see his scope and sequence as well.

Julie Krueger

Posted on 4/25/18 3:49:59 PM Permalink

​Jerry could I also have your scope and sequence? My email is

george ouimete

Posted on 4/5/18 1:37:08 PM Permalink

I teach a course called Media Tech which is probably a graphic Design type course. I also teach more for an art project outcome. The course is a semester-long with 45 minute periods daily. I teach InDesign first, then Photoshop. Illustrator is a program I will incorporate into future classes or use in our Media Tech 2 class, but right now I have to increase my own knowledge base.

Marlon Cole

Posted on 7/20/18 12:19:29 AM Permalink

Hey George, ​ how did you come up with your curriculum? are you using rubric grading system?

judy parolini

Posted on 4/5/18 7:44:10 AM Permalink

Personally I would concentrate on Illustrator at first to bring them up to a semi professional level. Once they understand the intricacies of one Adobe App- then they will understand the next app easier by carrying over that level of competency. Trying to teach all at once may end up jack of all trades / master of none effect.. Basic keyboard skills are important and get them started on keyboard shortcuts from the beginning. Will you have access to graphic tablets? Not sure how the room is set up. the most effective computer classes i ran in a highschool. the computers were all arranged back against the walls - so the teacher could see the monitors, and check on progress quietly. White board at the top of the room with any websites . instructions etc.. Making effective instructional materials is a challenge.

dagny forrester

Posted on 3/21/18 2:38:56 PM Permalink

I too am beginning to plan for a graphic design course that is added to my high schools course selections next year. I was able to include a course pre req of Photoshop or Illustrator however I am sure there will be a need for supplemental instruction in both programs. The students will also have access to many other adobe programs such as InDesign.

The class will be 90 minutes every other day for one semester. The hope is that a more advanced design class will grow from the graphics class in the future.

I would appreciate any input, curriculum info, etc. If you have any course docs you could share, please send to

Thanks, Dagny

Brandon Sohier

Posted on 3/20/18 4:15:13 AM Permalink


Rachael Wrobel

Posted on 3/7/18 6:28:45 PM Permalink

​I teach graphic design at the high school level and I cover all 3 programs (AI, PS, ID) in one year with classes that are 58 minutes long. I spend one whole semester on Illustrator and then the 2nd semester is 75% Photoshop and 25% InDesign. My program is actually a 4 year program though so in year 1, we focus on learning the tools/basic skills for the software and then in years 2-4, students learn more advanced tools/techniques for designing. They also then get to go into the back of the classroom to use all the printing equipment.

Beth Shoultz

Posted on 2/27/19 5:34:50 PM Permalink

HI Rachael, I'm working on curriculum for next year and love your idea of teaching all three of these programs at a basic level to start, but with more advanced opportunities to learn. Is there any chance you would share your scope/lesson plans with me to help me get started? I would be so so grateful.... My email address is

Kimberly Fleming

Posted on 2/2/18 4:57:54 PM Permalink

I am so glad you asked this question! I am hoping to propose this idea to our admin in order to start a program similar to this!

LeRoy Makekau

Posted on 1/26/18 2:27:10 AM Permalink

​After spending 25 years in the graphic design industry, I decided to become a graphic design teacher. The technology aspect is import however, the summative assessment and problem solving is more important. I teach them my students basic skills in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator in which they can apply to real-world projects that designers do in the industry. ( Logo design, PSA posters, business cards, packaging, event flyers, etc).

enrique perez

Posted on 3/9/18 8:14:20 PM Permalink

I agree with you. The push in education lately is "Educate students on problem solving." Graphic design IS problem solving.

Good point!​

Nick Mugridge

Posted on 1/25/18 11:17:40 PM Permalink

​I have been teaching high school Graphic Design for about a decade now and have changed my curriculum every year to accommodate changes in technology and educational trends. My curriculum pathway is focused on graphic production technology, so i have adapted my content to be more print-based in the past couple of years. I have also had students return who are in graphic design programs at the college level and they have given me great feedback. As a result, I now emphasize the importance of InDesign and how Photoshop and Illustrator are incredibly useful to create the content that is eventually placed and utilized in a product through InDesign, whether it's print or web.

Patti Jeffries

Posted on 1/3/18 4:02:26 PM Permalink

I am not a teacher, but have been a graphic designer in the advertising and corporate communications field for many years. I use photoshop for digital and print advertising, web and social media so I would encourage working with that first. Indesign is mostly a publishing tool and as print is not as big as it once was, I would stick to Illustrator for vector graphics as my second line of education. But some students may be more interested in video and interactive design so After Effects​ would also be a great Adobe tool to at least touch on in class.

Jerry Sheridan

Posted on 1/3/18 2:31:10 PM Permalink

​Great! Sounds like where I was a few years ago. Those are the three programs I teach in year one as well. I treat the first year as a type of exploratory, giving the kids an opportunity to test out all aspects of the class. Often I will get upperclassmen looking for a class to fill their schedule, this helps with keeping them engaged and on task. I have developed a scope & sequence that I find successful and moves through the subject matter in a logical pace if you're interested.

Mia DeCrescenzo

Posted on 1/13/18 2:48:36 PM Permalink

Hi Jerry,

I am in a similar situation as Jessi above. Would you be open to sharing your scope and sequence?

Thank you!!

Brent Luplow

Posted on 1/18/18 2:01:10 PM Permalink

Hi Jerry,

I echo Mia's point. Would you be interested in sharing your scope and sequence with me as well?

Thank you!!

Kimberly Fleming

Posted on 2/2/18 5:02:13 PM Permalink

Hi Jerry, I just stumbled across this exchange and was hoping the same thing as Mia. I am in the process now of trying to get a graphic design program in our school and would love to have as much material as I can to present to my admin when I propose it. ​My email is

Thank you!

Jerry Sheridan

Posted on 2/8/18 1:18:49 PM Permalink

I sent a PDF, please let me know how it works out

phillip lough

Posted on 2/26/18 12:13:34 AM Permalink

​Hi Jerry, can you share with me too?

My email

Amber Novack-Landers

Posted on 3/7/18 4:12:49 PM Permalink

Hi Jerry- also interested in your PDF- Currently working on curriculum for a STEAM program where the students will have 1 1/2 hr. blocks of class 5 days a week. I appreciate any help/advice for this! :)​

Courtney Speer

Posted on 3/28/18 4:24:10 PM Permalink

Hello Jerry, As many others I am also interested in your PDF. My school will become a STEAM school next year offering students different electives in 90 minute blocks. I will be teaching "technology" but have been given the go to choose anything to teach (coding, graphic design, video production, etc.). My email address is

Thank you so much!

amina ahmed

Posted on 6/18/18 1:45:36 PM Permalink

Hi jerry can you share with me too? my email is

Shannon Graham

Posted on 6/28/18 6:17:18 AM Permalink

​I am also a First year Graphic Design teacher. I would love your scope and sequence as well.

Belle Lar

Posted on 8/6/18 6:00:43 PM Permalink

Hi Jerry,

I am teaching the same too - can I get your scope and sequence as well? Thank you.


Monica Campbell

Posted on 8/20/18 6:48:40 PM Permalink

​Hi Jerry,

You are probably very busy but I too will be teaching a Graphic Design class this year. If you can, would you share your scope and sequence with me as well? Any resources are greatly appreciated!

My email is

Thank you!

Tracy Bazsika

Posted on 3/28/19 6:00:03 PM Permalink

I would love to view the scope and sequence, too, if you still have it available to share.


alyson gooch

Posted on 5/30/19 2:40:32 PM Permalink


I just stumbled across thi​s thread and am very interested in your scope and sequence..can you send me some information please?


Laurel Marion

Posted on 2/8/18 1:11:57 PM Permalink


Would you be willing to share your scope & sequence?

Jerry Sheridan

Posted on 2/8/18 1:18:32 PM Permalink

YEs, provide me an e-mail

Tokie Taylor

Posted on 3/12/18 1:19:29 PM Permalink

Hello Jerry, Im revamping our program as well and would love to have your scope and sequence as well, if you do not mind sharing. I know you are busy but if you have time my email is

Thanks so much!!!​

Laura Benitz

Posted on 3/16/18 2:30:02 PM Permalink

I would be interested in the scope and sequence as well, please.

