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Graphic Design

Bachelor of Arts — Program Overview

The major in graphic design integrates the traditional mass media education with design and production skills for the field of graphic design. The program includes typography, drawing, history, design theory and design production. This interdisciplinary program will produce educated and well-trained men and women in a liberal arts tradition. Students will gain a solid understanding of the capabilities of new technology and learn to create and design information for the complex global community in which we live.

Upon graduation, students majoring in graphic design will be able to:

  • Interpret the role the media and how it has affected society from a historical perspective
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the profession within the context of convergence
  • Have knowledge of theories and concepts prevalent in the field
  • Understand the broad history of the visual arts and visual communications
  • Define graphic design and become familiar with design precedents
  • Be familiar with important legal issues that face the field of mass communication
  • Develop personal values based upon ethical standards
  • Recognize ethical dilemmas that face mass media professionals
  • Recognize the power of the media and its effects on society
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the various writing styles appropriate for the communication professions
  • Demonstrate the ability to write and edit articles for publication
  • Critically evaluate written and oral presentations for style and content
  • Interpret, create, and disseminate visual information
  • Be able to draw still life and the figure
  • Be able to design two and or three dimensional compositions
  • Obtain and demonstrate the skill necessary to use technologies appropriate to the field
  • Plan, create, and complete projects using electronic media
  • Apply the knowledge and skills appropriate in the communication field
  • Demonstrate skills needed for an entry-level position in the profession
  • Understand, analyze and evaluate research
  • Demonstrate an understanding of research methods.  




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Core Graphic Design Courses

ART 110 - Drawing I

This course focuses on learning to see form through the process of drawing still-life and the human figure. It is open to all students, both to those who have some drawing experience and those without any prior experience. The course assists the student towards improvement of their visual observation skills and provides individualized attention in developing the student's rendering of three dimensional objects in two dimensions. A variety of media is utilized. Read more »

ART 111 - Design

Design is an introductory course in the elements of art and the principles of color and composition. Projects will include 2 and 3-dimensional organization. Studio activity will include a variety of media in the production of assignments. The design projects will progress from basic exercises to complete compositions. This course prepares the foundation for students interested in drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, applied and graphic design. Read more »

GDES 071 - Magazine Production

This is an elective course in conjunction with writing WRTG 06 IR, students will read, compile, design, layout, edit and proofread a literary magazine. In addition to layout for the Briar Cliff Review, students will be designing and constructing a publication that features their own creative work. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor Read more »

GDES 203 - The History of Graphic Design

As a graphic designer, it's important to be able to envision yourself and your work in the context of history. This course covers the history of visual communication (beginning with the Victorian period) with an emphasis on developments in graphic design and typography during the 20th century. You will learn how graphic design developed from various technical innovations to form a part of art history, cultural history and world history. You will gain an understanding of how design, specifically graphic design, has been defined as an art form and as a profession. You will study many prominent designers and learn to identify some of their most important works. Slide lectures are given throughout. Read more »

GDES 224 - Typography

The history, terminology and design components of typography will be explored through lecture and studio exercises. Read more »

GDES 325 - Graphic Design Production I

This course will introduce the students to the techniques, processes, terminology, and basic compositional and conceptual skills of the graphic designer. The course stresses three main objectives: craftsmanship, composition and concept. Craftsmanship includes tools and materials and how to use them, with a heavy emphasis on precision and presentation. Composition builds upon the principles covered in Design, Typography and Graphic Communications and stresses the gestalt principles of visual perception as a foundation for understanding compositional problems. Conceptually the course covers design as a form of aesthetic expression and as a means of effective communication. The student is asked to solve problems using conventional as well as more experimental methods. Graphic design is a very demanding and competitive profession, but for those who truly love it, the demands are well worth meeting and the rewards go beyond financial. Students are expected to commit themselves and to work hard, every day, not just for better grades but for the enjoyment that the work brings and the growth that comes with it. Read more »

