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Graphic Design Course List

View titles & descriptions for the Graphic Design department's courses.

Click a Course's Title to read its description .

Course # Course Title Credits
GD 100 Introduction to Graphic Design 3 credits
Students are introduced to the basic concepts of visual communication through projects that balance the learning of conceptual development, technique, and design tools. Assignments range from individual to collaborative, and are built to introduce design thinking, critical discussion and personal decision-making in relation to the choice of graphic design as major. This course offers a scoping picture of the discipline of graphic design. No prerequisite.
GD 120 Design for Music 3 credits
Explore ways to express music through design: album covers, show posters, concert projections, tshirt graphics, etc in this course. Students will listen to music and attend a concert before selecting a musician or band to explore graphically in a variety of projects over the course of the semester. This course is recommended for Graphic Design majors.
GD 125 Designing Toys 3 credits
Create the concept, prototype, brand, and packaging for a toy in this course designed for graphic design majors. Analyze and explore existing toys for their ability to educate, delight, and inform the users. Explore prototyping methods, user testing, and packaging strategies. This course is recommended for Graphic Design and Environmental Design majors.
GD 200 Graphic Design 1 3 credits
This course offers foundation skills relevant to the discipline of graphic design. Students develop and expand their vocabularies in visual communication, exploring basic design elements and principles for solving communication problems. Students conduct research, generate ideas, study form and media, learn to analyze and discuss their own work as well as that of others, and become familiar with the graphic design process. Prerequisite: FF 100 (Elements of Visual Thinking I) and FF 199 (Drawing II)

Prerequisite: FF 100 and FF 199

GD 201 Typography 1 3 credits
Typography is the art of organizing letters in space and time. Students gain a familiarity with typographic terms and technologies, an understanding of classical and contemporary typographic forms, an ability to construct typographic compositions and systems, and an appreciation of typography as an expressive medium that conveys aesthetic, emotional and intellectual meaning. Students are introduced to digital typesetting and page layout software. Prerequisite: FF 100 (Elements of Visual Thinking I) and FF 199 (Drawing II)

Prerequisite: FF 100 and FF 199

GD 205 Introduction to Web Design 3 credits
Balancing functionality with aesthetics, this course introduces interface design principles and production tools. Students are introduced to the concepts and basic principles of user experience. The integration of concept and content will be realized through projects designed for the web. Production tools like html, css, and relevant software will be introduced.
GD 215 Patterns 3 credits
Explore methods for designing patterns in this course. Students will work with a few techniques for generating graphic surface patterns that could be used to cover spaces with fabric or wallpaper. Students will work with low-fi techniques such as stamps, drawings, photocopiers, and cut paper but will also work with digital software. They will learn strategies for mirroring, scaling, using geometry, and scale. This course is recommended for Graphic Design majors.
GD 220 Graphic Design 2 3 credits
This course provides extended study of graphic design principles and their application to more complex and comprehensive solutions. Experimentation, research, conceptual thinking, and process are emphasized in design for the screen. Students learn essential design tools and techniques for the development of interactive media. Students work with XHTML and CSS to understand code as a fundamental building block for their design compositions. Prerequisite: GD 200 (Graphic Design 1)

Prerequisite: GD 200 or Post-Bac GD student standing

GD 221 Typography 2 3 credits
Building on the fundamentals of typographic form and function introduced in Typography 1, this course extends and applies basic vocabulary and understanding to more complex problems that address typographic hierarchy, context, sequence and gestalt. Through a focused series, students explore how typography behaves across media. Increasingly complex typographic systems are implemented in three-dimensional, sequential page or time-based projects. Prerequisite: GD 201 (Typography 1)

