Graphic Design, Final Examination- Part ONE:
"  The Kitchen of Meaning Exhibition Poster"
The Assignment: The Kitchen of Meaning Poster (from “Design for Communication” by Elizabeth Resnick, Massachusetts College of Art, Original Project Assignment from Kermit Bailey at North Carolina State University.)

Before Starting: Create a "lastname_kitchen" folder on your network space. Your work be saved into this folder as you proceed with the project.

Overview: The project allows the student to design a Poster for a fictious exhibit called "The Kitchen of Meaning."  Students will be assigned (or will select) a word to illustrate in their Poster, as well as announcing the other exhibitors in the show and the date, time and place of the exhibit.  For this project, students will not only be using graphics from the Internet, but will also need to create some of their own graphics or images using whatever resources they wish.


  • To develop ciritcal thinking skills as a means of analysis, talking about, and making design.
  • To understand the relationship of audience, design choices, and communication goals.
  • To understand meaning in context (cultural, social, technical, temporal, etc.)
  • To expand design vocabulary.
  • To design in a large-scale format, considering how a poster functions in the public domain
  • To demonstrate accumulated skills and techniques in the realm of Graphic Design.

Selection of Terms:   Students will select or be given one of the following 27 words to be the centerpiece definition in their poster:

bricolage: RICHARD


mnemonics: CODY






nascent: JEREMIAH


melange: NIKOTA


hyperbole: FABIAN



parataxis: ISAAC

pastiche: BAILEY

polysemy: IZZY

simulacrum: JACOB

tautology: TREY

euphemism: GAGE
malapropism: IZAYAH
euphony: ANGELICA
nonlinearity: ALEX

Once the student has received their word, they will need to do research into the actual meaning of the word, how it might be used in the framework of the communication of ideas and how it might be illustrated as the focal point of a poster.  As a starting place, I might recommend the following websites:

A good website that may help with some of the terms above is

However, I feel that you might have to do further research to more completely understand your term in all of its facets.  I would recommend Googling your term, checking it on and even asking teachers for assistance as to how they feel they might illustrate your term.  MR. B. WILL NOT ASSIST IN YOUR RESEARCH IN ANY WAY! 

To facilitate your research, students will complete the "Kitchen of Meaning Research Worksheet". Completion of this sheet is worth 50 points towards the grading of the project, so please take it seriously and complete all sections thoroughly!

Specifications:  You will be creating your poster on a canvas in Photoshop that is 18" x 24" (or 24" x 18", if you wish to create a Landscape Poster)  inches in size.  To start, create your canvas at this size, you may use either a landscape or portrait sized poster, but please set your to be 300 pixels per inch.  You MUST include the following information on your poster (required text in GREEN):

  • The Title of the Exhibit:  "The Kitchen of Meaning." and "A Poster Exhibit."
  • The Place, Time and Date of the Exhibit:  "Highland High School Media Center, 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., May 15-17, 2015."
  • The Exhibitors:  The names of the exhibitors from the two classes and their subject words (the other students in the classes, see above.)
  • Text:  Text information of relevancy and meaning (added value that intensifies the word or context of the included images.)  The added text or information may be words, text phrases, ideas, teasers, and so on.
  • Imagery:  Imagery that reinforces the term being defined.

Your Target Audience:  Your poster should be aimed at a target audience of the Highland Community, including students, faculty and family members.  Make sure that your visuals and your use of terms will be understandable and applicable to this target audience!

Your Visual Theme

  • Your poster will need to Emphasize the meaning of your word/concept as a primary focus.  The title of the exhibit ("The Kitchen of Meaning") is secondary in importance but is still the thematic umbrella for all of the word-image definition posters in the Exhibit.
  • You should include AT LEAST THREE (hopefully more) visual interpretations of the term being defined in your poster.  There should be a multi-layer effect of visuals reinforcing the meaning of your term.
  • Your poster will give equal attention to TYPOGRAPHY and IMAGE as methods of conveying information.
  • Your poster will use words effectively to intensify the image and message in addition to conveying information.  Your TYPOGRAPHY should be part of the design (woven into the imagery and having levels of spatial depth.)

To help in the understanding of the idea of VISUAL THEME for your posters, please consider the following student sample from Kermit Bailey's Graphic Design class at North Carolina State University, which includes his comments regarding the project as well as his instructor comments:

Student Statement regarding the "Dialectics" Poster (above):  "To illustrate the idea of dialectics, I chose to focus on the most simple and powerful dialectics:  those of my childhood.  The design process allowed me to understand myself by seeing and understanding through the innocence of objects.  I created all of the photography, painting and illustrations used in the poster."