I begin my first year teaching graphic design this coming fall. I am so excited, as I've taught photography in the past and I'm looking forward to adding more choices into our curriculum.

Ina Kirsten

Posted on 3/23/18 5:37:22 AM Permalink

Hi Jerry

I am going to start teaching Graphic Design next year and it is a new subject at The American School of Bangkok.

Can you please be so kind and email me your curriculum?

Craig da Luz

Posted on 3/23/18 5:25:44 PM Permalink

Jerry, Could I also take a look at it as well?

Thank you in advance!​

Danelle Landgraf

Posted on 3/28/18 6:50:43 PM Permalink

Thanks Jerry , I would love it too!​

Kimberly Wright

Posted on 5/21/18 4:50:42 PM Permalink

Hello Jerry, I will be teaching a graphic design course to Continuing Education students and I am interested in your pdf. My email is Thank you so much!​

Joseph Turek

Posted on 5/22/18 4:53:31 AM Permalink

hello, I hope I am not too late, but, I would appreciate your curriculum as well

​I will be teaching GD in the fall, and have taught a version of that class in the past, but do appreciate new perspectives and insights.​

Jennifer Mason

Posted on 5/30/18 7:25:08 PM Permalink

​Hi Jerry,

Could you email a copy of your scope and sequence pdf ? Just starting at a new HS in the fall and would love some support in this area. Many thanks.


Jenna Robisnon

Posted on 6/3/18 1:53:42 AM Permalink

Hi Jerry,

Would you mind sharing your scope and sequence with me as well? I will be teaching a digital arts course this summer and in the fall .


Nano Rubio

Posted on 6/13/18 4:00:23 PM Permalink

Hello, would you also share your pdf with me?

Erin Campbell

Posted on 8/1/18 8:14:17 PM Permalink

Hi Jerry! I am designing a course for an Undergrad ​program. Would you be willing to share your scope and sequence with me as well? I'd really appreciate it!

Bekka Olandt

Posted on 11/1/18 5:17:07 PM Permalink

Hi Jerry, I too will be starting a introductory Graphic Design course and would be interested in seeing your scope and sequence if you're still willing.

My email is

Joy Randolph

Posted on 8/18/18 5:02:49 PM Permalink


I'm new to teaching GD too and would appreciate a copy of your score/sequence. Thank you in advance.

Mrs. Julie McNulty

Posted on 2/11/18 6:52:58 PM Permalink

Hi Jerry,

I would also appreciate seeing your ​scope and sequence. My email is

Thank you so much,


Wendy Brewer

Posted on 2/14/18 6:09:49 PM Permalink

Hi Jerry! I am interested in seeing your scope and sequence as well. My email address is I look forward to hearing from you!​

Alison Schaaf

Posted on 3/5/18 3:04:17 AM Permalink

Would also love to see your scope and sequence, I am in the same boat as the above.​

Brendan Curran

Posted on 3/27/18 8:50:37 PM Permalink

Thank you for sharing with all, I would love to have a copy. Thanks so much!​

Tamara Wilson

Posted on 4/16/18 5:24:00 PM Permalink


I would love a copy as well.

Julie Krueger

Posted on 4/25/18 3:51:14 PM Permalink

Jerry my email is I only have a semester though -- 50 minutes a day 18 weeks​

eric gunawan

Posted on 4/27/18 8:02:27 AM Permalink

hi jerry, this year , my school will start a graphic design class, and i am still thinking on how should i teach first ,

would you share your scope and sequence?

my email :

i would give my best for my student :)


Anna Lyn Lumibao

Posted on 4/28/18 5:33:08 AM Permalink

Hi Jerry,

I am also looking at how I can teach Graphics Design to my students. I have Years 10, 11, 12 and our course is called Design and Technology - Information Communication Products. We have different options on which areas to concentrate on which are: computer-aided design, graphics, multimedia, photography, sound, and web design. I am thinking of concentrating on graphics which would span students' learning from Years 10, 11, and 12. We have five 45 minutes per week in a semester.

May I ask to have a copy of your scope and sequence, and/or curriculum? My email address is

Thank you very much.

Joann Keane

Posted on 5/1/18 1:52:44 AM Permalink

Hi Jerry,

I, too, would appreciate a look at your scope & sequence. I'm looking for new options for students.

Trish Hinrichs

Posted on 5/9/18 1:08:37 AM Permalink

Jerry, I would be interested in your scope and sequence if you are open to sharing.

Thank you


Marilyn Jones

Posted on 5/15/18 10:28:01 PM Permalink

Hi ​Jerry

I too would appreciate a copy of your scope and sequence.

Ken Baker

Posted on 5/23/18 6:52:14 PM Permalink

Hello Jerry,

Please share your scope and sequence.

Thank you,​

Martha Anne Kuntz

Posted on 6/10/18 3:26:00 PM Permalink

I'm just getting into the conversation - I would love to be included in the scope and sequence you might be sharing. Thanks for posting.​

Cherie Dean

Posted on 6/13/18 4:14:00 AM Permalink

Hi Jerry,

I too will be starting a Graphic Design course for the first time. I have been a designer for over 25 years and this will be my first "from scratch" teaching experience. Could you also send me your scope and sequence plan? My email is Thanks!

Kenia Ixcot

Posted on 6/17/18 4:32:39 PM Permalink

​Hello Jerry,

Im starting a media tech class for high school next school year. Could you please share with me the scope and sequence you created please. My email is

Thank you so much!


Kristina Erinakes

Posted on 7/7/18 4:24:45 PM Permalink

​Hi Jerry, would you please send me a copy of the scope & sequence? I’ll be teaching graphic design starting in September. Thank you!


Renarda Faulk

Posted on 7/11/18 7:24:51 PM Permalink

Hi Jerry. I am teaching Graphic Arts for the first time this year. Will you please share your scope and sequence?

Thanks a mil!​

Sheri Mortimer

Posted on 7/11/18 7:45:40 PM Permalink

Hi Jerry

I would be very interested in your scope and sequence​, if you are willing to share.

Thanks Sheri

Scott Stephens

Posted on 7/28/18 1:42:57 PM Permalink

Jerry I am setting up the first ever program for a High School here in Florida. You have a pdf you have sent to other teachers with your curriculum? I would love to take a look. thank you

Melissa Reed

Posted on 8/8/18 4:05:08 AM Permalink

Hi Jerry,

Hope I'm not too late but I would love to see your scope and sequence as well. This is my 2nd year teaching Graphic Design and I could use anything and everything I can get to help improve in this area as I have no experience in the area. Thank you!​

Carlos Melendez

Posted on 8/12/18 3:59:08 PM Permalink


I am interested in your Scope and Sequence. My email is:

Thanks in advance​

Beth Shoultz

Posted on 2/27/19 5:36:23 PM Permalink

Hi Jerry, would you mind sharing your scope and sequence with me?

Zack Cooley

Posted on 8/10/19 11:45:13 PM Permalink

Jerry, I would love to see your scope and sequence like all these other educators. Graphic Design is fun to teach, even though it doesn't come all that easy to me. Thank you!

Bradley Hesser

Posted on 12/13/17 2:44:02 PM Permalink

I would start with Design Concepts to develop the basic skill set in fundamentals and principles. The first software I would introduce would be Photoshop. Photoshop allows you to do raster, vector, 3D, and video.​

asher schwartz

Posted on 12/3/17 7:56:29 PM Permalink

This is my second year teaching graphic design at a high school I find Photoshop to be the most basic. Once the students start to get a hold of it I move on to Illustrator and then finally, Indesign. I'm curious to see your current curriculum. If you can share it, this is my email:

Thanks and good luck!


Posted on 11/30/17 12:55:56 AM Permalink

Hey Robbie

Are all the resources located on your Google Drive. I'm having trouble finding some of the files you indicate to open in your Canva lessons.

solomon amera

Posted on 11/24/17 3:16:15 PM Permalink

I think starting with Adobe photoshop is good. ​Raster images is around everyone so it will easy to start with it. after that teaching illustrator may be better. the students will have some ideas to start illustrator after photoshop and then indesign. this is just my choice i don't know others recommendations.