Prerequisite: GD 201 or Post-Bac GD student standing

GD 275 Globe Letterpress 3 credits
This course, taught by Bob Cicero, former owner of Globe Poster, will cover the craft of letterpress as it relates to the art of poster-making. Cicero will discuss the history of Globe, best-known for its eye-popping, content-rich design of music posters, and the style and form that made Globe posters so distinctive. In 2011, MICA acquired many of Globe's assets — extensive wood type, photo and illustration cuts, hand-carved lettering, and sketches and posters. Using these materials, students will learn the craft of letterpress printing, from setting type to locking up forms to printing on the Vandercook proof presses in the studio. Students will design and print a number of posters, first learning the style of Globe and then building on that foundation to make their own mark on the art of poster-making. In addition to letterpress, students will learn basic screenprinting techniques and will combine screenprinting and letterpress, one of the hallmarks of the Globe style.
GD 291 Fashion Graphics 3 credits
Acting as cultural producers, students develop a fashion identity from product to promotion. Students make a small collection of clothes or accessories, design a logo and brand identity, and finally, photograph the collection for promotional purposes. By managing all aspects of their comprehensive project, students learn about entrepreneurship in the graphic design context. Further, students work in teams to produce a promotional event. This class encourages interdisciplinary collaboration as students swap skills and share resources. May be repeated for up to 6 credits. Prerequisite: FF 102 (Elements of Visual Thinking II) and FF 199 (Drawing II)

Prerequisite: FF 102 and FF 199

GD 300 Graphic Design 3 3 credits
Students actively engage motion graphics as strategic medium for experimentation, idea generation, problem solving and communication. Motion and interactivity are studied in the context of aesthetic, cultural, historical and critical issues. Students learn essential design processes and techniques in their exploration of time-based media both as a tool and as a medium for evolving designers. Prerequisite: GD 220 (Graphic Design 2)

Prerequisite: GD 220 or Post-Bac GD student standing

GD 301 Flexible Design Studio 3 credits
This intermediate design course offers students the opportunity to work with a diverse group of professional designers. Students participate in workshops of their choosing and investigate a variety of approaches. Emphasis is on solving real-world problems in a professional studio atmosphere. Prerequisite: GD 300 (Graphic Design 3)

Prerequisite: GD 300 or Post-Bac GD student standing

GD 310 Design Thinking 3 credits
Design thinking commonly refers to the processes of ideation, research, prototyping, and interacting with users. In this course, students will build strong visual problem solving skills and explore three main phases of the creative process: defining problems, getting ideas, and creating form. Participants will take on a single project from beginning to end, and along the way explore a variety of techniques for creative problem solving relevant to artists and designers. Activities might include sketching, compiling lists, diagramming relationships, mapping webs of associations, and finally executing a complete product. This course can count towards major degree requirements with approval from chair: Graphic Design 1, 2, or any studio elective.
GD 312 Publication Design 3 credits
This course examines the design of magazines, newspapers, ’zines, and other serial forms of publication. Format, identity, audience, content development, and emerging formats are addressed and students build strong skills in typography, layout, and photo editing. May be repeated for up to 6 credits.

Prerequisite: GD 201 or Post-Bac GD student standing

GD 314 Sustainable Graphic Design 3 credits
This course introduces various facets of sustainability and demonstrates how its principles and philosophies can be applied within the design field. Students become familiar with trends, theories and ideologies, along with practical design needs, and learn to distinguish fact from fallacy. While exploring materials and practices and their environmental and economic consequences, students develop problem-solving alternatives. In addition to new projects, students are asked to rework a previously completed assignment in a sustainable way.

Prerequisite: GD 220 & GD 221, or Post-Bac in GD student standing

GD 320 Graphic Design 4 3 credits
Students develop strengths in conceptual thinking and formal experimentation. Students are encouraged to develop languages of design that reflect their own artistic and cultural identities while communicating to various audiences. Projects are presented in a variety of media.

Prerequisite: GD 300 or Post-Bac GD student standing

GD 321 Typography 3 3 credits
This course provides instruction in complex typographic systems for page and screen, including grid structures, comprehensive style sheets, and complex compositional structures. Students learn more advanced features of software for typography and build compelling projects working with multi-layered information. Prerequisite: GD 221 (Typography 2)

Prerequisite: GD 221 or Post-Bac in GD or MFA GD student standing.

GD 323 Design Coalition 3 credits
Design Coalition is dedicated to creating partnerships in the community. Through an intense, collaborative, process-based approach, this class explores the principles of social and community-based design. Students will be challenged to expand their comprehension of design problem solving for new audiences and will develop skills in design methodology: identifying problems, design research, ideation, formal experimentation, and implementation. Best practices are demonstrated in the pursuit of creating relationships and design solutions that make a positive impact on society. With an emphasis on learning outside the institution, students will be exposed to community leaders and residents through immersion in underserved city communities.
GD 330 PhotoImaging 3 credits
Students develop the critical thinking and technical skills to use photography in their work as designers. Both theoretical perspectives and practical applications of digital imagery are introduced, as well as their relationships to graphic design.

