Full Sail's Undergraduate Graphic Design Curriculum
Studying graphic design gives students the tools they need to build a brand from the ground up.
In the undergraduate graphic design curriculum at Full Sail, students learn more than technical proficiency in design. They sharpen their eye for aesthetics, use technology in creative ways, and hone in on their personal brand and art style.
In this video, Program Director Eric Rosenfeld explains how the program provides students with a creative environment for critiques and collaboration, portfolio-building projects, and an organized work ethic.
Part 1 of the Curriculum
The first half of the graphic design area of study gives students a foundation in design through hands-on projects in real-world environments. Students work in art studios that emulate creative workspaces to learn the elements of drawing, painting, and industry-standard tech, like Illustrator and Photoshop.
In these courses, students also gain experience with photography and video techniques and learn the importance of color theory and typography. These are all critical skills to develop before moving into the second half of the curriculum.
Part 2 of the Curriculum
In the second half of the coursework, students create branded graphic design elements for print, web, mobile, and social media. Courses teach more than just the technical know-how for creating graphic designs – they also cover topics like how to create a brand experience and multi-format advertising campaigns.
"A brand is much more than a logo, it involves all aspects of a business," says Eric. "As a graphic designer, you get to do this from the ground up."
When studying graphic design, students will create work that contributes to their professional portfolio. Throughout the curriculum's seven project and portfolio courses, students will build on their skills and refine their illustrations, brands, and layouts to create a body of work they can show potential employers.
"As a graphic designer, you'll be expected to use a variety of technology in your courses and in the industry," says Eric. This educational path is designed to help students become experts in industry-standard software like the Adobe Creative Cloud, including these programs:
- After Effects
"We also encourage you to experiment with new technologies," says Eric. "Design gets really interesting when you start combining tech in new ways."
Advice for Graphic Designers
Manage Your Time
"Learning how to effectively allocate your time to meet deadlines is essential to becoming a respected designer," says Eric.
At Full Sail, courses are accelerated to help students get firsthand experience in a fast-paced, creative environment. Eric encourages students to plan time outside of class carefully so they can work on projects, complete portfolios, and study professional designs.
Love What You Do
"Lead with your passions and have fun with your projects," says Eric.
He recommends looking into job postings for career titles that resonate. Look for graphic design projects that excite you and align your time at Full Sail and your portfolio projects with those goals. "Embrace your curiosity, dive into new things, and create something amazing," he says.
Digital Arts & Design vs. Graphic Design
Trying to decide which degree program is right for you? The graphic design and digital arts and design areas of study cover many of the same elements of becoming a good designer. But there are key differences you'll want to consider.
When you study digital arts and design, you’ll focus on motion graphics and 2D and 3D animations. It sets you up to work with established brands to bring them the digital art they are looking for. In the graphic design curriculum, students focus on things like branding, user experience, and interactive media. Studying graphic design is more appropriate for those looking to work with brands to create brand experiences and to establish their look and feel.
Want to learn more? Explore our Art & Design offerings.
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