Debora Tartaglia

Posted on 11/15/17 1:32:13 PM Permalink

I​'ve been teaching Graphic Design for about 10 years. I usually start my class with "What is Graphic Design" and what is good design verses bad design. The class is not just learning the programs which is really important but my class revolves around good design practices. We work with elements and principles of design. The class is designed to have the student work with some basic design projects that are done with paper, exacto knives and rubber cement. What they design on paper they recreate in Illustrator. I start with Illustrator because it's easier for the students to jump into. They are not worried about pixels and blurry photos. It also make the students really understand what the important tools are that are used in PS and ID as well. Once I see that they are grasping the concept of Illustrator, we have had about 4 or 5 projects done with the program. The class is ready for PS and all the creativity that can bring to students. This year I started to use Spark page with my classes with is a great way for the students to reflect on their projects and progress in the class. It also gives me a chance to see their processes of learning. I have a graphic 2 class that reviews what they learn in Graphic 1 and then I teach ID.

I hope that helps you prepare for your class.

Brandon Ricklefs

Posted on 11/21/17 2:31:15 PM Permalink

This does help a lot! I work in a low income district so our facilities are a bit outdated ​but we are working on building up the program so a solid curriculum goes a long way. Thanks for the suggestions!

Courtney Speer

Posted on 3/28/18 4:25:46 PM Permalink

Hello Debora, I am curious in viewing your curriculum for your course. Would you be willing to share it?

My email is


Anna Lyn Lumibao

Posted on 4/28/18 5:38:22 AM Permalink

Hi Debora,

Your topics look very interesting. Will you be willing to share your curriculum and course materials? I am new to this area and would appreciate all the help. My email address is


Trish Hinrichs

Posted on 5/9/18 2:23:28 PM Permalink

Hello Debora,

This helps me. Would you be interested in sharing your curriculum? My email is

Cherie Dean

Posted on 6/13/18 4:18:49 AM Permalink

​Do you have a scope/projects you can share? I would surely appreciate it!

Belle Lar

Posted on 8/6/18 6:07:40 PM Permalink

Debora, This is all very helpful. I like the idea of working with the hands - on projects first. Also working with Illustrator and then PS. Would you be able to share your curriculum? thanks​

Adobe Education

Posted on 11/10/17 6:01:20 PM Permalink

Some AEE members have asked for our advice and resources on this topic. We recommend searching the AEE - a lot of other educators have posted some amazing work - Here's an example of searching by "Graphic Design" You can also search by product name.

We also have created the Visual Design: Foundations of Design and Print Production curriculum (To download the entire package: It can help you create a scope and sequence to teach your students, as well as teach skills in a variety of ways - some via large projects and some via smaller activities. It includes instructor guides to help you teach, specific lesson plans to use in your classroom and step-by-step technical tutorials that you can give to your students. All of the smaller activities that make up the larger curriculum are located here: We are continually updating these resources to the current CC versions as well as industry standards. We welcome any and all feedback on these resources.

Additionally, we broke up the curriculum into different syllabi that accommodate for various pathways of learning various skills, some are product driven, some are thematic, and some are learning project management, research, and communication skills needed for successful design. Here are some that may help you with Graphic Design:

- Introduction to Graphic Design
- Introduction to Digital Photography and Image Editing
- Introduction to Print and Digital Publishing
Learn Adobe Photoshop CC
Learn Adobe Indesign CC
Learn Adobe Illustrator CC
Research and Communication for Design Projects
Project Management and Planning for Design Projects

(Note - to download any of the above as a single PDF package - select "Syllabus Bundle" in the upper right-hand corner.)

We hope some of these are helpful!

The AEE Team

Jeanette Mangels

Posted on 11/2/17 4:39:43 PM Permalink

Hi Adrienne,

This is my second year teaching high school Digital Art & Design in Columbia, SC. I would love to see your lessons. Thank you!

Amanda Francis

Posted on 10/21/17 10:04:38 AM Permalink

Hi Jess, I am a Goori Youth worker in Ballina NSW Australia, and run all kinds of programs in High Schools. I almost finished my Diploma in Photo and Photo Imaging. I have use some of my training running a program, Photoshop, Inspirational quotes and Motivational speaking. I created a bank of my own images on USB for students to use because of copyright purposes. Most students I work with did not know how to use PS. So first lesson was for the students to pick a image from the stock images and learn how to upload a photo to PS. Then learn how to add text to the image. I created a booklet with with seggestive keywords and example inspirational quotes to give the students ideas on creating their own quote. Then they learnt how to move the text around and change the text. They also shared their inspirational quotes with their class mates. The lesson went for an hour and each student completed the tasks easily and shared their quote. When the class was finished we were all so happy and inspired by each other. Next lesson is photography and using their own images to create another inspirational quote topic and learn double exsposure and layers. The proposal after the four week program is to create a book for the student and school of inspirational quotes. Was perfect start to more progressive programs I would like to run for my work.​

Donald Paradise

Posted on 10/11/17 5:22:26 PM Permalink

​Hi Jessi,

I started a long time ago teaching Graphic Communications (Print Technology) and then kind moved into the total digital world of design. I start out my students with basic beginner to intermediate Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign lessons. We so many different types of projects: Posters, pamphlets, advertisements, business cards, letterhead, resumes, animation, video production and design, and alot of hands on projects like real t-shirt, banner, and large scale branding projects. Send me an email at the following: I can send you a good many lessons and materials to get you going!

Melissa Reed

Posted on 10/11/17 5:42:23 PM Permalink

Could I also have any lesson materials that you have done with those classes? I would greatly appreciate it.​

Janis Henderson

Posted on 10/11/17 7:08:57 PM Permalink

​I would love to see your lessons as well. Have you thought about publishing them here?

Tami Reed

Posted on 10/18/17 4:16:19 PM Permalink

I am also interested in any lesson materials​ you are willing to share. Thanks,

carlos becerra

Posted on 10/19/17 8:46:29 PM Permalink

I'm late in the request but if I could also have some lesson materials would be awesome.​

Chimere Turner

Posted on 10/23/17 1:23:22 PM Permalink

Would love if you could share with me as

Adobe Education

Posted on 10/25/17 1:40:01 PM Permalink

leah rachlis

Posted on 9/18/17 1:37:42 PM Permalink

​I start with Illustrator as the skills learned are transferable to all of the other adobe programs. I wrap up a semester long course with a project at incorporates AI, PS and ID - such as a Movie Poster or Magazine Cover. I have a separate Digital Imaging class where we delve more into Photoshop. In my level two courses we build more on doing projects with Multiple Programs.

Tamara Wilson

Posted on 9/13/17 6:58:52 PM Permalink

Hi Adrianne,

Yes I would love and appreciate anything that you have. ​

Adrianne Nix

Posted on 9/13/17 6:38:05 PM Permalink


I am late to seeing this post but I have been teaching graphic design in a high school for the past 15 years. In Graphic Design 1 (semester long course) I teach basics of Photoshop and Illustrator, roughly half the time in each program. In Graphic Design 2 (also a semester long) we work with both programs and combining both programs. I also teach an animation and motion graphics class that covers After Effects along with Photoshop and Illustrator. I would be willing to share my project curriculum with anyone who is interested, just message me.

Camille Dogbe

Posted on 9/13/17 6:57:16 PM Permalink

Hi Adrianne,

Thank you for your post and willingness to share. I am interested in your curriculum for both levels.

Brian Graham

Posted on 9/14/17 12:54:22 AM Permalink


Thank you for sharing the curriculum plan! I am new to teaching HS Digital art.....I have been trying trying to wrap my head around this topic. Your shared curriculum plan is just what I was looking for. Thank you again for sharing it.

