Courses

Our students like to learn and learn to kern!

We have designed our graphic design curriculum to produce highly competent and creative designers, as well as educated and critically-aware professionals and citizens. Our courses stress formal and technical skills, but they also push students to become proficient in creative problem-solving and visual criticism.

A detailed list of program requirements for the BFA in Graphic Design can be found on its Program of Study. The courses there are organized into the following categories:

Graphic Design

Typography, ideation and web design form the backbone of the Graphic Design curriculum.

Typography

Our three-course typography sequence takes students from the basics of type and document design all the way to advanced editorial and identity applications and experimental typography.

Ideation

Students learn strategies and methods to generate ideas quickly and curate and refine them into original and productive design plans.

Web Design

Our students learn how to design interactive experiences for screens of all sizes and an elective gives them an opportunity to learn advanced techniques and create more complex interactive experiences

Capstone Experience

In a two-course sequence, students research, propose and produce complex design projects that take them out of the classroom and into the world of professional practice and inquiry.

Electives

Besides their required program courses, students in Graphic Design choose elective courses in that allow them to tailor the program to their talents and interests.

Internship

An internship is not required, but students can choose to undergo one to help fulfill elective requirements and gain real-world experience.

Foundations

Our three Foundations courses lay the groundwork for advanced 2D and 3D studio courses. 

Art History

Students gain a broad knowledge of art history in two survey classes and more specialized knowledge with an elective in a subject of their choosing. The History of Graphic Design course does SOMETHING.

Professional Development

Study of Graphic Design's intersections with other disciplines — anthropology, business or communications, to name a few — enhances our students readiness for professional practice.

Studio Art

Required courses in drawing, photography and printmaking develop students’ formal and conceptual skills in areas closely related to Graphic Design. Studio Art electives provide an opportunity for advanced study in those areas or experience in clay, fibers, metals, painting and/or sculpture.

Graphic Design Course Descriptions

Graphic Design Studios

ART 1102 Introduction to Graphic Design

3 hours

This is an introductory level course for students entering the field of graphic design. It involves studio inquiry into the nature of visual communication. The course is structured to foster a personal approach to the design process and the ability to discuss design critically. Topics introduced in the course include typography, symbols, contemporary design practice and the relationship between designer, audience and message. Work produced in this course allows for the discovery of the language, creative problem-solving processes and technologies fundamental to graphic design.

Prerequisites: ART 1001 and ART 1003.

ART 2102 Typography I

3 hours

This course concentrates on the study of typography. Course includes a survey of major typographical trends, analysis of letterforms, typesetting methods and the use of type in layout design.

Prerequisites: ART 1001 and ART 1003. This course (ART 2102) may be taken concurrently with, but not before ART 1102.

ART 3102 Typography II

3 hours

Second course in the typography sequence focusing on the design of multiple pages, an introduction to publication design, basic typographic systems, and typographic hierarchy. An introduction to the use of type with image and the surface design of three dimensional form will be studied. Students who do not pass Candidacy Portfolio Review before starting this course will be required to drop the course.

Prerequisite: Graphic Design Candidacy Portfolio Review.

ART 3302 Idea Lab

3 hours

The course will function as a creative laboratory, providing students the opportunity to be immersed in and mindful of the design process. Course topics include innovation methodologies, design processes, visualization, prototyping and testing. Through exercises, readings, research and studio projects, students will develop lifelong skills to foster the good ideas that lead to meaningful creative work. Students who do not pass Candidacy Portfolio Review before starting this course will be required to drop the course.

Prerequisite: Graphic Design Candidacy Portfolio Review.

ART 3202 Interaction Design I

3 hours

An intermediate intermediate graphic design course involving complex interactive projects for the web and other technologies using standards-compliant HTML and CSS. Students will have the opportunity to learn the application of semantic code markup in order to gain an understanding of the separation of content and form in dynamic media. Alternate forms of scripting for the web, animation and motion graphics, and interaction with databases will also be introduced.

Prerequisites: ART 2026, ART 2103, ART 2104, and ART 3102.

ART 4102 Typography III

3 hours

Third course in the typography sequence stressing the dynamic relationships among content, form and context to gain a deeper understanding of systems at many levels. Other topics may include: packaging, expressive, environmental, dynamic, and interactive typography.

Prerequisites: ART 2026, ART 2103, ART 3102, and ART 3302.

