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Art - Graphic Design

  • Overview
  • Careers
  • New Freshmen
  • New Transfer
  • Illinois State Students

With a focus on creative problem-solving skills, typography, and image creation, you will be well prepared to enter the competitive field of Graphic Design.

Students graduating from the Graphic Design sequence enter successful careers in design studios, advertising agencies, and corporate and institutional design offices. These graduates design communications for applications on the web, video, and various multimedia applications as well as for traditional print-based media.

Study in the program develops an understanding of perceptual theory, typography, layout, illustration and interactive options within the field. Following the basic art foundation courses, the Graphic Design sequence introduces students to various technical skills including computer software applications. The cohesive sequencing of courses allows the student to build skills and knowledge upon a strong fundamental core towards a highly sophisticated level of work that successfully combines type and image into creative visual communication.

Why Study Art - Graphic Design?

After graduation, School of Art students take on a variety of careers as artists, curators, designers, educators, critics, scholars, conservators and writers. Our alumni continue to be a part of the School of Art after they leave campus, and we continue to harness professional relationships and networking connections between them and our current students.

Related Majors

Related Skills

  • Save artwork for a strong portfolio - too much is better than too little.
  • Be prepared to relocate to the larger markets of metropolitan areas where more opportunities exist.
  • Join art related professional and student organizations.
  • Volunteer with fundraising efforts for the arts.
    Gain valuable experience through volunteering, internships, part-time and summer jobs, and apprenticeships.
  • Conduct informational interviews with professionals in areas of interest to learn more about opportunities and strategies for these areas.
  • Learn to network.
  • Strong work ethic and professional behavior
  • Flexibility in thought and adaptive to new ideas
  • Imagination and creative skills
  • Basic computer skills, knowledge of computer software a plus
  • Good writing skills
  • Ability to verbally communicate principle skills and art appreciation
  • Ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure

Being Successful in the Field

  • A career in the arts takes dedication, patience, flexibility, talent, and some luck.
  • A bachelor’s degree is valuable for entry-level positions, but an advanced degree is usually necessary to attain competitive, upper-level positions.
  • An art degree can and should be tailored to areas of specialization.
  • Be prepared to begin career in entry-level positions.
  • Pair an art degree with other career interests to increase opportunities and provide supplemental income.
  • Develop skills in business management, computers, marketing, and other related areas to increase marketability.

Related Fields

Art Museums/Galleries

  • Education
  • Administration
  • Curatorial
  • Conservation
  • Registrar
  • Collections Management
  • Sales
  • Publications
  • Development
  • Public Relations
  • Exhibit Design/Preparation
  • Archivist
  • Tour Guides/Docent

Employers

  • Government or private museums
  • Local historical societies
  • Galleries

Strategies

  • Intern or volunteer in an art museum. Develop strength in art history areas.
  • Enhance computer skills.
  • Earn a business minor.
  • Acquire strong skills in research, fund-raising, speaking, and writing.
  • Earn an advanced degree in an academic discipline or museum studies for greater career opportunities.
  • Each specialty has varying qualifications and required training.
  • Develop good interpersonal skills, including the ability to work well on teams.

Fine Arts

Employers

  • Self-employed
  • Shared studios
  • Historic sites
  • School/Community programs

Strategies

  • Prepare a strong portfolio.
  • Participate in juried shows.
  • Secure guild membership.
  • Consider developing a source of supplemental income.
  • Learn to network and make contacts.
  • Develop strong skills in area of interest.
  • Obtain experience through apprenticeships, internships, or volunteering.

Commercial Art

  • Graphic Art
  • Computer Graphics
  • Illustration
  • Advertising

Employers

  • Newspapers
  • Publishing houses
  • Advertising agencies
  • Design firms
  • Large companies - product design divisions
  • Department stores
  • Television and motion picture industry
  • Non-technical and technical books, magazines, and trade publications
  • Internet media companies
  • Self-employed (freelance)

Strategies

  • Prepare a strong portfolio.
  • Gain computer and technical skills.
  • Find an internshipin a design firm.
  • Work on campus publications in design or layout.
  • Obtain summeror part-time experience with book, magazine, or newspaper publishers.
  • Develop attention to detail and ability to meet deadlines.
  • Supplement curriculum with coursework in advertising or business.

