Graphic Design College of Design
Courses & Syllabi

 

 

 

Liberal Education Requirements
All students are required to complete general University and college requirements including writing and liberal education courses. For more information about University-wide requirements, see the liberal education requirements. Required courses for the major or minor in which a student receives a D grade (with or without plus or minus) do not count toward the major or minor (including transfer courses).

Program Requirements
All coursework must be taken A-F. Similar to liberal education requirements, the graphic design programs aims at producing a well-rounded student at graduation. Students must take one course related to Communication, Art History, Photography, and Business, Economics or Marketing. For specific course options within each interdisciplinary focus visit the course guide here.

Pre-Graphic Design Courses
Students must take A-F and receive a passing grade before they are allowed to sign up for portfolio review. Once students pass portfolio review, they will be able to declare their graphic design major and take the upper-level design courses.
*Note: The course syllabus may not be the official one, but is meant to provide an indication of course content and structure. Contact the instructor for the official syllabus. The course syllabus is posted at the discretion of the instructor. *Disclaimer: View the University's course guide for all the up-to-date information.

DES 1101W - Introduction to Design Thinking

Description

Students in DES 1101w will explore, through lecture and hands-on projects, the many ways that design thinking has become a powerful force in the 21st century. On the one hand, design methods and processes are seen as an important means of tackling complex social and cultural problems. On the other hand, designers stimulate desire and need through their manipulation of the form and function of places and objects. Designers are asked to re-think and re-shape processes as well as products. Design production has expanded to include the design of interactions, communications services, and collaborations.

Design thinking is a crucial means of fostering creativity and innovation when employed as a problem-solving tool in such fields as business or medical practice. More than ever, designers are called upon to place human needs at the center of their design engagement. As a result, design thinking has become a powerful tool to address issues such as sustainability and social justice, at both a macro and micro level. This course is intended for undergraduate students who are interested in learning how design thinking and design processes can be used as a catalyst for exploration, innovation and research. This course exposes students to many facets of design thinking and provides them with an interdisciplinary perspective about design and human behavior. DES 1101W offers the opportunity to raise awareness about the value and the power of design thinking in our culture.

 

Syllabus

 

GDES 1311 - Foundations: Drawing and Design in Two and Three Dimensions

Description

In this course the formal, perceptual, symbolic and technical aspects of visual communication will be introduced--with the emphasis on drawing. Design elements and principles will be applied within the context of observational drawing, as well as two- and-three dimensional design. Design process and creative problem solving will be stressed. We will work in a variety of mediums--charcoal, conte, white chalk, but the emphasis will be on gaining expertise with the pencil. Subject matter will range from the figure to two-dimensional abstraction projects. You will gain expertise in drawing technique, as well as in composition, visual unity and balance and in visual analysis of drawings.

Additionally, students will learn about:

 

Design elements/principles in context of observational drawing.
Integrative approach to two-dimensional design, three-dimensional design, and drawing.
Broad conceptual framework for design exploration.
Emphasizes perceptual aspects of visual forms.

 

Syllabus

 

GDES 1312 - Foundations: Color and Design in Two and Three Dimensions

Description

This design foundations course introduces students to color theory and its application in two and three dimensional design through lectures, demonstrations, extensive studio work and critiques. Emphasis is on developing students' ability to use color effectively in two and three dimensional design applications by studying traditional design elements, gestalt grouping principles, theories of color organization, color and spatial perception, and color interaction." But it is so much more. This class has a well-earned reputation as 'the toughest class you'll ever love.'

Class time is spent with slide and lecture presentations, studio work, and group and individual critiques. Successful completion requires a significant commitment to time, energy, and resources. The result: You will produce a portfolio that is a descriptive explanation and illustration of color and design theory, enhanced with your own creative projects: a physical product of impressive proportions. You will be proud of your work. Most importantly, you will see the world in a whole new light. You'll see color where you didn't see it before and recognize the 'color magic' around you.

 

Syllabus

 

GDES 1315 - Foundations: The Graphic Studio

Description

This class will provide an overview of the design communication process including creative procedure, terminology, and technology, and will introduce the use of current computer applications. Students will gain skills in digital illustration and page layouts, and image- scanning and manipulation. Graphic design elements of typography, production, color separation, printing process, and photography will also be addressed.

