Graphic Design (GDES) Courses

GDES1000 Drawing for Design

A precursor to all design thinking, drawing skills offer an effective means of prototyping visual concepts before committing them to final design solutions. Students gain a foundation in the elements and principles of design through the practice of drawing with the intent to develop and integrate drawing as an essential and crucial step in the creative process. With an emphasis on direct observation, students learn skills to train their eyes to reproduce what they see as well as take ideas from their imagination and translate to paper using traditional drawing tools. Based on design industry models, students also learn and apply technical, compositional and thematic principles as a means of developing a flexible design strategy.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES1001 First Year Design Student Seminar

In this course, students are exposed to all of the critical components of success in a university-level design program. They gain access to and utilize the myriad of academic, technical and design resources available here at Johnson & Wales University as well as in the local design community, and to make the most of those resources. This course eases the transition to college by helping students adjust to life as new designers and make connections with other design students, faculty and staff. Through instruction, workshops and field trips, this class helps students develop the skills that they will need in and out of the classroom, as well as in their careers as designers, such as responsibility, resourcefulness, professionalism, leadership and how to find creative inspiration.
Offered at Providence
1 Semester Credit

GDES1020 Design Theory and Practice

This course provides students with an overview of design industries, historical art movements, current design trends, and industry professionals to know, as well as how to thoughtfully apply the creative process to design projects. Students participate in a number of non-digital project-oriented experiences to explore, learn and develop basic skills and practices to be successful in the program and in the industry. With an emphasis on the creative process and traditional tools, students build a visual vocabulary and are exposed to all of the critical components of success in a university-level design program in a collaborative learning space. Topics include elements and principles of design, layout and composition, basic typography, hand-lettering, branding, packaging, logo design basics, and color theory. Work includes design analysis and critique, creative research and finding inspiration, hands-on problem solving, and public speaking. Relevant connections to current and historical contexts are woven throughout the course.
Offered at Denver, Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES1030 Vector-Based Design

Vector-Based Design is a foundation course wherein students investigate the industry-standard vector-based design software. This project-based course introduces branding, screen layout design concepts, packaging template creation, and the use of hand-done elements within design. Relative concepts in image editing software that pertain to vector design are also introduced.
Offered at Denver, Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES1040 Screen Design & Coding I

This course introduces students to client-side coding languages (HTML, CSS, and Javascript) to develop solutions for multiple digital formats including desktop and mobile devices. Students combine research, contemporary visual approaches, compositional design principles, user interface design, and responsive coding practices in developing a series of project-based websites. Emphasis is on understanding and applying the current practice in planning and design as well as securing a solid vocabulary in the code required to present these solutions as planned. (OL)
Offered at Denver, North Miami, Online, Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES1050 Image Editing and Design

This is a foundation course wherein students investigate the industry-standard raster-based manipulation software. This course is project-based with assignments using the acquisition, creation, manipulation and distribution of raster-based images. Students learn techniques in scanning and best practices in resolution and color mode management. Emphasis is placed on creative projects investigating photomontage/layering techniques and the development of essential frameworks for designing in print and screen formats.
Offered at Denver, Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES1060 User Experience and Content Design I

Designing solutions for interactive applications requires an understanding of the principles of interaction design, information architecture, content strategy, and user experience. In addition to these concepts, this course introduces techniques to conceive and plan user-centered projects for multiple digital formats including desktop and mobile devices. Grid-based frameworks and responsive web design practices are introduced and reinforced to effectively develop and test design solutions.
Prerequisite(s): DME1040 or GDES1040. (OL)
Offered at Denver, Online, Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES2000 Typography

Typography is a critical foundation of visual communications. Letterforms, typestyle, shape and size communicate subtle messages and convey important information. Successful design solutions always benefit from thoughtful and creative use of type, whether on a printed page or in digital space. This course presents the fundamentals of typography and letterforms including history, anatomy, theory and practice, while teaching students to appreciate type as a critical element of design and to identify type by respective classifications and families. Emphasis is placed on developing a current, practical typographic knowledge based on current industry standards. Typographic design in graphic communications is explored through project-based work.
Prerequisite(s): DME1030 or GDES1030 or permission of department chair.
Offered at Denver, Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES2020 Motion Graphics I

This course introduces the fundamentals of contemporary digital motion graphics. Students cover both animation and video techniques. Digital motion concepts and creation techniques are also covered. The course uses a range of software and hardware tools. Students experiment with motion image origination through basic animation and camera applications. Various editing tools are introduced.
Prerequisite(s): DME1030 or GDES1030.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES2025 Basics of Screen Design & Coding

