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Graphic Design Curriculum

All programs’ curricula are developed in response to Program Learning Outcomes, which signify what students learn within a degree program or emphasis area. All program learning outcomes respond to overarching Institutional Learning Outcomes. View the Graphic Design learning outcomes here

Show All Foundation Course Descriptions
Fall - Foundation (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Life Drawing I FNDT180 3
Life Drawing I

Sequenced instruction provides rigorous training in the use of gesture, anatomy, and structural figure drafting. Drawing the human figure from the inside out fosters an understanding of complex visual relationships. Upon completion of the course, students are able to analyze the human form and to view it as a complex perceptual model for the larger realm of visual experience.

Principles of Design FNDT115 2
Principles of Design

This course is a sequenced investigation of various organizing principles using traditional and contemporary media. Students learn fundamentals of value manipulation as determinants of visual order. Elements of visual literacy provide a basis for the study of compositional fundamentals, including focal point(s), directional elements, and visual weight.

Drawing and Building Form FNDT160 3
Drawing and Building Form

Students study form in both two-dimensional rendering and three-dimensional building through drawing and building objects. Skills of relational measurement, compositional organization, and the placement of form in space inform both drawing and form-building activities. Drawing techniques such as perspective and isometric projection facilitate successful form generation.

Lab fee: $30

Writing in the Digital Age ENGL107 3
Writing in the Digital Age

Students will explore the ongoing cultural, technological and social changes that impact our ways of reading and writing, and what does it mean to be literate in the digital world. A minimum grade of "C" (2.0) is required to pass this course.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of ENGL090 or placement through the Writing Placement Assessment.

Introduction to Visual Culture AHCS120 3
Introduction to Visual Culture

Introduces issues and theories that are critical to the field of Visual Culture and representation in art and design.

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Spring - Foundation (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Life Drawing II or
Creative Practices and Responses
FNDT182 or
FNDT171
3
Life Drawing II

Structural drawing and perceptual skills are expanded through study of the figure's relation to environment, life-scale, movement, and draping. Students discover individual sensibilities of mark making and aspects of personal vision, through a variety of traditional and experimental drawing media and techniques.

Prerequisite: FNDT180 Life Drawing I
Recommended for students planning to select Digital Media, Fashion Design or Toy Design as their major.

Creative Practices and Responses

A second-semester Foundation course focused on exploring practices of creativity that bridge art/ design disciplines. Students are exposed to a diverse range of concepts, materials, and methods for working creatively. In class activities promote the documentation of individual creative processes and the synthesis of intuitive, culturally constructed, and personal impulses into inventive visual responses. This course is especially designed for students entering Fine Arts, Product Design, Communication Arts (Graphic Design emphasis).

Connections through Color and Design CAIL101 3
Connections through Color and Design

A second-semester Creative Action studio course introducing students to contextually-based problem solving using fundamentals of color and design. Students learn Munsell color theory and practical aspects of color mixing such as value, hue and chroma. Students apply these skills in solving problems that engage the larger community, transdisciplinary practice, research, and collaboration.

Drawing Studio or
Form and Space
FNDT192 or
FNDT161
2
Drawing Studio

Students transfer and expand on acquired skills from Drawing and Building Form with the addition of color, problem finding, complexity of idea, and the introduction of Adobe Illustrator as a compositional tool. Acquisition of research skills, an exploration of modern and contemporary notions of cityscape and landscape, and the introduction of more varied drawing media fosters students' realization of aspects of personal vision.

Prerequisite: FNDT160 Drawing and Building Form

Form and Space

Students employ acquired skills transferred from Drawing and Building Form to explore and exploit materials as well as to discover unique processes in creating novel form. The study of three-dimensional design expands to encompass meaning construction, composition and research as students engage the more complex issues of form and space.

Prerequisite: FNDT160 Drawing and Building Form
Recommended for students planning to select A/L/I, Fashion Design or Product Design as their major.

Elective FNDT145 1
Elective

Foundation year students can pick any Foundation Elective to fulfil this requirement. See the department or the Course Catalog for more information.

Birth of the Modern AHCS121 3
Birth of the Modern

Explores the key issues, problems, and events in art, history, music, literature, science, and design associated with and resulting from the social and cultural changes that occurred in the modern world.

