The undergraduate program in Graphic Design is an intensive study of visual communication which prepares students for an ever-changing world of design challenges. Graphics Designers engage, plan, create, and evaluate solutions to communication problems. A study of design prepares students to implement design thinking strategies when facing real world design challenges. Students explore developing the ability to skillfully manipulate and combine elements such as type, shape, and image, to transmit meaning and value. At the core of this practice is the integration of the Elements of Art and Principles of Design within a design thinking framework for problem solving.
Conceptual thinking in areas such as communication theory, typography, brand identity, packaging, illustration and narrative, motion graphics, ux/ui, printmaking, and information design, form the core design studies curriculum throughout the 4 year program. The capstone year involves an intensive study of graphic design professional practice, professional portfolio development, design business practices, and capstone exhibition at the Memorial Union Gallery.
The Graphic Design educates students to plan and implement visual communication solutions based upon context and audiences needs via multiple output platforms. Graduates are prepared to:
- Understand client and audience needs by effectively understanding visual problems
- Critique and evaluate design solutions
- Ideate, be resourceful, and respond to cognitive, cultural and social factors that inform decisions
- develop a distinctive voice that culminate in a cohesive body of work directed toward professional practice in a design or advertising firm, an independent studio practice and/or entrepreneurship
- Develop a professional portfolio
- work with contemporary and historical tools and software
- engage in internships with local and national design and advertising firms
- submit work to the AAF-ND ADDY Awards and participate in the NDAC Competition Advertising Practicum
The School of Design, Architecture, and Art is home to a thriving design community housed in the multi-million dollar, state of the art Renaissance Hall. Graphic Design offers undergraduate majors limitless opportunities to collaborate within and beyond the graphic design discipline. Internship opportunities in the Fargo-Moorhead professional design community, participation in the American Advertising Federation-North Dakota ADDY Awards, and cross-disciplinary mentorship with Visual Arts, Advertising, and Architecture faculty all form a thriving creative environment that allows students opportunities to engage in meaningful dialogue about graphic communication within a design community.
SoDAA Graphic Design & Illustration students have received gold ADDY Awards in Illustration, Motion Design, and Integrated Brand Campaigns and have gone on to compete at the MidWest regional and national level.
Graphic Design majors work in dedicated studios in Renaissance, where they have access to a wide range of digital, photographic, and traditional printing resources. This includes access to a large digital studio with seating available for a class up to 30 individuals, studio space for advanced graphic design students, large and small Wacom digital drawing tablets, student breakout space/lounge, large flat files, large critique wall for discussion and evaluation, 3 large format printing room, 8 Epson P-800 small format printers, photographic dark room, and a hybrid digital/printmaking space with access to multiple printing processes including letterpress, screenprinting, etching, intaglio, and lithography. Surface Studio desktop and Apple Imacs in addition to the LAAVA Lab maker space allow students to work with 3D printers, lasercutters, VR, and a range of digital technologies. Specialized facilities for papermaking, screenprinting, photographic lighting and documentation, and a woodshop allow students to realize their vision in both 2D and 3D formats.
Instruction and mentorship by faculty members offers challenging multidisciplinary project environments covering everything from designing packaging, logos and illustration to UX and websites, posters, film graphics, identities, and exhibits. Each year visiting designers, artists, and critics spend time complementing the talents of resident faculty and offering alternative design perspectives from around the world
The core curriculum in Graphic Design builds a foundation of design thinking including analytical, formal, sensory and technical design experiences in contemporary and historical methodology. Students explore visual design principles of form, image, color and typography. Conceptual thinking in areas such as communication theory, brand identity, packaging, illustration and narrative, motion graphics, ux/ui, printmaking, and information design, form the core design studies curriculum throughout the 4 year program. The capstone year involves an intensive study of graphic design professional practice, professional portfolio development, design business practices, an advertising practicum with entry into the NDAC National Competition and culminates in a capstone exhibition. In preparation into the professional world, students are encouraged to pursue an internship their junior or senior year.
The degree project is an independent project in graphic design subject to the department's approval, as the final requirement for graduation for the BFA Degree. Weekly critiques including all faculty and visiting critics in addition to the Baccalaureate class allow students to gain a broad perspective on their work and development. Professional practice, portfolio development and a final exhibition is the culmination of four years of design development.