This course allows students to explore the various components of creative web design using coding languages like HTML and CSS to develop design solutions for multiple digital formats, including web browsers, tablet computers and smart phones. Student combine research into contemporary visual approaches and learn how to use compositional design principles and grid-based "frameworks" to visualize contemporary responsive web design solutions. Emphasis is on understanding and applying current practice in planning and design as well as securing a solid vocabulary in the code required to present these solutions as planned. Topics also include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), User Experience (UX) and site architecture, key navigation and linking principles, as well as content development and design principles. Various webmaster tools (Google and Bing) are used as well as sitemap best practices and SEO.
Prerequisite(s): Sophomore status.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES2030 Editorial & Publication Design

This course introduces the creative and technical development of text composition, layout and the hierarchy of information with emphasis on dynamic use of the grid, page structure, text/image integration and multi-page layout and design. Emphasis is on typographic composition and page layout. Using industry-standard page layout applications, this project-based class helps students develop their skills as designers by the creation of sophisticated editorial and publication design assignments.
Prerequisite(s): DME2000, GDES2000.
Offered at Denver, Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES2050 Content Management Systems

In this course, students explore the workings of a popular content management system (CMS) as well as a strategic process for organizing and delivering their website content. Students use a variety of skills to build, deploy and test multi-page websites. Potential projects include ecommerce, portfolio, blog, small business, and progressive web apps. Students build upon content strategy, user experience, information architecture, and front-end coding skills.
Prerequisite(s): DME1060 or GDES1060, sophomore status. (OL)
Offered at Denver, Online, Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES2060 Portfolio Assessment for Digital

In this course, students conceive, design and develop their own portfolio website, incorporating the projects and personal branding developed in Portfolio Assessment for Print (GDES 2060). Students use their evolving knowledge of interactive design and front-end web development to organize and structure their portfolio, ensuring that their website is useable, accessible and visually appealing. Work originally designed for print is converted to a web-friendly format. Previously-produced web-based projects are revised and improved. Website design is prototyped for optimal user experience. Additional consideration is paid to formatting student work for delivery on common online platforms.
Prerequisite(s): GDES1060 or DME1060, GDES2030 or DME2030, GDES2061 (or concurrent), sophomore status.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES2061 Portfolio Assessment for Print

In this course, students assemble a comprehensive portfolio that demonstrates their increasingly sophisticated mastery of design. With faculty guidance, students gather, revise and organize their best works. Students begin to identify and present themselves as independent designers through the development and design of a focused personal brand identity that carries through to all of their presentational materials. Emphasis is placed on both self-branding and self-revision through reinforcement of design skills and concepts learned in the program thus far. In the final week of the course, students present and defend their work to a select group of faculty. Success in this course depends on the progress of the student, which is identified through both in-class and out-of-class assignments. There is an expectation that students display a high degree of involvement, which includes such behaviors as encountering all classwork and assignments with commitment, obvious preparation and a willingness to become actively engaged in-class activities and discussion.
Prerequisite(s): GDES1060, GDES2030, GDES2060 (or concurrent), sophomore status.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES3015 Design Team I

This course provides students with hands-on design and development projects from real-world clients. With faculty supervision, students work on a wide range of team-based design projects involving print and screen media. The resulting work supports the day-to-day operations of nonprofit client organizations, community partners and interdisciplinary collaborative work. This course is the direct, practical application of skills learned in prior academic courses and prepares students for future career success.
Prerequisite(s): GDES3250.
Offered at Providence
4 Semester Credits

GDES3025 Design Team II

This course expands on the real-world client projects begun in Design Team I. This course provides students with hands-on design and development projects from real world clients. With faculty supervision, students work on a wide range of team-based design projects involving print and screen media. The resulting work supports the day-to-day operations of nonprofit client organizations, community partners and interdisciplinary collaborative work. This course is the direct, practical application of skills learned in prior academic courses and prepares students for future career success.
Prerequisite(s): GDES3015.
Offered at Providence
4 Semester Credits

GDES3050 Basics of Print Design

This course introduces the student to the fundamental principles of print design. Using both traditional tools as well as industry standard software, students learn the essential design concepts, process and work flow practice used in print design. In-class demonstrations and lectures involve the introduction of design theory and practical applications of print design peripherals. A variety of print-based assignments and projects are completed both in class and outside of class, and students are required to produce and deliver professional design presentations during in-class critiques.
Offered at Charlotte, Denver, Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES3140 Motion Graphics II

This course teaches students advanced digital production techniques and tools for full motion, sound and video editing. Participants explore current and emerging media standards and applications. Topics include converging digital media, content creation and use of digital media communication tools for internet-enabled application. Students work independently and on project teams.
Prerequisite(s): DME2020 or GDES2020, sophomore status.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES3200 Print Production

This course continues to explore the graphic design field with an emphasis on the production process and printing technology. Terminology and methods, communicating print specifications and cost estimates, file preparation and pre-flighting, font management, and color use in print production are explored. As part of this course, industry lectures are planned, both on and off campus. Projects for this course are designed to reflect the same expectations, processes and tasks as found in current printing industry.
Prerequisite(s): DME2030 or GDES2030.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES3210 Advanced Publication & Print

