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Graphic Design

Graphic Design provides a broad understanding of visual communication theory and practice. Through the development of conceptual, aesthetic, and technical skills, students will create visual messages across a variety of media. Courses utilize design methodology, design principles, gestalt principles, color theory, typography, imagery, and manual and digital techniques. 

Our Macintosh lab holds 18 large screen iMacs, scanning station and high definition projection. High-resolution color printers are available for tabloid and oversized printing.


BFA in Graphic Design

A minimum of 32 courses are required for the BFA degree with a concentration in Graphic Design. Eighteen courses minimum in the major:

  1. ART 111113115140 or 240141241242320322,  341342343399, and 441 
  2. Four courses outside the area of concentration. These may be courses in 
    Two-dimensional ArtThree-dimensional ArtArt History, or BUS 240.
  3. BFA degree candidates must present a senior exhibition or project for approval by the art faculty.


Course Descriptions

ART 141 - Graphic Design I

Introduction to visual communication, aesthetic theory, and computer graphics tools and techniques. Explores graphic design as a means of communication, artistic expression, and organization of information. Critiques, group discussions, research and information gathering assignments, lectures and demonstrations complement studio work. Offered each semester.

ART 241 - Graphic Design II: The Image & Design

A continuation of the study of imagery and image making in design through a series of projects. Visual communication through original photography, manipulated photography and illustration are explored using both hand and digital tools. Both theory and the process of design are emphasized through a variety of media ranging from print to digital. Prerequisite: 141. Offered each fall.

ART 242 - Graphic Design: Web Design

A  studio course exploring visual layout principles of interactive website design. Survey of methodology, theory, and best practice of web design solutions. Projects will explore current technologies. Prerequisite: ART 141. Offered each Fall Term.

ART 341 - Graphic Design III: The Narrative & Design

A study of visual narrative design, emphasizing creativity and effective visual communication. Through a variety of projects students will learn the historical basis of typography and the relationship between language and form. A continuation of the study of design principles will be emphasized in both static and interactive media. Prerequisite: 241. Offered each spring.

ART 342 - Graphic Design: Advanced Web Design

A  studio course exploring advanced web design strategies with an emphasis on content, visual design, and effective human computer interaction. Students will complete projects that incorporate best practices for web design and development. Course projects will build on skills and concepts learned in ART 242. Prerequisite: ART 141 and 242. Offered each spring. 

ART 343 - Graphic Design IV: Problem Solving & Design

A  course that will challenge designers to look at larger questions of design and social change. Working as a team with either campus or community organizations students study the complexity of an issue. Students define the challenges and design experiences, artifacts, and/or contemporary media to innovate change, educate, or inspire. Students will use advanced branding practices to create cohesive communication. Prerequisite: ART 341. Offered each fall. 

ART 381 - Special Topics in Art & Design

May vary in content with each offering. The central focus may be on one or more issues of process, content, or style. Each course offering under this title bears a subtitle, which indicates the specific type of course experience that is planned. May be repeated for credit if course is not duplicated. Offered occasionally.  

ART 441 - Graphic Design V: Design Portfolio 

A concentrated study of complex design problems building on the students’ previous design experiences. New work may range from an illustration series, branding or promotional campaigns, and complex educational or informational communication to design entrepreneur projects. Students propose a plan for the semester for faculty approval. Prerequisite: ART 343. May be repeated once for credit. Offered each spring. 

ART 480 - Special Individual Projects

Individually designed research studies, field experiences, or experimental studio projects in an area of special interest; carried out under the guidance of the instructor or a special supervisor. May be repeated for a maximum of three units of credit. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Offered as needed.  

ART 497 - Internships

Individually designed experiential learning. May include field studios or internship placements such as commercial printing, graphic design, museum or gallery work. Prerequisite: Consent of the School of Art faculty. Offered each semester.  

Julie Johnson - Director of the Ames School of Art and Design

Department - School Of Art