Visual Communications

VC 111 Design & Digital Color Theory
3 credits (CS)
This course introduces students to the core concepts of visual language: elements and principles of design. It will explore the use of color as a tool for the designer when con­sidering and developing strategy, motive, audience, and media to form intended visual meaning. Students will be introduced to both the additive and subtractive systems of color, and develop understanding of both, however, all projects and assignments will be executed digitally using the additive system while digitally composing for print produc­tion output or online viewing. The overall goal is to enhance the designer's ability to communicate successfully using solid mastery of design principles and color theory.
 
Major topics of study will include design elements, design principles, color properties, color terminology, additive and subtractive principles of color theory as they apply to the 2D design process, color management systems, psychological and symbolic uses of color, 4-color process colors (printing) versus the RGB color system (monitors), color relation­ships, visual impact, physical and optical color mixing, color relativity, and color render­ing. Students will work on various digital color projects for both print reproduction and digital viewing.

VC 112 Concepting (Drawing for Designers)
3 credits (CS)

Strong conceptual thinking is the foundation of successful design solutions. The skill of generating concepts is fostered in this course through the use of focused brainstorming and design sketching techniques to solve specific design problems. Students also learn the importance of team ideation, collaboration and communication through group exercises. Finally, this course enables students to become skilled at generating multiple ideas under strict time deadlines to simulate the need for time management and focus under pressure.

VC 118 Digital Foundations
3 credits (CS)

This course this course is an introduction to using the basic digital design applications that artists and designers use – primarily the Adobe Creative Suite – and the technology encountered in a digital environment (scanning, printing, networks, saving and transferring files, etc.). Instruction is presented in a cross-disciplinary format that makes it useful and understandable to students from all disciplines.
 
VC 125 Scientific Illustration
3 credits (AS)

This course focuses on observational skills and the basic drawing techniques used in scientific illustration. Students work from objects and specimens and learn about measured drawings, perspective, basic composition, light on form, texture, contour and line and assorted media used for scientific illustration.

VC 140 Typography
3 credits (CS)

This course introduces the history and fundamentals of type and its application to design, emphasizing the letterform as a visual communications tool. Topics include typographic fundamentals, anatomy, measurements, composition and layout, identification, classification and terminology. Students develop an understanding of the form of type to make informed design choices that communicate a specific message in a desired voice. The course is both conceptual and technical in nature: visual problem-solving with type in a digital environment.

VC 174 Digital Page Layout
3 credits (CS)

Students develop skills and knowledge of page layout, file management, printing, scanning, and use of graphics. Students expand their knowledge of InDesign to build successful page layouts for print and digital solutions. Students develop an understanding of designing for sequence-based design problems including brochures, magazines and web layouts. Page structure, hierarchy, composition and variation of layout are emphasized to engage the intended audience.

VC 206 Storyboarding
3 credits (CS)
This course is a basic drawing and preproduction course that introduces students to industry-standard storyboarding and scripting techniques in order to communicate effectively across various media. Major topics of study will include planning strategies and formats of storyboards, terminology, interpreting content visually, building scenes, planning shot sequences, continuity, pacing, sequencing, conveying meaning with images, directing the viewer's eye, and transitions, along with the use of specific media special effects and viewer usability considerations. Projects will incorporate storyboarding for film, TV advertising, animation, computer games, web sites, interactive interface design, mobile applications, and other media.

VC 221/321 History of Visual Communications
3 credits (AS)

This course examines chronologically the history of advertising design, graphic design, web design, animation, and illustration as used specifically to inform, to sell, to persuade and to entertain. The influence of fine art on applied arts throughout history is explored, as well as its link to the social, political and economic life of various cultures. (Offered fall term)

VC 232 Illustration I
3 credits (CS)

Students explore the field of illustration by experimenting with a variety of media. Emphasis is on content and execution with a conceptual approach to narrative problem-solving, resulting in effective communication to a mass audience. Both practical and philosophical issues are covered in relation to the assignments. Projects include book, advertising and editorial illustration, in an effort to develop a personal style and highly developed pieces for a portfolio. (Offered fall term)

VC 235 Commercial Film & Video Production
3 credits
This class will introduce students to the theory and practice of film and video production as applied to commercial client-based projects. Students will investigate time-based sequential targeting strategies and develop proficiency in all production roles: project proposals and client briefs, camera operation, audio control, scripting and post production. The class will integrate digital video technology with the use of cameras, audio equipment, lighting and other necessary equipment used in the professional production of time-based media. Assignments will emphasize creativity, visualization, research, production, and tar­geted message-making.

