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The Graphic Design and Illustration Dual Certificate program offers you the opportunity to explore and develop a broad range of graphic design and illustration skills, techniques, theory, and applications.

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This program allows for flexibility in concentration according to the goals of each student. Combining knowledge, skills, and practice of these two fields provides you with a variety of career options and greater possibilities as a practitioner. You will investigate digital and hands-on techniques in the context of theoretical information based in fine arts and visual communication. Upon completing the certificate, you will have compiled a comprehensive portfolio demonstrating the scope of your knowledge and skills in graphic design and illustration.

Please contact the Continuing Education office to determine the appropriate starting point for you.

Please note that the below lists which semester(s) courses are most likely to be offered, and is subject to change.

Program Requirements

This dual certificate requires students to complete 10 required courses and 5 electives. Students may petition to choose other Continuing Education courses not listed below as electives.

Required Courses

Please note that the below lists which semester(s) courses are most likely to be offered, and is subject to change.

Drawing for Illustrators and Figurative Artists (offered Fall, Spring)

This course combines frequent drawing sessions at the Museum of Fine Arts, in-class workshop assignments and at-home drawing exercises. Students will learn the fundamentals of traditional figurative drawing, novel techniques used by successful artists, composition, perspective, expressive light and shade and the creative use of reference. The course will also include group critiques, examples of relevant artwork and demonstrations of tools, materials and techniques. By the end of the course, students will be proficient at the fundamentals of traditional drawing, familiar with the basic tools of drawing, and adept at imagining, designing, and executing compelling and dynamic figurative imagery.

Fundamentals of 2-D Design (offered Fall, Spring, 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.

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.

Illustration I (offered Fall, Spring)

In this course, you will explore the partnership between the art of illustration and the written word. We begin with a warm-up drawing exercise followed by weekly assignments in logical progression. Students work with diverse subject matter for a variety of venues, ranging from small black-and-white pieces to larger color images dependent on text. The course emphasizes idea development, visual metaphor, and the search for a personal style. Presentations focus on the work of accomplished illustrators, painters, and printmakers as well as illustration techniques. Suitable for beginners seeking a foundation and those wanting to strengthen their skills.

Illustration II (offered Spring, Fall, Summer)

This course continues students' exploration of illustration by simulating the experience of a professional freelance illustrator working with clients. Through a wide variety of progressive real-world assignments in such areas as editorial, book, institutional, and children's illustration, students will learn how to analyze an assignment, create concept sketches, and produce finished art. Students can use the media of their choice, including traditional hand-drawn, digital, or a combination, for class assignments and projects. Each class will consist of the presentation of a topic, samples of artful illustration, and critiques of assignments. This seminar-style course utilizes group participation and accommodates individual needs and requests. Level: intermediate to advanced. An introductory illustration course or equivalent is suggested as preparation for this class.

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.

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.

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.

Visualizing Information (offered Spring, Summer, Fall)

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.

Suggested Elective Courses

Please note that the below lists which semester(s) courses are most likely to be offered, and is subject to change.

Adobe Illustrator: Introduction (offered Fall, Spring, 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.

Adobe 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.

Anatomy for Life Drawing (offered Fall, Spring)

This course is designed to improve your concept and understanding of the human figure by studying the underlying skeletal and muscular structure and how it affects surface appearance. Class meetings will include observations and drawing from the model (gesture and long pose), illustrated lectures, the skeleton, plaster casts, occasional slide lectures and more. Homework is required (one hour per week minimum). Anatomy study is best suited for students who have had at least a beginning course in drawing. You will gain an improved sense for observation, proportion, perspective, planes, structure, volume, weight, space and clarity of articulation, as well as for the visual dynamics of body movement and resultant formal changes.

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

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!

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.

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.

Lithography: Art of the Multiple (offered Fall, Spring)

Have you ever wondered how posters, board games, photos and illustrated books got produced before modern technology? Have you ever admired the works of Toulouse-Lautrec, Goya, or M.C. Escher and wondered how they got such beautiful textures in their drawings? No matter your reason or experience level, if you love drawing, mark-making or printing of any kind, Lithography is the next step for your work. Come combine art, history, chemistry and images and transform a humble stone, aluminum plate or plastic sheet into a sea of color, textures, and multiple prints. The possibilities, and editions, are endless.

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.

Electives Offered on Occasion

Web Design I (offered Fall, Spring, Summer)

Formerly called Web Design: Introduction, 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.

Web Design II (offered Fall, Spring, Summer)

This course is a continuation of Web Design II.

Program Costs

2019-2020 tuition is $995 per course. The certificate consists of fifteen courses (15 X $995). You can expect to pay approximately $14,925 in tuition, plus the application fee ($35). There is a one-time registration fee of $65 for summer session courses.

How to Apply

To apply to the dual 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.