Ways of Knowing LIBS114 3
Ways of Knowing

An interdisciplinary theme/issue driven project based course for first year students. This course will be paired with another course in a different discipline that is exploring a similar issue/theme. See Department for course offerings.

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Show All Sophomore Year Course Descriptions
Fall - Sophomore (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Communication Studio I COMD207 3
Communication Studio I

This course introduces the fundamental theories and methodologies of visual communication used in the fields of graphic design, advertising design, and illustration. Assignments and critiques develop problem-solving and visual storytelling skills with an emphasis on context, concept, audience, and process.

Typography I COMD228 3
Typography I

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of typography and the study of letterforms. Students will explore the theoretical and applied use of type as visual form and visible language by learning the nuances of type families, texture, hierarchy, and the introduction to grid constructions. Work will primarily be done off the computer with an introduction to digital type setting.

Practicum I COMD234 1
Practicum I

Practicum is dedicated studio time for Communication Arts students. The studio environment cultivated in Practicum is critical to the community and fosters bonds between students and faculty.

Studio Elective 2
Studio Elective

A Studio Elective is any art and/or design course with visual production (not a Liberal Arts and Sciences course) that may be offered within or outside a student’s studio major. Students must meet the course’s prerequisite or co-requisite requirements, class level, or other criteria specified in the Course Description. See the Course Catalog (pdf) for a complete list of courses.

History of Graphic Design, Illustration, and Advertising Design AHCS222 3
History of Graphic Design, Illustration, and Advertising Design

Provides a critical and contextualized chronological survey of graphic design, illustration, and advertising, and how these disciplines responded to and affected political, cultural, and social changes.

Required for all Graphic Design, Illustration, and Advertising Design majors and minors.

Creative Action Lecture * CAIL200 3
Creative Action Lecture
Creative Action Liberal Arts electives enable students to work in transdisciplinary teams with a community partner. Emphasizing collaborative methodology, synthesizing diverse perspectives, creativity, critical thinking, clear communication, and information literacy, students engage in issues that extend beyond the traditional classroom. See department for course offerings.
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Spring - Sophomore (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Communication Studio II COMD208 3
Communication Studio II

This course introduces the fundamental theories and methodologies of visual communication used in the fields of graphic design, advertising design, and illustration. Assignments and critiques develop problem-solving and visual storytelling skills with an emphasis on context, concept, audience, and process.

Typography II COMD229 3
Typography II

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of typography and the study of letterforms. Students will explore the theoretical and applied use of type as visual form and visible language by learning the nuances of type families, texture, hierarchy, and the introduction to grid constructions. Work will primarily be done off the computer with an introduction to digital type setting.

Practicum II COMD235 1
Practicum II

Practicum is dedicated studio time for Communication Arts students. The studio environment cultivated in Practicum is critical to the community and fosters bonds between students and faculty.

Studio Elective 2
Studio Elective

A Studio Elective is any art and/or design course with visual production (not a Liberal Arts and Sciences course) that may be offered within or outside a student’s studio major. Students must meet the course’s prerequisite or co-requisite requirements, class level, or other criteria specified in the Course Description. See the Course Catalog (pdf) for a complete list of courses.

Contemporary Issues AHCS220 3
Contemporary Issues

Addresses a variety of issues in art, design, film, and culture from 1960 to the present. Students may focus on fine art, mass media, or design, or popular culture. More than one course may be available, see the Course Catalog and consult the department and/or your advisor for more information.

LAS Sophomore Elective * LIBS214 3
LAS Sophomore Elective

More than one course may be available, see the Course Catalog and consult the department and/or your advisor for more information.

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Show All Junior Course Descriptions
Fall - Junior (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Design Communication Studio III COMD300 3
Design Communication Studio III

In an increasingly sophisticated examination of design concepts and their applications, students broaden their understanding of effective design as a visual language in two- and three- dimensional projects and time-based media. Assignments involve research and analysis with a focus on type, image, aesthetics, message, audience, and intent. Print (cmyk) assignments are in one semester and motion (rgb) in the other.

Prerequisite: COMD208 or approval of Chair

Publication COMD318 2
Publication

Publication focuses on building content-driven typographic systems and structures, and under- standing their relationship to content, concept, and narrative. Students will curate, design, and produce a typographic book. Heavy emphasis will be placed on typographic detailing and refinement (typographic craft), in addition to the advanced, systematic application of the modular grid. Students will also be expected expand their visual literacy with respect to both contemporary and historical publication typography through continued visual research.