ART 4192 Graphic Design Senior Seminar

3 hours

This course prepares students for their final senior design project in ART 4202 - Graphic Design Senior Studio (3), Graphic Design Senior Studio (GEN ED: Capstone Experience). These two courses, taken in sequence, provide an opportunity for advanced students to demonstrate a mature understanding of design practice. Through readings, literature review, and research assignments, the graphic design senior seminar examines contemporary issues in design, the expanding practice of design and addresses the relevance of pre-design stages to the design process as a whole. Students conduct research and locate their interests within the design discipline before producing proposals for their capstone project.

Prerequisites: ART 3202 and ART 4102.

ART 4202 Graphic Design Senior Studio

3 hours

GEN ED: Capstone Experience

The culminating course in the graphic design program, this course addresses self-reliance and the application of research and creative inquiry to the realization of projects proposed in ART 4192 - Graphic Design Senior Seminar (3). Students will produce a portfolio of work that demonstrates analytical, conceptual, visual and technical maturity. Passing a portfolio review is a requirement of this course.

Prerequisites: ART 3202, ART 3226, ART 4102, and ART 4192.

Graphic Design Electives

ART 2302 Calligraphy

3 hours

An introduction to hand-lettering. Both monoline and edged-pen lettering styles are studied in their historical context, including Roman capitals, minuscules, and Italic styles. The application of color to letter forms will be examined, as well as various methods of page composition, surface decoration and bookbinding.

Prerequisite: ART 1001 or permission of the instructor.

ART 3312 Motion Graphics

3 hours

This is an intensive course in time-based media for artists and designers. Students will create broadcast quality animation and compositing projects for television, web and other technologies. Students will use type and images to learn a variety of production techniques in digital audio, digital video, animation and other special effects. Post-production presentation techniques targeting the broadcast and theatrical industry, the web and other technologies will be covered.

Prerequisite: ART 2104 or permission of the instructor.

ART 3322 Sign, Symbol, Image

3 hours

An introductory study of signs, symbols and images in the context of graphic communication. The course includes theoretical and practical considerations of the relationship between visual form and cultural meaning. Course projects address visual perception and interpretation, abstraction and stylization, symbol typologies, gestalt of design, semantics and typography, and the application of semiotics and rhetorical tropes to visual communication. Course objectives are to enhance students' analytical skills and situate graphic design practice in a larger socio-cultural context.

Prerequisites: ART 2104 and ART 3102.

ART 3332 Design Methods

3 hours

This course includes a survey of research methods that enhance creative conceptualization abilities and provide research-based evidence that supports design decisions. Students examine case studies; analyze secondary research; experience various contextual research methods; and conduct and apply primary research that uses a variety of design methods (interview, observational and participatory).

Prerequisites: ART 2104, ART 3102 and ART 3302.

ART 3500 Independent Study

(1-4) hours

Majors in art may broaden and intensify their program through individual research and involvement in a given area of art.

Prerequisite: permission of the departmental chair.

ART 3602 Special Topics in Graphic Design

3 hours

Students examine in detail a speciality area in graphic communication, through discussion, research and creative studio work. Examples of topics might include: illustration, exhibition design, packaging design, and publication design.

Prerequisite: Graphic Design Candidacy Portfolio Review.

Content to vary; may be repeated for credit when content does not duplicate.

ART 3900 Internship

(1-6) hours

Supervised placement in a setting which provides an opportunity for students to observe and practice various art and design related skills. Supervision and evaluation by the site supervisor and the faculty member.

ART 4302 Interaction Design II

3 hours

This is an advanced graphic design course involving complex interactive projects for the web and other technologies using dynamic and media-rich interactive media. Projects may include animation, typography in motion, data visualization, interactive exhibits and narratives, and other time-based experiences.

Prerequisites: ART 3102 and ART 3202 or permission of the instructor.

ART 4312 Graphic Design Professional Practice

3 hours

Aimed at senior graphic design majors, ART 4312 (Graphic Design Professional Practice) is intended to help students transition from student to design professional. The course addresses professional practices in the context of various design disciplines as well as current issues in the field. Students will create self-promotional packages, undertake research and writing that reflects their preparedness for the job search; develop and refine their portfolios; and, if possible, visit a design studio or printing facility.

Prerequisites: ART 3102 and ART 3202.

____ Other with written approval of your advisor

3 hours

Foundations

ART 1001 Foundations I

3 hours

Basic introduction to two-dimensional design emphasizing the structural elements of art, the principles of visual organization, and the psychological effects of visual decision making. Color theory, including schematic uses and historical and psychological aspects, will be explored along with the application of color mixing and color integration. There will be an introduction to the critical and analytical approaches to the visual arts.

