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Graphic Design

The Breakdown

From signs hanging in shop windows or the mug handed to you at your favorite local coffee shop to that irritating car insurance commercial and even this website, it’s impossible to avoid the work of graphic designers. Indeed, our world is deluged with concepts and images sprung forth from the minds of designers. If you commit to this major, you’ll learn how to use visuals to create a conversation, sharing and selling ideas with (and to) your audience.

As a graphic design student, you’ll receive a strong foundation in both communication theory and design history. Moreover, you’ll study design fundamentals such as typography, color, form and balance. As you delve further into your education, you will learn about conceptual development and narrative. From this critical analysis, you’ll explore how to generate creative solutions to communication challenges. Additionally, most graphic design programs are very “hands-on” and you’ll likely be assigned a number of independent projects. Fortunately, this means that by the time you graduate, you’ll be armed with a portfolio you can show to potential employers.

Graphic designers need equal parts creativity and communication skills. It’s important to think outside the proverbial box while expressing a clear and concise message. Further, you’ll need to be able to both think visually as well as be a keen wordsmith. Certainly, you should also be good with people as most designers frequently collaborate with others and continually receive feedback from clients, co-workers and superiors. And, of course, a dash of passion for your chosen discipline couldn’t hurt either.

Nuts and Bolts

Graphic design students have an array of fascinating and stimulating courses at their finger tips including: Drawing for Graphic Communications, Digital Media, Computer Imaging, Book Arts, Color, Perspective Drawing, Motion Graphics and User Experience, Typographic Design, Introduction to Photography for Multimedia, Communications and Society, Corporate Design, Signage and Graphics and Website Design and Production.

Decisions, Decisions

Those eyeing graphic design as a major typically have an artistic and creative bent. They are likely to also enjoy studying art history, photography, painting, video game design, advertising, film, drawing, interior design, architecture, printmaking, studio art, communications, web design, animation, illustration, art education, digital media and textile design.

What's Next

Undergrads that emerge with degrees in graphic design are able to pursue a multitude of creative and fulfilling career options. While many recent grads follow the obvious path of finding employment with graphic design firms, a number also land design jobs within a variety of other industries. For example, advertising agencies, book publishing companies and museums all frequently use graphic designers. Additionally, many graphic designers find gigs within the communications department of various corporations. Others put their skills to good use becoming web or video game designers, working in motion graphics or even in animation. Indeed, possibly the greatest aspect of the graphic design major is the versatility it lends to students.


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Don Munce