Graphic Design Major - Undergraduate Degree Program | Briar Cliff University

Graphic Design Program

Degree Type: Bachelor of Arts
Program(s) Offered: Major, Minor

Graphic design is everywhere: Billboards and signs on buildings. Ads in a magazine. Invitations to a wedding. Even the web you’re surfing right now! Welcome to the digital world, where your screen is the new blank canvas. As a graphic design major, you'll learn how to fill it!

Use cutting-edge software.

You’ll have 24-hour access to the remodeled Integrated Multimedia Center, our state-of-the-art laboratory with workstations that include large-screen iMac computers equipped with the full Adobe Creative Cloud software suite. This professional-grade software updates automatically — so every time you log in, you’ll have the most up-to-date tools at your fingertips.

Create it forward.

Be part of BCU’s “Create it Forward,” a student-run graphic design club that creates top-notch brochures, logos, ads and other designs for non-profit organizations from around Siouxland. It’s a great résumé and portfolio boost — and it’s for a good cause!

Display your work.

The Clausen Art Gallery on campus is a live, working exhibit, where you’ll have the chance to display your own graphic design portfolio in a gallery setting. The gallery has featured student and professional artists from across Siouxland — and beyond!

Add a social media minor.

Pick up a minor in social media, and combine the social media savvy you already have with a blend of graphic design, marketing, writing and public relations skills. You’ll become the powerful, modern-day storyteller ever company craves!

Introduce yourself →   Schedule a Visit →

Graphic Design Program 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

 If you are enrolled in any courses scheduled in the Integrated Media Center, you will be charged a $10 lab fee. To gain access, you must first read the department’s IMC policy and sign the authorization for access form, which is available from the department chairperson.

 For additional requirements and curriculum information, download the latest University academic catalog.

Related Programs

• Graphic Design
• Mass Communication
• Marketing (minor)
• Social Media (minor)

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Graphic Design and Social Media

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