VC 241 Advertising Design I
3 credits (CS)

Students will build upon the skills, principals, and processes introduced in their design, typography and production courses, applying them to specific advertising problems in a variety of traditional media. Topics include advertising strategy and execution, agency structure and workflow, classic ad layout models, and an introduction to integrated campaigns. Students will create ads and campaigns in multiple categories, including consumer, business-to-business, impulse purchase, and public service advertising.
(Offered spring term) Prerequisite: VC 140 Typography.

VC 242 Graphic Design I
3 credits (CS)

This course offers a systematic approach to concept development and the problem-solving process as they relate to graphic design. Students explore the synthesis of words and images in relation to design principles for a deeper understanding of visual communications. Emphasis is placed on how information is communicated and the ways in which typography and image combine to make meaningful and useful messages that are clearly understandable, stylistically beautiful, functional and memorable. (Offered fall term)

VC 274 Imaging Graphics
3 credits (CS)

Students will focus on the creation, manipulation, and editing of images in Adobe Photoshop. Topics include an introduction to main features and capabilities of the software as well as photographic imaging techniques, digital painting, image selection, composition and collage, color pre-press and output, web interaction and animation, and file maintenance and transfer for both print and web.

VC 281 Internship Preparation
1 credit (CS)

This course prepares students for their internship. It provides structured help in preparing, searching, applying, and interviewing for an internship.

VC 293 Professional Workshop/Portfolio Preparation
3 credits (CS)

Topics relating to the business of art are covered, including legal issues, contracts, prices, copyrights and billing. The student assembles his or her portfolio and evaluates work to be included in it. Survival skills are also covered, ensuring a smoother transition from school to the work place. Guest speakers from a variety of businesses that use artists are featured. (Offered spring term) Prerequisite: Completion of the core career courses in Visual Communications.

VC 301 Special Topics
3 credits (CS)
This rotation of courses is an intensive investigation of a specific issue or aspect of visual communication. Possible topics include but are not limited to: branding, global design, animation, 3-D printing and design, entertainment design, contemporary field research, digital pre-press and production, and agency art direction. (Offered fall and spring terms)

VC 303 Protest and Propaganda
3 credits (CS)

This course focuses on the social role of visual communications. Students will study the history of propaganda and protest, examine the role, influence, and responsibilities of socially-focused design and design activism, and develop persuasive visual techniques that help create cultural awareness or challenge the status quo. Methods used will include collaborative research, strategic debate, semiotic visual dialog, and ethics, using various media outlets including print, web, social media, and public installation. Students will gain a greater understanding of how designers can and do shape our culture. Prerequisite: VC 242 Graphic Design.

VC 311 Advanced Illustration I
3 credits (CS)

Building on skills acquired in the previous illustration courses, this course focuses on the painterly approach to illustration. Students will concentrate on newspaper, book, and magazine work, producing professional-looking paintings that are suitable for color reproduction in a publication. (Offered fall term) Prerequisite: non-Visual Communications students need the permission of the instructor.

VC 312 Advanced Illustration II
3 credits (CS)

The emphasis is on full color and advanced drawing techniques to express meaningful concepts. Students explore the elements of graphic design, the union of word and picture, and sequential art to develop highly interpretive work. (Offered spring term) Prerequisite: non-Visual Communications students need the permission of the instructor.

VC 313 Mobile App Design
3 credits (CS)
In this course, students will review developments of mobile devices and learn how to use these tools in the creation and distribution of client messages/content. Offered on a rotating basis.

VC 314 E-Publishing
3 credits (CS)
This course focuses on electronic publishing for e-readers, emails, and the internet. It provides an overview of the e-publishing workflow, file formats, metadata, digital assets management, xml, and eMedia specifications. Offered on a rotating basis.
 
VC 315 Humorous Cartooning
3 credits (CS)
This course will provide an opportunity to explore the traditional practice of cartooning and humor­ous illustration at an advanced level. Students will use a variety of techniques, tools and practices to create cartoons in a several forms, including strip, panel, alternative, editorial, greeting card, caricature and general humorous illustration. Related lessons and assignments will place the applied projects in historic and cultural context. Concepting and humorous copywriting techniques (“gag writing”) will be explored, and will play a significant role in students’ projects. There will also be research assignments, writing and speaking assignments, quizzes, and creative projects throughout the semester, as well as demonstrations and guest speakers.

VC 316 Game Design
3 credits (CS)
From the early text-based, one-player computer games to the modern 3D games with thousands of gamers sharing the same virtual gaming world simultaneously, computer games have gone through a remarkable evolution. Despite this evolution, principles of computer game design are not well understood. This course will introduce students to the history of video games, the principles of interactivity, emergence and uncertainty in games and the role of narratives in games. In addition, students will learn about games as information and cybernetic systems.
 
