Visual Communications: Art & Graphic Design

Bachelor of Science Degree

The Visual Communications Department has a history of nearly seventy-five years of innovation and excellence. The graphic design program offers a comprehensive and relevant educational experience that prepares students to be real-life creative problem-solvers in traditional and emerging fields. Graduates demonstrate valuable professional skills and technological competencies vital for succeeding in an evolving creative environment.

The Visual Communications: Art & Graphic Design Baccalaureate Degree experience also includes opportunities that enable students to gain essential professional experience and participate beyond the classroom. Two internship courses encourage students to pursue professional opportunities, while the “in-house” agency courses allow students to work collaboratively and directly with clients. The Design Club enables students to participate in the industry and gain practical experience. There are also industry-related field trips and unique study abroad programs with trips that range from a few weeks to an entire semester.

The success of graduates in positions of responsibility in some of the best-known agencies, design teams, studios, and corporations in the region and around the country illustrates our program’s strength. Many alumni have become thriving entrepreneurs by establishing new agencies and art-related businesses or as well as through active freelance careers.

For additional information, or to schedule an interview and tour of our facilities, please contact the Visual Communications Department at 934-420-2181.

Typical Employment Opportunities

Art Director
Brand Identity Designer
Creative Director
Editorial Designer
Graphic Designer
Interface Designer
Package Designer
Production Manager
Social Media Designer
Visual Content Designer
Web Designer 

Visual Communications (BS) Program Outcomes

  • Graduates will receive a strong foundation in design, will have opportunities to explore, experiment, and master skillets in traditional disciplines and digital techniques.
  • Graduates will demonstrate diverse knowledge and skills required to perform professionally in an evolving creative work environment.
  • Graduates will exhibit the knowledge necessary to understand design from an historical perspective, as well as current and future trends of industry.
  • Graduates will have learned specific professional skills addressing resume development, self-promotion, job search skills, industry procedures and practices and presentation techniques.
  • Graduates will have created a portfolio of work, which will meet industry demands in order to successfully compete in the current job market.

Qualifications for the Graphic Design Program

To be considered for admission to the Graphic Design Program, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • A freshman high school GPA of 80 or higher
  • A transfer GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • One high school or college level art class
  • A passing score on the Visual Communications portfolio test
  • A passing score on an art aptitude test

In addition to these qualifications, we also look for applicants who demonstrate creativity, originality, and strong communication skills. If you are interested in pursuing a career in graphic design, we encourage you to apply to our program.

Farmingdale State College is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Admission to Farmingdale State College - State University of New York is based on the qualifications of the applicant without regard to age, sex, marital or military status, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, disability or sexual orientation.

Contact Information

Visual Communications

Jack Harris
Hale Hall, Room 156
Monday-Friday 8:30am-5:00pm

Fall 2023

Subject to revision

Liberal Arts and Sciences (39 credits)
EGL 101 Composition I: College Writing (GE) 3
ART 200 History of Graphic Design (GE) 3
ART 201 Survey of Art History: Prehistoric Times through the Middle Ages (GE) 3
ART 202 Art History – Early Renaissance to Present (GE) 3
ART 302 History of American Art
ART 303 MesoAmerican Art History 3
US History and Civic Engagement (GE) 3
Mathematics (GE) 3
SPE Elective 3
Natural Sciences and Scientific Reasoning (GE) 3
World History and Global Awareness (GE) 3
Social Sciences (GE) 3
300+ Liberal Arts Elective 6
Support Courses (12 credits)
BUS 131 Marketing Principles 3
Free Elective 6
300+ Free Elective 3
Visual Communications Core (69 credits)
VIS 110 Drawing I 3
VIS 112 Two-Dimensional Design 3
VIS 114 Color 3
VIS 115 Three-Dimensional Design 3
VIS 116 Digital Media and Methods 3
VIS 120 Drawing II 3
VIS 122 Typography I 3
VIS 222 Graphic Design I 3
VIS 225 Photography I 3
VIS 318 Four-Dimensional Design 3
VIS 232 Graphic Design II 3
VIS 236 Typography II 3
VIS 338 Illustration for Graphic Designers 2
VIS 350 Photography II 2
VIS 332 Graphic Design III 3
VIS 336 Advertising I 3
VIS 340 Industry Preparation 3
VIS 346 Advertising II 2
VIS 414 Interaction Design 3
VIS 416W Senior Project I 3
VIS 418 Portfolio 3
VIS 426W Senior Project II 3
Technical Electives (BUS, BCS, VIS, IXD*) 3
300+ Technical Elective 3
Total Credits: 120

