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Graphic Design students work on tablets to enhance their portfolios

The field of graphic design has a projected growth rate of more than 10% over the next decade. - U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

We teach students how to become creative and critical – design thinkers and problem solvers.

Available as a major and a minor, a Graphic Design degree from Curry College focuses on mastering the principles, technology, and practical applications needed to produce industry-relevant design solutions. The curriculum guides students through the process of understanding strategic analysis to mastering the technical, conceptual, and practical skills needed to excel in today’s design industry. Throughout the new program, graduates will attend industry conferences, exhibit work in regional and national design competitions, collaborate with leaders in the field, and become proficient using the essential industry software, Adobe Creative Suite.

Related: A New Career Driven Graphic Design Program Delivers Creative, Industry-Focused Graduates

The Graphic Design program educates individuals to become highly skilled creative thinkers and problem solvers, knowledgeable designers, and responsible professionals, allowing them to enter the marketplace confident and prepared for the ever-evolving field of graphic design.

“We’ve designed the curriculum and the new classroom space to mirror what our students will experience in the industry,” says Alison Poor-Donahue, associate professor, graphic design. “As an educator, I want to create a seamless transition from the learning experiences in the classroom directly into the industry. We’ve raised the bar on the degree of technical rigor and creativity we demand of students while focusing on their success by supporting and developing individual creativity, intellectual knowledge, and professional abilities.”

Career Options

Career opportunities include positions as a visual designer; print designer; package designer; editorial designer; brand & identity strategic designer; production designer; layout artists; corporate communications designer; in-house graphic designer; creative designer; creative service manager; information graphic designer; communications director; presentation specialist; exhibition designer; environmental graphics designer; web designer; front-end web designer; designer/developer; social media designer; user interface (UI) designers; user experience (UX) designer; cross-media designer; and an interaction designer.

Graduates will also be prepared to pursue a Master of Fine Arts or a Masters of Arts graduate degree in graphic design and digital and interactive media.

Work Like the Pros

  • Hone your visual communication skills in a new industry-inspired open-plan design studio
  • Master the industry-standard Adobe software
  • Use the newest print and digital design equipment including large format printers, digital photography equipment, and Wacom tablets.
  • Compete among the best - juniors and seniors will participate in two industry design competitions each year.
  • Learn from the industry leaders – students will join AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts), the professional association for design.

Course Requirements and Information

First-Year students applying as Studio Arts or Graphic Design majors will be required to submit a portfolio of 10-12 original works of art (10 for Studio Arts & 12 for Graphic Design).  Transfer students applying to Graphic Design will be required to submit a portfolio of 15 original works of art.  Acceptable works include, but are not limited to, 2-D and 3-D design, drawing, painting, mixed-media, sculpture, and still or animated digital representations. If you have additional questions about the portfolio requirement of for Studio Arts majors, please contact adm@curry.edu.

Laptop Requirement for Students Majoring in Graphic Design

The College requires all students in the Graphic Design Program to have a laptop computer and a subscription to Adobe Creative Suite when they declare their major in Graphic Design. Classroom instruction, course assignments and research during and outside of class hours will require the use of a personal computer.

The Fine and Applied Arts Department uses Apple hardware and the most current software in its labs and digital facilities. To ensure compatibility between the department’s digital infrastructure and student assignments, it is highly recommended that students purchase an Apple laptop running the latest operating system. Additionally, we recommend a minimum of 32GB RAM to ensure ease when running Adobe Creative Suite. Up-to-date operating systems and software are required. If a laptop is purchased that doesn’t meet the recommended laptop specifications it may not be able to run industry software or last the length of the undergraduate program.

The department also highly recommends that all students purchase an external hard drive for additional portable storage and file back-up (1TB is optimal). Several models are available through the College Bookstore or from Apple Education. The department also recommends that students obtain AppleCare+ and a USB-C to USB Adaptor.

Required Laptop - Minimum Specifications for fall 2020:

  • 16-inch MacBook Pro
  • 2.4 GHz 8‑core 9th‑generation Intel Core i9 processor, Turbo Boost up to 5.0 GHz
  • 32GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory
  • 1TB SSD storage
  • 16-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Backlit Keyboard - US English
  • Accessory Kit

Students must also obtain the Adobe Creative Suite through a monthly subscription online. Subscriptions for students are offered at a reduced fee and proof of enrollment at Curry College is required when subscribing.

Financial Aid

The purchase of the recommended model of the required laptop and the annual student subscription to Adobe Creative Suite will be included in the cost of attendance that is used to determine financial aid and loan eligibility one time during a student’s undergraduate experience at Curry College.

Technical Support

Please note that Curry College’s Information Technology Services (ITS) Department does not provide full support to student laptops. Curry ITS provides best effort support including software installs/troubleshooting, virus removal, and general use questions. Students are strongly encouraged to obtain AppleCare+ to access additional support including service, accidental damage coverage, and battery service coverage directly from Apple.

