Take a look at titles and descriptions for the Graphic Design department's courses offered.

Introduction to Graphic Design

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.

Design for Music

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.

Graphic Design 1

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 111 or FF 112 or FF 100

Typography 1

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.

Introduction to Web Design

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.

Design for Music

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.


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.

Graphic Design 2

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 HTML and CSS to understand code as a fundamental building block for their design compositions.

Prerequisite: GD 200, or MA Graphic Design standing

Typography 2

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, or MA Graphic Design standing

Hand Letters

Letterforms express more than information, they can also convey sensibilities, ideas, and emotions. This class gives students basic language on letterforms and, through a series of drawing workshops, prepares students for directed lettering projects from the legible to the abstract. Preference is given to sophomore IL and GD majors.

Fashion Graphics

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: FF102 and FF 199 or Post-Bac GD student standing.

Graphic Design 3

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 MA GD standing

Flexible Design Studio

This intermediate design course offers students the opportunity to work with a diverse group of professional designers. Students participate in workshops to investigate a variety of approaches to applied practice. Emphasis is on solving real-world problems in a professional studio atmosphere.

Prerequisite: GD 300, or MA Graphic Design standing

Furniture Design

This course offers design thinking techniques as applied to furniture design. Students will work hard in a high functioning group to build conceptualization, visualization, and fabrication skills. Over the semester we will cover topics including hand building, sketching in 3d, laser cutting, CAD modeling, traditional joinery and CNC machining. Those enrolled should have some background in fabrication, which could include wood, paper, fibers, steel, etc.

Prerequisite: FF 101

Product Design and Prototyping

In this course, students will work collaboratively within groups to develop digital products and to look beyond simply designing beautiful screen mock-ups. We will examine product design from three perspectives: business, consumer, and technology. Students will be exposed to various prototyping tools such as Framer, Pixate, and Atomic. Key concepts will include user research, content development, rapid prototyping, and user experience principles. We will also look at product design history and theories and cover new developments in the field.

Prerequisite: GD 220

Design Thinking

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.

Publication Design

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 MA Graphic Design standing

Sustainable Graphic Design

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.

Graphic Design for Games

This class examines classic and contemporary games through the perspective of graphic design. Students play, analyze and discuss the visual structure of games (board games, competitive sports, video games, party games etc) and then visually re-design existing game models to create alternate narratives and new experiences for players. Specific attention will be given to the tools and methodologies associated with designing modular systems based on type and image. Students should have a laptop to enroll.

Graphic Design 4

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 MA Graphic Design standing

Typography 3

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, GD 325, or GD Graduate Standing

Typography Intensive

Designed for graduate and transfer students who have completed previous courses in the subject, this course offers an intensive study of typography from the basics to the finer points.


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 111/112, or FF 210

Experimental Typography

This class is a laboratory for exploring the edge of the applications and theories of typography. Students will expand their fundamental understanding of typographic form and vocabulary through trans-media experiments to explore visual language for communication and expression. Non-traditional formal exploration, variations in ideation, and transparency in process will challenge and evolve students' assumptions about forms, mediums, and ideas as they relate to typography.

3D/4D Graphics

This course examines the design of 3D graphics for a variety of applications. Technical proficiency in use of various modeling and rendering techniques will allow students to explore 3D spaces and 4D sequences. Skills and discussion in this class will be integrated into the student’s studio practice.

Prerequisite: GD 300 or GD MA or GD MFA student standing

Interface Design

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

Design for User Experience

In this course, explore the process for developing digital products that serve users' needs. Students will prototype screen-based experiences that are empathetic to the needs of the end user. Students will develop design concepts that mediate relationships between people and products, environments, and services. Key concepts might include content strategy, navigation structures, usability principles, personas, and wire-frames.

Prerequisite: GD 200 or GD Graduate standing

Media Languages Workshop

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 MA GD standing

Package Design

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.

Motion Graphics

Focuses on time-based design elements of space, pacing, motion, and interaction as they relate to graphic communication. Projects 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 200 or GD Graduate standing

Special Topics in Design

Special topics courses are developed to cover emerging issues or specialized content not offered as part of the core curriculum. These courses, typically not offered continuously in the department, provide students and faculty the opportunity to explore new content and course formats such as working with community partners or corporate clients.

Advanced Design 1

Students build their portfolios with projects that require research, content generation, and complex visual problem solving. Emphasis is placed on cultivating a personal voice in design, interests and abilities. In conjunction with Senior Seminar, work in this class begins to identify areas of interest for the senior project.

Prerequisite: GD 301 and GD 320

Senior Seminar

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 designers provide critiques and seminar presentations.

Senior level Graphic Design Majors only

Generative Typography

Students explore the overlap of graphic design and code in this course. Basic typographic principles such as hierarchy, form and counterform, texture, and grid are explored through computation. Code-driven aesthetics such as plotting, randomization, repetition are explored to generate typographic form.

Advanced Design 2

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

Poster Design and Print

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.

Materials and Methods

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 GD 325, or Post-Bac in GD student standing

Web Design

Introduces the concepts, technologies, and languages used to design and build modern interactive experiences. Students learn key components of the interactive design process and design and production techniques; and utilize and build on their typography, compositional, and systems design skills to realize their ideas. May be repeated for up to 6 credits.

Prerequisite: GD 220, or MA Graphic Design standing

Front End Web Development

This course provides experienced web designers with an opportunity to further their conceptual abilities, designing more complex web sites. Students will develop their knowledge introduced in the Digital Media: Web Design class concentrating on projects which rigorously explore issues of visual communication, interactivity, user experience and inter-media. Students will design a variety of site typologies such as e-commerce sites, educational sites, and intranets. Software will include site management tolls, time, and sound applications.

Information Visualization

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.

Design for Change

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.

Transmedia Type Lab

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.

Lettering & Type

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 GD 325 or Post-Bac in GD or MFA GD student standing.

Digital Editorial Workshop

This course examines the intersection between editorial systems and emerging technologies. Students will explore the possibilities of shifting archetypal formats such as books, magazines, newspapers, and exhibitions into 2D and 3D digital space. Students will build strong skills in prototyping, typography, and layout by addressing the way scale, narrative, format, and sequence affect user experience.

Prerequisite: GD 300 & GD 321

Epic Fail

Discover how playful experimentation, thinking with your hands and embracing risk and failure can invigorate your creative practice. Together, we will investigate the role of emergent technologies in problem solving and forming, while exploring a constructionist learning perspective. This course is designed as a hands-on, participatory workshop in the fabrication lab, where we'll be making and tinkering together each week in order to develop our own critical making (and failing) process.

Prerequisite: GD 200

Process Lab

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.

Signs, Exhibits, & Spaces

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.