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Graphic Design | Courses

For current class offerings, times, and additional information, please visit:
Office of the Registrar: Schedule of Classes.


Graphic Design Course Descriptions

GDES-100: Design Literacy (3)


This course introduces students to the ubiquity and multiplicity of purpose of graphic design and the applied arts in general. Students discover the cultural dimensions of visual and verbal elements and learn to appreciate international issues related to the globalization and localization of design messages. Students carry out hands-on projects to explore aesthetic and communicational aspects of design. Usually offered every term.


GDES-200: Visual Communication Design (3)


Students will engage in hands-on design practices, develop creative thinking strategies, and devise solutions to visual communication design challenges. The course familiarizes students with visual principles, essential software, and techniques that serve the basic designer needs. Students will also develop fluency in the principles of visual language to form a basis of aesthetic judgment and develop methods of analysis and inquiry for creative thinking. Students’ in-studio practice combines with class critiques of work, software tutorials, and supporting lectures. Usually offered every term.


GDES-210: Visible Language for Publications and Media: Typography I (3)


Students will explore creative, historical, theoretical, and applied principles of type. Through creative projects and exercises, students will explore the communicational impact of choosing typefaces, the expressive possibilities of type in static and kinetic media, as well as the foundations for hierarchy and composition for publication design. Students will also develop skills to enhance, clarify, and support meaning and the accessibility of typographic content. Creative studio practice combines with supporting readings, lectures, and software training. Usually offered every term.


GDES-220: Digital and Emerging Media Design I (3)


Students will develop applied creative projects and acquire technical skills to become adept at essential software, design principles and practices for screen-based digital and emerging media. Students will also learn foundations of front-end web coding such as HTML and CSS, and develop technical problem solving and organizational skills. Course lectures address the cultural backdrop of the Internet as it applies to design.


GDES-230: Graphic Design History:
Visual Culture, Commerce, and Propaganda 1:2 (3)


Graphic images have been used from prehistory to the computer age. A lecture-discussion format presents the historical context for the graphic arts of calligraphy, typography, book design, diagramming, and illustration. Emphasis on the relationship of these applied arts to the fine arts, technology, and social history, as well as the application of this visual language to contemporary design problems. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite for General Education credit: ARTH-105 or COMM-105 or LIT-120 or LIT-135.


GDES-300: Type and Image: Typography II (3)


Students will create typographically focused design solutions to design challenges, and explore the relationship between type and image across print and digital media. The course emphasizes ideation of sophisticated design combining visual and verbal elements, as well as the development of advanced publication layout skills, grid-based typographic structures, and information design. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: GDES-200, GDES-210, GDES-220, and COMM-330.


GDES-310: Design for Print: Digital and Analog Print Production (3)


Through a series of creative design projects, the course places emphasis on the technical procedures that translate graphic design from an idea to a printed piece as well as on attaining proficiency in the use of print-related software. Includes development of comprehensive sketches, pre-press preparation, color separation, and printing procedures. The class format includes lectures, studio projects, and local field trips. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite: GDES-200, GDES-210, GDES-220, and COMM-330.


GDES-315: Digital and Emerging Media Design II (3)


Students prepare themselves for the world of professional web design. Through creative hands-on projects, exercises, and lectures students learn to conceptualize, design, and deploy successful web sites for clients. Course topics address intermediate web design concepts such as interface design, usability principles, web typography, information architecture, compliant front-end HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite: GDES-200, GDES-210, GDES-220, and COMM-330.


GDES-320: Visual Concepts and Image Making for Design (3)


Through a combination of digital and analog media, students will create applied design projects integrating photography as an image-making tool to convey ideas and to generate original images. The course emphasizes image-based concept development, sketching, planning, and realization of photo-shoots, and the development of art direction skills. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: GDES-300


GDES-325: Kinetic and Sequential Graphics (3)


Students explore the application of typographic, compositional, and conceptual design principles in the context of time and sequence. Students develop advanced skills in the creation of kinetic typography and graphics applied to design challenges including identity, information, and conceptual expression, whether for linear or interactive sequential design. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: GDES-300


GDES-350: Illustration (3)


SStudents explore illustration as a communicational concept delivery tool. From basic black-and-white techniques, including representational drawings and pictograms, to complex color, collage, and mixed media. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: Graphic Design Major or Minor and ARTS-205 or ARTS-210 or ARTS-215.


GDES-390: Independent Reading Course (1-6)


Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.


GDES-396: Selected Topics: Non Recurring (1-6)


Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.


GDES-400: Visual Branding, and Design Systems: Advanced Design I (3)


This course invites students to develop complex, multi-component design projects focused on building visual and conceptual aspects of branding and identity for a variety of applications. Projects also involve the articulation of design systems through environmental, promotional and collateral graphics, and other design systems. Studio practices allow students to mature their professional, organizational, and presentation skills. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: GDES-320.


GDES-405: Interactive Media and Mobile Devices: Experience Design (3)


This course introduces students to design elements and techniques for mobile applications. Through hands-on projects, exercises, and supporting lectures students learn how to conceptualize, design, prototype, and execute interactive experiences for portable digital devices. The creative projects place emphasis on developing the ability to clearly articulate complex information architecture while producing compelling and vibrant user interfaces. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: GDES-325 and GDES-315.


GDES-420: Publication Design for Print and Digital Media:
Advanced Design II (3)


Students engage in the research, conceptualization, design, and execution of complex design projects with concentration in editorial and publication design, book design, and other comprehensive narrative and editorial design challenges. Students also devote time to preparation of senior portfolios. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: GDES-400.


GDES-425: Interactive Experience Design: Senior Projects (3)


Students explore advanced topics in interactive and experience design through creative projects. Students conduct semester-long applied research resulting in a series of cohesive works that explore effective and meaningful uses of technology for creating engaging interactive experiences. Supporting course lectures address current issues and trends in the field, while lab work sessions cover required technical skills. Interdisciplinary inquiry and creative experimentation are highly encouraged. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: GDES-405.


GDES-450: Packaging Design (3)


Development of three-dimensional design solutions related to the presentation of objects and products. Students explore structural, production, and communicational aspects of packaging. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: GDES-300 or permission of department.


GDES-490: Independent Study Project (1-6)


Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.


GDES-491: Internship (1-6)


Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.

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