Transfer credit is granted at the discretion of the faculty based on grades and a portfolio assessment. All students entering the program, including transfer students, will be required to take VIS 116 Digital Media & Methods.

*Technical Electives can be chosen from any course that has a BCS (Computer Systems), BUS (Business Management), VIS (Art & Graphic Design), or IXD (Interaction Design) course designator for which the pre-requisite has been met. This gives students the opportunity to develop their interests within Visual Communications: Art & Graphic Design and related fields. One course must be at the 300 level or higher.

Curriculum Summary

Degree Type: BS
Total Required Credits: 120

Please refer to the General Education, Applied Learning, and Writing Intensive requirement sections of the College Catalog and consult with your advisor to ensure that graduation requirements are satisfied.

As a part of the SUNY General Education Framework, all first-time full time Freshman at Farmingdale State College (FSC) beginning Fall 2023, are required to develop knowledge and skills in Diversity: Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (DEISJ). Students will be able to fulfill this requirement at FSC by taking a specially designated DEISJ course that has been developed by faculty and approved by the DEISJ Review Board. DEISJ-approved courses will be developed in accordance with the guiding principles and criteria outlined below. DEISJ-approved courses may meet other General Education Knowledge and Skills areas and/or core competencies and thus be dually designated. DEISJ-approved courses may also earn other special designations such as those for Applied Learning or Writing Intensive.

EGL 101 Composition I: College Writing

This is the first part of a required sequence in college essay writing. Students learn to view writing as a process that involves generating ideas, formulating and developing a thesis, structuring paragraphs and essays, as well as revising and editing drafts. The focus is on the development of critical and analytical thinking. Students also learn the correct and ethical use of print and electronic sources. At least one research paper is required. A grade of C or higher is a graduation requirement. Note: Students passing a departmental diagnostic exam given on the first day of class will remain in EGL 101; all others will be placed in EGL 097. Prerequisite is any of the following: successful completion of EGL 097; an SAT essay score (taken prior to March 1, 2016) of 7 or higher; an SAT essay score (taken after March 1, 2016) of 5 or higher; on-campus placement testing.

ART 200 History of Graphic Design

Graphic design has great power and has both reflected and influenced our society and culture throughout history. This course identifies the key movements within the history of graphic design from the Graphic Renaissance throughout today and highlights how these movements have mirrored and changed the course of our society and the field of graphic design. Lectures, images and texts will be used in of each of the following periods: Graphic Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, Mid-Century Modernism, Late-Modernism Post-Modernism and the Digital Age. NOTE: Students cannot earn credit for ART 200 and ART 200*D ART 200*D can be used to fulfill the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice requirement. Prerequisite(s): EGL 101

ART 201 Survey of Art History: Prehistoric Times through The Middle Ages

A survey of the history of the visual arts from their beginnings in prehistoric times to the end of the Middle Ages. Works of art are studied both as monuments of intrinsic aesthetic value and as expressions of the needs, ideals, and aspirations of the societies in which they were created. Prerequisite(s): EGL 101

ART 202 Survey of Art History: Early Renaissance to the Present

A survey of the history of the visual arts from the Early Renaissance to the Present. Works of art are studied both as monuments of intrinsic aesthetic value and as expressions of the needs, ideals, and aspirations of the societies in which they were created. Prerequisite(s): EGL 101

ART 302 Art History: Survey of American Art

A survey of the development of painting, sculpture, and architecture in the United States from the early colonial period to the present. Lectures, supplemented by slides and textbook illustrations, will provide the basis for an analysis of the "schools" styles, and influences that determined and are affecting the direction of American Art.

