Visual Communication Design (formerly Graphic Design)

Graphic design is the communication of information and ideas through visual representation. It is all around us. It touches our lives every day in forms such as packaging, brochures, web sites, advertisements, books, magazines, movie titles, television commercials, logos, annual reports, posters, and signage, to name a few. Graphic design is media independent — all known delivery methods and technologies are explored in content delivery including such media as print and publication design, motion design, editorial design, environmental design, experience design, illustration, etc. The design and effective use of typography is a common thread of expertise across many of these forms of communication and expression.
The graphic design program at NKU is designed to develop each student as a creative, sophisticated visual communicator, an engaged design citizen, and a strong, critical thinker. Through a sequentially structured program and a wide variety of creative experiences, students develop their own individual style, career, and personal goals based on their strengths and interests. The graphic design faculty teach the principles and tools of visual communication through studio-based projects that provide students the means for personal expression as well as preparedness for practice in the profession. There is an emphasis on process in the program, ranging from technical processes to creative processes to the design process, and students can expect to cultivate professional methods and expertise through their classroom experiences. Informed by the fine arts, the design curriculum is supplemented with studio electives in the visual arts that help make each student’s work and ideas unique. Our program’s graduates are spread throughout the professional design community in a wide range of competitive and respected positions.
The graphic design program at NKU requires admittance via a competitive portfolio review — after the Foundations and Introductory coursework sequence has been completed — during the middle of the sophomore year. A student must pass this review to be eligible to continue taking courses in the graphic design program.

Both B.A. and B.F.A. degrees in graphic design are offered at NKU. The B.A. is a general studies degree, teaching the student about design from a broad point of view. This degree requires either a minor or an area of concentration outside of the visual arts, expounding upon the general studies thrust of this degree. The B.F.A. is a professional degree, recognized as the entry-level degree by the visual communication industry and the National Association of Schools of Art & Design. The B.F.A. degree gives graduates a competitive advantage in the marketplace because of its advanced, specialized coursework, in-depth portfolio development, the senior capstone project and exhibition, and a design internship requirement. Students apply for this degree during their junior year with another, more developed portfolio and GPA minimums of 2.5 over all and a 3.0 in the major.

Visual Communication Design Facilities

The graphic design program is located on the third floor of the Fine Arts Center. In both the computer labs and traditional studio spaces, we are wired for success in an Apple Macintosh environment. Students have access to high quality input and output devices, including digital projectors, flatbed and slide scanners, and color and black-and-white laser printers. The labs are outfitted with the latest versions of industry-standard software. There is also a letterpress facility to honor historical processes where students can work out ideas for artist bookmaking, design and printmaking.