Graphic Design

The specialization in graphic design offers students an educational experience that focuses on preparation for professional practices in visual communication that include design for corporate identity, publication, and package and web design.

The specialization in graphic design offers students an educational experience that focuses on preparation for professional practice in communication design that includes branding and visual identity, publication, interactive, web, motion, and data visualization. This cross-media approach ensures that students are prepared to create both physical and digital experiences, and think critically about the most appropriate media for a particular message and audience. The program also includes a social impact-driven curriculum that embraces publicly-engaged and collaborative design practices through its partnership with Express Newark by means of the Design Consortium, Visual Means, and XPress initiatives.

The graphic design program consists of 27 courses earning 81 credits, with an additional 6 credits of Department of Arts, Culture, and Media (ACM) departmental requirements. Within this demanding curriculum, students not only gain exposure to various technical skills and design methodologies, but they are also exposed to complex theories and processes for research and problem-solving within the field. Along with studio work in design, students take advanced classes that explore art and design history, critical writings, theoretical approaches and diverse cultural/historical contexts, as well as professional practice. Students’ work is informed by this integration of history, theory, social/cultural conditions and practice, which bolsters students’ abilities of observation, analysis and synthesis. The goal of the specialization in graphic design is to develop practicing designers that possess the knowledge necessary to become innovative and responsible problem solvers and citizen designers. Students also may take advantage of internship opportunities in the Tri-State metropolitan area. During their senior year, students develop a body of advanced-level work through the Senior Capstone project that is exhibited in a professional gallery. The Capstone project and exhibition provide students with public exposure and helps build their portfolio for job placement and/or admission to graduate school.


Learning Goals

  • Students will develop a command of composition as a vehicle of communication
  • Students will learn to approach technology as an ever-changing entity in order to serve their communication goals
  • Students will gain an understanding of typography/systems and image-making in order to build effective narratives
  • Students will learn how to conduct a rigorous research process, apply design methods and various processes for effective problem-solving and how to address complex systems
  • Students will learn about various theoretical approaches and cultural/historical contexts in order to articulate ideas and develop a critical perspective for their creative practice 
  • Students will learn how to strike a balance between originality of expression and appropriateness of purpose for a target audience
  • Students will be encouraged to work collaboratively to take advantage of the inherent interdisciplinary nature of design practice
  • Students will learn to effectively navigate our sociotechnical & data-centric landscape 
  • Students will learn to prioritize people’s needs and focus on a human-centered research process
  • Students will gain an understanding of the social and ethical responsibilities of communication design practice

(B.F.A.) Specialization in Graphic Design (081)

Major Requirements for Major in Art (081): Specialization in Graphic Design (B.F.A.)

Required Foundation Courses (27 credits)
  • 21:085:102  Design Fundamentals (3)
  • 21:085:103  3-D Design Fundamentals (3)
  • 21:080:121  Introduction to Drawing (3)
21:080:223  Figure Drawing (3)
  • 21:080:251  Introduction to Painting (3)
  • 21:080:261  Introduction to Photography (3)
  • 21:080:273  Introduction to Printmaking (3)
  • 21:082:101  Introduction to Art History I (3)
  • 21:082:102  Introduction to Art History II (3)

Art History Requirements (9 credits in consultation with adviser)
  • 21:082:202  History of Design (3)
21:082:350  Development of Modern Art (3)
21:082:360  Art Since 1945 (3)
Required Critical Studies Course (6 credits in consultation with adviser)
  • 21:080:285  Seminar in Contemporary Art (3)*
  • *ACM Critical Studies Core Requirement
  • 21:080:399  Seminar in Contemporary Design (3)

Senior Program (6 credits in consultation with adviser)
21:085:497  Senior Studio Seminar I (3)
21:085:498  Senior Studio Seminar II (3)
Courses of Specialization (21 credits from the following in consultation with adviser)
21:085:231  Graphic Design I (3)
21:085:232  Graphic Design II (3)
  • 21:085:331  Graphic Design III (3)
  • 21:085:332  Graphic Design IV (3)
  • 21:085:333  Motion Design (3)
  • 21:085:334  Interactive Design (3)
21:085:370  Computers in Graphic Design (3)
Other Requirements for Major (12 credits from the following in consultation with adviser)
  • 21:080:245  Digital Studio (3)
  • 21:080:252  Painting II (3)
  • 21:080:262  Photography II (3)
  • 21:080:263  Introduction to Digital Photography (3)
  • 21:080:264  Color Photography
  • 21:080:265  Experiments in Photography (3)
  • 21:080:276  Intaglio Printmaking (3)
  • 21:080:281  Introduction to Sculpture (3)
  • 21:080:283  Figure Sculpture (3)
  • 21:080:305  Problems in Art (3)
  • 21:080:306  Problems in Art (3)
  • 21:080:321  Drawing III (3)
  • 21:080:322  Drawing IV (3)
  • 21:080:345  Intermediate Digital Studio (3)
  • 21:080:354  Experiments in Digital Studio (3)
  • 21:080:351  Painting III (3)
  • 21:080:352  Painting IV (3)
  • 21:080:355  Painting and Drawing Workshop (3)
  • 21:080:361  Studio Photography (3)
  • 21:080:362  Photography Workshop (3)
  • 21:080:363  Digital Photography II (3)
  • 21:080:365  Photographic Communication & Illustration (3)
  • 21:080:373  Advanced Printmaking (3)
  • 21:080:378  Printmaking Workshop (3)
  • 21:080:391/392  Individual Study in Studio Art (3)
  • 21:080:393/394  Art Internship (3)
  • 21:080:405  Problems of Contemporary Art (3)
  • 21:080:445  Advanced Experiments in Computer Art (3)
  • 21:080:483  Advanced Sculpture Workshop (3)
  • 21:085:236  Illustration I (3)
  • 21:085:335  Motion Design II (3)
  • 21:085:336  Interactive Design II (3)
  • 21:085:391/392 Individual Study Design (3)
  • 21:085:393/394 Internship in Design (3)

Other courses from within the Department of Arts, Culture, and Media can be used to fulfill these additional courses in consultation with adviser.

Arts, Culture, and Media Departmental Core Requirements for Specialization in Graphic Design (B.A.) (Also see Critical Studies*) (6 credits)
  • 21:083:101  Introduction to Arts, Culture, and Media (3)
  • 21:083:301  Colloquium in Arts, Culture, and Media (3) or 21:083:401 Seminar in Arts, Culture, and Media (3)
  • Pictured: Professor Bernstein teaching a class
  • Jennifer Bernstein
  • Associate Professor Jennifer Bernstein has been a practicing designer and educator for over twenty years. Prior to joining Rutgers, she…

  • Faculty member, Ned Drew
  • Ned Drew
  • Professor Ned Drew heads the Graphic Design area where he teaches various design and design history courses and teaches part-time…

  • Faculty member, Chantal Fischzang
  • Chantal Fischzang
  • Chantal Fischzang is a designer and educator based in NYC. Her practice serves a range of multidisciplinary projects through branding,…

  • Student work of Karen May Cunanan
    Karen May Cunanan