Laptop Requirement for Students Minoring in Graphic Design

All students minoring in Graphic Design are required to have a laptop that meets minimum specifications. While Apple is the industry standard in the Graphic Design field, not all industries utilize this platform. Regardless of whether or not a student utilizes an Apple or PC, those who minor in Graphic Design should consult with the Fine and Applied Arts Department to ensure that their device meets the minimum standards required to utilize Adobe Creative Suite. All students minoring in Graphic Design are required to subscribe to the Adobe Creative Suite and laptop computers must be powerful enough to support the Adobe Creative Suite.

Prerequisites:

GD 1500 Digital Essentials 3
SA 1770 Two-Dimensional Design 3
SA 1790 Light and Color 3
SA 1800 Drawing 3
GD 2797 Digital Photography 3


Major Requirements:

GD 2500 Graphic Principles I 3
GD 2575 Web Design & Development I 3
GD 3500 Graphic Principles II 3
GD 3555 The Art of Typography I 3
GD 3755 The Art of Typography II 3
GD 3765 Editorial Design 3
GD 3780 Web Design & Development II 3
GD 3785 Vector Graphics 3
GD 3790 Strategic Branding,
a Comprehensive Approach
3
GD 3795 Package Design 3
GD 3980 Fine & Applied Arts Seminar 3
GD 4500 Internship/Professional Practice 3
GD 4570 Personal Branding for Social Media 3
GD 4650 Portfolio Development 3
GD 4900 Senior Degree Project 6


Art History Requirements:

AH 2920 History of Visual Arts 3
AH 2930 Contemporary Art 3
OR
AH 2935 Modern Art 3
AH 2970 History of Graphic Design 3


Other:

GD 4050 Independent Studio 3

(If the GPA Requirement of 2.85 in major or higher is not met, a student must substitute this course for GD 4500 Internship/Professional Practice)

The Graphic Design Minor consists of four required courses and two electives.
Non-Fine & Applied Arts majors must take SA 1770 before taking any of the Graphic Design courses and one more elective - may be taken consecutively with GD 1500 Digital Essentials.

Graphic Design Minor Requirements: (12 credits):

GD 1500 Digital Essentials
(General Education/Arts Breadth class)
3
GD 2500 Graphic Principles I 3
GD 3500 Graphic Principles II 3
GD 3355 The Art of Typography I 3

Select two (2) of the following electives: (6 credits):

GD 2575 Web Design and Development I 3
GD 3755 The Art of Typography II 3
GD 3765 Editorial Design 3
GD 3780 Web Design and Development II 3
GD 3785 Vector Graphics 3
GD 3790 Strategic Branding,
a Comprehensive Approach
3
GD 3795 Package Design 3
GD 4500 Internship/Professional Practice 3
GD 4570 Personal Branding for Social Media 3
GD 4650 Portfolio Development 3

Learning Objectives:

  1. To utilize the principles of organization, composition, color, hierarchy, balance, contrast, emphasis, depth, rhythm, symbolism, and craft in execution to create a visual impact.
  2. To be proficient with industry standard software.
  3. To be able to choose typographic solutions for a variety of applications.
  4. To apply working knowledge of graphic design history and theory.
  5. To generate original concepts for an intended audience while maintaining a structured approach.
  6. To produce quality professional pieces while paying attention to detail by showing the initiative necessary to work successfully within the confines of any given project.
  7. To extend creative inquiries (Crits).
  8. To solve communication problems with a focus on positive ethical impact.
  9. To work with diverse teams.
  10. To embrace design as a vehicle for social change.
  11. To recognize the importance of participating in events.

Graduates of the Graphic Design Program will also:

  • Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for graphic design.
  • Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of graphic design.
  • Solve creative problems within their field of graphic design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic and conceptual knowledge.
  • Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on graphic design solutions.
  • Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of graphic design principles.
  • Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional criteria and terminology.
Professor Alison Poor-Donahue, MFA, Graphic Design

Meet Professor Alison Poor-Donahue

As a highly motivated professor with years of expertise in the field, Alison Poor-Donahue, MFA leads the recently redeveloped Graphic Design major at Curry College. She encourages and supports student innovation, experimentation, and encourages an entrepreneurial attitude both inside and outside the classroom.

A rendering of the new Curry College Graphic Design studio

New in 2020: The ThinkTank

To replicate the industry atmosphere, Curry College renovated space in the Kennedy Academic Building to mirror a “ThinkTank” design studio. In this space, students brainstorm, conceptualize, and develop dynamic systems that facilitate meaningful, consumer-based interactions. Students now have access to a digital photography studio, large format printers, and industry-standard Wacom tablets.

Explore the ThinkTank
Student Art and Design Exhibit - Fall 2020 Poster

Fall 2020 Student Art & Design Exhibit

The Student Art and Design Exhibit showcased the work of our students by celebrating their creativity, innovation, perseverance and introspection in the hardest of times. It is truly a celebration of success. This exhibit will be on display in the Shelley Hoon Keith Gallery thru Monday, February 8, 2021.

See the Virtual Exhibit
Jennifer Sheridan, Class of 2022

Jennifer Sheridan, Class of 2022

“I’m excited to begin the new classes and to work on assignments that will put theory into practice. With these new skills, I know I will be able to differentiate myself to potential employers when I graduate.”

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We're excited you're considering Curry College and look forward to helping you reach your goals.