Prerequisite: COMD229 Typography II

Practicum III COMD334 1
Practicum III

Practicum is dedicated studio time for Communication Arts students. The studio environment cultivated in Practicum is critical to the community and fosters bonds between students and faculty.

Professional Practice COMD354 2
Professional Practice

This course has three components—traditional portfolio development, web-portfolio design, and career development specific to a major. Students leave this course prepared for an internship and/or employment. Lectures, demos, studio visits, visiting artists, and critiques prepare students for working in advertising, illustration, and graphic design.

Creative Action Studio * CAIL300 2
Creative Action Studio

An upper-division interdisciplinary studio course offering unique core content that shifts from term to term. This studio affords students the opportunity to engage with professionals from various fields and expand their notion of problem solving beyond their major in public site real world challenges.

A limited choice of CAIL300 courses will count for the Sustainability Minor.
Please see the Interdisciplinary Studies Director.

Social Science * SSCI210 3
Social Science

More than one course may be available, see the Course Catalog and consult the department and/or your advisor for more information.

Symbolic Logic * MATH336 3
Symbolic Logic

An introduction to the study of symbolic logic and the application of mathematical methods in the study of reasoning, in which certain symbols are used to represent certain relationships. Looks at the ways that logical forms can be used in deductive reasoning and how language can be analyzed using abstract symbolic structures.

Required for Graphic Design, Illustration, and Advertising Design majors.

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Spring - Junior (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Communication Studio IV COMD301 3
Communication Studio IV

In an increasingly sophisticated examination of design concepts and their applications, students broaden their understanding of effective design as a visual language in two- and three- dimensional projects and time-based media. Assignments involve research and analysis with a focus on type, image, aesthetics, message, audience, and intent. Print (cmyk) assignments are in one semester and motion (rgb) in the other.

Prerequisite: COMD208 or approval of Chair 

Type and Alternative Media COMD319 2
Type and Alternative Media

Type on screen and beyond. This course is an expansion of typographic fundamentals from Type 1–3 (hierarchy, composition, system, structure, sequence/pacing) to new contexts and mediums. Although projects are more self- directed and outcomes are more open-ended, assessment of work is still based on functionality, legibility in context, visual interest, and typographic craft regardless of medium, scale, or format. The projects emphasize a dialogue between classroom work and the larger cultural and historical context. There is no programming requirement for this class. Even if students know how to program or write code, they should not plan to program any of their projects. The focus of this class is the design of project(s). They will be expected to present their screen-based work in an organized way that clearly demonstrates the hierarchies, formal palette, and functionality of their project. This can take the form of an interactive PDF, a video, a slideshow, or any other appropriate format.

Prerequisite: COMD318 Publication

Studio Elective 2
Studio Elective

A Studio Elective is any art and/or design course with visual production (not a Liberal Arts and Sciences course) that may be offered within or outside a student’s studio major. Students must meet the course’s prerequisite or co-requisite requirements, class level, or other criteria specified in the Course Description. See the Course Catalog (pdf) for a complete list of courses.

Studio Elective 2
Studio Elective

A Studio Elective is any art and/or design course with visual production (not a Liberal Arts and Sciences course) that may be offered within or outside a student’s studio major. Students must meet the course’s prerequisite or co-requisite requirements, class level, or other criteria specified in the Course Description. See the Course Catalog (pdf) for a complete list of courses.

Natural Science * NSCI307 3
Natural Science

More than one course may be available, see the Course Catalog and consult the department and/or your advisor for more information.

LAS Upper Division Elective * LIBS314 3
LAS Upper Division Elective

This course can be an upper division Art History or upper division Liberal Studies elective. See the Course Catalog (pdf) for examples of upper division elective offerings or see the Department and/or your Adviser for more information.

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Show All Senior Course Descriptions
Fall - Senior (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Systems and Identity Design COMD453 3
Systems and Identity Design

Students learn how to create a visually distinct identity through structured and innovative methodology generating many ideas and designs in a short amount of time. They develop a rich visual language, the basis for a system that promotes an expansive development of the visual language beyond a logotype and its applications.

