Visual Communication Design

School of Design

Department of Art and Visual Communication Design

Department Chair: George Moore, M.F.A.

Description

Visual Communication Design Program Description

The Department of Art and Visual Communication Design within the School of Design grants a B.S. or B.A. degree in visual communication design. This major is designed to prepare students for professional practice and graduate study in graphic design, advertising, marketing communications, electronic or print publishing, web and interactive design, digital imaging, motion graphics, or related fields. The program comprises five sequences of courses: materials and methods, art history and visual culture, digital design, communication design, and career development.

Materials and Methods: These seven courses develop students’ skills in the creation of visual forms. Five required foundation courses foster the development of design, drawing, composing, and problem-solving capabilities while building material and technical skills. Upon completion, students elect two additional courses to expand their material knowledge and capabilities based on career goals and personal preference.Art History and Visual Culture: These three courses develop students’ abilities to research, think, and write critically about art history and visual culture. The first course in the sequence, Introduction to Art History, is required and offers a thematic overview of art history. Next, students select a survey course that is more specific in its focus to promote greater depth of research and critical analysis. Finally, students select a third course, which enables them to investigate a historical topic in depth.

Digital Design: These four courses build students’ technical skills in designing for print and electronic media. Emphasis is on both developing proficiency in industry-standard tools and learning the theories and standards that underlie their functionality. Students are expected to apply and build upon their technical knowledge in concurrent and subsequent design coursework.Communication Design: These eight courses provide students with the opportunity to practice design problem solving in progressively challenging contexts working across media. The first two required communication design studio courses develop the creative and critical thinking process known as "design thinking," while the third course emphasizes the development of carefully crafted and produced prototypes that result from this process. Two required typography courses build essential skills in using type to enhance communication. Following these courses, each student has the opportunity to select two studio electives that provide real-world and case study problems and emphasize the development of portfolio-quality solutions. The sequence culminates with a capstone course where students conceive and produce a significant senior project. Upon completion of the communication design sequence, students will exhibit selected works.

Career Development: These eight required career development milestones engage students in the process ofCareer Architecture SM beginning in the first year. The first-year seminar course introduces career possibilities. The second-year internship preparation course enables students to explore career goals further while developing a basic portfolio and preparing to find an internship. While the required internship provides students with hands-on professional experience, the portfolio development course allows students to create professional presentations for entry into the visual communication design field.Students participate in portfolio reviews. At the end of the first and second year, faculty review portfolios. In the third and fourth year, Art and Visual Communication Design Advisory Board members review portfolios.

Interactive Design Track

The interactive design track within the visual communication design major provides students with a solid foundation and in-depth experience in the theory and practice of producing design solutions for a variety of interactive media platforms including Web, social media, mobile devices, tablets, and emerging interaction technologies. Special emphasis is placed on effective information architecture, user interface, and user experience design, as well as the aesthetic role of quality universal design that impacts visual perception and choice in interactive digital environments.

The interactive design track prepares future professionals by exposing them to contemporary and historic visual contexts, real-world projects, and industry-standard software and technologies. Graduates may pursue careers in a range of areas including web design and development, mobile and responsive design, social media strategy, multimedia and streaming media production, electronic publishing, digital prototyping and imaging, online advertising, interactive motion graphics, mobile applications and game design, and other interaction design related fields.

Motion Graphics Track

The visual communication design motion graphics track provides students who are interested in design, animation, and video with a solid foundation in the theory and practice of producing motion graphic design. Motion graphics are visible daily on television, movie screens, the Internet, mobile devices, and location-specific displays. This track prepares future graduates by exposing them to historical contexts, real-world projects, and industry-standard tools (software and equipment). Extra attention is devoted to narrative and visual communication structure through systems of sequence and arrangement. Motion graphics students may pursue a career in diverse areas including: television stations or networks, film production, advertising and design studios, video post-production, museum exhibition, education, or in-house production at private and public institutions.

