Graphic Design

Making ideas into visuals


Designers use text, images, and graphic shapes to craft products that call our attention and make us remember over time. Designers work on the computer or by hand in creating communication materials (magazines, packaging, ads) and experiences (brands, websites, apps) that will fit a client’s wants and needs. A degree from GVSU offers students the intellectual and professional training needed to become the creative leaders of the future. After four years, students reach the job market showing competency in critical thinking, use of technology, and practical experience.


Degree Options

BFA in Studio Art, Graphic Design Emphasis

Students may pursue a B.F.A. in Studio Art in this emphasis. The B.F.A. in Studio Art is designed for students interested in a professional degree in art or design. This degree will prepare students for a career as a professional artist or designer. Aside from Graphic Design, eight other Emphasis Areas are available to choose from in the B.F.A. degree.


BA/BS in Art Education and K-12 certification

Students may also pursue a BA or BS Degree in Art Education in which they can choose to take Graphic Design courses. 

Learning Environment

Graphic Design Student Kaitlyn Allison talking about her experience at GVSU and the Graphic Design Program


Students are encouraged to coordinate typography, image, symbol, and color to communicate information, meaning, and thought-provoking ideas. The design faculty conscientiously prepares majors for the realities of a design career through technological proficiency, analytical versatility, and practical experience necessary for the competitive and diverse opportunities that lay ahead of them. Our well-equipped facilities allow design students to gain expertise in designing for print production and web environments.



Vinicius Lima
Associate Professor
Area Coordinator


Lindsey Peterson
Assistant Professor

Students' Works

Course Catalog

The course is designed for any nongraphic design student who requires or seeks an overview of the graphic design process and its application in visual composition, symbol development, typography and layouts. Students produce solutions to visual communication problems and learn to articulate and present effectively their design choices.

Course offered fall and winter semesters.
Credits: 3

Extension of basic art and design fundamentals into a graphic design context, including computer-generated imagery. Stress is placed on problem solving through typographic imaging and the union of text and image. Offered fall semester. Prerequisite: Admission to graphic design.

Credits: 3

Graphic design is explored in its broadest applications, including symbology and logo design. Students learn to create visual messages that are aesthetically appealing as well as informative. Offered winter semester. Prerequisite: ART 210.

Credits: 3

Continuation on Typography Studies. Complex Problem Solving. Introduction to Data Visualization. Expressive Typography.

This course is an in depth exploration into the methods of commercial printing and corresponding software packages. This course will aid students in understanding how to manipulate digital technology and conventional printing techniques to their advantage, to increase the quality of their work utilizing this knowledge. Offered fall semester. Prerequisites: ART 211.

Credits: 3

An advanced studio course covering principles that guide the development of creative solutions for educational and communication design. The student learns to manipulate typography, symbolism, illustration, and photography in a given space, which may take the form of advertisements, newspapers, periodicals, books, annual reports, signs, or direct mail. Offered fall semester. Prerequisite: ART 211.

Credits: 3

An advanced course to acquaint students with professional and technological components of creating and publishing interactive and motion programs. Includes an in-depth exploration of web site design including interactivity, navigational systems, motion and typography, integrating both design methodologies and information architecture. Offered winter semester. Prerequisite: ART 310.

Credits: 3

Introduction to the fundamental development of dimensional construction which refines and integrates many design principles. Imaginative use of materials and surface graphics as well as marketing and production problems are explored. Offered every other winter semester.

Credits: 3

Advanced layout problems involving brochures, annual reports, and corporate identity packages, as well as introduction to mixed media presentations. Stress is on individually conceived and developed projects. Offered fall semester. Prerequisites: ART 312; passage of Junior Review.

Credits: 3

Refinement and development of a body of work constituting a professional portfolio. Offered fall semester. Prerequisite: ART 312 or ART 382.

Credits: 3

Development of a body of work focusing on a specific aspect of graphic design or illustration in which the student wishes to specialize. The work will be shown along with the student’s portfolio as the senior show. Offered fall and winter semesters. Prerequisite: ART 410 or ART 483.

Credits: 3

A special study opportunity that allows for advanced students to work for academic credit in a professional shop, gallery, or studio. Internships are prearranged by the department, are limited in number, and follow prescribed campus internship policy. Offered on sufficient demand. Prerequisite: permission of department. Graded credit/no credit.

Credits: 1 to 6

Professional Networking

AIGA: Grand Valley

AIGA, the professional association for design, is committed to advancing design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force. As a student group, we seek to get as many students involved in the design community as possible. We meet 3-4 times a month and offer a variety of activities from screen printing, hosting skill-shares, curating exhibitions, and discuss current inspirations. Outside of our meetings, we try to attend conventions, local lectures and other area design events. We try to involve as many emphasis areas as possible in order to break down barriers and share new ideas. The meetings are open to anyone with a love for, interest in, or curiosity about the wonders of graphic design.


Visit Us

Prospective Students are invited to attend one of the High School Student Receptions, held throughout the academic year. Receptions follow the Laker Experience Days.

Attend a High School Student Reception

Request Information

For questions about the Graphic Design area, please contact:

Vinicius Lima
Graphic Design Coordinator
1119 Calder Arts Center
(616) 331-3119
[email protected]



Page last modified June 23, 2022