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Curriculum

The Graphic Design program is a professional degree with a curriculum designed to prepare graduates through a solid understanding and mastery of the expertise required to enter professional practice. It provides students with a thorough comprehension of the design process through critical and creative thinking, theoretical and historical study, along with conceptual and experimental exploration.



Foundation

FOUN 101 Beginning Drawing
FOUN 102 Design and Color Elements I
FOUN 103 Design and Color Elements II
FOUN 104 Drawing & Composition
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Foundation

FOUN 101 Beginning Drawing

A fundamental course in freehand drawing. Various media and methods are introduced to develop perceptual and technical drawing skills. Emphasis is on line, tone, spatial values and relationships, perspective, scale, and composition. Studio.

FOUN 102 Design and Color Elements I

A practical and theoretical study of the formal elements and principles of design. Formal and relational properties of line, shape, form, value, and texture are studied. Studio exercises, using various media, explore concepts of balance, harmony, repetition, rhythm, scale, proportion, time and motion in 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional organizations. Studio.

FOUN 103 Design and Color Elements II

An introduction to the history, perception and application of color. Properties and effects of color relationships are studied with an emphasis on color selection and use, color psychology and the effects of color in space and light conditions. Studio.

FOUN 104 Drawing & Composition

Builds on the basic skills and knowledge gained in FOUN 101 Beginning Drawing. Two and three-dimensional representations of objects and space are explored for their spatial context and expressive form. Emphasis is on developing individual concepts, sketch techniques and compositional methods that can effectively process, and communicate visual ideas. Traditional media of pencil, ink, and charcoal are expanded to include marker pens and water-based media adaptable to sketch techniques and alternate surfaces to work on. The work of professional artists and designers is studied in order to appreciate the potential of sketch techniques and drawing skills in art and design processes. Studio.

Requirements

GDES 289 Progress Portfolio
GDES 390 Career Experience or Internship
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Requirements

GDES 289 Progress Portfolio

Required as a co-requisite to GDES 288 Graphic Design 2, students will develop a portfolio including work from each major design studio completed. They will complete a reflective self-assessment evaluating their strengths and weakness, and performance in lower division studios. Students will be assessed for their progress in the program and readiness for upper division studios. Studio.

GDES 390 Career Experience or Internship

Off-campus internships in design, advertising and marketing.  No more than 10 units of credit may be given for internship courses toward the B.F.A. degree.  The student bears the responsibility for submitting the contract that identifies the sponsor of the participating organization. All internships must be approved by the department chair.  A minimum of 40 hours of participation for each unit of credit.  Can be applied to Career Experience requirement.

History/Theory

GDES 260 History of Graphic Design I
GDES 265 History of Graphic Design II
GDES 391 Design Symposia
GDES 450 Professional Practice
GDES 491 Degree Project Research
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History/Theory

GDES 260 History of Graphic Design I

A study of the historical evolution of graphic design and its influence today. The course will examine how graphic design responded to, and affected international, social, political, and technological developments since 1450. Emphasis will be placed on the development of visual and written communication from the industrial revolution through World War II. Lecture.

GDES 265 History of Graphic Design II

A study of twentieth century graphic design focusing on Late Modern and Postmodern movements in design effected by advancements in computer and digital technologies. Discussion of major individual designers’ work, as well as national and international styles and design movements. The course will examine how graphic design responded to, and affected, international, social, political, and technological developments since the 1970s. Emphasis will be placed on the development of experimental design, post typographic revolution, motion graphics, and visual communications. Lecture.

GDES 391 Design Symposia

An exploration and study of current art and design events in the Los Angeles area. Students will attend lectures, museums, galleries, exhibitions or other events exploring a variety of topics, both on and off campus. Class lectures, as well as analysis and discussion of experiences. Lecture.

GDES 450 Professional Practice

Examination of business procedures used in the graphic design industry.  Students will develop a formal business and marketing plan with graphic components that include identity and promotional elements. Emphasis on professional issues and relationships, project procedures, business management, ethical issues, copyright, contracts, and pricing.  Studio.

GDES 491 Degree Project Research

Through lectures, self-directed study, and research, students develop a proposal for their degree project. The course is broken into four modules that deal with the components of the Graphic Design project: topic development, information analysis, conceptual thesis and contextual framework. Through weekly meetings and seminars, students discuss their research as it progresses to a final degree project proposal. Studio.