Photography Track

Today’s visual communication designers must be creative problem-solvers and image-makers capable of working across a variety of media. Likewise, photographers must not only be able to take compelling images that communicate ideas or tell stories, but must also possess wide-ranging technical skills and the ability to market oneself. The photography track is designed to expand the visual communication design student’s capabilities in photographic processes and digital-imaging techniques. The photography track prepares career-oriented graduates to become professionals in commercial and advertising photography, portrait and fashion photography, photojournalism, graphic design, and image post-production, as well as for graduate study.

Objectives

Visual Communication Design Program Objectives

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication Design, graduates will be able to:

  1. Solve communication design problems by thinking creatively and critically.
  2. Produce communication design solutions, considering audience, cultural, ethical, human, and market factors.
  3. Create, compose, and critique visual forms as well as verbal and nonverbal messages in response to design problems.
  4. Acquire material and technical skills necessary to realize design solutions according to professional standards and practices.
  5. Apply art history, visual culture, communication, and design research to visual communication practice.
  6. Plan, execute, present, revise, and justify design ideas and solutions independently and as a collaborative team member.
  7. Apply academic preparation to professional and cultural experiences both within and beyond the classroom.
  8. Exhibit behaviors consistent with the professional and ethical standards of the discipline by producing a design portfolio.

Interactive Design Track Objectives

Upon successful completion of the interactive design track, graduates will be able to:

  • Apply contemporary and historical design, visual culture, and communication research to interactive communication design practice.
  • Employ web and interaction design terminology when presenting, critiquing, or discussing interactive design ideas and solutions.
  • Apply graphic design and typography principles to digital interactive works.
  • Analyze and organize information to construct usable interactive site architecture and communicate effectively.
  • Create engaging user experiences considering audience, cultural, ethical, human, and market factors.
  • Produce and critique creative interactive design solutions in accordance with professional standards and practices.
  • Design for a variety of interactive media platforms.
  • Demonstrate professional preparedness for an interactive design career by producing an online interactive portfolio.

Motion Graphics Track Objectives

Upon completion of the motion graphics track, graduates will be able to:

  • Employ the terminology of motion graphic design when presenting, critiquing, or discussing motion graphic design ideas and solutions.
  • Analyze motion graphics in contemporary and historical contexts.
  • Apply graphic design principles to time-based works.
  • Produce motion graphics in a range of professionally-recognized forms.
  • Utilize appropriate content and techniques to tell a story.
  • Compile a portfolio of motion graphic design.

Photography Track Objectives

Upon successful completion of the photography track, graduates will be able to:

  • Operate camera controls and photographic equipment with expert proficiency.
  • Demonstrate the ability to photograph in controlled and uncontrolled environments in both ambient and artificial lighting situations.
  • Produce professional-quality photographic images using industry-standard techniques and software.
  • Synthesize conceptual and technical elements to generate a visually dynamic image that elicits a response from the viewer.
  • Recognize the importance of the development of photographic arts and technology, the history of photography, and its impact on society and human communication.
  • Construct and present a portfolio of photographs that demonstrates conceptual thinking and problem-solving abilities while achieving professional results.

Policies

Visual Communication Design Policies for Continuance and Progression

Visual Communication Design (VCD) student performance is measured by grades earned in general education and major courses and the ability to effectively create, compile, and present a portfolio of work. Students must meet the following criteria to maintain good standing in the VCD program:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA: 2.5
  • Minimum major GPA: 3.0
  • Minimum grade in all major courses: C
  • No student, regardless of major, will be permitted to take an ART, IAD, MOGR, PHOTO, or VCD course unless a grade of "C" or better is earned in all prerequisite courses. If a student achieves a grade of a “C-” or lower, the course must be repeated and a “C” or higher must be achieved to satisfy the prerequisite requirements.
  • A major course can only be repeated two times during the program to achieve a “C.”
  • If a third grade of “C-” or lower is earned in any combination of major courses, the student is automatically dismissed from the program.
  • Please see the specific program requirements for a listing of the required courses.

Progression criteria for students in the VCD program.

