Advertising & Digital Design: Principles, Processes, and Practices

Professors: C. J. Yeh
Company website: Cynda Media Lab
Office at FIT: D317
Classroom: C511 (601) D514 (65A)
Program Website:
Student Projects: CT Classes / AD Classes
FIT Help Desk: TechHelp

Course Description

This course introduces students to the disciplines, work environment, and creative workflow of advertising and digital design. Students are presented with brand communication challenges and learn to work in the new creative team of art directors, writers, and experience designers to apply narrative thinking and systematic thinking to deliver creative solutions for brand messaging as well as digital products such as mobile apps.

Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
1. Identify the audience, problem, insight, and message and develop a creative strategy that solves a brand or a social problem.
2. Execute original and impactful visual, verbal, and interactive ideas.
3. Formulate cultural insight and/or user insight to develop a campaign and/or a digital product that brings value to the audience. 
4. Evaluate the idea, media choice, and execution that will persuade an audience to react, respond, and or participate.
6. Compare and choose the most appropriate communication strategy and execution for each unique media type.

Weekly Outline
* Weekly outline is subject to change according to the pedagogical needs.

Tue 08/30 | Wed 08/31 (w1)

  • Introduction of the course and syllabus
  • Lecture/Discussion: What is Advertising & Digital Design?
  • Project #1: Brand Storytelling
    Develop concepts for a brand using the narrative medium such as a poster, the simplest and shortest form of storytelling to the long form of a TV spot or video.
    – Traditional (print)
    – Branded Content (Digital Platforms and Social Media)
    – Long-form (TV or video)
  • Lecture/Discussion: Desk Research Fundamentals
  • In-Class Workshop:
    – Team forming, decide team name, and select a team captain
    – Remote collaboration environment: join Slack team channel, create Miro board, create one G drive team folder and team member subfolders
    – Each team will select three Gen-Z brands in the same category to research and do competitor analysis. One brand will be chosen as the client in the following week.
    – Start desk research and analyze the competitive landscape
  • Homework:
    – Complete desk research
    – Complete first presentation: present the creative potentials of three Gen-Z brands in the same category. In addition, the presentation will share one thing that all team members have in common.

Tue 09/06 | Wed 09/07 (w2)

  • Presentation: Gen-Z Brands
  • Lecture/Discussion: What Is A Creative Brief?
  • In-class Workshop:
    – Develop a creative brief for the chosen brand.
  • Lecture/Discussion: The Rise of Purpose-Driven Brands
  • Lecture/Discussion: Big IdeaL
  • In-class Workshop / Homework Assignment:
    – Complete creative brief
    – Big IdeaL statements (one per team member)

Tue | Wed: 09/13 | 09/14 (w3)

  • Presentation: Creative Brief and proposed Big IdeaL Statements
  • Lecture/Discussion: Simplicity
  • Lecture/Discussion: Writing the Idea
  • Lecture/Discussion: Lateral Thinking
  • In-class Workshop / Homework Assignment:
    – Proposed taglines (minimum one per team member)
    – Moodboards (one per team member)

Tue 09/20 | Wed 09/21 (w4)

  • Lecture/Discussion: Brand Archetypes
  • Lecture/Discussion: Visual Design Fundamentals
  • Team Review: Taglines and Moodboards
  • In-class Workshop
    – Define brand archetype
    – Revise moldboard
    – Visual design starts
  • Homework Assignment:
    – Design first drafts

* Rosh Hashanah 09/26 and 09/27

Tue 10/04 | Wed 09/28 (w5)

  • Guest Speaker: A&DD BFA Info Session (Joe Staluppi)
  • Team Review: Design First Drafts
  • In-class Workshop / Homework Assignment:
    – Refine design executions

Tue 10/11 | Wed 10/05 (w6)

  • Team Review: Visual Designs
  • In-class Workshop / Homework Assignment:
    – Complete campaign design executions

Tue 10/18 | Wed 10/12 (w7)

  • Guest Speaker (Art Director)
  • Team Review: Final Designs and Presentation Preparations
  • In-class Workshop / Homework Assignment:
  • – Complete Mid-term Presentation

    Tue 10/25 | Wed 10/19 (w8)
  • Mid-term Presentation: Brand Storytelling
  • Project #2: Branded Interaction
  • Each student team will develop one digital product concept to solve a consumer problem. Key screens and task flow will be developed to communicate the interaction and demonstrate its possible impact.
  • Deliverables:
  • – Product description
  • – MVP Features
  • – Key Screens (minimum 6)
  • Homework:
    – Team forming and research for Project #2
    – Product Design Brief

Tue 11/01 | Wed 10/26 (w9)

  • Guest Speaker (Experience Designer)
  • Lecture/Discussion: What Is Experience Design?
  • Lecture/Discussion: User Research / Empathy Interview Techniques
  • Design Thinking Exercise: The Wallet Project
  • Lecture/Discussion: Persona
  • Homework:
    – Empathy Interviews (minimum two per team member)
    – Personas (one per team member)

Tue 11/01 | Wed 10/26 (w9)

