Graphic Design

Bachelor of fine arts
Master of fine arts

What is Graphic Design:
You have a message you want to communicate? How do you “send” it? You could tell people one by one or broadcast by radio or loudspeaker. That's verbal communication.

But if you use any visual medium at all-if you make a poster; type a letter; create a business logo, a magazine ad, or an album cover; even make a computer printout-you are using a form of visual communication called graphic design.

Graphic designers work with drawn, painted, photographed, or computer-generated images (pictures), but they also design the letterforms that make up various typefaces found in movie credits and TV ads; in books, magazines, and menus; and even on computer screens. Designers create, choose, and organize these elements-typography, images, and the so-called “white space” around them-to communicate a message. Graphic design is a part of your daily life. From humble things like gum wrappers to huge things like billboards to the T-shirt you’re wearing, graphic design informs, persuades, organizes, stimulates, locates, identifies, attracts attention and provides pleasure*

* American Institute of Graphic Arts
Graphic Design is an interdisciplinary, problem-solving activity which combines visual sensitivity with skill and knowledge in areas of communications, technology and business. Graphic design practitioners specialize in the structuring and organizing of visual information to aid communication and orientation. The graphic design process is a problem solving process, one that requires substantial creativity, innovation and technical expertise. An understanding of a client's product or service and goals, their competitors and the target audience is translated into a visual solution created from the manipulation, combination and utilization of shape, color, imagery, typography and space. *

*Australian Graphic Design Association

The mission of the Graphic Design program is to educate students for professional excellence in graphic design and to promote the advancement of graphic design as a proponent of positive social change.

The program provides a premier educational experience that fosters creativity, professional knowledge, technical expertise, and a critical and global perspective. The curriculum encompasses both a broad-based education in the liberal arts and extensive studio practice.

The Graphic Design Department's mission statement reflects the institutional mission to" develop student's aesthetic, intellectual, analytical, and technological abilities through programs that integrate theory and practice" and "exposes students to their chosen professions through internships, guest lecturers, industry sponsored projects, and other opportunities for experimental learning."

Department of Graphic Design Educational Objectives:
  • - Graphic design deals with the creation of effective solutions to visual communication problems. It explores how to use visual language in an innovative way to convey specific messages to a target audience.
  • - The products of graphic design include advertisements, flyers, posters, book and magazine covers, editorials, packaging, logos, typefaces, websites, illustrations, animated characters, film credits, and more.
    The Department of Graphic Design provides students with a well-equipped and dynamic education which will make them proficient in the use of visual language and enable them to keep pace with the rapid developments and transformations in the design world.
  • - The educational objective of the department is to train students who are capable of questioning well-known graphic trends and of thinking critically and creatively; training students who will contribute innovative and individual proposals to the field.
  • - To this aim, in addition to such practical courses as graphic design, typography, illustration, printing, packaging, photography, multimedia and web design, and motion graphics, theoretical courses in History, Branding, Marketing and Copywriting, constitute an important part of the department’s curriculum.  

    The Department of Graphic Design also offers graduate programs leading towards the M.F.A. degree. The objectives of the graduate program are to equip students with advanced knowledge in their fields of study; to help them acquire advanced skills for research and professional careers. The program is designed to create a vigorous intellectual climate where students shall develop capacity for independent, critical, creative, and original research and thought.

BFA Graphic Design:
Program Objectives
  • - Graphic Design students must be able to solve communication problems.
  • - They must be able to identify a problem; research, gather, and analyze information about it; generate multiple creative solutions; and evaluate outcomes.
  • - They must learn to identify and respond to their audience, recognizing the physical, cultural, and social factors that shape design decisions;
  • - They will understand visual organization, information hierarchy, symbolic representation, typography, aesthetics, and the construction of meaningful images;
  • - They must also understand the use of tools and technologies, including but not limited to the computer, printing processes, and photography;
  • - Students must also understand design history as well as basic business practices, including the organization of design projects and working productively as a member of a team.
  • - Most importantly, we teach students to imbue their design solutions with strong concepts and to communicate to an ever-expanding and multi-cultural global market

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:
  • - Utilize forms of communication:  With a sense of aesthetics, personal and professional integrity, and message clarity, students will utilize visual and verbal forms of communication to convey ideas and information.
  • - Address needs of client and audience:  Students will demonstrate an understanding of their responsibility to client and audience — determining needs, structuring problems and solving problems creatively.
  • - Focus on ethics:  Students will solve communication problems with a focus on their positive ethical impact upon culture and society.
  • - Embrace technology as a vehicle of communication: Students will demonstrate the ability to use new and emerging technology as a vehicle of effective communication and a means for the invention of expressive form.
  • - Practice design as a dynamic process:  Students will understand and practice design as a process that relies upon intuition, reason, ideation methods and effective research for the creation of appropriate and inventive solutions.

MFA Graphic Design:
Program Objectives
  • - To promote and re-emphasize, basic design skills, and design thinking in every class, resulting in a cohesive learning program
  • - To produce students with both skill and intellect, through the teaching of theory and practice
  • - To produce design leaders rather than followers.
  • - To produce thinkers: graduates who innovate and contribute to the profession leading to the betterment of the way we live, achieved through the intensity and depth of intellectual inquiry required in thesis, the culmination of the MFA in Graphic Design degree.
  • - To develop curriculum that enables students to thrive in the rapidly changing, highly competitive work place through the teaching of current interdisciplinary skills.
  • - To take advantage of a wealth of information—in traditional and non-traditional media (including blogs, personal experiences, books, journal and magazine articles) and expert opinion—through a broad spectrum of expertise in our teaching.
  • - To proliferate innovative thinking by linking to the many disciplines and resources offered by the Faculty.
  • - Multidisciplinary/cross-platform (web, digital, and print) communication problems, environmental graphic design projects, info graphics, branding, and projects that require an advanced level of visual literacy have begun to figure more prominently in syllabi.

The MFA program in Graphic Design emphasizes mastery of the profession — including narrative abilities, presentation skills, strategic thinking, problem solving and the ability to develop innovative conceptual solutions.

Students acquire the finely tuned design skills, self-discipline and professional expertise necessary to become advanced practitioners.

The graduate student's final thesis project must integrate concept and content with technical prowess to make an original contribution to the field of graphic design. The thesis project is critically reviewed and approved by the graduate final review committee, then professionally exhibited to the industry and public.

MFA graduates in Graphic Design will meet the following student performance criteria:
  • - Critical & Creative Thinking
    • • Conduct appropriate research to identify problems and potential solutions.
    • • Initiate appropriate level of audience involvement and participation.
    • • Demonstrate the resourcefulness and flexibility necessary to conceive and execute design solutions.

  • - Conceptual Skills
    • • Create compelling and engaging visual communications that convey appropriate messages and ideas.
    • • Address problems through a design process.
    • • Develop design solutions that function effectively within a defined context (social, cultural, technological, and economic.).

  • - Formal Skills
    • • Create visual communications demonstrating competent formal design skills which include: hierarchy, typography, aesthetics, composition and construction of meaningful images.
    • • Demonstrate competence in media, materials, tools, technology, and techniques.

  • - Professional Readiness
    • • Demonstrate sound organization and design project management skills
    • • Effectively present and communicate ideas
    • • Demonstrate attention to detail in writing and language
    • • Demonstrate the skills necessary for chosen career path through the presentation of a competent body of work

  • - MFA Thesis Project
    • • Produce a comprehensive graduate thesis project that successfully utilizes design to solve for an identified problem
    • • Propose a graduate thesis project that identifies a problem, and has the potential for successful development using design