San Diego Jewish Academy
High School Humanities
Design Expectations

Site Map | Quotes | WordList | Glossary | Graphic Organizers | Rules of Thumb | On-Line Resources | WriteDesign | Co-Teachers - Doug and Melissa | Gallery
E-Mail Doug at or Melissa at

What distinguishes a great artist
from a weak one is
first their sensibility and tenderness;
second, their imagination; and
third, their industry.

- John Ruskin

Integrity, the standard by which we live. In order to show integrity in your work, certain design standards must be met. Care and craftsmanship take time and effort. So does thinking. When you take the time to ensure that your thoughts are presented clearly and concisely, you show integrity.

We've talked about design; now we will show you what we mean.

  • Package your work as if it were the most valuable piece in the world. Your work shows others what you think and what you can do.
  • Protect your work from stains, wrinkles, or tears -- if you don't take your work seriously how can you expect us to take it seriously?
  • Cover all tape and glue -- no one should know how you affixed elements -- nothing should distract the audience from experiencing your work.
  • Word process, at a minimum, all text. Carefully-crafted calligraphy may also be used if appropriate.
  • Edit your work multiple times. Have others provide feedback.
  • Use the spellchecker.


  • Design your name into the composition. If your name is required on the piece then it needs to be an integral part of the composition, just as an image, text, or graphic element. Also, never scribble/handwrite it in the corner when everything else is computer-generated.
  • Cut all edges crisply unless the design concept dictates differently.
  • Make sure all corners intended to be right angles are 90 degrees.
  • Align images and text vertically and horizontally with precision, e.g., when the edges of two elements should line up, then they should line up.

  • Follow the rule of first read, second read, third read which states: make the most important element(s) the largest or most prominent, make the second most important element(s) smaller and clearly less prominent, and so on.
    NOTE: Most important means, what do you want your audience to respond to first. Obviously you want them to see everything, but what is the FIRST thing you want them to see? What is the element that invites or compels them to continue?


  • Use "empty space" to create focus and tension.
  • Check for problems with "scale" - the size and space relationship of one element to another, e.g., one element may be too big or too small relative to the other elements. The relative distance may also present a problem, e.g., too far away or too close.
  • Use images that support and clarify the concept, e.g., if you are writing about the beach then your image(s) should be of the beach. Symbolically represent the attributes of the beach, and/or of the emotions felt at the beach.
  • Use images and words carefully, e.g., if one picture tells the story, use only one picture.
  • "Fit" text and images within the page as a painting fits a frame.

  • Select a frame or border, when appropriate, that complements the composition of the text and images. Thickness, color, and pattern influence our perception. The frame should not overpower or distract the audience from the composition.
  • See the WriteDesign Rules of Thumb site for additional ideas.

There are two men inside the artist,
the poet and the craftsman.
One is born a poet.
One becomes a craftsman...
- Emile Zola to Cézanne, 16 April, 1860

Site Map | Quotes | WordList | Glossary | Graphic Organizers | Rules of Thumb | On-Line Resources | WriteDesign | Co-Teachers - Doug and Melissa | Gallery
E-Mail Doug at or Melissa at

Melissa and I would like to
znet for
making a commitment to
education and WriteDesign.