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The certificate program in Graphic Design provides you with the practical and theoretical skills of a design professional.

Throughout the program, you will learn from a team of faculty with extensive teaching experience and recognition in their field.

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Program Requirements

This program consists of 10 courses total comprised of 5 required fundamental courses and 5 electives.

Please note: The semester offering information listed below is generally correct, but is subject to change.

Required Courses

Fundamentals of 2-D Design (offered Spring, Fall, Summer)

Design Fundamentals is an investigation into the core elements of art and design. The class will provide a solid foundation for your work as a designer or illustrator. You will learn to recognize issues that influence how we see, and to investigate solutions, by completing studio-based projects. You will build your design vocabulary and strengthen your ability to discuss the complex and interesting facets of visual languages. Over the semester, we will look at historical design precedents, taking an approach that will help identify areas of strength and potential in your own work.

Graphic Design I (offered Spring, Fall, Summer)

With a focus on the integration of design elements and how they are created, chosen, and organized, this intensive course explores the potential of graphic design. For each project, students will explore the relationships between typography, language, image, and symbolism. Throughout the course, emphasis will shift between idea generation, design theory, and technical skills. Lectures will address graphic design, letterform history, typography, and creativity. The course accommodates beginners and more advanced students who are building a portfolio.

Typography: Introduction (offered Spring, Summer)

Typography is a field of graphic design used to give shape to the written word. This introductory course explores strategies for organizing letters, words, paragraphs, pages, and beyond to visually communicate an idea and aims to develop your creative processes in new and powerful ways. Course topics include the anatomy of letterforms, type history and classification systems, type selection and pairing, legibility and readability, and the expressive qualities of type. The course features discussions and critiques, lectures, and demonstrations, as well as hands-on problem-solving exercises and assignments. While this isn't a software-based course, Macintosh computers and Adobe InDesign are used frequently. The course is open to beginning and intermediate graphic designers or individuals developing their professional skills in visual communications.

Graphic Design II (offered Spring, Fall, Summer)

This course is for students who have taken Beginning Graphic Design or an equivalent and are looking to take their skills to the next level. Emphasizing hands-on studio work with minimal lecture time, the goal of the class is to develop efficient work habits, build confidence, improve problem-solving techniques, refine your style and learn more about the practice and profession of graphic design. The instructor will give students individual attention and feedback, while encouraging the development of personal style and voice. We will produce 3-4 projects as well as explore the history of graphic design through films, presentations and readings.

Visualizing Information (offered Spring, Fall, Summer)

Our lives are full of facts we need to sift through in order to make sense of the world. Which T line gets me to South Station? What do my taxes really pay for? Frequently we need to draw connections between seemingly unrelated factors, and information design makes those relationships visible. By exploring the core principles of information design and putting them into practice, this course will explore ways a picture really can be worth a thousand words. Throughout, we’ll emphasize the hallmarks of excellence in information graphics: clarity, precision, and efficiency...

Publication Design (offered Fall, Spring)

Explore the rich communicative and expressive potential of page design with Adobe InDesign while refining your typographic and narrative skills.

Suggested Elective Courses

Digital Photography: Introduction (offered Spring, Fall, Summer)

Digital Photo is an introduction to the world of digital photography. Students will learn to operate a digital camera, to enhance their images in post-production using Photoshop and to make high quality prints from their digital photographs. Topics of discussion include color and light, composition and image management. Class time will be devoted to working in the "digital darkroom," looking at historical and contemporary art photography and reviewing students' works. Through discussion, demonstration and hands-on practice, students will develop their technical skills as well as aesthetic ideas.

Photoshop: Introduction (offered Spring, Fall)

This course begins with basic Adobe Photoshop techniques such as selecting objects, color correction, photo retouching, collage and more. We move on to incorporate advanced features using layers, masks, paths, colorizing and duo tones. The basics of scanning reflective art, negatives, slides and video capture will help you understand resolution and output options. The course finishes with applying these basic techniques to design issues of logo and type.