ART 303 MesoAmerican Art History

This course is designed to expose students to the art, culture and history of Mexico and Central America from the first peoples of the Americas to the Spanish Conquest, Colonial Period, Revolution, Modern and contemporary eras. The class will introduce the student to visual works of art including sculpture, painting, architecture and other applied arts. The course begins with prehistoric art of the Clovis peoples of the American Southwest and concludes with the contemporary era. The class covers Clovis, Olmec, Maya, Zapotec, Mixtec, Aztec, Mexican and Guatemalan art and touches on significant imported Spanish influences. The history, mythologies, politics, religions, and philosophical thought of the periods are introduced in order to provide a context for the visual art.

BUS 131 Marketing Principles

This course provides the student with a sound knowledge of the basic elements of the marketing process. Major topics include the features of consumer and organizational markets, market segmentation, and target market strategies. Product planning and development, brands, packaging and other product features are covered. Price determination and the use of various pricing strategies are discussed. The factors in the selection of channels of distribution and the features of wholesaling and retailing are considered. Elements of the promotional process such as sales, advertising, and sales promotion are included. Ethical and legal issues in marketing, marketing of services, global marketing, and marketing on the Internet are also covered.

VIS 110 Drawing I

Drawing is the foundation for all other applications of design. To that end, this course explores the principles of freehand drawing, and emphasizes the use of line, light and shade, perspective, proportion and pictorial composition. Subject matter in class will include both still-life (natural and fabricated) and an introduction to drawing the figure. Students will experiment with a variety of black and white media as they learn about drawing and all its possibilities, both creative and analytical.

VIS 112 Two-Dimensional Design

This course is an in-depth examination of the elements and principles of design and how they influence the creation of two-dimensional compositions. Students will acquire vocabulary and concepts that will be used throughout their careers. Individual visual expression will be emphasized through design assignments that allow the exploration of a variety of media and tools. Contemporary and historically significant works of art and design will be utilized. This will help students recognize the successful application of the elements and principles of design for evaluating their own work and that of their peers.

VIS 114 Principles of Color

This course will explore the vast visual language of color including its characteristics, properties, and schemes, as well as its expressive and symbolic usage. An understanding of the rich vocabularies of both color and design will be enforced. Students will increase their skills in the identification and interpretation of design principles in contemporary and historically significant works of art. Students will experiment with color in many mediums as an avenue to recognizing the power of color.

VIS 115 Three-Dimensional Design

Three-dimensional is the foundation for many of the specialized areas of graphic design, including package design, product design, environmental graphics, animation and three-dimensional modeling. Thus, this course stresses the application and appreciation of the principles and elements that make successful three-dimensional designs. Study will include: mass, volume, line, surface, plane, space, time and motion. In the design and construction of three-dimensional objects, students will explore a variety of materials and construction methods. Constructions will be made typically of wood, paper, bristol board, foam core, corrugated board, plaster and other three-dimensional materials. The course will also stress the efficient and safe use of tools and materials.

VIS 116 Digital Media and Methods

The concepts and techniques of digital media are essential for the modern graphic designer. This course serves as an essential foundation for all subsequent courses in computer graphics. Students will gain an understanding of how this evolving technology applies to the visual communications industry and will be introduced to the hardware and software utilized within the field. The terminology that we use as designers when dealing with technology will also be stressed.

