Draft of Graphic Design Area's Response and Program Philosophy

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
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
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
f. An understanding of basic business practices, including the ability to
organize design projects and to work productively as a member of teams.