Prerequisite: Senior Level

Advanced Image Making Projects COMD458 3
Advanced Image Making Projects

Students explore methodologies that foreground inspiration, motivation, intention, impression, interpretation, decision, consequence, analogy, chance, coincidence, predictability, message, ambiguity, literacy, manipulation, privacy, intimacy, memory, subjectivity and media in the process of image making. Students learn to integrate and discern levels of communication in and through their own and other’s processes.

Prerequisite: COMD300 Communication Studio III

 

Studio Elective 2
Studio Elective

A Studio Elective is any art and/or design course with visual production (not a Liberal Arts and Sciences course) that may be offered within or outside a student’s studio major. Students must meet the course’s prerequisite or co-requisite requirements, class level, or other criteria specified in the Course Description. See the Course Catalog (pdf) for a complete list of courses.

Studio Elective 2
Studio Elective

A Studio Elective is any art and/or design course with visual production (not a Liberal Arts and Sciences course) that may be offered within or outside a student’s studio major. Students must meet the course’s prerequisite or co-requisite requirements, class level, or other criteria specified in the Course Description. See the Course Catalog (pdf) for a complete list of courses.

Senior Thesis/Research Paper LIBS404 2
Senior Thesis/Research Paper

Students define, analyze, and develop a comprehensive design proposal and creative brief for their senior projects. The course emphasizes critical thinking and writing, and the role of the citizen designer in the 21st century

Required for Communication Arts majors.

Capstone LIBS440 3
Capstone

A required senior- level course where students identify and critically reflect on a theme that intersects with their own studio practice, discipline, and/or identity and their work in Liberal Studies. The Capstone is the signature course and culminating expression of the Liberal Arts program.

A minimum grade of “C-" or better is required to pass this course.

Note that Creative Writing, Art History, Cultural Studies, Sustainability minors, and Fine Arts majors take specific Capstones. Please see department for courses.

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Spring - Senior (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Senior Project/Seminar COMD440 3
Senior Project/Seminar

Students explore conceptual, theoretical, experimental communications problems offering them the opportunity to integrate personal vision with professional goals. In cross-disciplinary teams facilitated by faculty advisors, students define the scope and objectives of their inquiry and outline research and production methodologies.
Course Fee: $100

Entrepreneur 101 COMD483 2
Entrepreneur 101

An intensive introduction to all facets of running a business—marketing, promotion, developing a client base, pricing, legal, ethical, and financial aspects. Students learn best-business practices from: clients, an accountant, an attorney, a banker, and vendors. This course teaches students how to plan, establish, and sustain a meaningful studio, office, and/or agency.
Recommended for Communication Arts graduating seniors.

Visual Language COMD459 3
Visual Language

Visual Language requires students to engage in a focused investigation of their formal influences. The semester-long project is self-directed and is meant to provide a vehicle for rigorous design research, development of an individuated process, and refinement of crafts and formal skills across a variety of media.

Prerequisite: COMD301 Communication Studio IV

Studio Elective 2
Studio Elective

A Studio Elective is any art and/or design course with visual production (not a Liberal Arts and Sciences course) that may be offered within or outside a student’s studio major. Students must meet the course’s prerequisite or co-requisite requirements, class level, or other criteria specified in the Course Description. See the Course Catalog (pdf) for a complete list of courses.

Studio Elective 2
Studio Elective

A Studio Elective is any art and/or design course with visual production (not a Liberal Arts and Sciences course) that may be offered within or outside a student’s studio major. Students must meet the course’s prerequisite or co-requisite requirements, class level, or other criteria specified in the Course Description. See the Course Catalog (pdf) for a complete list of courses.

LAS Upper Division Elective * LIBS314 3
LAS Upper Division Elective

This course can be an upper division Art History or upper division Liberal Studies elective. See the Course Catalog (pdf) for examples of upper division elective offerings or see the Department and/or your Adviser for more information.

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*These courses may be taken in either fall or spring semester.

Courses in gray are Liberal Arts and Sciences courses.


The curriculum displayed is meant to provide an overview of the current semester’s offerings in this department; it does not represent all degree requirements for the Major or Area of Emphasis. These can be found in each student’s Course Catalog (identified by the year in which one would have entered the college as a Foundation student), which can be found here. If you have questions regarding your specific curricular requirements and/or Course Catalog, please contact Academic Advisement Coordinator Carrie Malcom at cmalcom@otis.edu or (310) 846-2550.