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Identifying gaps in a general rubric for assessing a non-interactive graphic design work

Course Queries Syllabus Queries
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Peter Jarvis


( 5 months ago )

In my quest to improve and optimize my graphic design teaching (college/university), I’ve developed and used since a few months a rubric that I find fairly complete and without too much overlap. I’ve been trying to balance using broad categories so that it’s widely applicable, regardless of which class I’m teaching, all the while avoiding being overly vague, so that the student can get a better idea of what is lacking in the work and what to improve. I assess the creative process, software and prototyping abilities in separate rubrics. This rubric strictly revolves around assessing the finished conceptual work.


  • Relevance of message perceived with regards to communication and marketing objectives.
  • Relevance of typographical, color, symbolic and stylistic choices with regards to communication and marketing objectives.
  • Content is perceived in order of importance with regards to communication and marketing objectives
  • Proper legal norms are followed (e.g. food packaging involving nutritional value tables, bilingual norms, etc.)
  • Content is legible and was reviewed for mistakes.


  • Color and typographic choices benefit each other, within a single unit as well as throughout a series.
  • There is stylistical unity, no element stands alone as an eyesore.

Composition + hierarchy

  • Font sizes, weights, alignments, typographical combinations are used to benefit the layout as a whole and support the audience in making sense of the content.
  • The rule of thirds is taken into account.
  • No important content is found within .25” of the document.


  • In projects involving multiple pages, folds or opening/closing states, a use of contrast is found to maintain the audience’s attention in time.

Originality + impact

  • The project stands out from other projects (taking into account a student’s own production, other projects submitted by the class, and potential competitors).
  • The project makes good use of contrast to grab the audience's attention

I’m putting this up for debate/critique but my more specific question is: are there gaps that I am not seeing?

Brian Burl


( 5 months ago )

My Issues

This doesn't seem very ubiquitous. Are you teaching a marketing class? If not why do you have "marketing objectives" being used a lot alongside "legal norms"?

This seems too highly tailored to a finished final project rather than a project by project basis.

Also "No important content is found within .25” of the document." isn't a composition doesn't scream composition to me. This should be outlined as a project requirement not within your grading specifically.

Additionally I rarely, if ever, had to adhere to "legal norms". If you are teaching a high-level (grad+) packaging design class this is almost a given and should be outlined in the project requirements.

Both the above should be lumped into 1 grading line like: Adheres to the project requirements.

In my opinion it sounds like you are grading your students/telling them to make you a final sellable product/project.

I had a professor in university try and enforce such "industry" standards to then try and use student work for their own gain (not implicating that you are). Personally anytime I saw this I got skittish and questioned the project I was assigned.

Review of Categories


I don't agree with your use of this term. Relevance can mean a lot of things but it shouldn't be used as a grading metric. What I think you are looking for is a category that encompasses and grades on the Project Goals and a student's adherence to them.


This is critique cop-out garbage in my opinion. This is what you spout out when you are called on to critique someone else's work.

"Oh I like the harmony of the greys with those red highlights" or something to that effect. No substance.

All these grading points should be removed and put under something like Cohesiveness or put under Composition.

Composition + hierarchy

These should be just Composition and hierarchy should be a point under it.

"The rule of thirds is taken into account." "No important content is found within .25” of the document."

These should be under the basic project requirements or in the class syllabus. The rule of thirds should also not be under there at all unless you are specifically grading a project where that is the focus.


This again should be under Composition or Cohesiveness

Originality + impact

These are "critique subjective" but sound okay. However I don't think impact should be in it though.


I think you have a decent basis but you are all over the board on your requirements and categories. You need to make a distinctive list that doesn't overlap or have items alone that should be grouped. You also need to have a lot of those points in the actual project requirements rather than in the final grading. This can be as simple as putting a line under Project Goals that says adheres to the project requirements.

what's your interest