DESN - Design


Effective 1 June 2023 through 31 May 2024

Please see the Undergraduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

Course Descriptions

Global Citizenship Program
Knowledge Areas
ARTS Arts Appreciation
GLBL Global Understanding
PNW Physical & Natural World
QL Quantitative Literacy
ROC Roots of Cultures
SSHB Social Systems & Human Behavior
Global Citizenship Program
Skill Areas
CRI Critical Thinking
ETH Ethical Reasoning
INTC Intercultural Competence
OCOM Oral Communication
WCOM Written Communication
** Course fulfills two skill areas


DESN 1210 Design Concepts (3)

Presents students with the tools to deal with visual materials in a knowledgeable and critical way and to obtain insight into the making and consuming of images. Students will use problem-solving and critical thinking skills to develop artistic solutions based on their understanding of basic concepts and principles of 2-D design, in actual and digital formats. Students will also use experimentation and evaluation to develop awareness of their personal methodology and style within the paradigm of contemporary art concepts. Through critiques and oral presentations, this class will focus on improving oral communication skills using the art terminology that students learn throughout the semester. GCP Coding: (ARTS) (OCOM).

DESN 1220 Design: 3-D (3)

Emphasizes fundamental principles and elements of organization in the visual art as they relate directly to volumetric and spatial forms. 

DESN 1500 Digital Visualization (3)

Introduces students to the critical digital tools and concepts of making visually based work across multiple platforms and working methods. Projects engage with graphics, photo editing, and desktop publishing software. Topics include scanning, printing, photo retouching, digital type, building print-design layouts, and working across different platforms. 

DESN 2200 Design Play (3)

Challenges students to seek communicative potentials in the formats of graphic design, advertising, products, or installations. Students are encouraged to leave design assumptions and stereotypes behind in order to promote human wonder and engage the audience on an emotional level. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisites: DESN 1500 or INTM 2200.

DESN 2300 Type Dialogues (3)

Introduces the formal and conceptual fundamentals of typography as a communicative medium that conveys personal, aesthetic, and social meaning. By understanding the contextual history of typography, students will become able to make informed typographic decisions, allowing for more thoughtful and compelling design solutions. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisites: DESN 1500 INTM 2200.

DESN 2500 Design for Digital Portfolios (3)

Investigates how to design and build website, mobile, and ebook portfolios for artists and graphic designers. Students will learn web authoring, mobile and electronic book tools and techniques specific to portfolio design. At the conclusion of the course students will have a finished digital portfolio that they can use professionally. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisites: DESN 1500.

DESN 3050 Topics in Design (1-3)

In-depth study of particular issues in the field of graphic design. Topics vary from semester to semester, e.g., UX, product, or typeface design, or design for appetite, apps, music, exhibition, publication, packaging, motion, toys, advertising, etc. May be repeated for credit if content differs. Prerequisites: DESN 1500.

DESN 3099 Independent Study (1-6)

Independent study involves research work on a specialized subject or project, or artistic work. The emphasis in an independent study is usually on individual pursuit of a specific content area. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

DESN 3100 History of Graphic Design (3)

Traces developments of graphic design from the origins of ancient writing systems to the turn of this century - organized chronologically and thematically. The work and methodologies of designers and movements both professional and amateur are examined, and cultural shifts, sociopolitical factors, systems and institutions, and technologies are critically considered. Students will investigate why a graphic artifact came to be and understand how it did so, while viewing communications design within context, challenging the canon, and including concurrent narrative in visual culture.  

DESN 3200 Design Theory and Methods (3)

Introduces methodologies for graphic design and inspiring new ideas for the design process. Researching, inventing, and conveying messages are involved in the practice. Exercises include collaborative approaches as well as techniques to assist students in expanding their individual creative voices. May be repeated twice for credit. Prerequisite: DESN 1500.

DESN 3500 Design for UX/UI (3)

Introduces students to the digital world of design through a comprehensive study of UI and UX. Course content focuses on professional applied methods from user journey mapping, site architecture strategy and creation, wireframing, visual design, and usability best practices. Students explore creating compositions for digital environments utilizing content organization for websites and applications. May be repeated once for credit.  Prerequisite: DESN 1500 or INTM 2200

DESN 3800 Professional Practice in Graphic Design (3)

Prepares students for post-graduation entrance into the field. Focuses on development of a portfolio and presentation skills. Students will have opportunities to interact with professional designers in design studio visits, and in other venues. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisites: ART 3900

DESN 4200 Design for Good (3)

Examines the social responsibilities for graphic designers. Projects demonstrate the power of design to communities, business leaders, and the public. Investigates a platform to build and sustain the implementation of design thinking for social change. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisite: ART 3900.