ART 1002 Foundations II

3 hours

This course is the second half of an introduction to the structural elements of art. It examines the organizational principles of three dimensional design and the study of equipment and materials used in this area of art making. Emphasis is on three-dimensional vocabulary, understanding of sculptural space, the use of hand and power tools, materials manipulation, and processes related to three-dimensional art.

ART 1003 Foundations Drawing

3 hours

An introduction to drawing as a primary means of visual investigation. Major class topics include drawing from observation and visualization (drawing from imagination). Class exercises focus on rendering objects, spaces, and the human figure in basic wet and dry media (graphite, charcoal, and ink). Conceptual and process-centered approaches in contemporary drawing will be introduced.

Studio Art

ART 2026 Photographic Design I

3 hours

An introduction to photography. This course offers a foundation in the basic technical skills and aesthetic knowledge needed to create fine art photography. Historical and contemporary issues, critical thinking, and visual analysis will be emphasized though oral discussion and written documentation.

Prerequisites: ART 1001 and ART 1003, or ART 1020 or ART 1021.

A camera is required per the instructor's directions.

ART 2103 Drawing II

3 hours

An exploration of contemporary drawing practices, focusing on process, experimentation, content development, and refining observational drawing skills. Class projects address creative problem-solving in composition, visualization, and graphic expression. Emphasis is on the figure as a subject matter and drawing from the live model. Introduction to a broader range of drawing media, including color and collage.

Prerequisites: ART 1001 and ART 1003, or ART 1020 or ART 1021.

ART 2104 Digital Imaging

3 hours

This course introduces the student to technical and aesthetic aspects of digital image manipulation for artists and designers.

Prerequisites: ART 1001 and ART 1003.

ART 3226 Photographic Design II

3 hours

An intermediate course in fine art photography. The course explores more advanced techniques and processes as well as aesthetic, technical and conceptual problem-solving, critical analysis of image-making and historical and theoretical issues in the field. A camera is required per the instructor's directions.

Prerequisites: ART 1001, ART 1002, ART 1003 and ART 2026 for Art and Visual Culture majors. ART 2026 and candidacy portfolio review for BFA Studio Art, BFA Graphic Design, or BFA Art Education majors; or permission of the instructor.

Art History

ART 2030 Art from Prehistory to 1400

3 hours

GEN ED: Fine Arts Designation; Liberal Studies Experience

A global survey of art history focusing on the early visual artistic traditions of Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas from the dawn of art to 1400. The course examines visual art and art making in religious, social, cultural, and political contexts.

ART 2130 Art from 1400 to the Present

3 hours

GEN ED: Fine Arts Designation; Liberal Studies Experience

A global survey of art history from 1400 to the present examining the later artistic traditions of Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas. The course focuses on visual art and art making in light of changing social, political, religious, and cultural circumstances.

ART 2230 History of Graphic Design

3 hours

A historical survey of visual communication, this course highlights key graphic designers and meta-disciplinary creative thinkers who have shaped significant innovations in the field. Examining relevant artistic, cultural, and technological events provides a context for understanding contemporary graphic design practice.

ART Art History Elective

3 hours

Chosen in consultation with advisor

Professional Development: Communication Skills

COM 2101 Public Speaking

3 hours

COM 2110 Introduction to Nonverbal Communication

3 hours

ENG 3100 Business Writing

3 hours

ENG 3700 Technical Writing

3 hours

____ Other with written approval of your advisor

3 hours

Professional Development: Related Areas

ANT 1415 Understanding Culture

3 hours

C I 4840 Beginning Video Production

3 hours

COM 3100 Interviewing Methods

3 hours

COM 3155 Persuasion

3 hours

ECO 2030 Principles of Microeconomics

3 hours

ENT 3060 Opportunity & Entrepreneurship

3 hours

IDS 3260 Creativity: An Introduction

3 hours

MKT 3050 Principles of Marketing

3 hours

S D 2400 Principles of Sustainable Development

3 hours

____ Other with written approval of your advisor

3 hours

Visiting designer Mickey Burton and graphic design students

Visiting Designer

Illustrator and designer Mickey Burton visited Appstate, gave a lecture and led a workshop with our students. 

Robot Type Workshop with Ashley Pigford

RISO Prints for Hybrid Print Practices

Letterpress printing with 3D printed modular type

Typography III's Reflection of Practice assignment is, and always will be, one of the most valuable projects a design student will do while they're here.

Anna Canntrell

Closeup of Reflection on Practice book

Reflections on Practice

Students in Typography III design and produce a book of their own writings about typographic practice.