VC 340 Typography II
3 credits (CS)
This course is an advanced investigation into typography and text for verbal and visual expression. Emphasis is placed on the analysis of meaning and structure, design composition, and communication to specific audiences. Emphasis is placed on the study of meaning regarding audience, culture, and history. Students will study the interpretation of visible language systems and explore typographic expression. Projects will integrate accumulated typographic knowledge with form, image, sequence and narrative. The course will allow students to develop their own content and to communicate individual perspectives through writing and research. Conceptual interpretation and experimentation will be emphasized, as students develop their own voices as authors. Exercises may include advanced type problems such as typeface design, hand-lettered typography, tactile typography, complex publication design, and/or type in motion. Offered on a rotating basis.

VC 341 Advertising Design II
3 credits (CS)
Students explore advanced topics in combining images and type with popular imagery to develop a visual language of persuasion. This course requires students to research products and services to develop advertising campaigns across various media.

VC 342 Graphic Design II
3 credits (CS)

Students explore advanced topics in combining images and type with popular imagery to develop a visual language of persuasion. Students will create ads and campaigns in a variety of categories, with an emphasis on digital and emerging media. (Offered spring term) Prerequisite: VC 241 Advertising Design I.

VC 351 2D Animation
3 credits (CS)
This course is an introduction to the basic principles of animation and the application of those principles to produce traditional animations. Students will learn to bring a character to life by using basic drawing skills, adding overlapping action, using sound effects, and apply timing techniques. Students will gain intensive practice in the production of different techniques of animation, including: flipbooks, traditional 2D animation, 2d computer software animation, cut out and mixed media animation, stop motion/claymation, and rotoscoping.

VC 371 Digital Illustration
3 credits (CS)
Students in this course create computer-drawn illustrations for print and multimedia. An overview of several software packages is covered for students to investigate, synthesize, describe, and narrate digital imagery. The course is project driven, reinforcing solid business practices that lead to successful message generation for targeted audiences. (Offered spring term) Prerequisite: VC 274 Imaging Graphics.

VC 374 Interactive Graphics
3 credits (CS)

This course will introduce non-linear, interactive, time-based software packages such as After Affects and Flash as they are applied to the visual communication industry. Projects will focus on visual aesthetics and the interaction between time-based media and print media. Students must have advanced skills in Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. (Offered fall term)

VC 375 Web Design I
3 credits (CS)

This course introduces the student on how to create a Web site. Topics include screen-based design, how to create dynamic content, planning for non-linear navigation, using information architecture to create content, user experience, domains & hosting, and designing with Web software. Emphasis is on construction and successful publishing of a Web site, using Wordpress, Dreamweaver, HTML and CSS. (Offered annually)

VC 384 Visual Communications Internship I
3 credits (CS)

Students begin their careers in a professional work environment while earning credit. Internships consist of off-campus fieldwork based on a learning contract signed by the student, agency supervisor and faculty sponsor. An orientation session is required prior to fieldwork. Work is supervised by the program fieldwork director and the faculty advisor. A written evaluation of the experience is required of the student and agency. The student develops a written document that synthesizes the internship and academic activities. (Offered any term including summer) Prerequisite: Residency requirement of one semester and junior status.

VC 388 Package Design
3 credits (CS)

This course offers students the opportunity to progress from determining 2-D design solutions to planning, analyzing, and evaluating solutions for 3-D graphic design problems. It requires students to create 3-D prototypes that emphasize 3-D Graphic Design theories while practicing principles and elements of design relating to packaging and display design, digital design, construction, and brand identity. A history of packaging, regulations for packaging, designing brand labeling, and point of purchase design and construction are topics that will be explored. Prerequisite: VC 174 Digital Page Layout.

VC 411 3D Animation
3 credits (CS)
This course explores traditional animation and animation using the three-dimensional application Maya, a computer-aided design and advanced level third-party software. The course begins by familiarizing students with the 12 principles of animation. The class will cover proper technique for traditional animation as well as the interface of Maya. Students will progress to small animations via traditional means or rendering via the animation program. The course culminates with the creation of an animated scene.

