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MFA Graphic Design Courses

View titles & descriptions for the Graphic Design (MFA) program's courses offered.

Click a Course's Title to read its description .

Course # Course Title Credits
CRT5618 Thesis Writing and Research 3.00 credits
This three-credit Critical Studies course is designed for graduate students in their final semester. The writing process supports ongoing thesis research and helps students make sense of their work and share it effectively with a broader community. Outcomes of the course include an essay about each student's culminating degree project at MICA. The course includes a combination of on-campus meetings and online feedback to written work. Class meetings will combine group critiques, individual meetings, and discussion of readings.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

GD5010 Graphic Design MA Studio 1 6.00 credits
In this course students investigate conceptual and process-driven visual problem solving and research methodologies. Intensive projects serve to build each designer's skills and vocabulary while gaining an understanding of how typography, images, composition, form and media enhance communication. Discussion of contemporary design issues and design history supplement the work.

MA Graphic Design students only

GD5020 Graphic Design MA Studio 2 6.00 credits
In this course students will create and exhibit a self-directed Capstone Project in line with their goals, as well as build a portfolio of compelling work. A traditional outline of research, ideation, synthesis, production and evaluation will lend structure to personal investigations. This project will culminate in a written summary of the student’s research and methodology. Students will continue to grow their bank of design knowledge, skills and resources through independent and collaborative projects.

Prerequisite: GD 5010. Graphic Design MA students only.

GD5025 Graphic Design MA Workshop 3.00 credits
In this course students will create and exhibit a self-directed Capstone Project in line with their goals, as well as build a portfolio of compelling work. A traditional outline of research, ideation, synthesis, production and evaluation will lend structure to personal investigations. This project will culminate in a written summary of the student’s research and methodology. Students will continue to grow their bank of design knowledge, skills and resources through independent and collaborative projects.

Prerequisite: GD 5010. Graphic Design MA students only.

GD5035 Expanded Design 3.00 credits
This hands-on course introduces students to a variety of topics related to expanded design, prototyping and interactivity through tutorials, collaborative experimentation and guided studio time. The course will survey design-centric techniques to utilize 3d software, coding with Processing, physical computing with Arduino and time-based media for web. Students will learn how to prepare files for digital fabrication and prototyping. The course will enhance students’ understanding of design processes as tools for experimentation, collaboration and reaching new audiences. Students will come out of this class with projects and skills that help to bridge the digital screen based world with physical design objects. Guest lectures and readings will provide a cultural and technical framework projects. This course is open to novices and to those seeking to expand their practice.

Graduate students only

GD5325 Typography Intensive 3.00 credits
This course offers an intensive study of typography from learning basic vocabulary, anatomy and history to understanding how to choose and combine typefaces. Students develop fluency in digital typesetting and composition and apply hierarchy in both practical and expressive contexts. Best practices for developing grid systems, style sheets and detailed typography are taught via exercises and projects in a variety of media. Critiques, quizzes and presentations provide feedback for students.

MA Graphic Design students only

GD5350 Interactive Media & Pub I 3.00 credits
The ink on interactive publications never dries. Interactive designs have multiple dimensions, such as interaction, motion, and time, that can be used to enhance user experience. This graduate-level studio course explores modern online and on-screen design, production, and publishing practices. Students will learn the basics how to design and build websites using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Students will also be exposed to the electronic publishing process, standards, and techniques. This class will cover the essential materials needed to either create or direct web (and other on-screen) experiences. This beginner level class is ideal for students that haven’t had a lot of web design and production experience.

Graduate students only

GD5360 Graduate Screenprint Studio 3.00 credits
Graduate students will learn the techniques of screenprinting and how to apply the methods, materials, and aesthetic character of this medium to their own creative work. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply screenprinting techniques to work they are doing in their graduate program and/or to develop a new body of work specific to this course. Class time will be used for hands-on demonstrations, discussions of techniques, printing in the lab, and troubleshooting, as well as discussion of student work-in-progress where appropriate.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

GD5450 Interactive Media & Pub. II 3.00 credits
Interactive designs have multiple dimensions, such as culture, interaction, motion, and time, all of which can be pushed to create memorable and useful user experiences. This graduate-level studio course is a continuation of Interactive Media I. The course continues to explore best-practice modern online and on-screen design, production, and publishing practices including HTML, CSS, CMS, blogging and other social media. Students will have the flexibility to connect the technology and coursework to their graduate theses, core studio, and/or personal work as appropriate. The class will meet in smaller groups to accommodate the different levels of experience among students.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

GD5470 Signs, Exhibits, & Spaces 3.00 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.