This course reinforces the creative and technical development of text composition, layout and hierarchy of information. Through various projects, students conceive, compose and produce multi-page layouts using sophisticated and advanced visual design techniques for print and screen. Students visually coordinate images and typographical content across multiple and emerging media specific to editorial and publication design.
Prerequisite(s): DME2030 or GDES2030, junior status.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES3215 Screen Design and Coding II

In this course, students advance their knowledge of client-side coding languages (HTML, CSS and Javascript) to develop design solutions for multiple digital formats including web browsers, tablets and smartphones. Students continue to apply solid compositional approaches while incorporating design approaches specific to the medium. Topics of focus include user experience, usability, responsive coding practices and performance optimization. Emphasis is placed on understanding and applying current practice in planning and design as well as securing an advanced vocabulary in the code required to present these solutions as planned.
Prerequisite(s): DME2050 or GDES2050, junior status.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES3235 User Experience and Content Design II

This course examines approaches for designing successful user experiences and user interfaces through the creation of several project-based applications. Focus is on adopting a carefully considered process of discovery, strategy, design and testing that can help designers understand the problem they are solving and offer intelligent solutions that satisfy both user needs and business goals.
Prerequisite(s): DME2050 or GDES2050, junior status.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES3250 Brand Identity Design and Development

The course is an immersion into the brand identity and development process, through strategy, design, implementation and presentation. Utilizing industry-standard software programs, students learn how to design identity systems that are unique, memorable, meaningful, appropriate and differentiated from competitors. In addition, students gain a better understanding of brand standards, brand equity, competitors, target audiences and cohesiveness across different forms of print and digital media.
Prerequisite(s): DME2030 or GDES2030, junior status.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES3260 Package Design

This advanced level graphics course is a hands-on, project-based class where students are expected to further refine their level of craft in prototyping, while applying their knowledge of branding and typography as it pertains to package design. Students are educated about new product and package development, visual coding, structural packaging, understanding competitors audits, visual hierarchy, brand equity, shelf presence, cohesiveness, material sourcing, understanding target audience & demographic, developing supportive marketing collateral, and food and beverage requirements within the package design industry.
Prerequisite(s): DME2030 or GDES2030, junior status.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES3270 Wayfinding & Environmental Graphics

In this advanced-level course, students explore the nuances of wayfinding and environmental graphics. Students gain a clear understanding of applying brand identity to various environmental spaces and the impact it can have, both from a visual and marketing aspect. Projects explore wayfinding systems, icon development, effective environmental graphics, signage, visitor flow, directional hierarchy, interactivity, visual clues and exhibit design.
Prerequisite(s): DME2030 or GDES2030, junior status.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES3300 Design for Motion

Students participating in this course learn digital production techniques and tools for full motion, sound and video editing. Students explore current and emerging media standards and applications, and the use of video and motion graphics in branded design platforms. Students work independently and on project teams.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES3310 Digital Video II

This advanced course explores different genres and narrative codes, including documentaries, TV ads and post-modern narratives, in experiential team assignments. Exercises in set lighting, advanced framing and advanced camera movement enhance already acquired production techniques. Additional sound and audio production as well as more in-depth digital editing and special effects are provided for post-production. Topics include contemporary digital media history and film genres. Financing and project management are reviewed.
Prerequisite(s): DME3300 or GDES3300, sophomore status.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES3315 Introduction to Programming with JavaScript

This course presents an overview of the core components found in many programming environments using the popular JavaScript language as a model. The use of core programming concepts is explored through the creation of project-based programs. Students gain an understanding of the basics of programming, easing adaption of new ideas and practices in web development.
Prerequisite(s): GDES3215, junior status.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES3345 Advanced Content Management Systems

This course takes a close look at how content management systems (CMS) work in an effort to explore their creative possibilities. Informed by a sound understanding of both user experience strategy and best practices for contemporary web development, students examine approaches for building sustainable, CMS-driven websites through the creation of several project-based applications.
Prerequisite(s): GDES3215 or GDES3235, junior status.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits

GDES4050 Senior Portfolio Assessment

This capstone course guides students through the assembly of a comprehensive physical and digital portfolio that demonstrates their increasingly sophisticated mastery of design. With faculty guidance, students gather, revise and organize their best completed works as well as enhance their portfolios with additional advanced design projects. Portfolios consist of a minimum of 12 professional works showcasing a range of design capabilities. In the final week of the course, students present and defend their work to a select group of faculty and visiting professionals.
Prerequisite(s): DME2040 or GDES2040, GDES3250, senior status.
Offered at Providence
3 Semester Credits