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At Otis College, we create thinkers and sophisticated image makers who balance real world problem solving and fearless experimentation. Our courses focus on core knowledge appropriate to the professional standards of today, with a forward-thinking approach  to the standards and demands that will define the future of the expansive and evolving  field of graphic design.

Otis College’s Graphic Design program embraces a liberal arts-oriented approach that emphasizes collaborative work with the Liberal Arts Department, with Art History and Capstone aligning with assignments in Graphic Design studio courses. Through dedicated academic advising, mentorship, faculty encouragement, and  departmental support, our faculty continuously champion your success. Our students graduate as well-rounded artists and designers who understand the complexities of their globalized world and the vital role they play in shaping how  society communicates through visual mediums .

Learning Outcomes

Students majoring in Graphic Design will:

  • Engage and utilize past and present theories and histories while evidencing professional mastery of relevant methodologies, skills, and tools applied to a broad range of media.
  • Cultivate, model, and continuously improve confidence in one's communication skills, including listening, writing, empathizing, negotiating, presenting, critiquing, and reflecting
  • Define, iterate, and evaluate solutions for problems using a forward-thinking and reflective studio practice.
  • Apply purposeful risk taking designed to produce content, concepts, and formal outcomes that feed personal passions and professional growth.
  • Demonstrate professional best practices, including editing and presentation of work, networking, time management, project planning, budgeting, and collaboration.
  • Actively seek out and utilize cross-disciplinary studies and extracurricular activities to grow as well-rounded artists and engaged global citizens.

Program Structure

Immersion and Experimentation

Learn the fundamentals of typography in Typography I and II and how to create meaningful images in Graphic Design I and II. During  this first year, you will experiment with inventive materials in a cross-disciplinary fashion. Using typography and images together, managing  composition in the form of a poster, motion and sequencing to create a narrative with projects resulting in short ‘zine and motion videos. 

Begin studying how meaning is communicated through  graphic design by using semiotic principles in developing messages through symbols, stylization, structuring and organizing content. By the end of your second year, you will be able to use typography and formal image-based principles and carry out projects from the initial research to concepting, iteration, refinement and production. 

Professional Preparation

Apply the skills of image-making and typography in a more intentional, conceptual, and research-driven way. During the third year, you will build upon your visual literacy skills, learn how to articulate processes and methodology, and explore how to best communicate with targeted audiences in inventive and transformative ways. Electives such as Interactive I and II and Web Coding I and II address the latest UX/UI developments and introduce you to principles of front-end design and programming. These skills are developed further in Typography IV where projects in Web and App Design focus on the use of typography and systems in a dynamic digital context.

Innovation and Individual Focus

Think in broader and more strategic terms about subjects of research and interest, their audience and future, and current practice during your senior year. Fourth year students  showcase their ability to frame and conduct investigations concerning context and specific audiences and to develop projects that address diverse subjects and topics. 

Fourth year student  work is held to the highest level of critique with regard to value, sustainability, usefulness, purpose, and thoroughness of research. In fourth year courses, students develop projects at multiple scales, ranging from systems such as campaigns, branding and identity, signage, installations with multiple components, motion graphics and video pieces, merchandise, new brands, new organizations or non-profits to smaller individual artifacts such as books, magazines, websites, apps, UX/UI/AI, posters, and three-dimensional design objects.

You will also work with contemporary technology, taking into account communication theories and principles that apply to the kinds of questions you are asking in your  work. By the end of the year, students  will have the expertise to plan, produce, and develop distribution methods for their work. Many students choose to explore technologies, new mediums, digital, interactive, as well as alternative mediums in their final Senior Project.