Education

  • Studio Art
  • Fine Arts
  • Art History

Employers

  • Art schools
  • Public and private schools (K-12) Colleges and universities
  • Adult and community programs
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Alternative schools
  • Group homes

Strategies

  • Obtain certification for public school teaching.
  • Graduate degree usually requiredfor post- secondary teaching.
  • Develop a specialty area.
  • Work or volunteer as a tutor, camp counselor, Big Brother/Sister, or after-school program counselor.
  • Become a member of art clubs.
  • Obtain substitute-teaching experience.
  • Develop strength in art history areas.

Art Therapy

Employers

  • Hospitals, nursing homes
  • Mental health facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Nonprofit organizations

Strategies

  • Requires specialized training and certification, usually a master's degree in art therapy.
  • Supplement curriculum with psychology, social work, or counseling courses.
  • Gain experience working with diverse populations.

Media

  • Sales
  • Programming
  • Design
  • Video
  • Production
  • Editing
  • Art Journalism
  • Illustration
  • Art Criticism
  • Animation/Cartoons

Employers

  • Corporate media departments
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Nonprofit agencies
  • Public relations and advertising firms
  • Independent production companies
  • Art-related publications
  • Publishing houses
  • Newspapers and magazines

Strategies

  • Compile an up-to-date portfolio.
  • Gain knowledge of a variety of technical equipment.
  • Develop strong computer skills.
  • Participate in student theatrical productions.
  • Serve as audio-visual aide for campus films and lectures.
  • Act as photographer for campus events.
  • Work on student publications.
  • Gain experience through internships in media or related areas.
  • Supplement curriculum with courses in business, journalism, or broadcasting/electronic media.

Other Professions

  • Advertising Artist
  • Advertising Designer
  • Aerial Photographer
  • Airbrush Artist
  • Animator
  • Antiques Dealer
  • Architectural Model Builder
  • Architectural Renderer
  • Art Administrator
  • Art Agent
  • Art Buyer
  • Art Instructor
  • Art Specialist
  • Audio-Visual Specialist
  • Book Designer
  • Bookplate Artist
  • CAD Designer
  • Calligrapher
  • Car and Bus Card Artist
  • Caricaturist
  • Cartoonist
  • Catalog Illustrator
  • CD/Record Cover Designer
  • Ceramic Artist
  • Children’s Book Illustrator
  • Cinematographer
  • Comic Strip Artist
  • Consultant
  • Corporate Designer
  • Custom Decorator
  • Desktop Publishing Artist
  • Elementary Art Teacher
  • Exhibit Designer
  • Fashion Artist/Designer
  • Filmmaker
  • Flatware Designer
  • Floral Designer
  • Freelance Letter/Designer
  • Furniture Designer
  • Gallery Owner
  • Gemologist
  • Glass Blower
  • Graphic Arts Technician
  • Graphic Designer
  • Graphic Designer Billboard Artist
  • Greeting Card Artist
  • Illustrator
  • Interior Designer
  • Magazine Designer
  • Medical Illustrator
  • Motion Picture Artist
  • Motion Picture Animator
  • Motion Picture Scenic Designer
  • Municipal Graphic Designer
  • Mural Artist
  • Museum Artist
  • Newspaper Artist
  • Newspaper Illustrator
  • Newspaper Layout Artist
  • Package Designer
  • Photographer
  • Printing Crafts Worker
  • Printing Store Manager/Owner
  • Production Artist
  • Production Coordinator
  • Production Manager
  • Professor of Art/Art History 
  • Stylist
  • Tattoo Artist
  • Technical Illustrator
  • Textile Designer
  • TV Graphic Designer
  • Visual Merchandise

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Mark Fauble  110 Student Services Building  mbfaubl@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-5825 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Archana Shekara  Center for Visual Arts 212C  ashekar@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-7546 

Applying to Illinois State

New freshmen will initially apply to the Art major. Students interested in this sequence will submit a five-piece admissions portfolio to the School of Art upon the university accepting the admissions application. While in the middle of Graphic Design II, students can choose to apply to the Graphic Design sequence.

Digital Portfolio Requirements

With the exception of Art History students, all students seeking to major in Art must submit a digital portfolio for review directly to the School of Art. Once you have submitted your completed application to Illinois State University Admissions, you will receive an email from the School of Art including directions about how to submit your portfolio. For admission to the Art major, the portfolio will be considered in relation to all other admission materials, including class standing, ACT/SAT scores, and prior college-level records. Each review session lasts approximately 2-3 weeks. At the end of that time, decision letters will be mailed to the address you supplied in your portfolio. Decisions will NOT be available over the telephone. Late portfolios will be considered, but you must submit to one of the official deadlines below in order to be considered for School of Art scholarships.