Prerequisite: FF 210

GD 345 Interface Design 3 credits
This course explores the visual aspects and structural flow of interface design. Students will prototype screen-based experiences that humanize computer interaction, empathetic to the needs of the end user. Interfaces ultimately shape the experiences of users as they interact with products to achieve their goals and objectives. Students will mediate relationships between people and products, environments, and services across a variety of contexts.

Prerequisite: GD 220 or Post-Bac GD student standing

GD 355 Media Languages Workshop 3 credits
This course is taught in modules designed to explore various media languages relevant to visual problem solving: HTML 5.0, CSS, javascript, processing, or others could be covered in short workshops. Students will be exposed to a broad range of programming languages that are used in professional design practice.

Prerequisite: GD 220 or Post-Bac GD student standing

GD 360 Branding 3 credits
Students explore the comprehensive branding process by creating functional design solutions. The student gains a new level of understanding of how design and communication can help define a organization’s message or product as well as engage how it performs. The course investigates the brand positioning process, strategic thinking, brand case studies, integrated brand communications, the launch of new products, target audiences, and a collaborative design process. May be repeated for up to 6 credits.
GD 365 Package Design 3 credits
This studio course focuses on three-dimensional structures for a broad range of products that not only protect package contents but also create an experience for the user. Students examine how messages behave when distributed in three-dimensional space. Conceptual development, prototyping, materials, type, image, layout, design and form are fully explored to create commercial packaging. The class will also focus on social, sustainable and environmental issues. May be repeated for up to 6 credits.
GD 366 Design it Yourself 3 credits
Inspired by the book D.I.Y., published by MICA GDMFA faculty and students, this course is for students who want to publish words, images, and ideas on paper, on t-shirts, on the Web or anywhere else. Learn how to self-publish, how to think like a designer, and clarify your ideas to pull together the materials, services, and software you need to make your concepts real. This course demystifies the technical side of small-scale publishing in various media while experimenting with the creative side of design. May be repeated for up to 6 credits.
GD 368 Motion Graphics 3 credits
This course focuses on time-based design elements of space, pacing, motion, and interaction as they relate to graphic communication. Projects will push the boundaries of emerging media environments and could explore designer-controlled narrative, haptic interaction, sound, or user interaction. Students are encouraged to focus projects around their thesis work or other self-determined endeavors. May be repeated for up to 6 credits.

Prerequisite: GD 220 & GD 221, or Post-Bac in GD student standing

GD 398 GD Independent Study 1.5-3 credits
3 credits. Staff. Offered fall, spring. For students wishing to work with a particular instructor on subject matter not covered by regularly scheduled classes, a special independent study class may be taken. A contract is required, including signatures of the instructor and the student's department chair. A 398 class may not be used to substitute for a department's core requirement or senior thesis / senior independent. Learning contract required before registration. Minimum of junior class standing and 3.0 GPA required.

Prerequisite: students at the Junior/Senior level with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of at least 3.000

GD 400 Advanced Design 3 credits
Students prepare to enter professional practice with a series of intensive, complex projects aimed at portfolio development. Emphasis is placed on cultivating the student's personal interests and abilities, editing and refining the range and quality of portfolio work, and crafting a comprehensive self-presentation package that will serve as a graceful extension of the work.

Prerequisite: GD 301 and GD 320

GD 402 Hybrid Senior Seminar 3 credits
Hybrid Presentation: Both in-person meetings and online activities will enhance this pre-professional practices course for graphic design seniors. Moodle will be used to deliver online instruction that supports the course objectives and to augment in-class presentations by visiting designers. Students build their knowledge of design discourse and professional practice in the discipline through a mix of readings, writings and practical projects. This course complements the portfolio development goals of Advanced Graphic Design 1 and 2. Visiting artists provide critiques and seminar presentations.

