This major emphasizes the development of students' skills for a career in graphic design. Theory and application through hands-on learning provide students with the background to develop a viable portfolio and the knowledge to secure and maintain a creative position in the applied arts. Students develop the necessary sensibilities for creative design through a series of required courses and electives in the visual arts, including courses ranging from drawing to photography and bookmaking to computer graphics and Internet-based design. A proper balance of technically oriented courses, visual arts courses, and liberal arts courses prepares students for diverse and creative positions in the graphic design field. The broad range of learning experiences in this major enriches and expands individual inventiveness and problem-solving skills.

Classroom critique Senior portfolio exhibition at The Gallery The Gallery at Penn College Senior Portfolio exhibit

After Graduation

Career Opportunities

Graphic designer, interactive designer, art director, and creative director for both in-house, studio, and agency settings. Students may also choose to pursue an advanced degree in art or design.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for graphic designers was $46,900 in May 2015. The top 10 percent earned more than $81,320.

Industries with the highest published employment for this occupation are:

Industry Employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Specialized Design Services26,890$26.58$55,290
Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services22,610$25.21$52,440
Printing and Related Support Activities18,550$19.87$41,320
Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers17,450$21.87$45,500
Computer Systems Design and Related Services9,210$29.12$60,570

Statistics reported in May 2015

Philosophy

Penn College has state-of-the-art facilities with an abundance of current computer technology for training in design and production. Along with computer skills we feel it is important to continue to educate students to use their hands in disciplines such as design, drawing, painting, and photography. This process provides a tactual and perceptive approach to visual problem solving. Using traditional media provides direct and physical engagement; the process requires a necessary interval for the development of concept, image, techniques, and evaluation.

Students become involved in a process that nurtures creativity and stimulates conceptual performance. The freshman, foundation year focuses on developing students’ visual thinking and hand skills. In subsequent years, students concentrate on applied art courses directed toward design and production in many media.

The art faculty encourage students in the objective pursuit of excellence. Individualized critiques provide structure for the creative process and are essential to the ultimate quality of the artwork.

Students are encouraged to attend exhibitions and artists’ talks as part of their education. The Department and College promote exhibitions at the resident gallery.

Performance Standards

Students must earn a grade of 'C' or better in all courses with an ART and PHO course designator to receive credit for their completion. Students earning a 'D' or below must retake courses in which they are deficient before those courses can be considered as meeting the prerequisite requirements for more advanced courses. Failure to achieve a grade of 'C' or above in a course, after the maximum attempts allowed by College policy, results in withdrawal from the major in which the course is required.

Transfer Procedures

Graduates of Penn College's two-year Advertising Art major can transfer all courses into the Graphic Design major; however, major courses (defined as those with ART, PHO designators) must have been completed with a grade of 'C' or better. Internal and external transfers with fewer than 61 credits can carry parallel courses into the baccalaureate when grades are 'C' or better. Transcripts should be submitted with the application for admission and will be evaluated by Admissions staff and by School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications staff. Those accepted for transfer will begin the baccalaureate at the course/skill level consistent with their academic work.

View general transfer information

Tools, Uniforms & Supplies

Tool List

Uniforms and tools are available for purchase through The College Store.

Clubs & Activities

View the entire student organizations listing or Greek Life listing.

Advertising Art/Studio Art/Graphic Design Advisory Committee

  • Mr. Mark Anderman, President/Owner, The Wild Studio
  • Sister Alma Mary Anderson, CSC, Professor, Graphic Design, Indiana State University
  • Ms. Nancy A Ciolek, Chairperson, Graphic Design Dept., Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Mr. Austin D Hoyt, Freelance & Web Designer, Self employed
  • Mr. Ric Jones, Creative Director, MoJo Active
  • Mr. John Saal, Principal, Untuck Design Studio
  • Mr. Ryan Starr, Senior Designer, Universal Health Services
  • Ms. Marjaneh Talebi, Director, Graphic Design Program, Harrisburg Area Community College

Advisory committees, which act as recommending bodies to the faculty and administration, consist of in-field professionals who act as partners in the development of curriculum. Their curricular and equipment advice as well as their industry connections and internship opportunities are invaluable to our students and to the growth of our institution.

Contact Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications

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