When ready, attach all necessary materials to an email, and send to either Nancy Fewkes (nfewkes@ilstu.edu) or Kelly Peiffer (kdpeiff@ilstu.edu). Along with your application, your digital portfolio must include:

  • Five artworks that you consider to be your best work in any medium. Digital images should approximately meet these specifications:
    • File format: JPEG file format only
    • Resolution: 300 dpi
    • File size: Approximately 1.0 MB (1000 KB) each
    • File name: identify each image with name and number (e.g., Redbird-001.jpg; Redbird-002.jpg)
  • One indexed list of these five artworks
    • Include the title, description, medium, and size of each artwork on the list, identify each with the same number as the JPEG filename.
  • Any necessary weblinks (including YouTube and Vimeo) may be embedded into the indexed list, a PDF, or a document file.

Make sure that the artwork is squared in the viewfinder, is well-lit, and in focus. It is important to record color and exposure accurately, so be sure to set the proper camera "white balance" and exposure for the lighting conditions. (Consult your camera manual.) It is also important to eliminate distracting backgrounds by filling the viewfinder as much as possible with the artwork without cropping the artwork itself. Use a neutral cloth or wall as a backdrop. If these cannot be controlled, then you are encouraged to carefully crop out any distracting background in a photo editing program. Accurate and simple representations of your artworks are paramount.

Transfer students: Work submitted should reflect college-level art classes already taken.

Portfolio Review Sessions (2017-2018)

All portfolio review sessions are open to both freshman and transfer applicants.

Applications valid for Spring and Fall 2018

  • September 18: Ensures consideration for advanced registration
  • October 9: Regular submission date
  • October 24: Regular submission date
  • November 13: Regular submission date
  • December 4: Final review session for spring 2018 semester

Applications valid for only Fall 2018

  • February 5: Ensures consideration for advanced registration
  • February 19: Transfers are strongly encouraged to submit by this date
  • March 12: Final review session for fall 2018 semester

Plan of Study

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Applying to Illinois State

Students interested in the Graphic Design sequence will submit a five-piece admissions portfolio to the School of Art upon the University accepting the admissions application. After being admitted to the School of Art as an Art major, students can choose to apply directly to the Graphic Design sequence through a separate portfolio review by the Graphic Design faculty.

Digital Portfolio Requirements

With the exception of Art History students, all students seeking to major in art must submit a digital portfolio for review directly to the School of Art. Once you have submitted your completed application to Illinois State University Admissions, you will receive an email from the School of Art including directions about how to submit your portfolio. For admission to the Art major, the portfolio will be considered in relation to all other admission materials, including class standing, ACT/SAT scores, and prior college-level records. Each review session lasts approximately 2-3 weeks. At the end of that time, decision letters will be mailed to the address you supplied in your portfolio. Decisions will NOT be available over the telephone. Late portfolios will be considered, but you must submit to one of the official deadlines below in order to be considered for School of Art scholarships.

When ready, attach all necessary materials to an email, and send to either Nancy Fewkes (nfewkes@ilstu.edu) or Kelly Peiffer (kdpeiff@ilstu.edu). Along with your application, your digital portfolio must include:

  • Five artworks that you consider to be your best work in any medium. Digital images should approximately meet these specifications:
    • File format: JPEG file format only
    • Resolution: 300 dpi
    • File size: Approximately 1.0 MB (1000 KB) each
    • File name: identify each image with name and number (e.g., Redbird-001.jpg; Redbird-002.jpg)
  • One indexed list of these five artworks
    • Include the title, description, medium, and size of each artwork on the list, identify each with the same number as the JPEG filename.
  • Any necessary weblinks (including YouTube and Vimeo) may be embedded into the indexed list, a PDF, or a document file.

Make sure that the artwork is squared in the viewfinder, is well-lit, and in focus. It is important to record color and exposure accurately, so be sure to set the proper camera "white balance" and exposure for the lighting conditions. (Consult your camera manual.) It is also important to eliminate distracting backgrounds by filling the viewfinder as much as possible with the artwork without cropping the artwork itself. Use a neutral cloth or wall as a backdrop. If these cannot be controlled, then you are encouraged to carefully crop out any distracting background in a photo editing program. Accurate and simple representations of your artworks are paramount.