Graduate students only

GD5512 Advanced Publication Design 3.00 credits
In this portfolio-oriented course, graduate students will work on publication design projects involving complex typographic systems, hierarchies, formats, and sequences. The course will encourage students to expand and demonstrate their typographic vocabularies. Undergraduates may register for the course with permission from the Directors of the GD MFA program.

Graduate standing GD students only

GD5530 Transmedia Type Lab 3.00 credits
Investigating typography across media, students work with historic, contemporary and evolving type technologies in 2d, 3d and 4d. Projects rooted in print, screen, space and time will build on student’s knowledge of fundamental concepts of design and typography: hierarchy, syntax, grids, information systems, and using/creating typefaces. Experiments, prototypes and projects investigate typography as an expression of language and narrative, interface and interactivity, and collaboration with an emphasis on presenting complex content in a specific context. Lectures and readings will provide a cultural, historical and technical framework for process-based projects.

Prerequisite: GD 3525

GD5535 Graduate Typeface Design 3.00 credits
This course focuses on type design through a series of workshops, assignments and lectures. The course will expose students to professional working methods, lettering techniques, typeface design principles, and typography. GD MFA and GD PBac only. Undergrads may enroll with permission.

Graduate students only

GD5555 Visiting Designers II 3.00 credits
This graduate design course supports work taking place in GD MFA Studio II with weekend workshops with prominent designers. Two three-day workshops take place each semester. Workshops focus on design process and serve to launch projects that continue in depth in GD MFA Studio II.

Co-requisite: GD 5550

GD5562 Design Language Studio 3.00 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. Undergrads may enroll with permission.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

GD5570 User Experience & Interface I 3.00 credits
This class will prepare students to design interfaces that work and generate positive experiences. UX & Interface Design I examines the space where computers, people and design intersect, with an emphasis on supporting effective communication between designers and their audience. Fundamental principles and practices of human-computer interaction, including human capabilities, interface technology, design methods, and evaluation techniques will be covered. Students will complete projects that allow them to gain hands-on experience in all phases of interface design and evaluation.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

GD5571 User Experience & Interface II 3.00 credits
Building on the UX/ID principles acquired in UX & Interface Design I, students will be challenged with advanced and real-world UX and Interface Design conundrums. And since students will learn how to design, administer and analyze user research studies, students will design solutions informed by user behavior, motivation and affinity. Finally, this studio class will cover a number of UX models, design tools, and documentation techniques for mobile, tablet and desktop UX/ID design.

Prerequisite: GD 5570 or Permission

GD5575 Graduate Game Lab 3.00 credits
This course is an experimental laboratory that uses game design methodology to inspire new modes of design thinking and ideation. Students will complete one large self-initiated project following a number of shorter exercises and charrettes that explore the potential of new media and games as tools for creative thinking and making. The contemporary phenomenon of gamification will be examined as a model for making graphic design more inviting and engaging. Specific emphasis will be given to developing formal skills across a variety of analog and digital media. Thesis students are encouraged to apply the course prompts and project to their thesis work.

GD5580 Film Branding Workshop 3.00 credits
Filmmakers will work with graphic designers to brand films being developed in MICA's MFA in Filmmaking program. Multidisciplinary teams (one designer/one filmmaker) will develop strategies, materials, and campaigns to enable filmmakers to build an audience, find funding, and launch their films. Participants in this practical workshop course will actively engage contemporary media and crowdfunding platforms to achieve real-world results and master principles of contemporary entrepreneurship that can be applied not only to film but to numerous independent creative endeavors.

MFA/PB Graphic Design or MFA Filmmaking students only

GD5598 Graduate Independent Study 3.00 credits
The independent study allows graduate students to pursue an individual area of interest with a particular instructor on subject matter not covered by regularly scheduled classes. To register for an independent study, a student needs to work with the instructor to complete an independent study contract that articulates the topic of study, anticipated learning outcomes and timeline for the work. The independent study contract needs to be signed by both the instructor and the graduate program director before registration. An independent study may not be used to substitute for a program’s core requirement.

GD5677 Graduate Letterpress 3.00 credits
This course, taught by Bob Cicero, former owner of Globe Poster, covers the craft of letterpress as it relates to the art of poster-making. Cicero discusses 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.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

GD5732 Information Visualization 3.00 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.

GD5817 Publishing Workshop 3.00 credits
This course puts into practice the idea of "designer as author," engaging students in hands-on work creating content for real-world publications as well as speculative personal projects and prototypes. This course combines intellectual study with down-and-dirty production. All students are expected to have a make-it-happen attitude; be prepared to use all your skills, including writing, photography, design, and production.

Graphic Design MFA students only