Comments from Kermit Bailey, the original instructor for this project at North Carolina State University:  "In a broad sense, the term 'dialectics' may be an idea or event that generates its opposite, leading to a resolution of opposites.  For the purpose of this poster study, Emmet has effectively visualized this principle of logic as both a visual and a verbal phenomenon in communication, and a personal narrative based upon his childhood.  His design positions elements of opposition or contrasts from childhood, such as ketchup/mustard, teepee/igloo, Velcro/laces, cowboys/indians, etc.

The poster is particularly effective in articulating the intended hierarchy of primary conceptual idea (the term 'dialectics') first and various required components (title of exhibition, student participants, etc.) second.  He uses color effectively and has a good sensitivity to scale in his typographic choices.  The integrity of the information is not compromised on any level. Emmets's formal decisions embody the spirit of play, perhaps consistent with the theme of a childhood narrative.  His surface treatment of the compositional area is both full and open, creating a well-balanced, interesting arrangement.

Emmet's poster solution invites multiple layers of understanding and he effectively uses wordplay and image play as visual and verbal codes to be deciphered and discovered.  The poster reads at multiple viewing distances, reinforcing further ideas of how the dialectical might function as a communication principle."

The Problem of SIZE:  Remember, these are Posters!  They are meant to be large and visually interesting so as to capture the eye of the viewer in a public place.   Make sure that your text is easily legible and that your design elements are balanced throughout your work.  Consider using colors, shapes and imagery to excite the viewer!

Techniques to be used:  It is not only encouraged, but almost necessary, to use any and all of the Photoshop techniques that we have learned this year, such as Masking, Filters, Layer Blending, Color Correction, etc.

The NON-INTERNET RESOURCE REQUIREMENTS of this project:  To increase the "multi-media" and personal ownership aspect of this project, I am REQUIRING that each student INCORPORATE AT LEAST TWO images or elements into their poster that THEY CREATED BY HAND, WITHOUT THE USE OF A COMPUTER or THE INTERNET! (see note below regarding student created elements.) This means that the student will need to be using the classroom cameras, hand drawing, painting, cutting images from magazines, etc. to generate the images that you need for your work!  I have cameras and a scanner which can be used by students to complete this part of the project, if they wish.

A WORD ABOUT ALL ELEMENTS FOR THIS POSTER: Any image that can be created by the student is expected to be created by the student! If you need a photograph of a giraffe or the president or a spaceship, you can get the image from the internet, as you probably do not have access to these items to create an image yourself. If you need an image of a guitar or a pencil or a basketball or someone's hand, etc., I expect you to create your own.

The same thing goes for graphics- all students have the ability to create stars, circles, lines, boxes, special effects, gradients, etc. in Photoshop or in Illustrator. DO NOT use clipart from the internet when you could create such graphics yourself!

Please note: Grabbing cool graphics and images from the Internet and pasting them on your poster will not be acceptable! You must create your own elements! 

A Word About Resolution:  The images that you need to get from the internet (image of the president, Albert Einstein, giraffes, spaceships, etc.) will probably NOT BE 300 dpi in resolution.  They will appear tiny on the screen when you are working on your canvas.  To remedy this, try opening the image in Photoshop and then use following menus and settings:


A Gallery of Kitchen of Meaning Sample Posters and A Word of Warning about Plagiarism:  This assignment has been used in numerous college level graphic design programs around the country.  I have put together a Gallery of all of the "The Kitchen of Meaning" Poster examples that can be found on the Internet, including many from past Graphic Design classes at HHS.  (Here is the slideshow version.) You are permitted to research your term and the assignment in any way that you wish and use these posters as inspiration, however, if you choose to COPY or PLAGIARIZE the work of any other source for this project, I WILL KNOW ABOUT IT and you will receive a zero for this part of this very large MOSL grade! 

PLEASE NOTE: The requirements for this project ARE OFTEN DIFFERENT than those of the samples above!  Make sure that you include all required elements in your work!

Submitting Your Work: When you have completed your final canvas with your Poster, save your file as a .JPG File, call it "lastname_kitchen.jpg" in your folder on the Q: Drive.

Grading: This assignment will be worth 400 points total:

  • Completion of the "Kitchen of Meaning" Research Worksheet:  50 points!
  • Inclusion of the word/concept definition into the poster in an attractive, eye-catching and interesting manner= 50 points
  • Visual communication of the word/concept in an attractive, eye-catching and interesting manner= 50 points.
  • Inclusion of event information, including Exhibit Title, Place, Date and Time in an eye-catching and legible manner= 50 points.
  • Inclusion of at least two NON-INTERNET graphic resources= 50 points.
  • Inclusion of the listing of the Poster Exhibitors (other students in the class and their poster subjects)= 50 points
  • Aesthetic qualities of the final Poster= 100 points.