  • To progress into 200-level major courses (VCD 210 and VCD 230), students must participate in the first-year portfolio review.
    Students who earn a rating of unsatisfactory in the portfolio review will be allowed to progress to the 200-level courses provided all other criteria are met. These students will be placed on probation in the major.
  • To progress into 300-level major courses students must achieve a satisfactory portfolio review by the end of the 200-level course sequence.
    Students participate in a Fall Semester Portfolio Review upon completion of VCD 210,VCD 230, and FMI 102. Students who earn a rating of unsatisfactory in this portfolio review are placed on probation and are reviewed again at the end of the academic year. Students who do not earn a rating of satisfactory at this subsequent portfolio review will be dismissed from the major.

Probation: A student who does not achieve a satisfactory first- or second-year portfolio review, who does not meet minimum GPA standards, or who earns two grades of “C-“ or lower will be notified in writing by the department chair that he or she is on probation in the major. Students on probation may continue to take courses in the major provided all other progression criteria are met.

Dismissal: A student will automatically be dismissed from the major if any of the following occurs:

  • The student earns a third grade of "C-" or lower in any combination of major courses
  • The student does not participate in required portfolio reviews
  • The student is on probation and does not earn a satisfactory portfolio review at the end of the 200-level course sequence

If dismissed from the major, student’s major will be changed to deciding until the student selects another program. Students may seek readmission to the Visual Communication Design major following the "Policy for Seeking Readmission to the Major."

The department chair has final authority to determine standing in the major.

The visual communication design program policies for continuance and progression are distributed to all new students during the First-Year Seminar and transfer advising.

Readmission to the Major: A student who has been dismissed from the Visual Communication Design program (VCD) and is seeking readmission to the VCD program must complete the process outlined below. Please recognize that the individual steps alone are no guarantee of readmission to the major.

  • Repeat and earn a C or better in any major course that the student previously attempted but earned a C- or below.
  • Write a Letter of Appeal to the Department Chair for Art and Visual Communication Design (AVCD). Explain the circumstances surrounding the poor academic performance, what steps are being implemented to make a change, and what plans are in place for continued success in VCD.
  • Within two calendar weeks from the posting of final semester grades to WebXpress, submit the Letter of Appeal including your student ID number.
  • A decision will be communicated to you by the Department Chair two weeks after the deadline for receiving the Letter of Appeal.
  • If readmission to the major is granted, you will be required to sign a statement of understanding form. The statement of understanding includes the provision that if any grade below C is earned in an AVCD course, then the student will be dismissed from the major permanently with no opportunity to seek readmission.

Requirements

The courses listed below are required for completion of the bachelor’s degree in visual communication design. Students must also complete the requirements for the Stevenson Educational Experience (SEE).

Specific pre- and co-requisites for each course are listed in the course descriptions.

Visual communication design majors may take the general course of study or may select the interactive design, motion graphics, or photography track.

Major Requirements (all students):

FYS 100First Year Seminar

1 credit

ART 106Introduction to Art History

3 credits

ART 110Fundamentals of Design I

3 credits

ART 113Fundamentals of Design II

3 credits

ART 116Drawing I

3 credits

ART 117Drawing II

3 credits

ART 205Art History Survey Topics

3 credits

ART 305Topics in Art History

3 credits

CM 101Public Speaking

3 credits

CM 211Intercultural Communication

3 credits

or

CM 255Small Group Communication

3 credits

or

CM 270New Media Communication

3 credits

FMI 102Cinema II: Continuity

3 credits

PHOTO 141Basic Digital Photography

3 credits

VCD 125Fundamentals of Digital Media

3 credits

VCD 208Web Design I

3 credits

VCD 210Communication Design I

3 credits

VCD 211Communication Design II

3 credits

VCD 230Typography I

3 credits

VCD 290Internship Preparation

1 credit

VCD 308Web Design II

3 credits

VCD 310Communication Design III

3 credits

VCD 390Internship

3 credits

VCD 410Portfolio & Professional Development

3 credits

VCD 450Senior Capstone

3 credits

Communication Design electives must be chosen from among the following:

Specific courses and exact number of credits are based on the declared track. Consultation with an academic advisor is strongly encouraged.

