School of ART+DESIGN

The Graphic Design BFA Program | Academic Requirements
Student Learning Outcomes | Courses | Faculty

Undergraduate Design Courses

Note: Effective Fall 2014, courses formerly offered under the VDE prefix change to the DES prefix. In sequenced courses (e.g., I, II, III, IV), successful completion of each course is a prerequisite for the next course in the sequence. For example, Digital Media for Designers I is a prerequisite for Digital Media for Designers II. Arts Open Access courses are open to students in other disciplines.

1000–2999 (lower level)
3000–3999 (upper level)
4000–4999 (upper level)

1000–2999:

Letterpress Workshop
DES 2400 / 3 credits / Fall
Students become familiar with hot-type technology and relief printing, together with their contemporary aesthetic possibilities in both the applied and fine arts. Hands-on experience with handset, moveable type is provided, and traditional and experimental techniques are explored. No previous typographic experience is required.

Digital Media for Designers I
DES 2450
/ 3 credits / Fall
Focuses on developing technical and practical skills in digital typesetting, image making, composition, and layout. Students are introduced to software applications (InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator), digital fonts, and techniques for creating print and digital output. Topics include digital literacy and the influence of digital tools on contemporary graphic design. Required for graphic design majors.
Corequisite: DES 2500 or permission of instructor

Digital Media for Designers II
DES 2460
/ 2 credits / Spring
This continuation of DES 2450 introduces students to digitally delivered, time-based, and interactive media. Software applications (Adobe Dreamweaver, After Effects) are used to expand upon the work of DES 2450. Required for graphic design majors.
Prerequisite: DES 2450
Corequisite: DES 2600 or permission of instructor

Word and Image I
DES 2500
/ 3 credits / Fall
An introduction to the professional program in graphic design and visual communications. Emphasis is on skill development in controlling the performance of elements within a field; generation, refinement, and analysis of graphic forms and representations through a variety of drawing techniques; development of symbols and icons; and composition, variation, and discovery of word/image relationships through experimentation and play. Historical typographic distinctions are also explored. Required for graphic design majors.
Corequisite: DES 2450

Word and Image II
DES 2600
/ 4 credits / Spring
This continuation of DES 2500 examines the representation of ideas through typography and images, with intensive explorations of typographic and type/image hierarchy (through placement, scale, weight, juxtaposition), theme and variation, and problem-solving techniques. Students also explore a range of image-making techniques as a means of expressing ideas. Projects evolve from theory-based exercises to applied campaigns (brochures, posters, on-screen messaging). Required for graphic design majors.
Prerequisite: DES 2500

Book Structures
DES 2750
/ 3 credits / Spring
This hands-on intensive bookbinding workshop investigates the relationship between content and book structures. Students follow the development of the book from scrolls to case-bound sewn books from the perspective that the way a book is made structures what it communicates.

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3000–3999:

Interactive Design
DES 3090
/ 3 credits / Spring
An intensive exploration into interactive design with information, objects, and spaces, building on DES 2460 and 3800. Class projects explore what is needed when working with programmatic instructions: thinking rigorously and methodically while also exploring the tools of design. This allows an interactive experience to move beyond the sum of its instructions to become “living” and “responsive.” Topics include navigational systems, nonlinear organization, HTML, and CSS.
Formerly also offered as NME 3090 for new media majors.
Prerequisite: DES 2460 and 3800

Motion Graphics for Designers
DES 3190
/ 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Builds on the principles and skills of time-based and interactive design introduced in DES 2460. Technique, theory, and practice are further explored through projects using time, on-screen spatiality, transition, kinetic typography, narrative, and sound. Projects address linear and nonlinear environments such as film and television titling, DVD menus, Web splash pages, and graphics for mobile devices.
Formerly also offered as NME 3190 for new media majors.
Prerequisite: DES 2460 and permission of instructor

Advanced Typography
DES 3200
/ 4 credits / Fall
Students are encouraged to further explore and develop individualized approaches to typographic problems, with emphasis on experimentation, communication, and advanced application of typography. Projects focus on letterforms as image, typographic metaphor, and text typography. Areas of investigation include the shape, texture, and division of text; typographic grid, layout, and systems; book design and advanced problems of word/image relationships. Required for graphic design majors.
Prerequisite: DES 2600

Design Issues
DES 3240
/ 3 credits / Spring
Current issues of theory, methodology, and practice confronting graphic designers are explored through readings, discussions, and designed responses. Topics include modernist and postmodernist manifestos; semiotics, deconstructionism, and feminism; the role of the graphic designer in society; branding and visualizing data; copyright law; sustainability; and designing for a digital world and local and global economies. Students produce a final research project. Open to students interested in design; highly recommended for graphic design majors.

Social Design: Global Cities, New Ecologies, and Sustainability
NME 3260
Refer to New Media Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description. Formerly also offered under VDE 3260 for visual arts majors.