K Bader

Posted on 9/14/17 1:00:53 AM Permalink

I am also interested in any assistance with curriculum. Thank you for sharing

Melissa Reed

Posted on 9/14/17 1:35:50 PM Permalink

I would love to see your curriculum for both programs!​

Brittany Plourde

Posted on 9/18/17 3:19:10 PM Permalink

​I'm a little late to the comment thread, but would love to see your curriculum

Karen Ross

Posted on 9/19/17 1:50:20 AM Permalink

Hi Adrianne,

This is my first year teaching Design, and I want to teach Illustrator and Photoshop. I would appreciate you sharing your curriculum.


Karen Ross

Charlotte Brooks

Posted on 9/28/17 3:14:19 AM Permalink

Hi Adrianne,

We are offering a new Graphic Design program this year at our school as well. I would also love to see both your curriculums. Thanks for offering to share.

Julie French

Posted on 9/28/17 12:58:34 PM Permalink


I'm teaching a semester long HS Graphic Design class for the first time and would love to see as much of your curriculum as possible. Thank you very much for sharing! ​

Jeff Prinz

Posted on 10/4/17 9:34:42 PM Permalink

Hello Adrianne,

Can you email me your curriculum and pace guide please, I am looking into starting it at our high school, in correlation with Adobe Muse

Jennifer Ayers

Posted on 10/6/17 4:05:04 PM Permalink

I would love to see your curriculum. I teach GDVC Freshman and Sophomores



Timothy Glidden

Posted on 10/10/17 6:58:28 PM Permalink

Hi Adrianne,

I would love to look at what you do for your graphic design classes, especially After Effects. We will be getting Creative Cloud this year and I am exptremely excited to start teaching my student other programs besides Illustrator, Photoshop and Indesign. I would appreciate any materials you would be willing to share. Thank you so much.

Elizabeth Clasquin

Posted on 10/11/17 8:28:41 AM Permalink

Hello Adrianne

I might be a bit late to the conversation but would be extremely grateful if you would share your c​urriculums and pace guides for Graphic Design 1 & 2 and also your motion graphics classes. It would be such an amazing help.

Tami Reed

Posted on 10/18/17 4:17:59 PM Permalink

I would also be interested in whatever you are willing to share for all that you teach. Thanks,​

Anoosheh Mirzaagha

Posted on 10/24/17 3:54:26 PM Permalink


I would also love any resources you would be willing to share. I have just started teaching Graphic Design as well and am new to teaching in general. Having a hard time coming up with appropriate assignments/projects to cover my outcomes.


Anoosheh (​

Laura McLuckie

Posted on 10/25/17 1:35:54 AM Permalink

Dear Adrianne,

Please send me your project curriculum. Many thanks!!​

Patricia Edel

Posted on 10/26/17 3:12:36 AM Permalink

Hi Adrianne,

I am late to the conversation as well but your still willing to share your project curriculum on animation and motion graphics as well as Graphic Design 1 and 2, that would be an amazing help. Thanks so much!

Jessica Fisk

Posted on 10/31/17 1:46:31 PM Permalink

Hi Adrianne,

I would love to get your input on Graphic Design 2 and Annimation. I started a Graphic Design 2 class this year and could definitely use some suggestions! I also have several students who are interested in Premier Pro, After Effects, and Flash if you have any lessons or ideas with that I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you!

Courtney Marshall

Posted on 11/2/17 4:42:35 PM Permalink

Hi, I would be interested in your Graphic Design 1 & 2 primarily photoshop and illustrator curriculum. Thanks for offering.



Dennis Price

Posted on 11/3/17 5:09:10 PM Permalink

​I have just been handed the task of creating a nine-weeks "introduction to graphic design" class to start next semester. I'd like to introduce animation and After Effects to my students as well. Anything you'd be willing to share would be of great help. Thanks!

~ Dennis

Julie Stuart

Posted on 11/7/17 5:55:41 PM Permalink

I just started teaching Graphic Design. I have no curriculum or anything. I am making it up as I go. I would love any help with curriculum and projects if you have anything. I also teach Digital Media as well. My email is

Thank you so much!


Sara Mitchell

Posted on 11/28/17 9:19:32 PM Permalink

​I would love to see the projects you do. I have taught graphic design a couole years but need to improve my projects. Thank you! My email is

Jane Falgout

Posted on 1/3/18 8:09:19 PM Permalink

This is amazing. I am looking to revamp my GD classes and we seem to have the same scheduling GD1 (one semester) and GD2 (one semester). Could you send your curriculum to me as well?​

Brent Luplow

Posted on 1/18/18 2:06:55 PM Permalink

Hi Adrianne,

I echo everyone elses statements I would love to get your project curriculum. My email is

THank you!

Anna Lyn Lumibao

Posted on 4/28/18 5:42:19 AM Permalink

Hi Adrianne,

Your topics look very interesting. I am new to this area and would appreciate all the help. My email address is


Abdul Hadi

Posted on 5/22/18 7:26:02 AM Permalink

​Dear Adrianne;

Hope it's not too late, can you please share your project curriculum me;


Faten khalil

Posted on 8/10/17 1:14:31 AM Permalink

​I am in the same boat. Our school is also starting a new Graphic Design course.

Allison Kippers-Garon

Posted on 8/4/17 9:09:26 PM Permalink

Our school is also beginning a Visual Design program, and I along with one other teacher will be the first one to teach some Adobe tools. I found a YouTuber's free pdf that includes Graphic Design elements! Maybe start with this to brainstorm your own unit ideas!

Amy Dellwardt

Posted on 9/2/17 7:03:10 PM Permalink

I've taught Graphic Design for a few years and this is a great resource. Thank you for sharing. ​

Jessica Fisk

Posted on 10/31/17 1:47:52 PM Permalink

Thank you! ​

Courtnie Jensen

Posted on 7/9/17 2:25:59 PM Permalink

​Hello all. First I have to say I am so grateful to have found this board. I am new to high school teaching ( starting next monty). I have been working as a Graphic Designer for over 20 years and was ready for a change. I have posted here before but have a new question.

In addition to graphic design classes I will also be teaching Intro to Digital Photography. Although I am fairly fluent in Photoshop and have worked with photographers and photography throughout my career, I am at a bit of a loss on a good, yet fun and engaging curriculum for a beginning Digital photo class. If any one has any resources, suggestions and thought for this I would so welcome and appreciate it!

Thank you!

Mary Brune

Posted on 8/1/17 2:02:08 AM Permalink

I'm in the same boat! creating a course from scratch to teach in a new design pathway. Digital Photography is my first unit. Yikes. August is tomorrow! school starts too soon!​

Courtnie Jensen

Posted on 8/1/17 2:50:43 PM Permalink

Hi Mary, Sounds like we are in the same boat. I have reached out to another teacher at my school who taught Digital Photo classes. She is sharing her curriculum with me. I figure it will be a good start. I am trying to not over think it all. Keep the assignments basic and flexible. I have been told by other teachers that flexibility is key.

Some of my thoughts:
​With photo I am brushing up on the basics of the type of camera my class has available to them. Then I plan to run over some "basic" tools in photoshop. I do believe that giving them an assignment and having them "figure out" how to use the tools and complete the assignment is the best way for them to learn. I don't want to bore them with class tutorials on all the tools. There are so many resources online they can access on "how to use" certain tools as well. Maybe starting with basic composition of a photo, utilizing type with a photo and possible incorporating an illustration or organic visual. So starting with a basic image and building on it? These are my starting points for now.... Best of luck to you :)

伟昊 陈

Posted on 6/30/17 8:40:37 AM Permalink

is it have any free online video

Gwen Douglas

Posted on 6/2/17 3:26:52 PM Permalink

​I will be teaching both an Introduction to Graphic Design and a Graphic Design 2 (Advanced Graphic Design). I am fairly new to both classes so any help and activities that you have for both classes would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Gwen

Rebecca DeWeese

Posted on 5/16/17 4:00:14 AM Permalink


I am also teaching a new digital art class this year. My focus has been more on teaching the artistic design aspect of the class rather than on specific tools. I tried to instill a sense of self-discovery and problem solving with my students from the beginning so that they would learn how to independently learn the tools of the programs themselves. That being said, I did guide them more in the beginning and have provided them with short tutorials either in person in class or as screencasts. I also point them to the many tutorials available through Adobe. In the beginning, it was a little tough to convince them not to raise their hand with every small question. Now they are very adept at researching how to problem solve and have learned many aspects of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign as they have needed it for their design purposes. Since these programs are often getting updated and change frequently, they will feel more confident in knowing they know how to find solutions they are looking for.

