Graphic Design Minor | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Graphic Design Minor: Degree Information

MCAD emphasizes a collaborative process and working with students from all majors. For this Bachelor of Fine Arts minor, you will take courses in several different areas, including a core focus, adding up to 15 total credits required for graduation. 

Required Courses - These are the core courses that every drawing and painting student takes.

Studio Electives - Throughout your studies you can choose from several studio electives that give you hands-on creative time.  

Humanities and Sciences Electives - These classes round out your experience at MCAD, deepen your creative practice, and fulfill non-studio requirements for a degree.  

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop skills in communicating effective messages through a combination of visual and typographic means.
  • Utilize a rigorous design process to promote experimental, conceptual, and systems thinking through critical inquiry.
  • Articulate conceptual and formal decisions through spoken, written, and visual presentation modes.
  • Learn how innovative solutions and design practices are informed by cultural and social awareness.
  • Develop intermediate skills in mechanical production and will understand the need to adapt to new digital landscapes.

Core Required Courses

15 credits

GRD 2000 Graphic Design 1
3 credits

This course provides students with an overview of graphic design practice. Students concentrate on building visual and typographic communication skills as well as the vocabulary necessary for critical analysis. These introductory level skills are explored through static, static-narrative, interactive, and time-based media. Topics covered include basic visual and typographic principles, composition, type and image integration, sequence, and craft. Students are also introduced to the design process, which includes research, ideation, iteration, refinement, and implementation. Image/image-series, logotypes, mark-making, digital presentations, and booklets are possible outcomes of this course.

Prerequisites: Foundation: 2D, Foundation: Media 1

GRD 3080 Digital Production
3 credits

This course provides students with a practical and comprehensive overview of the digital production process—from organizing, preparing, and managing digital files to achieving professional quality output. Instructors reference and demonstrate many topics, including raster- and vector-art preparation, font and color management, materials, formats, workflow, and vendor communications. Students examine standards, apply techniques, and employ terminology commonly used in contemporary practice.

Prerequisites: Graphic Design 1

GRD 3030 Graphic Design 2
3 credits

This intermediate course examines procedural frameworks and processes for graphic communications. A range of topics covered includes the utility of series and systems approaches, content generation models and strategies, and an expanded notion of developing and applying hierarchical content across static, static-narrative, interactive, and time-based media. Some project components require student responsibility in authoring content through linguistic, typographic, and visual approaches. At least one project requires formal documentation illustrating the design process. Outcomes range from both applied and experimental studies to mark-making and identity systems.

Prerequisites: Graphic Design 1

Graphic Design Minor Course Options (select two)

GRD 3060 Narrative Design
3 credits

This course explores the dynamic integration of graphic form, typography, and message enhanced through the orchestration of movement, time, sequence, and sound. These subjects are studied as integral components of the design process that result in compelling graphic narrations. Classroom demonstrations, critiques, and screenings enable students to develop narratives that service a wide range of applications for contemporary communication vehicles.

Prerequisites: Graphic Design 1

GRD 3020 Type Plus
3 credits

This class advances the skills and principles learned in Graphic Design 1. Students investigate conceptual possibilities utilizing research, knowledge of historical and contemporary perspectives, experimental strategies using hand tools and digital software, and personalized design methodologies. Students are challenged to develop original solutions and promote their own visual sensibilities. Projects are designed to advance the understanding of how typography can be used to articulate meaning as it relates to a variety of topics including typographic and language systems, identity, conceptual narratives, and sequential implementation. Outcomes consist of print and digital solutions.

Prerequisites: Graphic Design 1, Digital Production

GRD 3070 Graphic Design 3
3 credits

Central to graphic design thinking, systems-based design projects have always challenged designers to investigate new and better ways of representing complex information. These design systems are a crucial ingredient in the interdisciplinary practices of branding, interactive design, information design, and mapping. Classroom activities and assignments examine resource development, research analysis, information management, and ideation as parts of a larger whole. Not restricted to any one media, this course encourages students to develop a variety of solutions, guided by critique, individual discussions, and assignments.

Prerequisites: Graphic Design 2, Digital Production

GRD 3050 Publication Design
3 credits

Publication design remains one of the most challenging and complex opportunities within the larger field of graphic design. In this course students conceptualize, create, and manage content for both print and digital publications. Structural systems, formats, and organizational methods are investigated as well as the creation of visual narrative through image, pacing, and sequence. Critiques and discussions of examples from the field encourage students to think globally and flexibly about systems and to explore modifications to the traditional structure of books, catalogs, and magazines.

Prerequisites: Graphic Design 2
Total Credit Hours