The term “graphic design” traditionally refers to the design of printed materials, but in recent years, changing technologies and increased public awareness have broadened the field’s scope to include a much wider variety of applications. From the package one purchases to the sign on the shop window, to the look of written ideas and symbols for the world’s organizations, design today influences what we buy, what we do and even what we think. In response, the Graphic Design program recognizes new areas of design practice including multi- and cross-disciplinary design practice today. Working within this professional context, the goal of the Graphic Design program is to educate students as responsible thinkers, citizens, and professionals in an increasingly complex world of evolving technology as applied to the dissemination of ideas and information.
Among the competencies required by Graphic Design are the ability to identify, research, evaluate and solve problems, to create prototypes, to apply relevant tools and technologies, to understand basic business organizational practices, and to apply an understanding of design history. Access to libraries, studio space, up-to-date technology, internships, and field experience are essential to training in this field.
Courses in Graphic Design build upon a sequence of six upper-level courses in the area. The curriculum thus includes: direct studies in design (20-25% of the total program); other courses in art and design, (20-30%); studies in art and design history (10-15%); general studies and electives (25-35%). Studies in the major area and related courses total 60-65% of the curriculum. Students in Graphic Design are encouraged to seek out courses in communication theory, writing, psychology, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, and the humanities as they complete their university General Education requirements.
Students in Graphic Design are accepted via a portfolio review that is held in the spring semester. Students submit 10 pieces of work and write an essay in answer to a given question. The work is reviewed by design faculty, and students are selected to join the program each year.
The current sequence includes the following classes: Design Process (ART 2110), Graphic Design 1 (ART 2120), Graphic Design 2 (ART 3110), Graphic Design 3 (ART 3120), Graphic Design 4 (ART 4110), and Senior Project (ART 4901).
Among the program’s strength is an approach built upon the conviction that technology is not synonymous with process, that design is a journey of inquiry, and that some of the best design today is still produced via the mind, a pencil and a sketchpad. The energy in this program, the honesty of the task, and the open channels of communication make for a stimulating educational environment.