Senior Graphic Design Majors Only

GD 420 Advanced Design 2 3 credits
This capstone course is centered around the senior self-directed project, an independent project in design studies requiring the development of a body of work in consultation with faculty and peers. As a parallel track, students continue to hone their portfolios and learn job-seeking protocols.

Prerequisite: GD 400

GD 422 Poster Design and Print 3 credits
This course is designed to explore the poster as a vehicle of visual communication. Students will explore the context of posters through history and as relevant today. They will build skills in combining type and image at a large scale for persuasion. May be repeated for up to 6 credits.
GD 425 Materials and Methods 3 credits
This course is a laboratory to explore how processes and materials can both form and inform design. The synthesis of old and new, analog and digital, and hand- and computer-based methods provides students with an opportunity to work beyond the constraints of the computer and take advantage of the aesthetic effects that actual materials bring to visual communication. Students will complete a series of experiments investigating different approaches to synthesizing analog and digital methods into graphic design artifacts.

Prerequisite: GD 220 & GD 221, or Post-Bac in GD student standing

GD 430 Web Design 3 credits
This class introduces the concepts, technologies, and languages used to design and build modern interactive experiences. Students will learn key components of the interactive design process and design and production techniques. Students utilize and build on their typography, compositional, and systems design skills to realize their ideas. This class is 35% Design, 65% Development, and 100% work. May be repeated for up to 6 credits.

Prerequisite: GD 220 or Post-Bac GD student standing

GD 431 Advanced Web Design 3 credits
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Prerequisite: GD 430 or Post-Bac in GD student standing

GD 432 Data Visualization 3 credits
Students explore a range of possibilities in visualizing data and information. In addition to archetypical diagrams such as pie, bar, plot, line diagrams, complex data can be expressed through matrices, graph-based visuals, comparisons, three-dimensional visuals, or motion graphics. Various methodologies will be explored for visualizing information for clarity, readability, and editorial voice. May be repeated for up to 6 credits.
GD 433 Design for Change 3 credits
Design for Change builds upon the experiences of Design Coalition and is likewise dedicated to creating partnerships in the community. Through an intense, collaborative, process-based approach, this class explores the principles of social and community-based design. Students will be challenged to extend their learning in the community, implementing projects developed in the precursor course.
GD 435 Letter Workshop 3 credits
Students explore traditional and experimental approaches to letter-making in the context of design. The role of the letter arts in contemporary design will be explored through a series of workshops, assignments and lectures. Instructors draw on their professional working experience as letterers and typeface designers to expose students to unusual working methods, lettering, typeface design, and typography. May be repeated for up to 6 credits. Prerequisites: GD 201 and GD 221.

Prerequisite: GD 201and GD 221

GD 436 Lettering & Type 3 credits
Students explore experimental and traditional approaches to typography and custom lettering in the context of design, art, and theory. Class projects and subjects encompass a wide variety of technical and conceptual approaches to the letter arts, including typeface design exercises, experiments in conceptual lettering, and real-world applications. May be repeated for up to 6 credits.

Prerequisite: GD 221 or Post-Bac in GD or MFA GD student standing.

GD 455 Process Lab 3 credits
This class will introduce students to a variety of methodologies applicable to the graphic design practice. Each class session will introduce a new means of exploration in the arenas of form, concept or context. Non-traditional formal exploration, variations in ideation, and transparency in collaborative process will be utilized to encourage a unique approach to research and development amongst individual students. Students should have a laptop to enroll.
GD 470 Signs, Exhibit, & Spaces 3 credits
This course examines the relationship of communication design to the 3d realm. Large scale graphics, signage systems, and exhibition design are explored through a series of projects and presentations. Students will gain skills in developing environments for sharing information. Materials, fabrication processes, and documentation methods will be reviewed.
GD/IL 100 GD/IL Workshop 3 credits
3 credits. Staff. Offered Fall. Graphic Design/ Illustration Workshop comprises two consecutive 8-week workshops, one in graphic design and one in illustration. This course was created especially for freshmen thinking about these two majors to help them understand the similarities and differences between the two disciplines. GD/IL Workshop is offered fall only. Students should compare this course to Introduction to Graphic design (GD 100) and to Drawing as Illustration (IL 100), which offer full 16-week introductions to graphic design and illustration, and are offered spring only. Freshman elective.

Freshmen only.