High School Graphic Design Projects

Students working on graphic design projects.

Graphic design is an art form that uses visual media to communicate a message. Many high schools offer classes in graphic design or teach a graphic design course to supplement regular art instruction. Graphic design projects should teach students use graphic editing programs, design layouts, work with color and form and develop skills around recognizing graphic design in daily environments.

CD Covers

This is an assignment that allows students to use creativity with while working on layout skills. Give students an assignment to design a CD case, including cover art, track listings, fold-out sections, text for the spine and back cover. Provide a template for students to use, or for a greater challenge, have them design their own. Let students pick their favorite artists to work with or make up a band or artist to feature on the CD cover.

ABC Typography

This project gets students thinking about graphic design, specifically typography, that they see daily. Ask students to make a graphic design alphabet by taking digital photos of each letter of the alphabet from signs, billboards, magazines and anywhere else they might find examples of striking typography. Have them compile the photos into an alphabet that showcases local typography and interesting fonts. Compare the alphabets during class, discussing where students found the letters and what they noticed about the typography during the assignment.

Photoshop Collage

Teaching graphic editing programs is an essential part of any graphic design course because professional graphic designers use computers exclusively in their line of work. Have students use Photoshop, or a similar graphics editing program, to create a collage. Themes can be anything from “What I Feel Passionate About” to “My Values” to “What I Dislike.” Have the students find images on the internet or scan ones found in books or magazines. The finished collage should showcase a student’s abilities to crop, manipulate, arrange and polish an image using a graphics editing program.

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Photo Touch-Up

This is another project requiring work with graphics editing programs. Ask students to take a picture of a family member or friend and touch it up using a graphics editing program. During the assignment, have students practice skills such as removing blemishes or unwanted aspects in the photo, cropping, resizing, changing background color, replacing the background, adding elements and altering tones. After students have successfully altered a photo, assign them to create a second version that includes funny or bizarre elements.