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Graphic Design Communication (B.S.)



The mission of the graphic design communication program is to instruct learners to become graphic design professionals and design strategists with innovative spirits and superior critical thinking skills applicable to a diversity of human needs.
Consistent with the overall mission of Thomas Jefferson University to provide professional training with a rigorous liberal arts and business core, the Graphic Design Communication curriculum fosters an appreciation for design as a cultural craft with a relevant historical background and a rapidly evolving future that includes multiple disciplines. The program seeks to develop students who can contribute intelligently and responsibly at a global level to further the common good.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of graphic design communication will demonstrate the ability to:

1.  Solve complex communication design problems.

  • Identify communication design problems to support appropriate solutions for intended audiences and context.
  • Conduct research and analysis to shape solutions.
  • Generate and/or prototype multiple solutions to discover possibilities.
  • Evaluate outcomes to measure levels of effectiveness.
  • Collaborate productively in teams (especially interdisciplinary teams where appropriate).
  • Adapt to continually changing professional challenges.
  • Demonstrate visual literacy as exemplified through means such as composition, hierarchy, typography and creation of meaningful images
  • Display proficiency in the use of tools and technology related to the discipline.

2.  Justify design decisions through effective communication.

  • Frame visual and verbal responses to communication design problems through the use of research.
  • Articulate objectives using written and oral communication.

3.  Interpret the role design can play within global contexts.

  • Evaluate the role of design within contemporary and historical contexts.
  • Apply design principles within diverse social, disciplinary, economic, and environmental frameworks.
  • Analyze complex, multifaceted design systems

Program Description

Graphic design is one of the most ubiquitous of all art forms; quite literally, it is everywhere. From logos to branding and identity, from websites to interactive media of all forms, from marketing and promotional materials to advertising and packaging, graphic design is about visual communication. Graphic designers specialize in communicating a message to an audience on behalf of a client through a variety of media forms and outcomes. This often includes collaborating with professionals in such disciplines as business, communications, marketing, interactive/web design, industrial design, social sciences, liberal arts and others.
The graphic design communication curriculum culminates with a Bachelor’s of Science degree. The program is conceptually based. The faculty firmly believes that a designer’s most valuable contribution is to be able to generate ideas, and that a designer’s intellectual property is his/her creative capital. The faculty strives to train today’s designers to enter the wonderfully diverse and ever-changing profession of graphic design.

The graphic design curriculum embraces design-thinking and strategic planning, and views design as a powerful strategic tool to be used to help solve problems in society and business. Students will learn to understand the role that design can play in the larger context of contemporary and historical culture. The curriculum features real-world projects that are pragmatic and practical, and is based on active, hands-on learning through doing and making with critique-based feedback.

The curriculum emphasizes traditional design skills and focuses on the ability to create and develop visual and verbal responses to complex visual communication problems across a variety of media. The faculty stresses the ability to articulate these responses both orally and in written form and encourages the creation of original image-making through illustrative and photographic means. The faculty also stresses the importance of the narrative: illuminating information and telling stories that resonate with an audience. Graphic designers create and manage messages that tell a story.

The program emphasizes the ability to solve communication problems by exploring the design process of identifying the problem; conducting research, information gathering and analysis; the generation and iteration of alternative solutions and multiple ideas; prototyping and user testing and evaluating outcomes.
The program stresses the ability to collaborate productively in interdisciplinary teams, and expects students to be nimble and agile learners with the ability to change and adapt with technology and to fully embrace the concept of lifelong learning.

The graphic design communication program is located within the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce (C-DEC) alongside other design disciplines such as animation, industrial design, interactive design and media, textile design and fashion design. Together with business and engineering and other disciplines across the University, there is tremendous potential for interdisciplinary collaboration.

The work produced by graphic design communication students regularly wins awards and recognition in international, national and regional design competitions, exhibitions and publications, such as: the Adobe Design Achievement Awards, AIGA, Creative Quarterly, Graphis New Talent Design Annual, HOW Magazine Self-Promotion, Society of Publication Designers, The One Show College Design Competition, and the University and College Designers Association.