GDES 335 - Graphic Design Production II

A continuation of GDES 325 Read more »

GDES 340 - Information Graphics

Explores the use of graphics to inform readers and or viewers of visual information. Students will gain experience in researching design and creation explanatory charts, maps, diagrams and other forms of information graphics. Computer technology is an essential tool in this process. Read more »

GDES 350 - Advertising Design

Investigation, creation, and application of advertising design and the development of advertising campaigns. Course will focus on creative problem solving, audience, product, and client positioning, marketing, and creative strategies as applied to advertising, as well as the advertising design process. Course will also include creative team interaction, individual brainstorming techniques, and detailed research. Read more »

GDES 400 - Senior Exhibition

Students will plan and prepare for a comprehensive exhibit that demonstrates the student's success in the program. Students will participate in the installation, promotion and all facets of a gallery exhibit. Read more »

GDES 445 - Production III

Extensive look at the visual organization in graphic design with a focus on conceptual development and print production. Develop dynamic portfolio samples, placing an emphasis on producing sophisticated and professional design work. Prerequisite: MCOM 225, GDES 325 Read more »

MCOM 101 - Introduction to Mass Media

Overview of mass media and their respective social, psychological, international, political, legal and cultural impacts, including: communications law, cable television and satellite broadcasting. Prerequisite for all other course work in this major or minor Read more »

MCOM 200 - Beginning Newswriting

Instruction in basic skills for writing in print journalism. Includes news values, writing leads, rewrites and follow-ups, and writing simple, complex and special story types. Students may be expected to submit publishable stories to the campus newspaper or other campus publications. All first-year students are strongly advised to take WRTG 159 before beginning the print sequence. Read more »

MCOM 216 - Digital Photography

Introduction to digital photography. Material covered includes operation of 35mm professional digital camera including aperture, shutter and depth of field in manual control. Camera handling and care lighting, composition, visual communication and photographic history. Extensive digital darkroom (IMC) work using Photoshop software application is required. Lab fee includes camera rental fee. Read more »

MCOM 220 - Visual Communications

Study of the graphic revolution and "image" as a powerful instrument of communication in society. Investigation of the pseudo-event, propaganda, public opinion and man's insatiable appetite for information. All forms of visual media (print, TV, advertising, digital, cinema, computer and the Internet) will be analyzed for obvious and hidden messages and their effects. Read more »

MCOM 225 - Graphic Communications

An introduction to the process of graphic arts production with emphasis on the various methods and techniques translating ideas and information to print material. The primary focus will be on production, layout and typography as they apply to print media, advertising and public relations. Newspaper, magazine and newsletter formats are discussed. Read more »

MCOM 300 - Legal and Ethical Issues in the Media

Study and discussion of ethical and moral considerations among journalists , acceptable actions by staff and management, as well as discussion of the grey areas of media responsibility. The course will also include legal issues such as constitutional and statutory law and the regulating agencies which affect the media. Student is required to participate in a community field service assignment. (Completion of the general education ethical foundation is required before beginning this course.) Read more »

MCOM 325 - Website Production

The technological, aesthetic and ethical phases of New Media will be examined. Student will use various software and hardware tools to create projects. This course will expose students to a variety of print and electronic publications (web, brochure, newsletter, newspaper and magazine are just a few). Students will strengthen their computer skills for a changing technological society. This course includes lecture and extensive lab production work. Read more »

MCOM 440 - Research In Mass Media

Individual exploration of a research topic in mass communication. Student will analyze and evaluate research and development an understanding of research as it relates of the field of mass communication. Prerequisite: Senior level status Read more »

MCOM 490 - Internship/Work Experience

On-site work experience in media-related fields. Course offers both practical and professional experience. Minimum of 150 working hours for each. Prerequisite: Permission of the department chairperson is required Read more »

Additional Program Requirements

All graphic design majors must complete a minimum of three credit hours of internship/work experience at an approved graphic design site.

It is strongly recommended that a graphic design student obtain a minor in one of the following disciplines: