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Graphic Design

Graphic Design

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts

Degree Type

Major

Department

Art & Design Department

Graphic design allows you to blend creativity and technology. From designing cutting-edge websites—to creating eye-catching logos, this field provides the opportunity to express your own creative vision in a variety of in-demand careers.

Program Overview

Graphic design student

Design your education.

In Western’s Graphic Design program, you’ll learn to acquire the creative and technical skills you’ll need to produce different kinds of media using professional tools and equipment. In small classes, attentive faculty will help you expand your conceptual abilities and improve your personal communication and presentation skills.

In the program, you’ll be encouraged to take cross-disciplinary studies as paired electives or independent projects to broaden your knowledge and expertise. You’ll also have the unique opportunity to participate in independent study courses that will help develop your individual interests in print production, illustration, fonts, package or web design and other creative or experimental directions.

Blending creativity and technology

Through a mixture of training and experience, the Graphic Design emphasis develops students’ creative and problem-solving capabilities while expanding technical and visual skills across industry-relevant media and materials.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

All majors require a minimum of 60 credits and completion of one of the following career pathways for 18 credits. A senior exhibition is required of all majors. A quality representation of the student’s artwork from their junior and senior years is used for the senior exhibition. 

A minimum of 60 credits is required and completion of one of the following career pathways:  

Course List
Code Title Credits
Base Curriculum (BA):
ART 000Exhibition and Convocation Attendance0
ART 119Foundation Drawing I3
ART 171Foundation Design: Two-Dimensional3
ART 172Foundation Design: Three-Dimensional3
ART 173Foundation Design: Digital Art and Design3
ART 222Art History I3
ART 223Art History II (GT-AH1)3
ART 246Introduction to Photography3
ART 257Introduction to Printmaking3
ART 400Artist's Portfolio/Senior Exhibition3
DES 270Introduction to Graphic Design and Illustration3
DES 271Typography3
DES 370Intermediate Graphic Design3
DES 425History of Graphic Design3
DES 470Advanced Design and Illustration I3
DES 471Senior Project in Design3
DES 499
And the following Required courses:
BUAD 270Principles of Marketing3
BUAD 335Marketing Communications3
COM 346Multimedia Communication3
CS 160Introduction to Web Design3
One of the following Career Pathways:
Art and Design Career Pathway18
select 18 credits of ART electives, including the following two required courses:
ART 219
Foundation Drawing II
ART 319
Intermediate Drawing
and 12 credits of the following:
ART 203
Introduction to Ceramics
ART 230
Introduction to Sculpture
ART 235
Introduction to Jewelry
ART 280
Introduction to Painting
ART 286
Introduction to Watercolor
ART 346
Intermediate Photography
ART 357
Intermediate Printmaking
Strategic Communications Career Pathway18
COM 151
Introduction to Mass Media (GT-AH2)
COM 241
Media Writing
COM 264
Introduction to Media Production I
COM 274
Public Relations Communication
COM 323
Media/ Arts Management
COM 351
Media Theory and Research
COM 375
Social Media Skills
COM 474
Campaign Planning in Advertising and Public Information
Film and Theatre Career Pathway18
COM 119
Introduction to Film
COM 231
Stagecraft I
COM 234
Aesthetics, Lighting and Film Theory
COM 235
Introduction to Acting
COM 261
Introduction To Audio Communication
COM 264
Introduction to Media Production I
COM 306
Scriptwriting
COM 330
Stagecraft II
COM 331
Scenography in Film and Theatre
COM 335
Intermediate Media Production II
COM 352
Advanced Cinema Studies
COM 361
Multi-Camera Studio Production
COM 385
Experimental Media Production
COM 389
Media Production: Narrative
COM 390
MEDIA PRODUCTION: DOCUMENTARY
COM 490
Advanced Media Production
And 9 credits of free electives9
Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 119 Foundation Drawing I 3
ART 171 Foundation Design: Two-Dimensional 3
ENG 102 Writing and Rhetoric I (GT-CO1) 3
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
MATH 105 Mathematics for the Liberal Arts (GT-MA1) 3
Gen Ed General Education 3
 Credits16
Spring
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 172 Foundation Design: Three-Dimensional 3
ART 173 Foundation Design: Digital Art and Design 3
ENG 103 Writing and Rhetoric II (GT-CO2) 3
Gen Ed General Education 6
 Credits15
Year Two
Fall
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 222 Art History I 3
ART 246
or ART 257
Introduction to Photography
or Introduction to Printmaking
3
CS 160 Introduction to Web Design 3
DES 270 Introduction to Graphic Design and Illustration 3
Gen Ed General Education 3
 Credits15
Spring
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 223 Art History II (GT-AH1) 3
BUAD 270 Principles of Marketing 3
DES 271 Typography 3
DES 370 Intermediate Graphic Design 3
Gen Ed General Education 3
 Credits15
Year Three
Fall
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 246
or ART 257
Introduction to Photography
or Introduction to Printmaking
3
DES 425 History of Graphic Design 3
Gen Ed General Education 3
Elective Career Pathway Elective 6
 Credits15
Spring
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
BUAD 335 Marketing Communications 3
COM 346 Multimedia Communication 3
DES 470 Advanced Design and Illustration I 3
Gen Ed General Education 3
Elective Career Pathway Elective 3
 Credits15
Year Four
Fall
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 400 Artist's Portfolio/Senior Exhibition 3
DES 471 Senior Project in Design 3
DES 499 3
Elective Career Pathway Elective 6
 Credits15
Spring
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
Elective Career Pathway Elective 3
Elective Elective 9
 Credits12
 Total Credits118

Spotlight

Graphic Design

Mallory Logan

Alumni

“I’ve always excelled in smaller environments, and Western fit that perfectly. The school attracts high quality professors because this community and the land around us is incredible."

Graphic Design

Barbara Szabo

Alumni

“It’s not easy to balance these things [academics and athletics], especially when your goal is to make it to the Olympics straight out of college. “Balancing responsibilities became a good skill I learned for sure.”

Careers


Top Skills

  • Design
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • UX & UI
  • Effective Communication
  • Problem Solving



Career Pathways

  • Art Director
  • Desktop Publisher
  • Graphic Designer
  • Special Effects Artist
  • Web Designer
  • Web Developer

Take the first steps toward your academic and personal growth.

Fostering your intellectual development is the primary focus of every academic program at Western. Our professors and Office of Career Services will help you identify your strengths, hone your skills, define your goals, and prepare for a fulfilling and enriched life after graduation. Wondering how you can apply your program of choice to your intellectual and personal journey? Check out our “What Can I Do With This Major?” tool to explore the diverse opportunities and pathways within any degree program.

Scholarships

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 30 for 2024. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.

Apply

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.

Apply

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Graphic design program

Take your education beyond the classroom.

Get the hands-on learning experience you need to apply your knowledge and launch your career.

  • Gallery Exhibits: Students have opportunities to display their work in numerous shows, exhibits, convocations and galas—on campus and in the community.
  • Pathfinder Magazine: An annual publication for student creative work.
  • Student Art League: A branch of the Council for Creative expression, the Student Art League is dedicated to providing visual arts, experiences, professional development, educational opportunities and outreach for Art students.

Creative expression

Graphic Design students develop skills in print production, illustration, fonts, packaging, web design and other creative or experimental directions.

News & Research

Western’s Art & Design Department Chair Chosen for Prestigious Fellowship

Western’s Art & Design Department Chair Chosen for Prestigious Fellowship

Read More about Western’s Art & Design Department Chair Chosen for Prestigious Fellowship
Western Earns Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission

Western Earns Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission

Read More about Western Earns Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission
Western alums land ‘Dream Job’ with Ski.com

Western alums land ‘Dream Job’ with Ski.com

Read More about Western alums land ‘Dream Job’ with Ski.com

Department Information

Art & Design Department

Department Chairperson

Tina Butterfield, MFA

Professor of Art; Art & Design Department Chair

Administrative Assistant

Autumn Coleman

Administrative Assistant II

Contact Information

970.943.3093

970.943.2329

Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Quigley Hall 202
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

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