Introduction to
Digital Media Design

Transferable hacks, skills and tricks

A hands-on approach to take you through the building blocks, common skills and hacks across all forms of digital design. Understand the fundamentals so you can start creating straight away.

Exercises & Extras

Apply what you've learned to portfolio-quality projects.
See examples and download project sheets for the classroom.

Check It Out

About the Author

I'm David Leicester Hardy, an associate professor at James Madison University in Virginia, and a multidisciplinary graphic designer specializing in UX, UI, web, motion graphics, and interactive design. With over twenty years of professional experience, I have worked for advertising agencies, educational institutions, private firms, non-profit institutions, and artists and musicians.

Prior to my career in higher education, I was a senior web designer for MGM Resorts where I designed and built large-scale websites for Las Vegas properties such as The Bellagio and Mandalay Bay.

As part of my professional practice, I run a boutique digital-first design studio called Structure & Craft.

Book Chapters


Introduction: Convergence with Tech, Divergence of Media

- Progress of graphic design
- Rationale and objectives of the book


Chapter 1: User Interface and Digital Design

- Familiar controls, their uses and variations
- Text and object size for screen and target size for touch controls
- Hierarchy and visual flow in digital design
- Strategic use of color and texture
- Signal-to-noise ratio in headings, descriptors, commands, etc.
- Methods of overlaying text on images
- How to reduce visual clutter using modularity and affordance
- Interface design process from sketch to high-fidelity product


Chapter 2: User Experience and Strategy

- Rapid prototyping processes and workflow
- User research and creation of personas
- Data-driven design and experiential praxis
- User-centered design that considers empathy and psychology
- Screen sizes and performance / task hierarchy
- Gestalt theory for functional elements


Chapter 3: Animation and Motion Graphics

- Motion design principles
- 2D animation in 3D space
- Five basic transformations
- Pacing, audio integration, and transitions
- Digital storytelling as an emotionally compelling and engaging format
- Uses and final output for animation and motion graphics


Chapter 4: Interaction Design

- IxD's relationship to UI
- Extending animation for user-interfaces
- Microinteraction description and process
- Delighting users through perceived tactile experiences
- Intuitive systems and patterns
- Various methods for prototyping interactions


Chapter 5: Design for the Web

- Layout strategy for various viewport widths
- Important takeaways in quickly learning HTML (structure) and CSS (styling)
- The concept of semantic mark-up, and how it bolsters visual design
- Creative coding and how to quickly iterate “in the browser”
- How to design in chunks using the sandwich technique
- Tips for designing something that's actually possible to build with code


Chapter 6: Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality

- Conceptualizing virtual experiences for brand / business objectives
- Calculating field of motion and periphery
- Designing UI with proximity in mind
- Workflow beginning from a popular design software
- Overview of 3D development platform
- Outline of ARkit and Swift technologies


Epilogue: Standing on the precipice

- Recap the tenets of working in a multidisciplinary way
- Predictions for the next 10-15 years
- Wrap-up