This class will provide an overview of the design communication process including conceptualizing, creative process, terminology, and technology. The assignments will introduce the most current computer applications used in the graphic design profession. Students will gain skills in digital illustration, pay layout, image-scanning and image manipulation. Graphic design elements of typography, production, color separation, digital printing processes and photography will also be addressed.

 

Syllabus

 

DES 2101 - Design and Visual Presentation

Description

This is an online course with weekly tasks and submissions. Coursework consists of lectures, tutorials, readings, exercises, quizzes and discussions. Course materials, lectures, and project submissions will be online with one assisted lab session (optional) per week. In addition, students will submit 3 hard copies during the year (see week 1 getting started for a more detailed description).

This course introduces basic design practices used in presentation. Students will design and create projects that develop design skills useful in today’s society. They will engage in the evaluation, discussion and activity of visual problem solving. Participants will gain skill in conceptual thinking and problem-solving while learning common computer and manual applications. Students will practice use of images, type, color, sequencing and layout. Course is oriented toward the beginner. There will be written exam/s on the readings, lectures, and software.

Two basic intentions:

 

1. Increase design acuity (awareness of design principles in concept and action).
2. Develop design craft with basic skills in Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft PowerPoint.

 

Syllabus

 

DES 2101 Visual Presentation (Fogg) Spring 2014

 

Basic Design Requirements
Students must take A-F and receive a passing grade. These courses can be taken the same semester as portfolio review, or should be taken the semester after passing.
*Note: The course syllabus may not be the official one, but is meant to provide an indication of course content and structure. Contact the instructor for the official syllabus. The course syllabus is posted at the discretion of the instructor.

GDES 2342 - Web Design

Description

In over two decades of its existence, the web has evolved into a ubiquitous and egalitarian platform that empowered graphic designers to expand their expertise into the digital realm. The ability to create and edit web sites through coding have made the computer a meta-tool, a tool to create other tools, and with the emergence of high-level languages such as html, css, and Javascript, coding has never been more accessible to the graphic designer. In this class, we will take advantage of these resources and become fluent in the language of the web and explore how our previous practices in print design translate into this dynamic and interactive medium.

This is an introductory level coding/design class that will acquaint you and your peers to the tools and craft of web design. All assignments and projects will focus on your ability to visually articulate content through html/css/jQuery. In addition, we will touch upon the basic concepts and practices of user-centered design to maximize your web site’s utility and usability for our audiences.

 

Syllabus

 

GDes 2342 Web Design (Park) Spring 2014

GDES 2345 - Typography

Description

Typographic Design is an introduction to the art of visual communication: the visual realization of a most basic element of communication--the word. The history of typographic forms, principles of composition, and the expressive potential of type will be explored though reading, research, exercises, and design production.

Sequential studies will follow the design process: problem-solving through exploration, experimentation, selection, critique, and refinement. Effectiveness of typographic design will be evaluated in terms of legibility, readability, and expression: the direct correlation to gestalt design principles will be evident. Assignments include textbook readings, research from additional sources, analysis and critique of found design, and, primarily, studio design production. Studio assignments will involve both handwork, to train the eye and hand; and digital typographic design and illustration using InDesign and Illustrator.

Additionally, students will learn about:

 

Design process from problem-solving through exploration, experimentation, selection, critique, and refinement.
History of typographic forms
Principles of composition
Expressive potential of type.

 

 

Syllabus

 

GDes 2345 Typography (Huff) Spring 2014

 

Advanced Design Requirements
Students must take A-F and receive a passing grade. These courses can only be taken after the student has passed portfolio review and declared their graphic design major.
*Note: The course syllabus may not be the official one, but is meant to provide an indication of course content and structure. Contact the instructor for the official syllabus. The course syllabus is posted at the discretion of the instructor.

DES 3201 - Career and Internship Preparation for Design

Description

This class is ideal for undergraduate students in Design majors or minors who are confident they're in the right major and want to begin seeking jobs and internships related to their career goals. Career and Internship Preparation for Design will walk you through the internship or job search process step-by-step to help you feel more confident in your ability to secure positions in your industry area. Through in-class presentations and activities, you will identify your top skills/strengths and learn how to market these qualities through cover letters, resumes, portfolios and job interviews. Additionally, you will learn the best resources and strategies for finding job openings in your field. Students will also have several opportunities to get advice and insight from industry professionals. Note: If you are still uncertain about your career plans or questioning your major, DES 1202, Discovering Majors and Careers, may be a more appropriate course.