Thanks for sharing your questions and good luck! I'm right here learning with you!

Courtnie Jensen

Posted on 4/24/17 3:30:39 PM Permalink

​Thank you for posting this. I too am just starting a new teaching position at a high school teaching Graphic Design and Digital Media and my goals are very similar to yours Jessica. I have been working as a graphic design for over 22 years. Although I have much experience working with clients, college students and the like, High School teens I am a tad nervous about. I want to make sure I am creating a curriculum that will keep the kids engaged. I do believe that showing the students the basics of design programs such as Illustrator, Indesign and Photoshop is good. But I do not want to spend all of the class time boring them to death with the technicalities. My hopes are to set them loose on projects that will drive them to figure out the programs. Any thoughts on this? I will be following this thread. Thank you!

Robbie Collett

Posted on 4/24/17 4:07:07 PM Permalink

When teachers and trainers spend an hour demonstrating the different tools available in Illustrator, that will be boring. If you show them one or two tools at a time and give them an interesting assignment that uses that tool, they will love it. I also HIGHLY recommend recording screencasts and having the students watch those, rather than try to do a live demo for everyone. I posted earlier with more details about what I did with my students.​

Eddie Mathews

Posted on 5/9/17 5:42:02 PM Permalink


I'm sure you're already doing cool stuff. One consideration is whether to integrate certification. My school pushed me this direction and I'm glad they did. We focus on Photoshop all year long using the "Classroom in a Book" and integrate our work into a variety of projects. At the end of the year they take the Adobe Photoshop ACA certification, which makes my administrators very happy.

Downsides? The test is really a college-level test. Academically challenged students, especially younger high school kids, often fail. Seniors who have decent GPAs and years of experience with Photoshop- they pass at a high percentage. So there's that. It's also an expensive money grab by the software corporations. Adobe and Pearson/ Certiport charge us around $2800 a year to test, but that does include pre-testing. Ouch. Kids can also pay $65/ test but that's risky.

A positive is that kids can leave your class with an actual certification. There are many different thoughts on the value of certifications out there, with many talented folks in the industry (like you) who usually don't have certifications. However, in this day of teacher accountability, it's a benchmark that means something.


Merrilee Hale

Posted on 4/22/17 5:37:13 AM Permalink

​While my course is an introduction for college students, they're mostly freshmen with little to no previous design experience.

You may be able to repurpose some of my content, or just pick and choose things that you think may help. I have stand alone lesson plans, resources, printable plans, and rubrics that could be set in depending on what you're doing. I think Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign can be fit in to an intro course as long as they work together in order to keep the process and objectives in line so; starting with editing a photo, then creating a simple logo or graphic in Illustrator, and then creating a brief multi-page document in InDesign that combines all of the work will start to show them how all the moving pieces work in conjunction. Please feel free to use anything you like.

I had to create a website for my course because our college ( website doesn't grant any access to professors (go figure).

Angela Wong

Posted on 5/28/17 5:38:17 PM Permalink

Thank you so much for sharing your link. I teach Graphic Design to high school students and while it is not my background (I have degrees in Art History and Fine Arts) it was a course my boss wanted us to offer and I have a deep personal interest in design. I was really happy to take it on but often feel self conscious about not having the career experience and being someone who is self-taught along the way. It's really nice to see what you are teaching college freshmen so I can assess my own course and see if I've missed anything important. ​

Jessica Fisk

Posted on 10/31/17 1:53:32 PM Permalink

Thank you for sharing! ​

Fred Benitez

Posted on 3/27/17 6:48:20 PM Permalink

I have some stuff stored on Google Drive that I share out to my teachers. This was, pretty much, my entire first semester of instruction and projects. There are some practice pages in the beginning, but then I stop using them once the kids are off creating on their own. Please feel free to use these as you'd like or modify them to fit your needs:

Tamara Wilson

Posted on 3/27/17 7:03:29 PM Permalink

Thank you so much Fred. I knew when I met you are TCEA that you were alright!!!!

Jennifer Mecham

Posted on 4/19/17 7:46:09 PM Permalink


Your resource looks amazing, would it be ok if I used it as well? I'm beginning a graphic design course next year too. I currently teach K-12 art.​

Laura Lee Juliano

Posted on 8/29/17 1:36:23 AM Permalink

Thank you for sharing your resources and plans Fred!​

LaDonna LaValle

Posted on 3/17/17 1:00:08 AM Permalink

I will be in the same boat as you. I will be starting to teach Digital Media/Multimedia Design ​for the first time in the fall. Any resources or tips, please pass along.

Gwen Meltzer

Posted on 2/11/17 1:20:38 AM Permalink

​I've been teaching graphic design/digital imaging, photography and CAD for the past 12 years at the high school level. In my school, students were required to take Art I before taking any of the digital courses. This year, I designed a new course Intro to Digital Design that students can take in lieu of Art I. In this new course, students learn Illustrator in the 1st marking period, Photoshop in the 2nd, InDesign in the 3rd and for the 4th, they choose which of the three to use. In the very beginning of the school year, students learn to navigate through the operating system. (we use macs). This way they learn to set up folders on the school server and know where to save their work. Also, I generally follow this loose pattern when teaching, regardless of content: Introduction (why learn this), tutorials (practice mechanics), quiz (terminology) and projects (thumbnail sketches, prints, critiques).

Angela Lunsford

Posted on 4/27/17 2:43:55 PM Permalink

I set my course/units up similarly - introduction, tutorials (guided and individual), projects, quizzes. I have been teaching Graphic Design/Digital Art for 7 years. I generally tend to focus on Ai because our Journalism teacher teaches InDesign, and the Photography teacher focuses on Photoshop. Plus, we are required to give the certification exams.

May I ask, do you mix commercial art projects with some that are more fine arts? This is my general practice. Unfortunately, my course code is changing to a technical class next year, so my course will be much more dry (i.e. designing a flyer, business card, etc.)

Bea mamás

Posted on 7/14/17 12:21:05 PM Permalink

​Hello! I teach graphic design also and video production. i think also, learn this tools is the basic to start in art digital world. I read on your comment, students learn about Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign - Is there any other you recommend for digital image?. I used them 3 already, plus Adobe Premiere and After Effect for video production.

Georgia Filippou

Posted on 2/8/17 9:52:43 PM Permalink

I use Indesign, illustrator and photoshop programs to create teaching materials for language teachers and for my own classes so teaching graphic design is not my area. However, I do teach high school students. Given that all of them write essays, reports and so on as part of their routine homework tasks all year round, an area to concentrate on first might be indesign since this is a program they can actually use and practise on for projects outside your class. Also, your students may already have wondered how to make their essays look better and more professional like, so I think that this will get their attention from the start.

Gerard Raap

Posted on 2/6/17 2:32:26 PM Permalink

I have been teaching Graphic Design & Illustration for 5 years at public school north of Houston Texas. We are on a block schedule so students meet ninety minutes every other day. I like to start the Fall semester with Illustrator and InDesign and then work with Photoshop and digital photography in the Spring semester. Take a look at my website of you are looking for some help Good Luck!

Jennifer Lee

Posted on 6/28/17 6:51:13 PM Permalink

Your class webpage is really nice. Thank you for sharing!

I bought the LEARN book for Photoshop recently and have just started going through it. Do you prefer this text over the Classroom in a Book series? The other teachers in my district use that.


Posted on 7/17/17 3:56:17 AM Permalink

Sorry, but most of the buttons in your page don't take anywhere, I would like to see​ the notes and projects and it won't let me, am I doing something wrong?

