BS in Communication with a Concentration in Graphic Design: Theory, Research, Practice

The B.S. in Communication with a Concentration in Graphic Design: Theory, Research, Practice provides a curriculum for undergraduate students who seek professional careers in graphic design. This concentration will prepare students for professional practice and graduate study in creative problem solving for print and electronic media. Students completing this sequence will know how to apply theory to the creation of conventional and unconventional communication objects (that includes but is not limited to advertising campaigns, editorial layouts, corporate communications including annual reports and corporate standards, event announcements, advocacy campaigns, and web pages) that convey information to a target audience.

Students in the concentration will develop key competencies -- in accordance with the NASAD and the AIGA accreditation standards -- that include:

  • Identifying and creatively solving communication design problems
  • Documenting and managing one's design process
  • Gathering audience feedback about the conceptual development of their ideas through prototyping, production, and distribution
  • Researching and gathering relevant information that shapes the form and function of their ideas
  • Analyzing visual language for meaning
  • Generating alternative solutions to a given communication design problem
  • Rendering a working model/prototype
  • Identifying and evaluating outcomes
  • Understanding graphic design business practices
  • Rendering a well-designed communication form that shows evidence of expertise in crafting and verbally/visually presenting a creative solution to a given communication design problem that includes an understanding of visual literacy and color theory, principles of visual organization and composition, information hierarchy, symbolic representation, typography, aesthetics, and the construction of meaningful and effective type and image expressions
  • Describing and responding to the audiences and contexts that communication solutions must address, including recognition of the physical, cognitive, cultural, and social human factors that shape design decisions
  • Understanding of technology and its role in the creation, reproduction, and distribution of visual messages

The curriculum will progress from introductory courses in foundations training (e.g. color theory, visual literacy theory, communication theory, introduction to visual communication, typography, design history, etc.) to intermediate to advanced courses in design studio topics (e.g., information design, interactive design, social and corporate communications, moving type, type and image).

While the first two years will be devoted to foundations training, the third and fourth years will be focused on the application of theory and research to practical studies. The program culminates the fourth year with each major completing a thesis within their courses and submitting a well-designed digital and print portfolio that shows mastery of the competencies required for professional practice. All portfolios will be exhibited, at which time each portfolio will undergo a rigorous review by professional graphic designers.

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