Graphic Design Area — SAMPLE Program Philosophy The design professions are changing as problems become more complex, communities of users become more diverse and fractured, and stakeholders increasingly demand socially, financially, and environmentally sustainable, as well as aesthetically rich, resolutions to design problems. To meet these challenges and prepare students for professional practice, the philosophy thinking through making guides graphic design teaching and learning at East Carolina University. This philosophy emphasizes an approach to design that unites analysis with making, wherein artifact production includes physical as well as cognitive objects, allowing process to become product. To develop facility with the craft of graphic design, explorations of form and materiality become a means of asking and answering questions about the relationships between artifacts and outcomes. Within this context, we prepare students to practice design in both traditional and emerging professional venues, teaching them how to engage design as a powerful catalyst for innovation, change, and transformation. NASAD Competencies a. The ability to solve communication problems, including the skills of problem identification, research and information gathering, analysis, generation of alternative solutions, prototyping and user testing, and evaluation of outcomes. Beginning with the first graphic design course (ART 2200: Graphic Design Survey) students are taught a variety of tools to identify and open up problem (word lists, image sketches, mind mapping, semiotic image grids), methods for information gathering (interviewing stakeholders, literature searches), prototyping and seeking alternative solutions (thumbnail sketching, making maquettes and dummies, iterative handgenerated and digital drafts), prototyping and user testing (persona creation/definition, critique of proposed solutions, user interviewing), and evaluation of outcomes (in situ analysis, critique with stakeholders, users, clients, peers, faculty). These methods are used in each and every course in the graphic design curricula. At each level details are emphasized specific to the topics of the course (e.g. students gain experience working with actual clients via service-learning projects in ART 4200) and media of communication (e.g. user testing via mobile devices in ART 3210, which is focused on interactive media and design). b. The ability to describe and respond to the audiences and contexts which communication solutions must address, including recognition of the physical, cognitive, cultural, and social human factors that shape design decisions. c. The ability to create and develop visual form in response to communication problems, including an understanding of principles of visual organization/composition, information hierarchy, symbolic representation, typography, aesthetics, and the construction of meaningful images. d. An understanding of tools and technology, including their roles in the creation, reproduction, and distribution of visual messages. Relevant tools and technologies include, but are not limited to, drawing, offset printing, photography, and time-based and interactive media (film, video, computer multimedia). e. An understanding of design history, theory, and criticism from a variety of perspectives, including those of art history, linguistics, communication and information theory, technology, and the social and cultural use of design objects. f. An understanding of basic business practices, including the ability to organize design projects and to work productively as a member of teams.