Digital Arts & Design and Graphic Design: Which Degree is Right for You?
Published on Jan 13, 2023 by Jess Reider
How each design-focused bachelor’s programs offer students the chance to engage with and apply the principles of design in entertainment, media, tech, and more.
In both the Digital Arts & Design and Graphic Design bachelor’s programs at Full Sail, students have the opportunity to engage with the world of design and explore applications in marketing and advertising, entertainment, technology, and more. While the two programs share many similarities in exploring the fundamentals of design, they have very different approaches when exploring where and how design is applied. Graphic Design students will work on projects that bring brands to life in print, on the web, and on social while Digital Arts & Design students will develop content that communicates those brands to the world through things like animation and video.
For the first half of each degree, students will learn the same fundamentals and often work and study alongside the neighboring program. “No matter where you go in design, you're gonna be expected to have strong fundamentals, both software and visual skills,” shares Program Director Eric Rosenfeld. “In the central track, which are the shared classes between Digital Arts & Design and Graphic Design, the courses are shared and the students are in the classrooms together learning the same fundamentals.”
When the degrees begin to diverge, Graphic Design students will find themselves exploring more of the business applications of design. Students will still learn important technical aspects of design, including the Adobe Creative Suite and web languages like CSS and HTML, but they’ll also gain a deeper understanding of the “why” behind the design. Students with a more strategic mindset are likely to find fulfillment in this track.
In the program, students will learn how to build a brand from the ground up and how to help a brand communicate with a website, a logo, a branding guide, or any other assets they may need to stand out and grab a viewer’s attention. “[Graphic Design] has its own technical component, but you could kind of describe it as a deeper dive into the visual and communication skills used in business,” says Eric.
Digital Arts & Design
In the Digital Arts & Design program, students will explore some of the most technical applications of design in the form of motion graphics, video, 3D, and more. Students interested in being heavily involved in content creation for established brands will enjoy this highly creative application for design.
With a focus on developing the assets a brand needs to communicate what they do to the world, Digital Arts & Design students will experience similar deep dives into the reasoning for design and how to apply it through 2D and 3D animation. “By introducing 3D animation, it's a large block and a large influence in the world of motion graphics,” says Eric. “Nowadays, motion graphics, its design, its 2D animations, and 3D animations as well as video production all almost in equal amounts. So it's about combining all those types of media.”
Which to Choose?
“It's not bad to be interested in lots of different things, right?" laughs Eric. "A lot of our students will struggle a little bit with trying to determine what is their best path. And often when I tell them that there's not gonna be a wrong path because they're both creative, they're both going into the design industry and they overlap,
“It's just what kind of hat do I put on? Our students are very much invested in the craft of design and the implementation of design at the highest level possible. And that’s why we have multiple courses dedicated to mastering both the tools and the visual aesthetic of design.”
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