  • Lecture/Discussion: Insight Statement
  • In-class Workshop:
  • – Insight Statement Drafts (one per team member)
  • Team Review: Personas
  • Lecture/Discussion: How Might We? (HMW)
  • In-class Workshops:
    – HMW Question Drafts
    – Ideation (brainstorming workshop)
  • Lecture/Discussion: Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  • Homework:
    – Complete ideation and compile ideas
    – MVP Features First Draft (one per persona)

Tue 11/08 | Wed 11/02 (w10)

  • Lecture/Discussion: UI Design Fundamentals Part 1
  • In-class Workshop
    – Wireframe sketches
  • Lecture/Discussion: User Testing
  • In-class Workshop / Homework:
    – Complete wireframe sketches
    – User feedback (minimum five per team)

Tue 11/15 | Wed 11/09 (w11)

  • Field Trip
  • Homework:
    – Revise wireframe sketches based on user feedback
    – Moodboard

Tue 11/22 | Wed 11/16 (w12)

  • Guest Speaker (Brand Designer)
  • Lecture/Discussion: UI Design Fundamentals Part 2
  • Team review: Moodboard
  • In-class Workshop:
    – UI Design First Drafts

Tue 11/29 | Wed 11/23 (w13)

  • Team review
  • In-class Workshop/Homework:
    – UI Design

Tue 12/06 | Wed 11/30 (w14)

  • Team review
  • In-class Workshop/Homework:
    – UI Design

Tue 12/13 | Wed 12/07 (w15)

  • Final Presentation: Branded Interaction
  • All project files upload to Google Drive for final grading

Attendance Policy

Attendance is not optional. If you are going to miss a class, you must contact me via email ASAP. Due to the quantity of material covered in the course, I will not be able to spend class time explaining missed assignments or redo lectures. If a class is missed, it is your responsibility to get information regarding missed assignments and lectures from one of your classmates.

  1. Students are required to attend all classes, be on time, and remain for the entire class.
  2. Students who miss three classes will receive a grade of “F.”
  3. The student who arrives 10 minutes after the start of the class will be considered late
  4. 2 late occurrences = one absence
  5. A student who arrives over 30 minutes late or does not return from the break will be considered absent from the class
  6. Working on projects for another class or using digital devices for socializing (texting, social media…etc.) or gaming during class time will be recorded as an absence
  7. An excused absence is still recorded as an absence. The difference is an excused absence won’t impact your grade for professionalism and class participation.


  • Professionalism, Teamwork, and Class Participation: 40%
  • Project #1: 20%
  • Project #2: 20%
  • Project #3: 20%
  • (A: 91% or above, B: 90% – 71%, C: 70% – 61%, D: 60% – 51%, F: 50% or below)

Uploading Files for Final Grades

  • AD217 103
  • AD217 104
    * keep all project and process files and upload them before the semester is over for final grading.

Department Policy on Plagiarism

Plagiarism and other forms of academic deception are unacceptable. Each instance of plagiarism is distinct. A plagiarism violation is an automatic justification for an “F” on that assignment and/or an “F” for the course. A student found in violation of FIT’s Code of Conduct and deemed to receive an “F” for a course may not withdraw from the course prior to final grade assignments.

CT&D Recording Classroom Activities Policy

I. Introduction
Written permission is required in order to record classroom lectures, discussions, presentations (“lectures”), or other activities. When granted, permission to record lectures is subject to the limitations set forth in this policy. Violations of this policy may constitute copyright infringement in violation of federal or state law and may be subject to disciplinary action.

II. Definitions
A. Course Materials mean lecture notes, outlines, slides, Presentations, readings, or other content made available to students by the instructor or presenter, or through any online learning system.

B. Recording means a video or audio replication or photographic image recorded on devices including, but not limited to, audio recorders, cell phones, Smartphones, digital cameras, media players, computers, or other devices that record images or sound.

III. Requirements and Limitations
A. Written Permission
Recording of classroom lectures is prohibited unless advance written permission is obtained from the class instructor and any guest presenter(s). An instructor may provide such permission to an entire class as part of the course syllabus or other written description of a course. Students who require recording or other adaptations of lectures as a reasonable accommodation for a disability in advance of the lecture in order to obtain permission for the recording.

In the event permission to record classroom lectures is granted, the professor may notify all students, speakers, and other lecture attendees in advance that recording may occur. Every effort should be made to protect the confidentiality of a student with a disability who is being granted an accommodation, i.e. the professor will not name the student who is doing the recording when it is due to disability accommodation.

Students must destroy recordings at the end of the semester in which they are enrolled in the class.

FIT Student Code of Conduct
Student Disability Services
Academic Honesty and Integrity Policy
FIT’s Course Withdrawal Policy 
Children on campus policy
Academic Advisement Center 
FIT Writing & Speaking Studio
FIT Counseling Services
Academic Skills Tutoring Center
Dean of Students Office
Technical Support for Blackboard with Open SUNY Help Desk

Additional Course Information:
Credits/Hours: 2/3
Grade appeal process: for more information.
Library Resources: FIT Library Databases
Academic Advisement Center:
Technical Requirements: High-speed internet and Adobe CC
Textbooks and Required Materials: Lecture slides will be provided every week after class,