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Program Philosophy

You need more than the ability to create a logo or develop a web page to become a successful and professional designer in today’s competitive world.

The B.F.A. in Visual Communication Design is a professional undergraduate degree for students desiring theoretical and studio experience with an emphasis in design. Students in the program develop critical thinking skills, refine their intellectual and creative processes, and learn contemporary aspects of design and design thinking. Degree programs in the Department of Visual Communication Design prepare design leaders to proactively manage change and innovation processes toward improving the civic, cultural, and commercial experiences that people encounter in their daily lives. The programs focus on a collaborative design process for identifying root problems and facilitating meaningful solutions to complex issues. This approach is intended to harness the power of design to clarify, humanize, and energize the issues that are central to life in a pluralistic society.

As members of a professional art and design school on the IUPUI campus, Visual Communication Design majors prepare for a design career by integrating learning in visual studies with coursework in the liberal arts and sciences. The learning experience is structured to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a field that requires both highly specialized skills and the ability to make intellectual connections within a broad range of general knowledge. Successful students achieve all the learning outcomes that have been defined by the National Association of School of Art and Design and AIGA (the professional association for design) as essential competencies for design professionals. These include: the ability to not only solve problems, but to frame and contextualize design problems through consideration of practical and social values; an historical perspective on communication theories, principles and processes; research and information gathering, analysis, generation of alternative solutions, prototyping and user testing, and evaluation of outcomes; 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; 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 messages; knowing how to learn ever evolving 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); the ability to perform basic business practices, including organizing design projects and working productively as a member of teams.

The Visual Communication Design program at Herron School of Art and Design combines communication and technology with art and business. You learn how to effectively identify and solve meaningful problems using creativity and critical thinking. You discuss relevant theories and undertake real-world practical projects. You invent beautiful and intelligent design concepts that engage, provoke and inspire. You gain valuable experience working collaboratively with artists, designers, writers, research experts, business strategists, and clients in our local and national communities. At Herron School of Art and Design, you grow to become a design leader who uses innovative thinking to improve the quality of business, government and everyday life.

Alumni Highlight

Designing the Future: Putting a Brand on the Community

Isaac Arthur from CODO Design discusses their use of interdisciplinary teamwork during the branding process
Using interdisciplinary teamwork to find that one compelling idea

Cody Fague from CODO Design discusses why they include clients heavily during the branding process
Including clients in the creative process leads to better outcomes

2009 alumni Isaac Arthur and Cody Fague are making their mark on Indianapolis through a downtown design firm called CODO Design. Much of their work is community-based, but that doesn't keep them from developing branding for pubs, restaurants and events.

Read more about Isaac and Cody and their "Hands-On Branding" process in IUPUI Magazine

See more of Isaac and Cody's work at the CODO Design website