Graphic Design

The Graphic Design major at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College teaches students to creatively and successfully communicate through type and image. With foundational courses in the studio arts, students will develop the skills to conceptualize, while also having the knowledge to bring their ideas to life using industry-standard computer software.

Why Major in Graphic Design?

With this constantly changing nature of graphic design in mind, SMWC offers a curriculum that not only teaches students the skills necessary for design, but also how to problem-solve and communicate their concept.

While graphic designers need to know how to use industry-standard computer software, the designer must also be proficient in other forms of art, as well. SMWC’s graphic design curriculum will provide a strong foundation in the visual arts in a manner that integrates and combines both art and design.

Students will leave SMWC with a portfolio of professional-quality work from their art and design classes. Students majoring in graphic design will be prepared for a variety of careers designing for both print and interactive fields, as well as conceptualize.

Facilities

Hulman Hall houses the Department of Text and Image with shared space for the art, graphic design, and media art majors, including studios for drawing, painting, ceramics, and design, as well as an up-to-date computer lab. A gallery allows students the opportunity to present and exhibit their work, while a lighting studio is available for both photography and videography projects.

Students have access to a large ceramics studio with a state-of-the-art computerized kiln capable of firing large ceramic sculptures and a variety of hand tools, Macintosh computers, scanners and printers, digital cameras, and multi-media equipment.

Faculty offices are also housed near the studios.

A baccalaureate degree at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College requires at least 120 credit hours. In addition to the general studies courses and electives to graduate as a Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College graphic design major, you need to complete at least 54 credit hours in graphic design and related courses:

The Graphic Design major and minor are offered through the campus program only.

Required Courses

54 credit hours required; all courses listed.

Introduction to the basic elements and principles of design and a wide range of problem-solving strategies in a variety of mediums. Focuses on two-dimensional space organization, principles of visual perception, color and the application of the visual variables. Fall, every year. Course fee.

Introduction to the principles, techniques, and materials of three-dimensional design. Focuses on the structural components of design in a variety of mediums, as well as with the conceptual and problem-solving exploration required in the creation of sculptural forms. Winter, every year.

Students learn basic drawing skills of perception and technical drawing skills of composition, foreshortening, sighting, use of grids, and drawing in perspective. this class also covers techniques such blending, shading, and crosshatching. Winter, every year.

Introduces students to industry-standard digital imaging software in order to develop the techniques and skills necessary to create, edit and composite images. Applications of these skills are made in subjective and applied projects. Fall, every year. Course fee.

Surveys the history of art in the western world beginning with prehistoric and extending to

Surveys the history of art in the western world beginning with prehistoric and extending to twenty-first century art. This course concentrates on the artists, the philosophies and events that have molded contemporary art. Fall, even years.

Presents the origins of traditional and contemporary visual communications and design, along with related concepts and processes. Studies significant and current designers, their philosophies and problem solving strategies, how design has been affected and shaped by industrial technology, art movements and the age of information. Winter, even years. Prerequisite: AD240 or consent of instructor.

Introduces students to industry-standard illustration software and layout and design software in order to develop the techniques and skills necessary for print production. Applications of these skills are made in subjective and applied projects. Winter, every year. Course fee.

Studies a conceptual approach to the design process in which the problem is viewed as a set of relationships that exist between the complex environment of the design artifact, the human user and the encompassing environments. The emphasis is placed on the human being as a processor of visual information in a complex visual environment. Additional emphasis is placed on mental maps, visual shape and color coding, environmental way finding systems, corporate identity sign systems, and advertising. Fall, every year.

Studies the areas of human visual cognition relevant to the understanding of the parameters and constraints of the human visual information processing system, and necessary for the communication of effective visual designs. Study includes shape and symbol recognition, color memory, visual short term memory, visual long term memory, schema and past experience, culture and visual perception, and age as it relates to visual memory. Winter, even years. Prerequisite: AD260

Introduces student to the principles and basic skills of shooting photographs using digital SLR cameras. Digital editing basics will also be introduced. Application of these skills are made in subjective and applied assignments. Fall, every year. Course fee.

Provides students with the background, techniques, and a general experience with sequential art to convey information. Graphic storytelling, comics and animation will all be explored. Fall, even years. Prerequisites: JM 157, JM257.

Introduces the discipline, function, and tradition of typography as it relates to visual communication. Includes how and when to use type, how to use the problem solving process to solve visual problems, the basics of symbol/logo design, promotional graphics, typographic history and theory. Provides a general understanding of the field of design, including theory, practice, and technology. Fall, every year. Prerequisites: AD110, AD121 or consent of instructor.

Furthers the understanding of principles of graphic design, including structure typography, layout design, and color. Pagination, organization, structure, and grids for printed publication are also emphasized. Winter, every year. Course fee. Prerequisites: AD157, AD257, AD350

Introduces student to industry-standard web design software in order to develop the techniques and skills necessary to create functional and easily navigated websites. Applications of these skills are made in subjective and applied projects. Fall, every year. Course fee. Prerequisites: AD157, AD257 or consent of instructor.