Joan Rice

Posted on 1/9/17 2:42:22 PM Permalink

​Hi, I teach Graphic Design at a Special Needs School. I use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I also just started this program and I found that teaching the basics is the best way to proceed. How to create a new document, the toolbox how each tool is used. I created different projects using the same tools over and over again until they were comfortable using them.

clark semple

Posted on 11/16/16 1:10:31 AM Permalink

​HI Jesse:

I taught a graphic design/multi-media class a year or two ago. It came as a surprise since I normally do not teach graphics, I am an animation ( 80%)/ art one teacher(20%). Anyway , I put together a WIX site that might give you some ideas. I only used it for a year ! You are more than welcome to use any ideas that you might gleen from it. The site's URL is:


If you would like to use it, I can change the password and then give it to you , then you can re-password it....I am retired!

you can reach me at

crissie ballard

Posted on 11/16/16 4:30:22 PM Permalink

​If she doesn't want it I'll take it!

andres rodriguez

Posted on 12/7/16 6:12:16 PM Permalink

same here. i could definitely use it

Patricia Rivera

Posted on 1/16/17 9:51:07 PM Permalink

If you don't mind I too would like information for your page. I teach Multimedia and Graphic Design for the past year and would like to expand on the curriculum that I am using. I saw your site and the work the students are producing. I would really like to get to this level.

Thank you,​

Ashley Herndon

Posted on 3/2/17 3:33:56 PM Permalink

I would really like to use it if possible.​

Melissa Reed

Posted on 8/8/17 8:39:21 PM Permalink

Any way I could get access to the lessons and projects?​

Camille Dogbe

Posted on 9/13/17 6:57:58 PM Permalink

Thank you for sharing your site Clark. It contains such useful info. I teach multimedia classes as well and has given me some other types of projects that will help push necessary skills in PS, AI, and ID. I would love to use it, if that is okay with you?​ My email is

Peggy Cook

Posted on 11/1/16 5:19:34 PM Permalink

​I teach in Katy ISD near Houston, Texas. The 1st semester I teach Illustrator and Photoshop. The 2nd semester I teach animate and Autodesk 3D Max/Maya.

Ashley Herndon

Posted on 3/2/17 3:34:38 PM Permalink

I was looking at art teaching jobs in Katy. How do you like it?​

Nelshah Reilly

Posted on 10/12/16 4:33:11 PM Permalink

I've been teaching computer graphics for the past 7 years to high school students grades 10-12. I start in Gr. 10 with Illustrator and Flash (students love animating), Gr. 11 with photoshop (easier transition if they know Illustrator first as pp mentioned), Gr. 12 with InDesign and advanced Illustrator/Photoshop techniques. I use Adobe's Classroom in a Book and find it really helps students really learn all the ins and outs of the tools/software. I always have students coming back from University/College saying that they knew so much more because of the course content. We are currently switching over to CC and I'm finding that I have to think of graphic design theory assignments as none of my software is currently installed. If anyone has any assignments they'd like to share please let me know. It would be a great help. Hopefully I was of help to you as well.

Michelle Fredricks

Posted on 10/7/16 9:51:52 PM Permalink

​As someone who has tutored in graphic/web design and photography for 3 years and has over 10 years in the experience in the field, I would say to start with Photoshop and then move to other programs. Kids love photos whether it be taking selfies or posting on social media, so starting with a program where they could edit these more extensively would really draw them in. Technically, you would be able to introduce them to these programs, but not as much in depth as these are 3 complex programs that all focus on different areas of design.

What would have been helpful for me in high school would be to see how these programs apply in the real world and what types of careers could come out of using these programs. Maybe have some speakers who work in the industry (photographer for Photoshop, a Digital Illustrator for Illustrator and a Publications Layout Specialist for InDesign) come in and talk about what they do? Just a thought! Good luck!

Jorge Pena

Posted on 9/23/16 3:30:13 PM Permalink

​Hi i am new to this can someone help me

Jamie Steffl

Posted on 8/5/16 4:01:05 PM Permalink

We are also adding graphic design to our advanced curriculum.Great and helpful post.


Posted on 5/17/16 6:09:23 PM Permalink

I have been working in design and the printing fields for the past 40+ years. What I've discovered is, a lot of students are learning the software side without knowing the why things need to be a certain way. For example, what is created in Illustrator for print may need modified for social, and then each social media has different dimensions. First teach the "what is this piece going to be used for". Then teach how to get there, first Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, InCopy, etc.

Robbie Collett

Posted on 5/17/16 5:36:56 PM Permalink

I taught graphic design for 3 years to grades 7–9. Here's the most important lessons I learned:

  • Teach Illustrator before Photoshop. The transition is easier.
  • Use an LMS. If your school/district doesn't have one, use Canvas if they still do their free-for-teachers edition. Then you can record short software tutorials, put them in assignments in the LMS, and students can work through them at their own pace. They can upload images as their assignment submission and you can grade easily that way.
  • I always taught technical first, then principles of design. It's a lot easier to grasp graphic design concepts when they're not simultaneously trying to figure out how to use the software, as well as having played around with designs.
  • Teach 1-2 tools at a time, and come up with fun, easy assignments that help students focus on just those tools. Later you can give assignments and projects and they'll have to figure out the tools to use.
  • Give them as real projects as possible. For example, I worked with the theatre teacher and she had my students design posters to advertise the upcoming play, which we would print out and hang around the school. I'd also have them make t-shirts and stickers.
  • Print out your favorite student assignments and hang them around the room. Every time I did this, there would be a commotion near the wall as students wanted to see if their assignment made it up. I never put students' names on them, and I made no effort to make sure everyone was included. I don't believe in the trophy-for-everyone mentality. One of my students tried hard all year to get on the wall (so he told me), and one day he did, and it made his week.

You're welcome to peruse my Canvas courses and steal any assignment ideas you want:


Posted on 7/11/16 5:34:30 PM Permalink

I have been working with Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign for years, but have just been tasked with teaching them in a Graphic Design course. I feel like I hit the motherlode with your links, so to speak :)

I know you said "steal any assignment ideas you want," but your video tutorials are great as well. Do you mind if I use those?

Robbie Collett

Posted on 3/28/17 10:04:38 PM Permalink

So many apologies for such a late response. You're welcome to use my tutorials as well. I even made them downloadable on Vimeo in case your district blocks Vimeo.​

Stephanie Rogers

Posted on 5/19/17 7:11:29 PM Permalink

Mr. Collett,

May I also use your resources? I peeked and they are awesome!

Dawn McCain

Posted on 8/14/16 8:17:13 PM Permalink

Hi Robbie,

I was wondering if you could resend the second link the one for Every time I click on it, it asks me to log into Canvas, however, when I click on the first link it does not request a log in.

I have been teaching Graphic Design and Illustration the past 2 years, however been using the unt Cte site and I feel, although thankful to have stuff, the projects are some what boring and would like to add more engaging assignments. Not to mention I will be teaching and advanced graphic design class and I will have 1 practicum student this year, so I am really needing to get my self-organized, because they will all be in the same class together.

Thanks for sharing and I look forward to hearing back from you. If you prefer to email, you can email me at



Robbie Collett

Posted on 3/28/17 10:06:44 PM Permalink

So sorry for such a late response. I'm in the process of posting all of my content in this Google Drive folder:

You'll be able to download the entire Canvas courses immediately, and I'll be posting separate pieces over time.​

Jennifer Burtnett

Posted on 7/3/17 5:07:13 PM Permalink

Hi Robbie,

Everyone is right - these are great resources and I'd love to use them, too!​ I can get to the Google Drive folder and download whatever I want, but I can't open the Canvas Export.imscc files. I do not use Canvas so I can't access them through that platform either. Any ideas?



Laura Lee Juliano

Posted on 8/29/17 2:12:52 AM Permalink

Thank you so much for sharing all of your resources, plans and docs Mr. Collett!​

Abdul Hadi

Posted on 5/22/18 7:28:38 AM Permalink

Thank you Robbie;​

jp castillo

Posted on 8/24/16 3:18:50 PM Permalink

Hello Robbie!

Thank you so much for sharing your canvas pages! Like others, I have been using photoshop and illustrator for many years but am trying to come up with lessons in my high school class in a very short amount of time and seeing your lesson plans and tutorials is a God send! If it is not too much trouble would you be comfortable sharing the project files for your illustrator / photoshop lessons? you can also email me at

Latia Murray

Posted on 8/31/16 7:20:04 PM Permalink

Hello, I'm new as well. Can I have permission to use ideas from your course for illustrator, photoshp, and premier? My email is

Many thanks!

