The following is a summary of selected courses that Dr. Carlson participated in the design of, or that were taught by him. Several of the Design courses were part of a minor program that was created to provide Design courses for other majors, including engineering, business, and education.

Design 310 – Color and Communication in Design

Course Description: Students have an opportunity to learn about the important principles of color interaction for design and communication. The course is structured to provide experience in the area of color interaction as it relates to communication for product design, interior space, and visual communication design. Students apply course principles by creating a series of color studies executed using a variety of media including physical media and digital media. Through this series of color studies, students will begin to develop an eye for various color combinations and design issues while understanding its effect on clarity, mood, readability, and product affordance. Additive and subtractive modes of color will be discussed, as well as formal properties of color (hue, saturation, value, etc.)


  • Overview of color fundamentals: primary, secondary, tertiary, monochromatic, achromatic
  • Overview of the interrelationships of color (color wheel)
  • Overview of color properties
  • Building acuity in seeing color (and its interaction with other colors)
  • Build a working vocabulary of color and color relations
  • Understanding color terminology and modes; alternate color spaces (RGB, CMYK,); international color conventions
  • Exercises in color environments; physical versus electronic representation of color – converting between color representations
  • On-screen color versus printed color; process colors
  • Palettes and color stories for different design applications
  • Commercial and international color specifications and systems
  • Color and product identity; color forecasting in design
  • Usability and accessibility issues related to color

Design 320 – Electronic Media for the Designer

Course Description: The course is structured to provide experience in the creation of content for print media and electronic media. Students learn the fundamentals of production software such as Adobe PhotoShop, InDesign and Freehand, Quicktime, and Macromedia Fireworks and Dreamweaver. Assignments facilitate the student’s understanding by exploring the functionality of these programs and their applications to real-world design problems. Students learn properties and characteristics of graphics, image compression and representation and how to properly obtain and manipulate images and prepare images, type and other electronic media for use in design applications, such as electronic documents, printed brochures, web materials, annual reports, signage and wayfinding, product packaging, etc.


  • Overview of design strategies for the web and print environments
  • Overview of web authoring standards, tools, and environments
  • Overview of design strategies for the web and print environments
  • Overview of web authoring standards, tools, and environments
  • Basic interface and interactivity concepts
  • The role of imagery, typography and other media in design application
  • Introduction to screen layout, design, and organization
  • WWW terminology and technology
  • Issues of additive color and style
  • Image importing, storage, manipulation and exporting
  • Computer typography and screen legibility
  • Testing methods
  • Design production guidelines and methodologies
  • Web accessibility guidelines

Design 570 – Introduction to Image Graphics Techniques

Course Description: An experimental workshop in techniques of manipulating existing images to create new visual ideas, emphasizing individual exploration; discussions and critiques.


  • Overview of image representations
  • Overview of digital image standards, tools, and environments
  • Image manipulation concepts
  • Introduction to digital imaging vocabulary, techniques and materials
  • Introduction to image input and output devices and procedures
  • Issues of color and resolution
  • The role of digital images in visual communication design
  • Discussion of aesthetic and technical qualities of digital images
  • Software technologies for image creation and manipulation

Design 571 – Fundamentals of 3D Design Visualization

Course Description: This course is designed for non-design majors to teach the concepts of three dimensional modeling for the purposes of visualizing design form.


  • Overview of 3D standards, tools, and environments used in design
  • Modeling, and rendering concepts
  • Introduction to 3D curves and surfaces
  • 3D design terminology and technology
  • Issues of materials, color and lighting
  • Output techniques and formats
  • Dynamics of 3D design interaction and visualization

Design 573 – Fundamentals of Multimedia Design

Course Description: Designed for non-visual communication design majors to teach the concepts of contemporary web design from a designer’s perspective. The course will provide students with an opportunity to learn about important design principles related to web-based interface and web-interaction design. Students will address issues concerning the approach to adequate electronic communication techniques and the challenges associated with them. Design solutions will address the specific requirements and abilities of the source (company) and destination (user).


  • Overview of design strategies for the web
  • Overview of web authoring standards, tools, and environments
  • Interface and interactivity concepts
  • Introduction to screen layout and design
  • WWW terminology and technology
  • Issues of color and style
  • Computer typography and screen legibility
  • Web usability

Design 785 – Orientation to Graduate Studies in Design

Course Description: Requirements of graduate-level study in Design; available resources; faculty interests and research; overview of current and future trends in design; introduction to design research and communication methods.


  • Introduction and background of students; overview of department, college, and university structure.
  • Research proposal and literature review, graduate degree options.
  • University resources; department and college facility tours
  • Review of former student thesis/project documents
  • Discussion of readings of research methodologies and relevant literature contributions
  • Faculty interest presentations/interviews.
  • Choosing and working with an academic advisor.

Computer and Information Science 783 – Geometric Modeling

Course Description: Survey techniques and algorithms used to create, manipulate, represent, and display geometric models in computer graphics. Provides a foundation in the theory, algorithms, and techniques used to model geometrical elements in three dimensions in computer graphics, including the representation and display of curves and curved surfaces, and data structures to aid in constructing and representing these geometric models.


  • Introduction to 3D; Mathematical Foundations
  • Polygonal systems, data structures
  • Fundamental polyhedron construction algorithms
  • Free form Curves
  • Free form Surfaces
  • Other curve and surface approaches
  • rocedural modeling
  • Solids Modeling

Arts College 732 – A Critical History of Computer Graphics and Animation

Course Description: Historical overview of the development of the discipline of computer-generated imagery, including CAD, computer animation, computer art, virtual reality and scientific visualization.


  • Review, evaluate and critique academic, commercial and laboratory contributions to the field of computer-generated imagery (CGI)
  • Review related activities to gain an understanding of the evolution of CGI
  • Trace the roots of CGI institutions and activities
    Develop an understanding of the theories and methodologies which are tuned to the capabilities and qualities inherent in software, hardware, and animation techniques, by examining the contributions of principals in the field in the context of the time
  • Critically review advances and contributions from technical, artistic and aesthetic perspectives