About the Graphic Design Program
The Graphic Design program is committed to teaching professional skills that allow students to plan and execute visual communication according to the needs of audiences in specific contexts. Our students gain a thorough understanding of the principles of design, theories of communication, and strategies for problem solving, by working on a wide range of projects that apply cognitive, social and cultural human factors to inform, instruct and persuade. In addition to developing solid professional skills, courses in our curriculum explore emerging design practices, and theoretical concerns with focus on the cultural, technical, and communicative potential of graphic design.
The program is structured as a sequence of core studios in design fundamentals, typography, image-making, and history courses, that progressively introduce form and concept-development skills across a range of media. As students enter their junior and senior years, they apply their skills to real-world, contemporary design problems by interacting with a wide range of clients, organizations, and local communities through the Internship and Design Studio programs.
At the end of the program, students build a professional portfolio that prepares them for entry-level positions in a variety of areas within graphic design. Our program is connected to the national professional community through a close affiliation with AIGA and to the international education and professional design communities through student and faculty exchange programs. The diversity of our students as well as San Diego’s location at the border of Mexico and the Pacific Rim provide a rich multicultural environment for exploration and experimentation.
Graphic Design Facilities
The School of Art + Design manages seven high-end Mac computer labs, including a dedicated collaborative laptop lab. Although specific classes are often held in the labs, open lab hours are scheduled throughout the entire week so students can work on assignments. All computers are networked and have access to class servers for student file storage. The following can be found in each lab:
- flatbed and film scanners
- laser printers
- projector or large presentations display(s)
- 25+ high-end Mac computers with:
- Mac OS
- Windows OS
- Adobe Creative Cloud (all apps) and Director
- AutoCAD, Revit, Maya, SketchUp Pro
- Suitcase Fusion and over 2,500 licensed fonts
- Processing (for Arduino)
Tablets and touchscreen TVs
Additionally, classes have access to a mobile classroom set of iPads for product design and e-publication testing. Large exhibition touchscreen TVs are also available in specific labs to use with development in multimedia projects.
The School of Art + Design has excellent black and white darkroom facilities available to students at all hours.
- medium and large format cameras
- several dedicated blackout rooms to prep traditional film for development tanks
- sixteen enlargers for up to 16″ prints
- large array of filters and lenses
- separate room with a horizontal enlarger for producing very large-scale photos
- film dryer
- light table
- paper cutter and flat file storage
High-end digital photography production is also available in the School’s computer labs with state-of-the art Mac computers, scanners, and large format printers.
2D Digital Printers
Students have access to paid printing in computer labs during open lab hours. The following resources are available during those open hours:
- large format printing (multiple media types available)
- black and white laster printing
- color laser printing
Printmaking, Letterpress, and Book Arts
Intaglio and Relief Printmaking Studios
- Vandercook sp15, sp25, and #14 presses for printing hand set type and photopolymer plates
- 52″ x 36″ Jacques board shear
- 17″ x 23″ Latham book press
- two nipping presses
- numerous fonts of foundry type and monotype
- Fifteen 30″ x 40″ lithograph stones
- three presses (Charles Brand, Griffith, Takach) capable of printing 30″ x 40″ lithograph stones
- metal shears
- wash-out sinks
- inks and squeegees
- large paper cutter
The studio which shares space with the intaglio lab is is also equipped for the making of photopolymer plates from digital, hand made, or photographic imagery. Involvement in more than one Printmaking technique is encouraged.
Screen Printing Studio
Room ARTS-481 is a fully equipped poster and fabric screen printing studio where students can print up to 17″ x 24″ screens. This room is equipped with:
- large format printer
- laser printer
- large light table
- dark room
- two tee shirt quad-printing stations
- plastisol dryer
- several adjustable poster screen printing stations
- wash-out area
- large paper cutter
- inks, squeegees
- flat storage files
- large work surfaces
Full Interdisciplinary Facilities
Interested in interdisciplinary work across mediums? Visit our comprehensive facilities page to see all the resources we have available to students within the School of Art + Design.
Graphic Design Visiting Artists
Photography, Illustration, Graphic Design
Illustration, Graphic Design, Book Arts
Painting and Printmaking, Illustration
Illustration, Graphic Design
For a list of visiting artists and artist in residencies related to all disciplines, visit the Visiting Artist Programs page.
AIGA (for Graphic Design students)
SDSU has a very active AIGA Student Group, which schedules regular student events and activities with the professional community, such as studio tours, portfolio reviews, panel discussions, and workshops. AIGA student groups throughout the city meet to plan citywide events.
“AIGA, the professional association for design, is the place design professionals turn to first to exchange ideas and information, participate in critical analysis and research and advance education and ethical practice. AIGA sets the national agenda for the role of design in its economic, social, political, cultural and creative contexts. AIGA is the oldest and largest membership association for professionals engaged in the discipline, practice and culture of designing. Founded as the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1914 as a small, exclusive club, AIGA now represents 22,000 designers through national activities and local programs developed by 59 chapters and 240 student groups.
AIGA serves designers with five critical functions for a profession:
AIGA is authoritative in promoting and communicating standards for ethical conduct and professional expertise and in collecting and analyzing data about the profession. It is stimulating in its provocative programming on critical issues facing design and in celebration of both effective and innovative design, a source of inspiration for many members. And it is open to new ideas, new professional disciplines and the ever-evolving nature of design….” –(read more from AIGA’s mission statement)
Becoming a Member
Please contact Professor Arzu Ozkal at email@example.com for more information on membership.