The graphic design area offers a distinctive program in the art and practice of print- and digitally based graphic design and experimental publishing.

The program approaches graphic design as a vital field of professional art practice that gives shape to culture through a variety of media, including:

  • print and digital books, magazines, brochures, posters, billboards
  • motion graphics
  • web and interactive design
  • type design
  • exhibition design
  • packaging
  • other two-, three-, and four-dimensional manifestations

While graphic design usually solves visual communication problems through words, symbols, and images, its applications can be commercial, political, educational, literary, subversive, personal, and experimental.

To prepare for the range of options in the graphic design field, the program provides a hands-on studio environment with emphasis on the marriage of formal and conceptual skills. After the freshman foundation studies, a three-year sequence of courses begins with training in fundamental principles, skills, theory, and history and progresses toward more advanced and applied applications. Experienced, professional faculty members help students find their own voice and approach to design in a facility that encompasses a broad array of print and digital technologies. The program challenges students to consider the role of the artist/designer as creative collaborator, if not the originator of project ideas.

In collaboration with the printmaking program, courses in the art of the book and experimental publishing are offered in the facilities of the School of Art+Design’s Center for Editions. The graphic design major is rigorous yet flexible and encourages overlaps with other areas in the school.


In addition to fulfilling   General Education requirements and other degree requirements, undergraduate students majoring in graphic design must complete the following requirements (85–87 credits):

Please Note: All students are expected to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 to remain in good academic standing. All required studio arts classes must be completed with a grade of C or higher in order to advance within the degree. Any required studio arts grade of C- or below must be repeated.

Foundation Courses: 16-17 credits

VIS 1050/ComX: 2 credits or VIS 2150/Key Class: 1 credit
VIS 1060/Foundation Drawing: 3 credits
VIS 1070/Extended Media: 3 credits
VIS 1080/Visual Language: 3 credits
VIS 1260/3-D Processes: 3 credits
VIS 1330/Lens and Time: 3 credits

Art History Courses: 12 credits

ARH 1020/History of Art Survey II: 3 credits
ARH 1021/History of Art Survey II Discussion: 1 credit
ARH —/One course in the history of art before 1800 (lower-level)
ARH 3405/Design History and Theory: 1750–Today: 4 credits or  
DES 3300/History of Graphic Design Survey: 4 credits

Graphic Design Studio Courses: 27 credits

DES 2450/Digital Media for Designers I: 3 credits
DES 2460/Digital Media for Designers II: 3 credits
DES 2500/Word and Image I: 3 credits
DES 2600/Word and Image II: 3 credits
DES 3200/Advanced Typography: 3 credits
DES 3510/Word and Image III: 3 credits
DES 3610/Word and Image IV: 3 credits
DES 4100/Community Design: 3 credits
DES —/Graphic design elective: 3 credits

Visual Arts Studio Electives: 18 credits (Must be upper level)

Graphic Design Theory Elective: 3–4 credits

One of the following courses:
ARH 3285/Design and Culture: 4 credits
DES 3240/Design Issues: 3 credits
NME 3265/Social Design: 3 credits

Synthesis Courses: 9 credits

DES 3550/Junior Seminar: 3 credits
DES 4990/Senior Project I: 3 credits
DES 4991/Senior Project II: 3 credits

Mid-Program Review

Students who choose to major in graphic design are required to complete a mid-program review. Students will be notified by the department with specific guidelines on the review process and timeline. Students who do not successfully pass the review are encouraged to work with the School of Art+Design administration and faculty to find another major that will better fit their educational goals.

Internship Credits

Students majoring in graphic design may count a maximum of 4 hours of internship credit toward graduation.


Students are also expected to abide by the policies and procedures laid out in the A+D Student Handbook.


  • Associate Professor of Graphic Design
    • Bachelor of Environmental Design, North Carolina State University
    • MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art
  • Associate Professor of Graphic Design
    • BFA, Howard University
    • MFA, Yale University
  • Lecturer of Graphic Design
    • BA, Rhode Island College
    • MFA, Yale University
  • Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
    • MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art
  • Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
    • MFA, The University of Texas at Dallas
    • MA, The New School for Public Engagement
    • BA, San Francisco State University
  • Lecturer, Graphic Design
    • BA, SUNY Binghamton
    • MA, Columbia University, Teachers College
  • Lecturer of Graphic Design
    • BA, Reed College
    • MFA, Pratt Institute
  • Visiting Assistant Professor in Graphic Design
    • BFA, University of the Arts
  • Associate Professor of New Media and Graphic Design
    Doris and Carl Kempner Distinguished Professor 2023-2025
    • BS, MS, Middle East Technical University (Turkey)
    • MA, PhD, New School for Social Research