Broad Horizons: Full Sail’s Media Design MFA Program Supports Designers Looking to Expand Their Expertise
Published on Apr 5, 2018 by Stephanie Rizzo
Learn it today, act on it tomorrow. In just 12 months, Full Sail's Media Design MFA program can help you expand your professional skills.
These days, brands rely on creative content strategies to connect with consumers. To keep up with an ever-changing market, successful designers are widening their scope to encompass all facets of media design – including aspects of print, web, audio, and video.
Full Sail's Media Design MFA program offers working professionals the chance to branch out and push their craft to the next level. The program combines foundations in research and development with practical project application, providing graduates with a comprehensive portfolio they can then present to potential clients.
"We've designed the program in a way that builds skills through the progression of courses," says Program Director Don Larson.
Students begin with basic mastery courses focused on building leadership skills and identifying client needs. From there, they move on to brand development. In the third month, they create a company logo for either a real or fictitious business. That business becomes the focus of ongoing portfolio projects.
"The logo project goes beyond the undergraduate level because we have them put a ton of research into it. They spend an entire month just sketching different versions of a brand mark, and by the end of the class they've built all these considerations into the ideation process," says Larson.
Another class that's unique to Full Sail's approach to media design is Effective Copywriting.
"Traditionally, designers do not write copy," says Larson. "But they will spend their professional lives working with copywriters. A well-rounded designer should be able to do more, whether that means competently reworking copy for layout purposes or having a working knowledge of the fundamentals of copywriting to better support their team members."
Halfway through the program, students submit their partially-completed portfolios to a faculty committee for review. Based on that feedback, they can either move forward with their projects or enter a cycle of revision where they refine their design strategy.
"Most of our students are coming into the program with some design experience," says Larson. "But at varying levels of mastery. The portfolio review allows students with less experience to get up to speed. It's a process called diversified learning."
Personalized attention is a hallmark of the program. Smaller class sizes (about 15 people on average) mean more one-on-one time with instructors. And since students are free to choose the direction of their campaigns, the options for professional applications are endless – from creating a stellar interview showpiece to building a brand package for an actual small business.
Rounding out the program are courses in multimedia platforms and design effectiveness, where students can explore design concepts for different content mediums and measure performance values for each platform. The program culminates with a thesis presentation.
"The point of the program is to open new doors to designers who want to take their creative work to the next level," says Larson. "The type of people who do well in this program are the ones who want to dig deeper and try something new. We give them the tools, and then we give them the time to hone their skills."
For an example of a Media Design portfolio project, check out 2015 graduate Aileen Pasion's brand campaign for the fictional Honey Dew Bee Company.