IAD 380Advanced Interactive Studio

3 credits

IAD 381Mobile and Responsive Design

3 credits

IAD 480Interactive Design Special Topics

3 credits

MOGR 330Typography in Motion

3 credits

MOGR 331Intermediate Motion Graphics

3 credits

VCD 370The Relationship of Design and Business

3 credits

VCD 380Professional Design Studio

3 credits

VCD 440Designing for a Target Market

3 credits

VCD 480Design Studio Special Topics

3 credits

Materials and Methods electives must be chosen from among the following:

Specific courses and exact number of credits are based on the declared track. Consultation with an academic advisor is strongly encouraged.

ART 215Painting I

3 credits

ART 217Figure Drawing

3 credits

ART 219Printmaking

3 credits

ART 250Topics in Alternative Fine Art Processes

3 credits

ART 315Surface Design

3 credits

ART 351Special Topics

3 credits

PHOTO 140Black and White Film Photography

3 credits

PHOTO 241Intermediate Digital Photography

3 credits

PHOTO 242Fashion and Portrait Photography

3 credits

PHOTO 250Alternative Photographic Processes

3 credits

PHOTO 341Advanced Studio Photography

3 credits

PHOTO 342Documentary and Photojournalism

3 credits

PHOTO 480Photography Special Topics

3 credits

Students must also complete the courses for the general program or one of the tracks listed below.

Visual Communication (General Program):

VCD 330Typography ll

3 credits

Six credits of Communication Design electives. (See list above)

Six credits of Materials and Methods electives. (See list above)

Interactive Design Track:

IAD 380Advanced Interactive Studio

3 credits

IAD 381Mobile and Responsive Design

3 credits

IAD 480Interactive Design Special Topics

3 credits

VCD 330Typography ll

3 credits

Three credits of Materials and Methods electives. (See list above)

Motion Graphics Track:

MOGR 330Typography in Motion

3 credits

MOGR 331Intermediate Motion Graphics

3 credits

MOGR 431Advanced Motion Graphics and Effects

3 credits

FMI 211Basic Screenwriting

3 credits

Three credits of Communication Design electives. (See list above)

Three credits of Materials and Methods courses. (See list above)

Photography Track:

PHOTO 241Intermediate Digital Photography

3 credits

PHOTO 341Advanced Studio Photography

3 credits

PHOTO 342Documentary and Photojournalism

3 credits

PHOTO 480Photography Special Topics

3 credits

ART 305Topics in Art History

3 credits

One Photo Elective from these courses

PHOTO 140Black and White Film Photography

3 credits

PHOTO 242Fashion and Portrait Photography

3 credits

PHOTO 250Alternative Photographic Processes

3 credits

PHOTO 480Photography Special Topics

3 credits

Suggested Course Sequence

Suggested Course Sequence Visual Communication Design

Suggested Course Sequence VCD Interactive Design

Suggested Course Sequence Photography Track

Suggested Course Sequence VCD Motion Graphics Track

Minor in Visual Communication Design

Students explore design theory, design thinking methods, professional practices, design culture, and histories of art and design. Visual communication design courses encompass a variety of media and forms and include group work, client-based projects, print design, interactive development, and user experience design.

The minor in Visual Communication Design requires successful completion of a minimum of six courses and 18 credits with an IAD or VCD prefix (see exceptions below and note that some ART courses and PHOTO 141 will also count toward the minor).

Courses ineligible for this minor include:

VCD 270 Introduction to Corporate Communication Design
VCD 370 The Relationship of Design and Business
ART courses (except ART 110, ART 113, and ART 305)
MOGR courses
PHOTO courses (except PHOTO 141)

Students majoring in Digital Marketing may not minor in Visual Communication Design.

All course prerequisites must be met to be eligible to take the selected course for a minor. Please see the chair of the Department of Visual Communication Design for more information. General information regarding minor requirements may be found in the Minors section of the catalog.

Course Descriptions

See Art Course Descriptions

See Interactive Design Course Descriptions

See Motion Graphics Course Descriptions

See Photography Course Descriptions

See Visual Communication Design Course Descriptions

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