Digital Literacy

GDES 107 Digital Practice
GDES 207 Design Production
GDES 256 Web Production
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Digital Literacy

GDES 107 Digital Practice

An introductory course in the fundamentals of digital technology, including their roles in the creation, reproduction, and distribution of visual messages. Study of the major drawing and imaging software used in the graphic design industry. Students will become familiar with digital tools and terminology as they apply to creative visual communication. Studio.

GDES 207 Design Production

An intermediate course in the study and practice of software applications used for design and production of multi-page documents.  Emphasis on commercial printing process including both digital pre-press and post-press applications.  File preparation, color separation, ink and paper specifications as well as bindery considerations are covered. Studio.

GDES 256 Web Production

An intermediate studio exploring the latest software applications for interactive media while experimenting with various methods of organizing and mapping information to integrate layers of content into a non-linear, interactive narration. Studio.

Communication Design

GDES 106 Graphic Design I
GDES 116 Typography I
GDES 216 Typography II
GDES 217 Typography III
GDES 240 Photography I
GDES 288 Graphic Design II
GDES 310 Communication Design
GDES 315 Package Design
GDES 334 Logo & Identity Design
GDES 356 Web Design
GDES 388 Graphic Design III
GDES 485 Portfolio Presentation
GDES 492 Degree Project
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Communication Design

GDES 106 Graphic Design I

Introduction to the field of graphic design exploring the creation and function of design as a tool of communication, including issues of information, concept and execution.  Emphasis will be placed on understanding principles of visual organization and typography. Technical instruction covering the hardware platform, software, scanning, printing and file management will be presented. Studio.

GDES 116 Typography I

An introduction to the fundamentals of typography, including its theory, practice, technology and history. Study of typographic vocabulary, anatomy, proportion, grids, hierarchy and legibility.  Analysis of typographic solutions and their impact on visual communications.  Studio.

GDES 216 Typography II

Intermediate studies in typographic communications exploring student awareness of typography as an expressive medium that carries personal, aesthetic and social meaning. Emphasis is placed on extensive application of type to visual communication projects, information design and the responsibilities inherent in working with visible language. Studio.

GDES 217 Typography III

An intermediate studio exploring experimental typographic applications including exploration of letterforms as compositional instruments in order to stimulate visual and intellectual approaches to typographic design, while challenging traditional typographic aesthetics. Investigation of experimental directions in order to interpret the anatomy and structure of type to create unique designs using type as expressive element rather than content. Studio.

GDES 240 Photography I

Introduction to digital photography and digital camera operations covering lighting, composition, exposure and the fundamentals of traditional photographic concepts. Exploration of creative and technical issues in photographic output.  Instruction in imaging software application including image editing, printing and color management. Studio.

GDES 288 Graphic Design II

An intermediate course in the study and practice of graphic design. Students will learn the value of research as it applies to the development of design solutions. Emphasis on conceptual thinking, visual organization/composition, information hierarchy, symbolic representation and the construction of meaningful images. Studio.

GDES 310 Communication Design

An intermediate studio in graphic design exploring the fundamental theories and methodologies of visual communication. Development of creative design solutions involving research, information analysis and problem solving in consideration of context, concept, audience and process. Studio.

GDES 315 Package Design

An intermediate studio examining materials and processes as they relate to the development of forms and graphics for packaging. Through an understanding of the qualities inherent in various packaging materials, students produce a variety of packaging solutions dealing with shape, form and volume. Examination of marketing issues such as client needs, product placement, and package function.  Studio.

GDES 334 Logo & Identity Design

An advanced studio in the design of logo and identity systems.  Students will design marks for various businesses and organizations, as well as explore both contemporary and historic corporate logos and their evolution.  Emphasis in the application of logotypes and typographic issues in logo design, as well as style manuals and collateral applications.  Studio.

GDES 356 Web Design

An advanced studio course exploring internet communications for business and industry, advertising, and corporate communications.  Emphasis is placed on the design of navigational structures and systems, audience, organization and information access for internet application. Studio.

GDES 388 Graphic Design III

An advanced studio in the study and application of graphic systems. Students will develop a comprehensive design system for a sponsoring client exploring issues of research, analysis, audience, identity and presentation. Internal, promotional, and collateral material is examined. Studio.

GDES 485 Portfolio Presentation

An advanced studio in the preparation and presentation of the graphic design portfolio. Emphasis on portfolio review and critique, book development, and augmentation. Presentation and interviewing techniques including resume preparation, job search issues, networking, references, and salary negotiation.  Studio.

