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Art: Concentration Graphic Design

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Why study Art: Concentration Graphic Design at APSU?

To major in Art + Design is to become a visual problem solver. To major in Art + Design is to join an exciting community. Activities are ongoing in the department as students are in the classrooms from 8am to midnight. We have worked hard to keep one of our computer labs open for student use so that students do not need to purchase their own laptops and software. We have an enviable exhibition and speaker series, and all Art + Design majors are required to attend two talks per semester, but most students attend several once they discover how inspiring the speakers are.

In the first year, students are introduced to the methods and materials of artistic thinking through a series of Foundations courses in two, three, and four-dimensions. In these courses, students explore the visual world through drawing, computer software, and other hands-on experiences. This beginning sequence of classes are designed to provide all incoming students with a strong footing for conceptual and technical skills that combine old and new technologies. Even in the digital age, drawing will train the eye of the artist more than the hands. When students complete the foundations classes, they will need to successfully complete a portfolio review to progress to the capstone classes at the end of their study. 

In the second year, students begin their Art History courses in order to build a mental database of global artworks from which to draw inspiration. This is the year that students begin to explore specific disciplines like Animation, Ceramics, Drawing, Graphic Design, Illustration, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, or Art Education. Each student will complete four of these introductory classes to broadly understand the options of art making in the 21st century. But Graphic Design, Studio Art, and Animation and Visual Effects are the only concentrations, so students will work in a combination of disciplines as they complete our programs.

In the third year, students will focus on particular areas of interest by taking more advanced classes within the disciplines. Students will also select more specific interests in Art History by selecting advanced study in Italian Renaissance, Modern Art in Europe, Contemporary Art, or Native American Art for example. In the third year, concepts will become more advanced and students will find themselves comfortable thinking like artists.

In the fourth year, students will complete two semester sequences of capstone courses. For Studio Art, the capstone sequence will prepare students for professional development in the gallery system. Students will learn how to apply for exhibitions, how to write a resume, and how to assemble an art portfolio while also working independently on a body of work to be shown the following semester. In the final semester, Studio Art majors have small group exhibitions of their thesis work in the Barbara Beach Student Gallery. Graphic Design students spend the first semester preparing a professional portfolio and practice job interview skills. In the final semester, Graphic Design students create a fictitious company for which they come up with logos, letterhead, posters, advertisements, and "swag" that is presented publicly at a conference-like Showcase. Animation and Visual Effects students will learn what it means to work in a production studio. Art Education students spend the last two semesters observing teachers and student teaching in completion of their K-12 licensure.

What will I learn?

The Freshmen Seminar degree requirement completed by most students is APSU 1000. The course is delivered in a small-class setting with like-minded students led by a faculty member and a peer leader. The interdisciplinary course is intended to support first-semester students and provide them with a foundation for university success. Emphasis is placed on student engagement, university learning success strategies, support services, library literacy, financial literacy, and academic and career planning. The first class meeting of APSU 1000 during fall semesters is on Freshmen Convocation Day.

The general education core is designed to develop critical competencies in written communication, oral communication, mathematical analysis, and critical thinking skills. Students at APSU select coursework in the general education core in the areas of Communication, Humanities and Fine Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences, History, Natural Sciences, and Mathematics. While the general education core requirements for graduation can be met by choosing courses from each of these areas, some programs of study require lower division courses that serve as prerequisites for upper division courses. Students should consult the sample 4-year plans and confer with their academic advisors as they choose their general education core courses.

What engagement opportunities are available to APSU students?

The Department of Art + Design has a very active student AIGA (the American Institute of Graphic Arts) chapter that meets regularly and offers a ton of fun activities and trips. It is also a great way to network with professionals in the field and get feed back on your portfolio.

ART 4310 Design Center (a university designated service learning course) provides students with an opportunity to work with clients in the non-profit sector on all aspects of visual communication projects. As in the design industry, students will have the opportunity to use their technical and conceptual skills within a team format.

ART 440I Art Internship provides graphic design students with on-the-job training with professionals working in the field.



What do Art: Graphic Design majors do after graduation?

Graphic Design is an exciting, ever changing field with fast growing job opportunities. From working in an in-house design form to setting up your own studio, a degree opens the door to a range of creative careers.

  • Print Designer
  • Web Designer
  • Interactive Designer
  • Illustrator
  • Advertising
  • Creative Director
  • Art Director
  • Marketing Manager
  • Production Design
Scott Raymond with student

Scott Raymond

Assistant Professor of Animation

Raymond came to APSU in 2015 to help build the Department of Art + Design’s animation program. He was a good fit, considering he’s worked on animated features, such as “Trolls” and “Kung Fu Panda 3.”

Since arriving at Austin Peay, he has also animated on a spot for Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards and a ride at the PortAventura Theme Park. He also contributed to last year’s Magic Light Pictures film “The Highway Rat.”

The animation program continues to grow at Austin Peay, with the University offering its new visual effects and digital 3D classes in the fall.