VIS 120 Drawing II

This course furthers the investigations of drawing as the foundation for all other applications of design. Students will expand their understanding of perspective and structural drawing, and continue the development of the perception, skill and knowledge necessary to draw the human figure. In addition to working in graphite and charcoal, students will also experiment with a variety of drawing surfaces and media, including ink wash and watercolor. Prerequisite(s): VIS 110

VIS 122 Typography I

Typography is the formal study of letterform. Each typeface has qualities that allow it to be identified, classified and appreciated for its own individual beauty. In this course, students will gain perspective into this important field by starting with a focus on early visual communication, symbols handwritten letterforms, calligraphy and the development of movable type. Students will then explore ways to categorize type into families and identify and define the similarities and subtle differences in classical typeface. Class discussions, projects, critiques and lectures will focus on typographic terminology and vocabulary, as well as the aesthetic discipline of using type effectively as a designer. An emphasis will be placed on typography as an essential element of graphic design. Prerequisite(s): VIS 112 and 116

VIS 222 Graphic Design I

The graphic designer conceives, plans, and executes a design that communicates a direct message to a specific audience. It is through a formal understanding of the design process that students learn to create successful designs, Designers must also learn to professionally execute their concepts across a variety of platforms and utilize software to help them accomplish that goal. Page layout for both print and screen-based application will be practiced in this course, concentrating primarily on the combination of type and image to communicate ideas. In this course, students will adhere to the design process in the creation of commercially viable solutions to design problems. Prerequisite(s): VIS 122

VIS 225 Photography I

This course introduces photographic principles with the primary emphasis on the technical issues of photography in studio and natural lighting conditions. Students will learn the concepts and techniques for proper lighting, exposure, focus, depth-of-field, and creative composition. The methodology for the creation of compelling and original photographic images will be covered as it applies to graphic design projects. Image management software, archival storage solutions, and presentation techniques will be explored. Students must supply their own digital camera (see department web page for current specific equipment requirements). Prerequisite(s): VIS 112 and 116

VIS 318 Four-Dimensional Design

4D (4-Dimensional) Design explores the principles and techniques of motion design including animation, video, storytelling, concept development, script writing and storyboarding to support the creation of immersive real-world motion design projects. Students will concentrate on using narrative devices and the historical context of animation and cinema to create time-based content that is suitable for traditional and emerging platforms. This course also examines the role motion design plays in the world of advertising, interaction and graphic design including its application in current and emerging technologies. Students will create process books and storymatics to guide their project development. Applications may include 2D animation, 3D animation, film, sound design, VR, narrative structure and more. Prerequisite(s): VIS 116 and VIS 122

VIS 232 Graphic Design II

As the design problems become more sophisticated, the demand for student self-study will increase as will the need for project and solution orientated training from the instructor. A further refinement of the student's personal aesthetic will be encouraged. This course will introduce higher level, theoretical ideas related to communication, design and cognitive theories. The primary software tools include print, screen-based and interaction design, with more emphasis placed on screen-based projects. Outside resources will be utilized for general software instruction. Prerequisite(s): VIS 222

VIS 236 Typography II

This course will offer the students the opportunity to refine their skills in typographic design and application using digital technology. Class discussions, projects and critiques will concentrate on the crucial role of typography and the relationship of type as image in contemporary graphic design. Students will learn advanced techniques and refine typographic design skills while exploring the many ways in which typography can be utilized to express the message of design. Prerequisite(s): VIS 222

VIS 338 Illustration for Graphic Designers

Illustration for Graphic Designers gives students the opportunity to create professional conceptual and narrative illustrations that combine design, drawing, typographic and technical skills. This studio-based course focuses on problem-solving methodologies, constant observational sketching, imaginative drawing and typography. Students develop many ideas, the tools to evaluate them, and the ability to judge the value and clarity of those ideas. Projects are solved through the integration of traditional design skills with illustrations created in a variety of media. It provides insight into the language and practice of illustration while offering graphic design students the opportunity to develop a personal approach to illustration that can become integral to their design work. Note: Students cannot receive credit for both VIS 238 and VIS 338 Prerequisite(s): VIS 120 and 222

