Graphic Design

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Program Overview

In today's world, we are surrounded by graphic design. From billboards and soda cans to social media posts and political ads, graphic designers develop engaging material that communicates a pointed message and persuades an audience. The form of the communication can be physical or virtual and may include images, words, or graphic elements. The work can happen at any scale, from the design of a single postage stamp to a national postal signage system. It can also be for any purpose, whether commercial, educational, cultural, or political. However you define it, graphic design is ubiquitous.

Fairfield University’s interdisciplinary minor in Graphic Design asks students to learn, reflect, and act as designers, preparing them for work in the increasingly complex design world. The minor offers students the ability to develop design skills, explore different understandings of visual communication, enhance other fields of study, and prepare for a variety of careers. Students combine this minor with a variety of majors, including studio art; marketing; theatre; English; journalism; communication; film, television, and media; and management.

Goals & Learning Outcomes

Students seeking a minor in Graphic Design demonstrate proficiency in design principles, design process, theory, history and contemporary design practice. They develop an understanding of design process and problem solving methods and explore the effects graphic design has upon the human environment from social responsibility, sustainability, and interdisciplinary perspectives. Students demonstrate proficiency in identified technical skills, and understand and apply basic principles in the process of creating, analyzing, and evaluating graphic design solutions in relation to specific end uses and consumer needs. They also demonstrate proficiency in research, writing, communication, and presentation skills.

Learning Outcomes

I. Graphic Design Specific Knowledge and Skills

  • Acquire, articulate, and apply specialized terminology and knowledge relevant to graphic design including relationships to other disciplines and to contemporary global issues
  • Assess, predict, and articulate the influence and importance of graphic design issues within the human environment from social responsibility, sustainability and interdisciplinary perspectives
  • Acquire and demonstrate competency in technical skills applicable to graphic design
  • Demonstrate the ability to use design-thinking strategies in an iterative design process
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze, synthesize, and develop probable solutions

II. General Knowledge and Skills

  • Communicate concepts, design solutions, and arguments clearly and concisely through visual, verbal and written means.
  • Access information through traditional and new technologies, and synthesize this information for problem solving activities.
  • Critically analyze and evaluate information from multiple sources and diverse perspectives.
  • Understand the relationship of graphic design to other disciplines and to society.

The Graphic Design minor prepares students for a range of post-graduate opportunities, including work in the non-profit sector and graduate school.


For an 18-credit minor in graphic design, students must complete:

  1. Two art history, communication, and/or film/television history courses that focus on learning to see and analyze visual art
  2. Two studio art or theatre courses that focus on making art, keeping a sketchbook, and visual composition
  3. Two classes that focus on graphic design

See the course offering section below for specific classes that satisfy these requirements.

Each graphic design class will feature a few software tutorials, but students are expected to train themselves in digital graphics software, with tutorials available through the University via

Topics Include:

  • Text: Typography
  • Images: Symbols, Photographs and Drawings
  • Layout and Composition: Proximity, Context, Alignment, Repetition
  • Collaborating with Clients
  • Publishing to Digital Media
  • Publishing to Print

Course Offerings

1. Courses in learning to see and analyze visual art

Art History

  • AH 0010: Origins and Transformations in Western Art
  • AH 0011: Visual Culture Since 1400: Expression an Experimentation
  • AH 0013: Art of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas
  • AH 0014: Art of Asia
  • AH 0015: History of Architecture
  • AH 0102: Art of East Asia
  • AH 0109: Jewish Art: Moses to Modernity
  • AH 0111: Greek Art and Archaeology
  • AH 0112: Etruscan and Roman Art and Archaeology
  • AH 0113: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt: Images for Eternity
  • AH 0120: Medieval Art of Western Europe
  • AH 0121: Celtic and Early Irish Art
  • AH 0130: Early Renaissance Art in Italy
  • AH 0140: Baroque Art
  • AH 0152: Modern Art
  • AH 0164: American Art and Media Culture
  • AH 0165: The Black Experience: African-American Art and Criticism in the 20th and 21st Centuries
  • AH 0172: History of Photography
  • AH 0175: Contemporary Art
  • AH 0191: Art and Mythologies of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Bolshevik Russia: Comparative Systems and Outcomes


  • CO 0130: Mass Media and Society
  • CO 0337: Visual Communication

Film/Television History

  • FTM 0101: American Cinema: History and Analysis
  • FTM 0102: American Television: History and Analysis
  • FTM 0103: World Cinema
  • FTM 0104: Documentary Cinema
  • FTM 0206: American Film: Decades (Shell)
  • FTM 0207: Film Genres (Shell)
  • FTM 0201: Filmmaker Studies
  • FTM 0204: African American Cinema


2. Courses in making art, keeping a sketchbook and visual composition

Studio Art

  • SA 0011: Introduction to Sculpture
  • SA 0012: Introduction to Drawing
  • SA 0013: Introduction to Figure Drawing
  • SA 0014: Introduction to Printmaking
  • SA 0015: Introduction to Painting
  • SA 0016: Introduction to 2-D Design
  • SA 0100: Experiments in Drawing
  • SA 0101: Introduction to Digital Tools in Art Making
  • SA 0105: Color Workshop
  • SA 0132: Constructing Space in Three Dimensions
  • SA 0133: Alternative Processes Photography
  • SA 0134: Digital Photography
  • SA 0136: Investigation of Text and Image
  • SA 0137: Motion and Time-Based Art
  • SA 0138: From Drawing to Painting
  • SA 0139: Watercolor
  • SA 0230: Advanced Painting
  • SA 0231: Advanced Printmaking
  • SA 0232: Advanced Sculpture
  • SA 0233: Advanced Photography
  • SA 0235: Advanced Drawing
  • SA 0299: Advanced Projects Seminar


  • TA 0155: Design 1
  • TA 0158: Scene Painting
  • TA 0253: Costume Design
  • TA 0288: Scene Design


3. Courses in graphic design

Graphic Design

  • GD 0201: Graphic Design I: Making Meaning
  • GD 0201: Graphic Design II: Clients and Collaboration


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