Katie Wollman

Posted on 9/12/16 2:58:12 PM Permalink

Hi, Robbie—

Came across this discussion and I've been looking through your course. I'm teaching Digital Media to an upper school class—mainly Illustrator and Photoshop—and I'm so impressed by how well you've organized the course! Could you let me know what files/resources you're open to sharing? ​

Blanca Schnobrich

Posted on 10/3/16 6:22:14 PM Permalink

I think Robbie's advice is great and I agree with most all of it! I've been teaching graphic design for seven years, 9-12th grade. I agree Illustrator before Photoshop or you'll have a lot of grumbling when you try to go the other way. Many kids have dappled with Photoshop so they are happy to go to Ps after the challenging new venture of Ai. If you start the year with Ai, they are in better spirits to learn a new program that they've likely not used before.

Graphic design curriculum can be overwhelming and each year I try to refocus my efforts. I'm happy with what I am doing this year: teaching elements of art, and using Adobe Illustrator for projects in each area-- line, shape, color, texture, space and value. With each element, I introduce a project that also teaches them a couple of Ai tools. It's working really well and keeps my curriculum structured and purposeful with a plan in place. Otherwise, I had felt that I was just jumping from project to project. Since our graphic design courses meet UC art requirements, I need to teach elements and principles of art. As an example of a project: I taught them about the element of color, the project associated with this element of art was creating a color wheel, which involved learning about how to create shapes (circle) in Ai, as well as the pathfinder tool to divide shapes. They also learned about adding color to shapes through this project.

Once done with elements and principles, I will then go back to assigning projects that will let them figure out the best ways to achieve their desired results: movie posters, logo development, Christmas cards, invitations, photo collages (Ps), etc.

An essential thing to teach them (and remind them about with each project), is that graphic design is visual communication! They are making choices of colors and graphic elements to communicate! Are they being effective in their choices? Peer assessments are helpful with this and I give them time to change things or revised their finished piece based on class/teacher feedback.

Danelle Landgraf

Posted on 10/12/16 6:38:17 PM Permalink

Hi Robbie

I just went to your canvas pages and they look great -- any chance you would be willing to share it to commons?


Robbie Collett

Posted on 3/28/17 10:11:57 PM Permalink

Are you referring to the Canvas Commons? I'd be happy to, but I don't know much about it.​

Dyane Goldman

Posted on 11/3/16 4:29:56 AM Permalink

Hi Robbie,

Great content, I tried to access your canvas site but apparently one need permission. I would be grateful to see your planning. I teach Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects and might throw in Illustrator and inDesign this year as well. I put everything on Google Classroom and my website but would love to see you.

Thank you


Robbie Collett

Posted on 3/28/17 10:12:23 PM Permalink

​I'm in the process of putting it all in a Google Drive folder here:

Wajeeha Zia

Posted on 12/13/16 5:14:37 PM Permalink

Hi Robbie,

You got pretty brilliant stuff. Thank you so much ​for sharing. I have been working with Photoshop and illustrator for quiet some time. If you don't mind can I use these tutorials too?

Again great work :)


Robbie Collett

Posted on 3/28/17 10:12:54 PM Permalink

Of course you can use the tutorials! I made them downloadable on Vimeo in case your district blocks the site and you need to upload them somewhere else.​

Tamarah President

Posted on 1/14/17 2:06:24 PM Permalink

Hello Robbie,

Can please you allow access so I can import elements from both links into my canvas course?​


Robbie Collett

Posted on 3/28/17 10:13:19 PM Permalink

Head over to this Google Drive folder and you can have any files you want:

Melissa Carmean

Posted on 8/15/17 1:31:41 AM Permalink

Mr. Collett,

I was hoping you would allow me to use your material in my classroom.



Patricia Rivera

Posted on 1/16/17 10:21:13 PM Permalink

Thank you for sharing your Canvas pages. Like others I am impressed and would like to know how I can get access to your resources? Thank you

Camille Dogbe

Posted on 1/23/17 2:47:38 AM Permalink

Thank you for sharing your sites with us! Great content.

maria sullivan

Posted on 3/1/17 2:36:05 PM Permalink

Hi there, I took a look at your files. They are very well put together. Would you mind if I used some of your photoshop projects? This is the best organization of the programs I have ever seen.

Robbie Collett

Posted on 3/28/17 10:13:47 PM Permalink

Thank you! And of course!​

Ashley Herndon

Posted on 3/2/17 3:42:10 PM Permalink

Hello. I am Ashley and I have been teaching graphics for 2 yrs. after being a fine art teacher for 6 yrs. ​It is difficult knowing what to teach, when and having the lessons build as you go along to add more concepts. Your info is very useful and I really appreciate it!!

Blanca Schnobrich

Posted on 3/2/17 4:02:48 PM Permalink


Can I have access? I love your organized structure. I can see your assignments but all of them are locked. Is there a way I can delve further into each assignment to see the details? I tried using my Canvas log in, but it's specific to my school's account and didn't work. Please help! I'd appreciate it. Here is my email address if you prefer emailing me directly:​

Carleather Ponder

Posted on 6/20/17 6:14:55 PM Permalink

Robbie, I too am just beginning to teach graphic design and found your comment I would love to talk to you about how you have things set up and your lesson plans, are you willing to share?


Posted on 7/22/17 3:11:11 PM Permalink

Hello, I am also unable to access the files you have put on the google docs, it there a way to access it other than through canvas? I am about to start my first year of teaching and your material is amazing! May I have access also?​


Posted on 7/22/17 3:19:47 PM Permalink

Yes, I would like to access as well, any other way:​

Carleather Ponder

Posted on 8/6/17 3:13:09 PM Permalink

Robin, i have been teaching a class called Communication Technology for a couple of years I and last year I was informed that I have to certify students in PhotoShop. Because we don't have textbooks I am having to find ways of doing this and I looked at your canvass links above and loved it. do you mind sharing?

Margaret Elsener

Posted on 8/28/17 3:53:44 AM Permalink

I'm a bit late to this thread. Great stuff! Do you mind if I use some of your materials as well?

My email is​

sylvie verwaayen

Posted on 1/29/16 8:00:28 PM Permalink

Anyone out there ever used the Visual Quick Start Guides for various software. They were my go to books when I taught at the local college. Well written and well priced. Cheers!

sylvie verwaayen

Posted on 1/29/16 7:58:57 PM Permalink

Personally I would start with Photoshop, then Illustrator and then InDesign. I have taught and created design courses from scratch for over 20 years. I created a 54 hour night course for a local college that went into design principles, RGB vs CMYK, typography, vector vs raster (pixels) and then went into the software. At the end we discussed file extensions and output to press, printer or presentation.

Tamara Wilson

Posted on 8/15/16 9:02:56 PM Permalink

Hi there Sylvie. Would you happen to have any lesson plans that you would't mind sharing for a 1st year Graphic Design teacher.

Isabel Sofas

Posted on 2/9/17 6:54:38 PM Permalink

I agree with this, you need to start from lowest level to higher.

Jerome Zaccone

Posted on 1/8/16 9:54:49 PM Permalink

Jessi, I should have said that I have been a high school graphic design teacher for 16 years; I have also worked in the field for 30 years and I still own my own design and print shop. The Against the Clock books are REAL LIFE graphic arts not YouTube videos.

Jerome Zaccone

Posted on 1/8/16 9:50:31 PM Permalink

Hello Jessi, I read through some of this discussion but I think what you need, really need, is the classroom books from Against The Clock.

These are wonderful books that take the student through real life design projects including comments from the "Client" and the "Art Director". If you contact them they will send you a free book to review. I suggest the book called Design Portfolio CS5: InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. I ordered enough books for my class (25) and copied all of the files onto an external drive. and share them electronically with the students. They are fun, comprehensive and challenging. They include PowerPoint presentations for each chapter, review questions/answers, and all the TESTS! I would love to hear your response to these publications (I don't work for them).