VIS 350 Photography II

This studio-based course gives students a chance to master the skills learned in previous design and photography classes and develop advanced conceptual and technical skills into the study and practice of commercial art photography. Students will explore the expressive, emotional and physical characteristics of different types of light in real-world scenarios. Emphasis will be placed on dramatic and cinematic lighting techniques as well as advanced lighting techniques such as multiple source lighting, natural light, strobes, filters and gels. The logistics of studio and on-location lighting will be considered. Students will recognize, analyze, and apply different characteristics of light and learn to control light for proper exposure and creative expression. Consistent post-processing, retouching, color control, and professional file management workflow will be instilled. Portraiture inside and outside of the studio, product photography, narrative photography, and other topics will be explored. Students will gain a deeper and broader understanding of photographic techniques and apply these techniques with an emphasis on developing their own style of creative expression. Note: Students cannot receive credit for both VIS 250 and VIS 350 Prerequisite(s): Department Approval or VIS 225

VIS 332 Graphic Design III

Students will combine their knowledge of type and image, communication theories, problem solving techniques and conceptual skills developed in Graphic Design I and Il to create integrated solutions to multi-part, sophisticated design and communication problems. Students will be introduced to strategic design concepts that will help produce successful solutions to complex design problems. The primary focus on software will continue to include both print and screen-based designs. Software will include solutions for vector illustration, raster image manipulation, page layout, print production and web design. Prerequisite(s): VIS 232

VIS 336 Advertising I

Advertising is the art of persuasion and as designers we greatly influence the choices made by consumers. In this course students will learn the fundamental aspects of this significant field with an emphasis on the conceptual development, design methodology, creative writing and clear communication necessary to motivate the consumer to action. The basic principles of advertising will be presented, from creative writing to branding consistency and integrity. Graphic design skills in conjunction with these advertising essentials will be encouraged and expected. The hierarchy and structure of an advertising agency will be discussed to provide students with a realistic view of the industry. Prerequisite(s): VIS 232

VIS 340 Industry Preparation

Students will explore and develop professional practices to gain future employment in the field and attain professional success. While students will not be creating a portfolio in this class, they will be introduced to the varied options available for multi-functional portfolio(s) and will choose which option would best promote their work. An emphasis will be placed on defining, organizing and developing self-promotion and marketing materials. It will also encompass job search strategies, interview skills, and industry best practices. Prerequisite(s): VIS 332 or IXD 320 and IXD 322

VIS 346 Advertising II

This studio-based course builds upon the principles that were studied in Advertising I and allows for a more concentrated exploration into the myriad ways to reach a consumer. This encompasses conceptualization, design and production of multi-platform advertising campaigns. Students will work individually and in teams to complete projects based on client direction and budget restrictions. Traditional and developing media venues will be considered with an emphasis on appropriate and unique creative solutions to advertising problems. Prerequisite(s): VIS 336

VIS 414 Interaction Design

Interaction Design is an advanced course that pushes students understanding of web page creation to include the methodologies, concepts and strategy of designing user experiences. Interaction Design will stress the planning, design, and production of effective user interface design, information design and information architecture based upon web standards and best practices. The course will also introduce the student to advanced web creation tools including the design for specific digital devices. Students will produce a variety of concepts-from rough pencil sketches to digital prototypes-in a rigorous environment. Prerequisite(s): VIS 332

VIS 418 Portfolio

The portfolio class is one of the capstone courses of the Visual Communications baccalaureate experience. This lecture-based course focuses on portfolio design techniques and solutions including professional case studies, self-promotion approaches, visual display methods and online portfolio tools. In this course the students review their current and past artworks for inclusion in a professional design portfolio. A series of group critiques with both internal and external reviewers will aid in the development of this body of work as well as strengthen the student's ability to professionally present and defend their artwork. At the culmination of this course the students present their final portfolios to industry professionals. Prerequisite(s): VIS 416 Corequisite(s): VIS 426

Last Modified 2/13/24