VC 412 Motion Graphics
3 credits (CS)
This course introduces the skills required to create motion graphics as seen in film, on TV and on the Web. Students will gain an understanding of the roles of legibility and memo­rability of a narrative in communicating a message to a target audience.  Emphasis will be placed on the understanding and use of timing, sequencing, editing, mood, semantics and transitions in creating successful motion graphics. Projects will cover best practices in animation and visual effects in broadcast design, film titles, and web graphics. This course will utilize sound, video and visual effects software including Adobe After Effects

VC 413 Character Concept & Development
3 credits (CS)
In this course the student will define psychological profiles for characters, give vital authenticity to characters through the creation of characters’ backstories and then draw a portfolio of characters ranging from simple to complex. A complete run-through on how to create and concept a character will be covered. In addition to creating charac­ters, the student will explore how various types of media influence the development of characters. Various classic, traditional, and popular films, games, and animation will be reviewed and analyzed to further explore what types of characters are the best fit for each format.  Offered on a rotating basis.

VC 414 Brand Identity Design
3 credits (CS)
In a crowded marketplace, strong brands allow a company to stand out and make an emo­tional connection with their audiences. From retail products to corporations to intangible services, brands serve an increasingly important role in defining how these disparate enti­ties are perceived, and the visual forms that brand is expressed in is the “visual brand iden­tity.” This course will introduce and affirm best practices for visual brand identity design, establish the importance of a disciplined creative process, and provide an opportunity for students to apply their design skills in a series of focused, advanced, comprehensive brand identity development projects. Offered on a rotating basis.

VC 415 Advanced Coding I
3 credits (CS)
In this course students will address the creative, conceptual, and technical core concepts of computer programming and working with Processing. They will learn how to write code and program for the web, as they move from being designer to designer/developer. Focus will be on advanced knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and how they work together; how to prototype designs into working web pages; and how to troubleshoot layout and code problems, and how to program images, animation, and interactivity. Students will learn important concepts of algorithmic and process oriented design/art, build arrays, and sketch with code. Prerequisite: VC374 Designing for the Web. Offered on a rotating basis.

VC 475 Web Design II
3 credits (CS)

This course introduces students to advanced concepts and skills of designing for the Web. Topics include java, c++, adaptive layout, web advertising, web animations, social media, competitive analysis, case studies, scenarios, user testing and usability, search engine optimization (SEO), mobile & responsive design, and email campaigns, etc. Prerequisite: VC 375 Web Design I.

VC 484 Visual Communications Internship II
3 credits (CS)
Students begin their careers in a professional work environment while earning credit. Internships consist of off-campus fieldwork based on a learning contract signed by the student, agency supervisor and faculty sponsor. An orientation session is required prior to fieldwork. Work is supervised by the program fieldwork director and the faculty advisor. A written evaluation of the experience is required of the student and agency. The student develops a written document that synthesizes the internship and academic activities. (Offered any term including summer) Prerequisite: Residency requirement of one semester and junior status.

VC 488 Package Design II
3 credits (CS)
This course is a continuation of Package Design. It will explore three-dimensional Graphic Design theories, elements and principles of design and relates them to packaging and display design. Topics to be covered include carton and container design and construc­tion, brand identity and color considerations, history of packaging, label design and regu­lations, and point of purchase design and construction. Prerequisite: VC388 Package Design. Offered on a rotating basis.

VC 492 Senior Portfolio I
3 credits (CS)

Senior Portfolio is the first in an advanced two-course series that focuses on the professional practices of visual communications. Students create a personal brand and a portfolio book that showcases their best work and defines their particular area of interest within the visual communications field. Topics of research include the role of the designer in contemporary culture, design responsibility, ethical and professional practice, professional networking, defining the roles and job positions of visual communicators, and implementing a personal professional strategy. The goal of the course is to prepare the student to enter the field. Students are required to network with professionals to get feedback on their work and to explore several production methods for their portfolios.

VC 493 Senior Portfolio II
3 credits (CS)

Students build and refine their portfolios to a professional level in preparation for career placement. They explore employment opportunities, examine career goals, and write and design their resumes and self-promotional packages. Students explore the business side of their profession by learning how to develop professional relationships; understand contracts and other business documents; negotiate and estimate fees; start, manage, and market a business; address ethical and legal issues and present their portfolio. (Offered spring term) Prerequisite: VC 492 Senior Portfolio I.

VC 498 Senior Research
3 credits (CS)

This is the first term of a linked two-term capstone course in Visual Communications. Students propose, research, develop and write a major research paper that links their academic experiences and their professional goals. Their research lays the groundwork for a proposed creative project for the spring semester. (Offered fall term)

VC 499 Senior Project
3 credits (CS)

This is the culminating term of a linked two-term capstone experience in Visual Communications. Students develop, manage and complete a major creative project linked to their academic experiences and their professional goals. Highlights include a final oral presentation at the end of the semester. Over the course of the semester, each student meets with an active professional from the field of Visual Communications, who provides valuable and appropriate feedback for the student toward his/her work and career plans. (Offered spring term) Prerequisite: VC 498 Senior Research.