Jay Zaccone

Jessi Fisk

Posted on 1/27/16 6:54:14 PM Permalink


I ordered and received my free book from Against the Clock. It is awesome! Thank you so much for the suggestion.

Randy Parazine

Posted on 5/5/17 3:44:46 PM Permalink

I'm in the same boat as you. Which book did you request? Thanks.​

Michael Panasuk

Posted on 1/7/16 9:43:41 PM Permalink

We're looking to do something similar - thanks for posting!

Gary Poulton

Posted on 12/11/15 1:40:58 AM Permalink

Take a wander through the Design section here

Most supporting tutorials are linked but files are not accessible however if you'd like the stuff used for Photoshop I could send it across. Student course overviews for Photoshop, Illustrator might give you some idea of what's possible inside of 10 week blocks. However if you have only 1 hour per week you might have to cut or modify a little.


Jessi Fisk

Posted on 1/8/16 8:26:43 PM Permalink

Thank you so much! The link you posted was very helpful. My students loved checking out the projects you do in class. I would greatly appreciate any other material/information you have and are willing to share.

Brandy Milson

Posted on 5/13/16 12:01:08 AM Permalink

This is so Awesome. Can i use... Im struggling as I just got this class this year and I am a video productions teacher learning these programs myself. I wish I had your resource files. This is way cool

Brandy Milson

Posted on 5/13/16 12:01:09 AM Permalink

This is so Awesome. Can i use... Im struggling as I just got this class this year and I am a video productions teacher learning these programs myself. I wish I had your resource files. This is way cool

Jessica Gauci

Posted on 11/25/15 2:28:10 AM Permalink

I would recommend starting with Adobe Photoshop completing a basic project / activity such as designing a poster on a global or community issue etc Students can learn the basics of Photoshop and become familiar with easy tools like the selection tools, text, colour while also learning design principles and elements. I would then set other more complex tasks in Photoshop then move onto Adobe Illustrator afterwards. In my experience Photoshop - then Illustrator - then InDesign seem to be a good order.

Jessi Fisk

Posted on 1/8/16 6:54:56 PM Permalink

Great! Thanks for your suggestion.

Teri Brudnak

Posted on 11/24/15 6:22:50 PM Permalink

Hi Jessi,
Happy to share my experiences. Been teaching digital media classes since 1999. In my Graphic Design class we always start with drawing. Just paper and a wood pencil--no mechanical pencils allowed. Line, basic shapes, overlap, scale, etc. I teach them how to make thumbnail sketches with simple shapes and introduce them to the Elements of Art. After a basic intro to the tools of the program and the foundations of computer graphics (vector vs raster, color modes, etc) they do a design project called Black Square. You can find this and other projects in the book Visual Literacy.
Other great books to mine for your lessons are the Index series by Jim Krause. Design Basics Index, Idea Index, Layout Index and I think he has one on color. I also love the WOW books for more advanced projects.
We explore a lot of artists and I do a lesson on the Bauhaus design school.
Just finished a character design project with my class based on the Tokidoki characters. You can find some videos on about the artist Simone and his company.

Jessi Fisk

Posted on 1/8/16 7:02:14 PM Permalink

I picked up the Designer's Complete Index by Jim Krause over winter break. It has been a great resource for me. Thanks!

Jessi Fisk

Posted on 1/8/16 7:02:20 PM Permalink

I picked up the Designer's Complete Index by Jim Krause over winter break. It has been a great resource for me. Thanks!


Posted on 7/17/17 4:33:57 AM Permalink

Which book of Visual Literacy you mean? Thanks!​

steven zeichner

Posted on 11/18/15 4:07:37 PM Permalink

I have 25+ years experience teaching Comprehensive Tech. Ed. with 12+ in Graphic Arts. I teach both Graphics 1 & 2, Grades 9-12, in 90 minute blocks. I use Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign if there is time in this order. Over the years I've experimented and finally settled on this order because it seems to work better for the students. Many available workbooks are also written in this order. Also, the learning curve for PS also appears shorter when introducing AI first.

I begin the Graphics 1 course with 1 or 2 class sessions on fundamentals, i.e., why do we need different programs, vector vs raster images. I will give several HW assignments asking students to identify occupations in which Graphic Arts might be used, or to bring examples of raster and vector images and explain why one is used over the other. We discuss career opportunities and use the information later using InDesign to create a booklet for the Guidance Dept.

In Illustrator, I begin with the shape tools, explaining how every illustration can usually be broken down into basic shapes. I have basic exercises requiring the use of the rulers, creating guides at specific locations, and creating simple illustrations specifying both location on the grid and dimensions. The first five or six exercises build on the previous design so we aren't starting from scratch and students can see the progression of the design. In successive exercises we learn the Pen, Pencil, and Brush tools, add additional details to the design, add fill and stroke colors, use various cutting tools, etc. My final exercise is to give the students an illustration and ask them to duplicate it, allowing for artistic license, without giving any instructions so they draw on learned knowledge. They can get very creative. We then work on projects such as logo design, I have them create a design depicting one of the four seasons, a travel poster, etc.

PS is similar in that I start with the basic tools after explaining fundamental differences and similarities with AI; work spaces, artboard vs canvas. I begin with the brushes and again use simple designs that build in successive exercises, introducing additional tools; layers, selections, etc. I also have themed projects to reinforce fundamentals of design, tool use, and problem-solving. For example, create-a-pet. They take parts of several animals and combine, blend, and color to create something new. They use various selection tools, brushes, etc.

I hope this is useful information. If you have specific questions please ask. I am working on posting several of the projects I've had success with but haven't finished writing them up.

Jessi Fisk

Posted on 11/18/15 4:55:11 PM Permalink

This is so helpful. Thank you! I look forward to seeing some of the projects you post.

Abdul Hadi

Posted on 5/21/18 1:31:25 PM Permalink

Dear Jessi Fisk;​

I welcome classes across Desktop Publishing, Graphic Design, Graphic Communication, Typography and Prepress and many more. The student learn across a wide variety of skills and as well as upcoming class categories in the daily session.

As demanding for graphic design classes are very high, and here are already ton of classes in different institutes that cover what I am teaching. However, there are many ways to distinguish my teaching method by creating a unique class project or narrowing on a specific skill that never been cover yet. Secondly, these sessions are design to help participants get their questions answered and teach them what they need to be successful in digital and print publishing.

In today’s fast-paced digital world, bite-sized content is the proven to be easiest for students to digest, understand, and remember. My classes, on average, include 20-15 minutes of theory content broken down in a series of short 10 minutes question & answer and 60 minutes practice. Making the student into short groups to establish a teamwork method among the participants. This digestible format engage student with each other learning and sharing their understandings.

Each group will work on different project that helps participant to participate equally and share their opinions with each other and focusing on all aspects of the project. After finishing, the project will be share in social media page to get the feedback of other groups, which lead them to a more effective and lasting learning experience.

For me, seeing my students’ projects come to life is one of the most rewarding parts of my success.

These teamwork keep student interact with each other by answering questions, sharing tips and tricks, and providing each other with feedback and encouragement. Often times, students learn as much from one another as they learn from me. I facilitate my students and providing as many opportunities for collaboration as possible.


Jesse Cole

Posted on 11/12/15 5:51:20 PM Permalink

I teach Honor Digital and Interactive Media, I always start with Photoshop. Photoshop layout make it easy to understand the tools, how the option bar works, how layers and blend modes interact. I then move on to Illustrator so they can start the graphic design process.

Jessi Fisk

Posted on 11/13/15 7:25:16 PM Permalink

Thank you for the recommendation. I appreciate it.

Betsy Verb

Posted on 11/12/15 2:22:50 PM Permalink

I've been teaching Graphic Design for 10 years in year long classes. I typically start out with Illustrator then Photoshop and finish up with InDesign. The range of students I teach are grades 6-12. The courses for Middle School are different than my Upper School but it's easy to give the students a good start with those three programs throughout a year.

Jessi Fisk

Posted on 11/13/15 7:31:08 PM Permalink

Thank you for the information. Do you teach any other programs with your upper-level students? Or focus on those programs extensively?