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American University Graphic Design
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The design program teaches the theory and practice of graphic communication. Our courses cover publication design, signage, symbol systems, corporate identity packaging, illustration, and poster design. The program affords a thorough knowledge of graphic language and the analytical methodology of design, including a framework for understanding the history of visual images (through art history courses), and the development of expressive skills (through required fine arts courses). 

The design curriculum is highly structured and sequential in order that a reservoir of ideas and skills can be built up through courses that provide theory and techniques applicable to many purposes. Professional production methods must also be developed. 

Design classes consist of lectures, studio, and computer work. The course progression begins by introducing basic visual vocabulary in 2-D design and color. From there, technical skills are refined and used to communicate visual ideas. Third- and fourth-year students work on applied design problems in preparation for their entry into the profession. Courses in computer graphics, illustration, production, history of graphic design, and selected design topics round out the basic program. 

Design practice is in the midst of rapidly evolving technological change, all of which our students may expect to encounter in the professional world. The department considers it essential that an understanding of these developments be part of the curriculum. The use of computers in that design program has facilitated and dramatically expanded available options. 

The ability to explain design solutions in an articulate manner is critical. Along with the creative and technical skills taught in the design program, verbal and analytical abilities are developed through class critiques. In these discussions, students learn to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of design solutions. 

Experience with designers working in the field may be gained through internships and co-ops. In these situations, students learn to balance the ideal creative solution with the reality of budget constraints, technical limitations, and very real deadlines. 

Graduates of the design program have been very successful in entering careers in freelance design, or as in-house designers for advertising agencies, corporations, associations, publishers; or, they opt to continue their education at the graduate school of their choice. 

Design students take 54 credit hours of study (out of 120 total credit hours required for a B.A. degree) in their major and related areas. 

one of our trusty light tables with an AU course booklet