GDES 492 Degree Project

Students may pursue either individual or interdisciplinary collaborative projects. They must demonstrate the application of theoretical research to a self-initiated graphic design project through a rigorous level of work, which is clearly resolved, demonstrating a high degree of critical thinking, skill and craft. Studio.

 

Open Electives

GDES 100 Introduction to Graphic Design
GDES 250 Screen Printing 1
GDES 299, 399, 499 Independent Study
GDES 340 Photography 2: Photographic Practice
GDES 342 Photographic Studio & Alternative Practice
GDES 360 Screen Printing 2
GDES 470 Topics in Graphic Design
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Open Electives

GDES 100 Introduction to Graphic Design

An introductory course in the fundamentals of graphic design, and exploration of opportunities in the field. Emphasis on the design development process including research, concept, and execution of visual communication topics. Students will become familiar with digital tools and terminology, basic typographic conventions, and concept sketching. Studio.

GDES 250 Screen Printing 1

An intermediate studio featuring the exploration and study of the screen printing process including inks, imaging techniques, and stencil systems.  Students will develop designs, investigate surfaces and substrates including fabric, paper, and plastics, and produce screen prints. Examination of the history of screen printing and contemporary industry overview. Individual study and investigation of special interests will be encouraged. Studio.

GDES 299, 399, 499 Independent Study

Individual studio investigation in a field of special interest chosen by the student.  Course description, objectives, content and schedule must be submitted to the department chair for approval. Regular, periodic meetings with sponsoring faculty are required.

GDES 340 Photography 2: Photographic Practice

A continuation of photographic study exploring technique, in-studio and other lighting options and presentation/professional practices. Emphasis is placed on the continuation of the contemporary photographic series, portfolio development, post-visualization and materials with a basic introduction to photographic theory. Studio.

 

GDES 342 Photographic Studio & Alternative Practice

A course in both intermediate problems in studio photography for commercial and creative application, and an overview of alternative processes as related to further understanding of creative image-making possibilities. Studio emphasis is placed on art direction for products and subjects. Basic studio lighting techniques for digital camera operation. Studio.

GDES 360 Screen Printing 2

An advanced studio featuring the exploration and study of the screen printing process as it might be applied to the students major discipline focusing on inks, imaging techniques and stencil systems.  Students will develop designs, investigate surfaces and substrates to communicate or create a unique design assemblage. Individual research and investigation of special interests will be required. The student will be required to produce a major work as it applies to their individual major study. Focus will be on the research and originality of the submission. Studio.

GDES 470 Topics in Graphic Design

Topics will include advanced design, production and communication problems of a specialized nature.  Studio.

Emphasis Electives

GDES 414 Environmental Graphics
GDES 415 Exhibit Design
GDES 430 Advertising Design
GDES 432 Publication Design
GDES 446 Entertainment Design
GDES 447 Motion Graphics
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Emphasis Electives

In the senior year, students can focus their creative energy in a branch that sparks their passion by selecting a study emphasis in one of the following areas, or tailor their educational experience by creating their own hybrid configuration of study.

GDES 414 Environmental Graphics

An advanced studio in the design of visual communications systems in the spatial environment.  Emphasis is placed on the design of signage, charts, diagrams, maps, and wayfinding systems.  Exploration of fabrication methods and materials, including selection criteria, longevity and environmental impact.  Studio.

GDES 415 Exhibit Design

An advanced studio exploring the presentation of information in the exhibit environment. Emphasis on integrative communication activity of all elements involved, including time, space, form, movement, color, graphics, objects, instructions, text, and constructions. Studio.

GDES 430 Advertising Design

Introduction to the design of advertising for mass communication. Emphasis is placed on marketing and concept development through analyzing specific client needs to create effective and targeted advertising for both print and electronic media.  Studio.

GDES 432 Publication Design

An advanced design studio exploring the design, layout, and production of commercial printing publications including newsletters, brochures, magazines, and annual reports.  The class will emphasize page layout and grid systems, typographic structures, and the use of art and photography in publications. Studio.

GDES 446 Entertainment Design

An advanced design studio exploring graphic applications in the entertainment business. Emphasis is placed on the design of movie posters, CD, DVD, and promotional packaging used in the film and music industry. Study of marketing techniques in television, concert promotion and theatrical production. Studio.

GDES 447 Motion Graphics

An intermediate studio exploring the latest software applications for motion graphics with a focus on understanding time-based design issues within the broadcast medium. Experimentations on typographic form and function in relation to elements of space, time, and motion in sequential organization. Study of rhythm, pacing and transitions and their influence on content and visual messages. Studio.