Bachelor of Arts inGraphic Design

Majoring in Graphic Design involves the study of basic design along with digital art making. What are the techniques and concepts of design using computer technology? What role does color theory play in advertising and marketing? How do you develop a personal artistic voice via graphic design? You’ll be prepared for a variety of careers in the commercial or applied arts world as you take 45 credit hours towards a Bachelor of Arts degree.

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Graphic Design Curriculum Overview

Creative professions like graphic design provide satisfying and rewarding careers for talented and strategic-minded visual artists and communicators. The Concordia graphic design major offers a unique emphasis on the art and craft of typography and applied graphic design practice. Interwoven throughout this program are communication and interactive studies and the practices of new and emerging digital media.

Whether engaging traditional or new media, the design principles one acquires through training and practice remain the same. Early sequential courses are structured to stress advanced craft, theory, process, and technical skills to ensure refined success in later project work. Advanced courses and the senior project capstone experience can be customized to reflect the individual interests one may have in such areas as institutional branding and identity, new media, web development and interactivity, package design, publication design, advertising, illustration, signage and exhibition design, sustainability, spirituality, or social change.

Graphic design majors are taught by an experienced faculty of active professionals with close ties to the vibrant Twin Cities creative community. As noted above, there is 24-hour access to a state-of-the-art Macintosh computer lab with the latest Adobe software and large format digital printing, plus direct exposure to some of the most recognized graphic designers and design firms in the country.

Required Major Courses: 48 Credits
Course ID Course Name Credit Hours
ART - 102 2D Design 3
ART - 105 Color Theory 3
ART - 111 Drawing I 3
ART - 241 Photography I 3
ART - 282 Graphic Design I 3
ART - 284 Graphic Imagery 4
ART - 383 Web Design I 3
ART - 384 Typography 1 4
ART - 472 19th & 20th Cntry Art & Dsgn 4
ART - 482 Graphic Design III 4
ART - 484 Typography 2 4
ART - 485 Graphic Des Senior Projects 1 4
ART - 486 Graphic Des Senior Projects 2 4
ART - 491 Theories in Contemporary Art 3

This course introduces the foundation design elements and principles for two-dimensional design. Compositional problems are introduced and solved in a studio setting. In addition basic two-dimensional media are introduced and explored during the different units of the course of study.

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Traditional and contemporary approaches to color theory will be taught. These ideas will be beneficial for most studio areas and of particular importance to careers in design.

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This introductory studio course is designed to familiarize beginning students with fundamental techniques and concepts of drawing. In that basic skill building is the core of this course it is a very approachable class for non-art majors. Although some history of drawing will be presented learning will be assessed primarily through portfolio production and review. (Prerequisite: ART101 or consent of instructor)

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This course is designed to familiarize beginning students with the fundamental techniques and concepts of photographic practices and processes. The use and operation of the 35mm film camera, experimental and traditional black and white darkroom techniques and new digital technologies will be taught through demonstration and assigned projects. Photographic history and criticism will also be introduced. Portfolio production will be the main form of assessment in this introductory course.

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This course lays the foundations of the discipline of graphic design. The course helps students apply concepts of design and color theory into applied arts areas. (Prerequisite: ART102 or ART202)

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This hands-on introduction to graphic design encompasses the fundamentals of design theory, process and practice. Emphasis is placed on the development of creative problem solving skills and processes primarily through the creation of structured iconography and letterforms. Students also explore visual communications-related professions and practices.

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The Web Design course is structured to teach the visual, communication and marketing aspects of a good website. It is a project based course where students will create websites and web content using Adobe Creative Suite software (Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Flash) and other web-related tools. Course material will be tailored to the experience level of students enrolled in the course.

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An introductory graphic design study of written communication through the craft and art of letterforms and application of typographic principles. It serves as an introduction to typography as an element in the design process. The course is taught as a skill and an art form. It explores the dynamics of type in context. From the traditions of book design to the frontier of digital and interactive typography, students explore type as a design and communication tool, investigating these contexts through the lens of historical innovation.

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This course examines the revolutionary developments in painting, sculptural and architectural traditions from the 19th C. as well as the Modernist traditions of the first half of the 20th C. and the initial Post-Modern trends that follow. The course links these artistic developments with world-wide cultural influences. In addition, special attention is given to the history of design. (Prerequisite: ART272)

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This advanced course further develops applications in the discipline of graphic design. Students will work on a series of projects and develop a professional portfolio. (Prerequisite: ART384)

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The culmination of all previously taught typographic competencies, this course focuses on developing type skills applicable to the work a designer is assigned at recognized design and advertising firms. Advanced project work addresses functional as well as expressive typography. The class requires students to develop concepts, present and explain their ideas, and bring their solutions to life.

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The advanced culmination of all previously taught graphic design skills and proficiencies. Project work centers on complex applications incorporating a wide spectrum of creative solutions to both practical and experimental design problems. Portfolio development and artistic professionalism is stressed.

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This rigorous studio course is designed to facilitate challenging, individual directions in design and critical thinking. Students map out a plan of study for the semester and work on a series of related ideas that culminate in a cohesive body of work. Students are expected to refine their understanding of contemporary issues and historical approaches related to their specific concept or process, and bring an advanced competency to the technical and formal concerns that inform their work. Through frequently scheduled critiques, and a developed designer statement, an emphasis will be placed on developing a process of self-evaluation to clarify visual choices and express and defend individual artistic points of view. Over the course of the semester students will investigate exhibition design and prepare for the exhibition and presentation of their work.

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This seminar style course discusses theories and ideas that underpin the current art world. The approaches of many current artists and critics are examined. (Prerequisite: ART272)

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Bachelor of Arts degrees at Concordia University, St. Paul consists of a major of typically 32 to 44 credits or two minors, general education courses, and elective courses totaling a minimum of 128 credits.

Meet Your Professors

John DuFresne Term Faculty of Graphic Design Art

DuFresne brings 25 years of higher education experience in visual communications, including the development of award-winning design programs at two previous academic institutions.

Keith Williams Department of Art Chairperson, Professor of Art and Art History

Keith's passion for art and for quality teaching has led him to do workshops across the United States, to jury ceramic exhibition and to exhibit his own work.

Stephanie Hunder Professor of Art

Stephanie Hunder teaches printmaking and digital media at Concordia where she is Department Chair, Gallery Director and Professor of Art.

Cate Vermeland Term Faculty in Art

Cate has a passion for making art accessible to all and has created numerous Community Art activities on campus.

Career Potential

Our graphic design program is responsive to the exact needs of the marketplace, it will be a relevant major if you’re considering a career as a graphic/web designer, illustrator, art director, liturgical artist, community arts organizer, art teacher or other art-related professional.

  • Art Director
  • Art Professor
  • Art Teacher
  • Community Arts Organizer
  • Exhibitions Curator
  • Gallery Owner
  • Graphic/Web Design
  • Illustrator
  • Liturgical Artist
  • Photographer
  • Studio Artist
Student Success Stories Leslie Olson ’15 - Graphic Design

"John DuFresne’s design school of thought, discipline, and work ethic helped make me the designer I am today."

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