Students can find some advanced coursework in the upper-level curriculum of Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts graphic design programs. However, most advanced courses are found in Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Master of Graphic Design programs, which are terminal degrees. Students enrolled in advanced courses are encouraged to go beyond what they've learned in the classroom by creating visual design objects that are innovative and display their unique personal talents. A portfolio is often compiled from projects students complete over the course of a master's program. These programs usually combine a studio-based and research curriculum that requires completion of a thesis project.
Below are some popular concepts taught in advanced graphic design courses:
- Color Theory
- Contemporary Culture on Design
List of Courses
Design Studio Course
This design studio course, which is usually taken at the beginning of a graduate program, covers the underlying principles of digital design, such as spatial design theory, balance and form. Students might discuss the role graphic designers play in communicating through visual means and explore the use of advanced tools capable of crafting more professional-looking imagery. After students have shown mastery of the tools and the class topics, they usually design and produce an original project.
Using the knowledge developed during undergraduate studies, students learn advanced techniques in typographic design/systems. Students are encouraged to find new and creative ways to communicate with images and texts. They also study methods for resolving typographical issues, such as composition and layout. This class is normally taken at the beginning of advanced studies programs.
History of Graphic Design Course
The history course in graphic design, which is often taken at the midpoint of a program, usually covers the origin of design from prehistoric to modern times. The course discusses the development of communications in ancient societies, how the alphabet came to be, advancements in typography and various methods in early printing. Students explore the Arts N' Crafts Movement and changes in modern art. The technological and cultural aspects that have influenced imagery and how historical events are perceived through graphic design are covered as well. Additionally, students discuss contemporary visual systems and techniques used in image making.
Web Design Course
Another common midpoint course, Web design introduces students to the fundamentals of applying graphic principles to Internet websites. Lessons cover how to embed text, graphics, video and sound and apply styles across multiple Web pages. Students learn how to create optimized 2-D and 3-D images as well as interactive and animated graphics. Programming languages and tools, such as HTML, XHTML, Flash and Dreamweaver could be included.
Motion Graphics and Animations Course
Using advanced motion graphics software, such as After Effects, students focus on creating animated graphics for film, television or the Internet. Projects could include a fusion of graphics, text and animation. Students interested in pursuing a career in digital animation might develop a portfolio based on animated shorts and other motion graphics created in this course.