Description modified Fall 2014 (4/08/14):
History of Graphic Design Survey
DES 3300
/ 4 credits / Spring
Focuses on print communication, primarily graphic design, in the Western world from the late 19th century to the present. A brief summary of important historical precedents launches a chronological series of lectures on significant movements and individuals and the economic, political, and technological developments that have influenced modern and contemporary print communication.
Formerly also offered as NME 3301 for new media majors.

Typographic Investigations
DES 3440
/ 3 credits / Spring
An introduction to type design. Topics include manipulation of pre-existing letterforms, proportional systems, legibility, critical theory, information design, and developments in technology. Participants learn about decisions inherent in developing typefaces for print and screen and analyze historical and contemporary examples of typographic innovation. Software includes Fontlab.
Prerequisite: DES 3200

Production for Designers
DES 3450
/ 3 credits / Every semester
A comprehensive study of the methods and techniques used in producing and distributing graphic design projects. Projects explore hands-on prepress and print production. Topics include print technologies, paper specification and engineering, binding/finishing techniques, sustainability, quality control, photography for designers, budget parameters, and designing for Internet and mobile devices. Field trips may include print shops, paper mills, and graphic design suppliers. Required for graphic design majors.
Prerequisite: DES 2600

Word and Image III
DES 3510
/ 4 credits / Fall
Emphasizes the development and evaluation of word and image through advanced studies and pragmatic applications. Development of an identity system, applied printed and electronic matter, issues of imagery, relationship to audience, ethics, information theory, and research methods are explored. Students are encouraged to explore the balance between individualized approaches, vision, and appropriateness. Required for graphic design majors.
Prerequisite: DES 2600

Word and Image IV
DES 3610
/ 4 credits / Spring
Focusing on applications of 3-D visual communications (e.g., packaging, exhibition, signage design), students explore problems of human and environmental scale, display typography, interactivity, object containment and reflection, visual systems, and color through a variety of applied projects. Construction techniques, model making, and familiarity with materials are balanced with concerns for relationship of form, function, and idea. Required for graphic design majors.
Prerequisite: DES 3510

Design for the Web
DES 3800
/ 3 credits / Spring
Contemporary Web-based communication design is introduced and examined. Students analyze existing sites as well as explore and experiment with formal, conceptual, and technological developments specific to the restrictions and capabilities of the Web. Specific attention is paid to the role of the designer in the creation of a website, user experience, screen-based typography, and innovative design. Recommended for graphic design majors.
Prerequisite: DES 2460 or equivalent

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4000–4999:

Prerequisite revised Fall 2014 (4/08/14):
Senior Seminar
DES 4090
/ 3 credits / Spring
Explores the possibilities and realities of design practice after graduation. Students develop a portfolio, enter competitions, and design a personalized identity package, including a website, modular digital portfolio, letterhead, cover letter, and résumé. Discussions revolve around current issues in the field, professional options, the business of design, and freelancing. Includes guest speakers and field trips to design studios, museums, and related events. Required for graphic design majors.
Prerequisite: DES 3610

Community Design
DES 4100
/ 4 credits / Every semester
Brings senior graphic design students together in a collaborative design studio, simulating a “real world” professional studio situation. Students work directly with on-campus and nonprofit off-campus clients. Under the supervision of the faculty member, the students assume complete responsibility for the concept and development of multiple design solutions, production, printing, scheduling, maintaining client relationships, billing, etc. Required for graphic design majors.
Prerequisite: DES 3200 and 3510

Advanced Web Design: Special Projects
DES 4170
/ 2 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Based on the model of DES 4100, this special upper-level course provides advanced students in graphic design and new media with professional experience working as a team on a real job for a real client.
Formerly also offered as NME 4170 for new media majors.
Prerequisite: DES 3090 or 3800, and permission of instructor

Experimental Book
DES 4600
/ 3 credits / Fall
Students are encouraged to reconsider what a book is and expand the boundaries of the traditional codex book through workshops in experimental formats, integration of word and image, form and content, sequencing, and physical structure. This may include a variety of projects and the study of video and film structure, historical and contemporary artists’ books, and innovative trade books.

Artist/Writer Workshop
DES 4790
/ 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
The ideas and skills inherent in visual arts and literature are combined toward an integrated expression in this interdisciplinary course. Students confront issues of form, word and image relationships, sequence, storytelling, semiotics, and visual/experimental literature. Skills are developed through a sequence of exercises, including Dada poetry and other writing (continuous, automatic, multiple points of view); titling objects; building a narrative; story development; typographic settings of original text; and writing and designing for the visual book, performance, and other time-based media. Students choose the medium for their final projects; collaborations are encouraged.
Formerly also offered as SOA 4240 for students in other disciplines.
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing, and an interest in the marriage of visual arts and writing

Senior projects changed to I and II, 3 credits each, Fall 2014:
Senior Project I and II
DES 4990 and 4991 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
The two-semester, 6-credit senior project is required for all graphic design majors in their senior year. It is an intensive independent study undertaken with faculty sponsorship, in which students pursue a particular theme or topic as a culmination of their undergraduate experience. A written thesis and visual documentation of the project must be submitted to the Library before graduation.

Updated April 8, 2014

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Updates
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