Additionally, students will learn about:

 

Researching career opportunities/organizations related to industry.
Setting career goals based on skills/interests.
Identifying job search skills to secure internships, implement transition from college to employment.

 

Syllabus

 

Varies with instructor

GDES 2399W - Design and its Discontents: Design, Society, Economy and Culture

Description

Students are introduced to research and critical writing assignments pertinent to graphic design. Readings, lecture, discussion, and research inform written project proposals, studio production, reflection, and blogging. The course considers dialectics, theory, and ethics in the contemporary academic and professional landscape of graphic design. Assignments are referred to as research projects, which introduce principles and practices of critical and investigative research, beginning with an examination of the self as a Student? Designer? Consumer? Inquiry throughout the semester extends and addresses the overlapping realms of design, society, culture and the economy of graphic design.

Additionally, students will learn about:

 

Secret history of modern, postmodern, and contemporary design.
Principles/practices of designers who operate outside of main stream.
Innovators, activists, cultural gadflies whose work challenges, provokes, and inspires.
Context of economy, society, culture, and politics.
Lecture, research, studio production.
Written project proposals/reflections/blogging.
Themes of consumerism, sustainability, advertising message, branding and consumption are studied as they relate to graphic design.

 

Syllabus

 

GDES 3312 - Color and Form in Surface Design

Description

In this course, students will work on surface design projects involving printing, mostly on paper and fabric. All projects are centered around hands on creative production and the further development of the application of color in design. The technical emphasis of the course is screen printing, but coursework also allows students the possibility of experimentation with mixed media for example, letterpress, relief printing, laser printing, monoprinting, and dyeing.

The final project consists of a "making" component: surface design will be applied to products. Students will engage throughout the semester with effective use of design principles, and are challenged to apply a conceptual approach to their work. Each project is evaluation in terms of design criteria as well as its production quality. Projects are tailored to suit the research interests of both graphic design and apparel design students.

Additionally, students will learn about:

 

Use of color/form representation in two-dimensional surface applications.
Historical use of color and of spatial representation in visual communication.

 

Syllabus

 

GDES 3351 - Text and Image

Description

This course focuses on using images and type to communicate visually. The course will build on typographic, compositional and imaging skills that students have started to develop in their earlier classes. The design of series, sequences and publications will extend the potential of image/type relationships.

Additionally, students will learn about:

 

Composition of visual information using grid structures to integrate text/image.
Informational/expressive aspects of graphic design, hierarchical relationships of visual elements.
Methods of text layout that enhance communication.
Text and Image considers the inter-relationships between pictures and words and how they communicate visually and literally using design principles and elements.
Emphasis is placed on series, sequences and narrative using print-oriented media.
Page layout and pagination are considered in the context of publication design challenges.
Some exposure to off-set printing technology (digital image file types, CMYK and Pantone color systems, paper terminology and binding structures) is imparted through an applied project.

 

Syllabus

 

GDes 3351 Text & Image (Cosper) Spring 2014

GDES 3352 - Identity and Symbols

Description

The class will focus on the development of visual identity through a systems approach to design with application to various printed collateral. This course will prepare students to design a symbol, a logotype, stationary system and collateral products, keeping the identity consistent and intact throughout the process. Students will apply gestalt design principles, figure-ground relationships, and contrast within the structure of the grid to aid organization from piece to piece and within the whole.

This course will build on previously learned graphic design principles including a continued investigation of typography and its application. Students will explore the representation of abstract ideas in the form of symbols for the purpose of building identity.

Additionally, students will learn about:

 

Representation of abstract ideas through symbols.
Development of visual identity systems.

 

Syllabus

 

GDes 3352 Identity and Symbols (Chu) Spring 2014

GDES 3353 - Packaging and Display

Description

The design of packaging and displays involves three-dimensional considerations, in addition to the two-dimensional graphic skills that students have been developing in earlier courses. The assignments will present students with new opportunities and challenges in creating innovative and functional designs that contain, present, and communicate products effectively. Students will conceptualize visually and verbally, sketch ideas in a rough form, and develop final concepts into three-dimensional mockups with finished computer graphics.

