Graphic + Interactive Design

Bachelor of Fine Arts – Graphic + Interactive Design

The studio art major emphasis, Graphic + Interface Design, provides students with a foundation of critical and creative design processes and prepares them for the profession of graphic and interface design — including careers in identity systems, package design, motion and web design, and creative direction. Based primarily on computer technology, students will investigate new ways of solving complex visual problems, and use both print and interactive designs as solutions.

Students take one year of Foundations courses that help them hone fine arts skills in drawing and painting, three-dimensional work, basic photography as well as basic computer skills. Art and design practice and theory is stressed during this first year, culminating in a student portfolio review.

Once past the Freshman Foundations Portfolio Review, students will learn the formal principles, processes and vocabulary of print and interface design as well as graphic design history. They develop critical thinking skills and visual conceptualization not only through visual design projects, but also through writing and speaking about design processes and critical theory. Students can supplement their coursework with community projects, design competitions, and design work in the university community or through an internship.

Students participate in a Junior Portfolio Review as well as Senior Seminar to guide and prepare them for working in the profession or furthering their education in graduate school.

The dedicated faculty of Graphic + Interface Design routinely update the curriculum to stay current with industry standards in both print and web, and attend conferences and workshops to pass along inspiration of today’s practices to YSU students. By being active in the field of design, our faculty integrates real-world design issues into classroom curriculum and projects. Graphic + Interface Design faculty are actively involved in helping the students find internships in the surrounding Youngstown and Pittsburgh areas.  Plus, students are urged to participate in the AIGA student chapter, which is a part of the national AIGA design organization, to gain further community connections and involvement in the field of design.

The faculty takes pride in the skills, passion, and accomplishments our students leave with, which allow them to be ready for an easy transition into both regional and national design firms and graduate schools.

Graphic + Interactive Design faculty

Michelle Nelson

Michelle Nelson

Professor
Graphic + Interactive Design

RJ Thompson

RJ Thompson

Assistant Professor
Graphic + Interactive Design

Rich Helfrich

Rich Helfrich

Assistant Professor
Graphic + Interactive Design

Alumni Testimonials

OUR DESIGNERS GO ON TO DO GREAT THINGS!

Recent Project Highlights:

“YSU Wayfinding Signage Systems”

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FREE E-BOOK

“YSU Wayfinding Signage Systems: Northeast Ohio Region” is a book of conceptual wayfinding signage mock-ups produced by Graphic + Interactive Design students in RJ Thompson’s Intro to Typography course at Youngstown State University.

Recent Project Highlights:

“Creative Placemaking Inventory”

In Professor Thompson’s Fall 2018 Intermediate Graphic Design, students were tasked with creating a publication full of photographs of vacant and blighted spaces in communities surrounding Youngstown. Within these photos, students were tasked with conceptualizing murals, installations, and sculptures that supercharge Creative Placemaking efforts in this communities. One student, Lorinda Dixon, produced a Blurb-published book and created a mobile app counterpart, seamlessly weaving together two projects from two different classes – and she got to present her work to the Liberty Township Board of Trustees! 

The two videos above preview Lorinda’s mobile app concept from Professor Thompson’s Intro to Interactive Design course and the printed publication from Thompson’s Intermediate Graphic Design course. 

Recent Project Highlights:

“Youngstown Craft Beer Festival”

For the final project in Professor Thompson’s Fall 2018 Intermediate Graphic Design, students were challenged with experiencing a simulation of working in a design agency in the advertising industry. Composed of 4 teams, students not only were tasked with producing high-quality work within a 3-week time period, but also faced the possibility of being switched to another team. This switching complicates the team dynamic by replicating what it’s like when a team member quits for a new job, is fired, or freelances. Students were asked to come up with a theme, name, product line, and marketing strategy for their festival as well as a presentation of all of their work at the Williamson College of Business Administration. 

The three videos above demonstrate the presentations the students had to give at WCBA. The feedback at the end of this video was provided by WCBA Marketing Professor Michael Pontikos, who judged this mini-competition. This winners were the “Zodiac” team!

Recent Project Highlights:

“Mobile App Design Project”

For the third project in Professor Thompson’s Fall 2018 Intro to Interactive Design course, students explored User-Interface [UI] and User-Experience [UX] principles by creating their own mobile app concepts. This work was designed in Photoshop and Illustrator, made as prototypes in Adobe XD and emulated via a simulator on their smart phones and tablets.