Through the advanced study in graphic design, the student continues to apply the principles learned in previous courses to develop a total graphic product from concept to finish. Students use a variety of mediums to create promotional designs for a fictitious company product. Fall, every year. Course fee. Prerequisite: AD351.

In this capstone class for the Studio Art Emphasis, seniors develop self-directed proposals, processes and artifacts under the guidance of the instructor. This concluding experience will result in a presentation, exhibition, and/or performance. Winter, every year. Course fee. Prerequisite: AD452.

Work experience with firm or agency directly related to the student's major area of study. The learning experience is structured within the College approved guidelines for the internship program. Through close supervision by the director of interns, faculty advisor and the worksite supervisor, the student works toward achieving goals outlined in the individual learning contract. Normally reserved for third and fourth year students. May be repeated with different topics.

Required Courses

24 credit hours required; all courses listed.

Introduction to the basic elements and principles of design and a wide range of problem-solving strategies in a variety of mediums. Focuses on two-dimensional space organization, principles of visual perception, color and the application of the visual variables. Fall, every year. Course fee.

Introduces students to industry-standard digital imaging software in order to develop the techniques and skills necessary to create, edit and composite images. Applications of these skills are made in subjective and applied projects. Fall, every year. Course fee.

Presents the origins of traditional and contemporary visual communications and design, along with related concepts and processes. Studies significant and current designers, their philosophies and problem solving strategies, how design has been affected and shaped by industrial technology, art movements and the age of information. Winter, even years. Prerequisite: AD240 or consent of instructor.

Introduces students to industry-standard illustration software and layout and design software in order to develop the techniques and skills necessary for print production. Applications of these skills are made in subjective and applied projects. Winter, every year. Course fee.

Studies a conceptual approach to the design process in which the problem is viewed as a set of relationships that exist between the complex environment of the design artifact, the human user and the encompassing environments. The emphasis is placed on the human being as a processor of visual information in a complex visual environment. Additional emphasis is placed on mental maps, visual shape and color coding, environmental way finding systems, corporate identity sign systems, and advertising. Fall, every year.

Introduces the discipline, function, and tradition of typography as it relates to visual communication. Includes how and when to use type, how to use the problem solving process to solve visual problems, the basics of symbol/logo design, promotional graphics, typographic history and theory. Provides a general understanding of the field of design, including theory, practice, and technology. Fall, every year. Prerequisites: AD110, AD121 or consent of instructor.

Furthers the understanding of principles of graphic design, including structure typography, layout design, and color. Pagination, organization, structure, and grids for printed publication are also emphasized. Winter, every year. Course fee. Prerequisites: AD157, AD257, AD350

Introduces student to industry-standard web design software in order to develop the techniques and skills necessary to create functional and easily navigated websites. Applications of these skills are made in subjective and applied projects. Fall, every year. Course fee. Prerequisites: AD157, AD257 or consent of instructor.

Careers in Graphic Design

Classes at SWMC will prepare you for a variety of graphic design careers including:

Art Director

In charge of the overall visual appearance of an art and design project, and how it communicates and appeals to the target audience. They are often responsible for unifying the direction of an art piece that multiple artists may develop, and decide what visual elements and artistic style should be used.

Brand Identity Designer

A graphic designer concerned with the visual aspects of a company's or organization's brand or identity. These are represented in terms of design through a logo or signage. This is then often integrated throughout all the elements of a company's materials. 

Creative Designer

Oversees all aspects of art and design, making sure the end result fits in with the client's requirements. They do this by initiating and stimulating creative ideas for and from everyone involved in the creative process.

Design Director

Usually found in the advertising, media, and entertainment industries. Similar to a creative director, the design director ensures that new designs fit with the client's requirements. Unlike the creative director, though, a design director is not responsible for the quality of the final creative work, merely for the final quality of the design within a creative project.

Editorial Designer

A graphic designer that specializes in the layout and composition of printed media such as books, magazines or newspapers. These must be created while taking the printing and readers into consideration.

Environmental Wayfinding Designer

Wayfinding design helps people find their way every day through print and broadcast media, the Internet, and signage. Designers consult on and analyze all aspects of communication between a client and their visitors, in venues including hospitals, educational institutions, cities and towns, resort venues, and many others.

Freelance Graphic Designer

Contracted by private individuals or companies to create designs.

Illustrator

Often charged with enhancing writing by creating visual representations of the textual content. Illustrations are often used in advertisements, posters, books and magazines, greeting cards, and a variety of other media.

Information Designer

Specializes in preparing information for people to use efficiently and effectively. This is done  through a visual representation which expresses complex data more clearly to the viewer.

Multimedia Designer

Learns about a variety of media, from sound to light, and then discovers how to package it together to create a product that works on multiple levels. Works with theatre, entertainment, advertising, and other groups to help create memorable experiences.

Surface Designer

Designs the patterns for both two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects, including fabric & textiles, paper goods, gift wrap, and many other products.

Web Designer

Designs and creates websites, and helps create the visual identity of a company. They work in a variety of work environments, from teams in agencies to individual freelance businesses.