Use of innovative materials and shape solutions will be encouraged. Study of the competitive landscape will be required. Real-world packaging case studies will be presented for guidance, showing the step-by-step concept and design process involved in their development.

 

Syllabus

 

GDes 3353 Packaging and Display (Pickman) Fall 2013

GDES 4131W - History of Graphic Design

Description

This course is an overview of the history of visual communication with an emphasis on graphic design. We will explore the history of images and writing systems and develop a better understanding of human communication systems. What can we learn about history and different cultures through the letterforms and symbols that they used? How has visual communication contributed to the formation of the knowledge-base of cultural groups? How do the formal qualities of these communications depict the values and zeitgeist of a time period? Using both primary and secondary sources we will explore these questions.

Additionally, students will learn about:

 

Historical analysis of visual communication.
Technological, cultural, and aesthetic influences.
How historical events are communicated/perceived through graphic presentation/imagery.

 

Syllabus

 

GDes 4131W History of Graphic Design (Martinson) Fall 2013

GDES 4196 - Internship in Graphic Design

Description

Supervised work experience relating activity in business, industry, or government to the student's area of study. Integrative paper or project may be required. Student may contact the instructor or department for information.

 

Syllabus

 

See Faculty Adviser

GDES 4196 - Internship in Graphic Design

Description

Supervised work experience relating activity in business, industry, or government to the student's area of study. Integrative paper or project may be required. Student may contact the instructor or department for information.

 

Syllabus

 

See Faculty Adviser

GDES 4345 - Advanced Typography

Description

Advanced Typography is a further exploration of expressive visual communication of words. Both the fundamental legibility of ‘the invisible art’ and overt expression through type will be addressed.

In this course, students will:

 

Gain broader experience in the selection and arrangement of type for effective legibility and readability and enhance skills for shaping verbal messages through typographic design.
Our verbal culture is documented and expressed through typography. In the publication design assignment, students create a functional organization of complex information through effective hierarchy and typographic expression.
Students demonstrate an ability to produce refined, sophisticated information and publication design that illuminates the subject and supports the reader/user experience. Students experiment with solutions, critically analyze the results of their own solutions and those of their peers, and make modifications to their solutions based on the critique.

 

Syllabus

 

GDes 4345 Advanced Typography (Waldron) Spring 2014

GDES 4361W - Thesis Studio and Writing

Description

A hybrid of studio and seminar, Senior Thesis and Writing will combine inquiry, research, creative problem-solving, and design prototyping. The course will use research to launch the initial design stages of a comprehensive graphic design thesis project. ‘Design authorship’ – combining writing and designing, self-publishing, and research and project initiation – is integral to the course.

The textbook will elucidate the ways graphic designers enlarge their domain to combine image-making, typography, writing, social and political causes, business opportunities and collaboration across media. As a work of writing about graphic design and visual culture itself, the text is self-exemplifying. Senior Thesis and Writing is writing intensive and also reading and speaking intensive – students will be expected to read, verbalize and share their writing and designs.

 

Syllabus

 

GDES 4362 - Senior Thesis and Exhibition

Description

Thesis Studio and Exhibition is a Lecture/Studio and Critique class with the purpose of helping the student develop and refine a body of design work that constitutes a professional graphic design portfolio. We will also discuss professional issues related to the business of graphic design. There will be many guest speakers who are design school graduates working locally. They will share their portfolio and job search strategies, and interviewing experiences.

The preparation of a professional portfolio is an essential part of transitioning from graphic design student to working designer. A strong professional portfolio can also provide an important foundation for the development of a successful future design career. The course assignments will give students guidance in improving their current student portfolio pieces, developing new portfolio pieces, and presenting their work, and themselves, to prospective employers in a compelling way.

 

Syllabus

 

Contact Information

College of Design

Saint Paul Offices

32 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108

P: 612-626-9068 | F: 612-625-1922

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Minneapolis Offices

101 Rapson Hall, 89 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-626-9068 | F: 612-625-7525

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