Adobe Illustrator (offered Spring, Fall, Summer)

This course is a comprehensive introduction to the wide-ranging qualities of Adobe Illustrator. The class will take you through many of the program's tools and effects, and will include contextualizing topics such as color theory and graphic design history. Class time is based on a lecture and demonstration format, along with hands-on experimenting. The course will give you insight into the depths of the software and its potential to enhance your work and design.

Digital and Experimental Animation: Introduction (offered Spring, Fall)

This introductory course focuses on bringing still and moving images to life through a wide variety of applications including Photoshop, After Effects, Dragonframe and Premiere Pro. By becoming familiar with and understanding each application, students will develop a deeper understanding of digital media and creative editing. Lessons include building simple animated GIFs, making movies “out of nothing,” and finding best uses of Layers and Puppet Tools in Photoshop and After Effects. We will also explore more traditional approaches to animation via hand-drawn exercises, stop-motion and ways to hybridize these with digital processes. The class includes screenings of contemporary and past animations, and discussions.

Web Design: Introduction (offered Spring, Fall, Summer)

This course will teach the fundamental skills necessary to plan, organize, design, and build modern standards-compliant websites. Students will learn the basic building blocks of the web (HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript) and theoretical and practical approaches to interface design. Students will also come to understand the web as a series of delicately choreographed visual, conceptual, and navigational systems. Previous experience with digital imaging software such as Adobe Photoshop is recommended.

Portfolio Preparation for Illustrators and Designers (offered Spring)

Have you completed or almost completed one of our certificate programs? In this seminar-style class tailored to individual needs, students establish goals and work toward putting together a cohesive body of portfolio work for potential employers and clients or for any other purpose. During the semester, a choice of homework assignments—including some publishable ones—gives students the opportunity to create additional portfolio pieces, with feedback in weekly critiques. The course also covers researching appropriate venues for your work, standard business practices and pricing, and how to design a resume, promote your work and approach publishers, studios, and organizations. Throughout the semester, we will hear from guest art directors and other professionals in the field. Recent students have gone on to successful freelance careers, publish books and cards, receive design awards and more. Ideal for those preparing to launch their career, designs or other projects.

Color Theory for Artists, Designers and the Color Curious (offered Spring, Fall)

What is color, and how has it been used historically, symbolically, and culturally across many disciplines and virtually all areas of art? Whether you are interested in fashion, design, fine art or marketing, this hands-on studio course is for you. Students learn a variety of color systems and terminology based on artistic and scientific theories. By the end of the course, you will be able to speak and understand the language of color (tint, tone, shade, harmony, discord, chromatic intensity and more). Most importantly, you will learn to utilize color relationships practically and professionally in new and meaningful ways. You may even develop a new theory!

Screenprinting: A to Z (offered Spring, Fall)

This course enables students to explore some of the most current and innovative technology within the world of printmaking and screenprinting. Color separations, large-format printmaking, and the use of computer applications in the screenprinting process will form the heart of the course, which is devoted to exploring the breadth of screenprinting opportunities. We also will examine traditional screenprinting techniques in order to provide students with an understanding of the full spectrum of screenprinting approaches. No printmaking or computer experience is required.

Monoprint (offered Fall, Summer)

A monoprint is an individual, one-of-a-kind print that can be made from traditional plates such as metal, wood, cardboard, plexiglass or other nontraditional surfaces that are found or manipulated. This course will teach you the basics in mixing inks, hand wiping and rolling techniques and overprinting in multiple colors and plates. The making and printing of carborundum, plates, gum transfers and chine collé will also be taught. Students will develop an image through a related series of unique prints. Open to all levels, from beginners to those who wish to investigate new techniques.

Program Costs

2019-2020 tuition is $995 per course. The certificate consists of ten courses (10 x $995). You can expect to pay approximately $9,950 in tuition, plus the application fee ($35), for a total cost of $9,985 for the certificate.

There is a $65 one-time registration fee for summer session courses. For more information, please see our course list. Tuition does not include the cost of class materials/supplies.

How to Apply

To apply to the Graphic Design certificate program, complete our online application via Slideroom. There is a $35 application fee. Payment is completed online when you submit your application.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, there is no deadline to apply. Our office will contact you within 2-3 weeks.

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