Transfer students: Work submitted should reflect college-level art classes already taken.

Portfolio Review Sessions (2017-2018)

All portfolio review sessions are open to both freshman and transfer applicants.

Applications valid for Spring and Fall 2018

  • September 18: Ensures consideration for advanced registration
  • October 9: Regular submission date
  • October 24: Regular submission date
  • November 13: Regular submission date
  • December 4: Final review session for spring 2018 semester

Applications valid for only Fall 2018

  • February 5: Ensures consideration for advanced registration
  • February 19: Transfers are strongly encouraged to submit by this date
  • March 12: Final review session for fall 2018 semester

Minimum GPA

2.00

Middle 50% GPA

2.73 - 3.56

Required Courses

None

Recommended Courses

  • Art Core Fundamentals (2-D, 3-D, Drawing)

Additional Information

Portfolio required for admission.

Plan of Study

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Nancy Fewkes  Center for Visual Arts 119  nfewkes@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-5627 
Deanna Deatrick  Center for Visual Arts 119  dsdeatr@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-5605 

Middle 50% GPA

2.73 - 3.56

Plan of Study

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Application Period

Applications are always accepted.

Application Information

Current students can use the Apply to Your Program tool on My.IllinoisState.edu.

Major Requirements

For readmitted students only. Students interested in this program will apply to Art, then be asked for more specific information as current students to gain admission to the sequence.

Digital Portfolio Requirements

With the exception of Art History students, all students seeking to major in art must submit a digital portfolio for review directly to the School of Art. Once you have submitted your completed application to Illinois State University Admissions, you will receive an email from the School of Art including directions about how to submit your portfolio. For admission to the Art major, the portfolio will be considered in relation to all other admission materials, including class standing, ACT/SAT scores, and prior college-level records. Each review session lasts approximately 2-3 weeks. At the end of that time, decision letters will be mailed to the address you supplied in your portfolio. Decisions will NOT be available over the telephone. Late portfolios will be considered, but you must submit to one of the official deadlines below in order to be considered for School of Art scholarships.

When ready, attach all necessary materials to an email, and send to either Nancy Fewkes (nfewkes@ilstu.edu) or Kelly Peiffer (kdpeiff@ilstu.edu). Along with your application, your digital portfolio must include:

  • Five artworks that you consider to be your best work in any medium. Digital images should approximately meet these specifications:
    • File Format: JPEG file format only
    • Resolution: 300 dpi
    • File Size: Approximately 1.0 MB (1000 KB) each
    • File Name: identify each image with name and number (e.g., Redbird-001.jpg; Redbird-002.jpg)
  • One indexed list of these five artworks
    • Include the title, description, medium, and size of each artwork on the list, identify each with the same number as the JPEG filename.
  • Any necessary weblinks (including YouTube and Vimeo) may be embedded into the indexed list, a PDF, or a document file.

Make sure that the artwork is squared in the viewfinder, is well-lit, and in focus. It is important to record color and exposure accurately, so be sure to set the proper camera "white balance" and exposure for the lighting conditions. (Consult your camera manual.) It is also important to eliminate distracting backgrounds by filling the viewfinder as much as possible with the artwork without cropping the artwork itself. Use a neutral cloth or wall as a backdrop. If these cannot be controlled, then you are encouraged to carefully crop out any distracting background in a photo editing program. Accurate and simple representations of your artworks are paramount.

Transfer students: Work submitted should reflect college-level art classes already taken.

Portfolio Review Sessions (2017-2018)

All portfolio review sessions are open to both freshman and transfer applicants.

Applications valid for Spring and Fall 2018

  • September 18: Ensures consideration for advanced registration
  • October 9: Regular submission date
  • October 24: Regular submission date
  • November 13: Regular submission date
  • December 4: Final review session for spring 2018 semester

Applications valid for only Fall 2018

  • February 5: Ensures consideration for advanced registration
  • February 19: Transfers are strongly encouraged to submit by this date
  • March 12: Final review session for fall 2018 semester

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Nancy Fewkes  Center for Visual Arts 119  nfewkes@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-5627 
Deanna Deatrick  Center for Visual Arts 119  dsdeatr@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-5605 
2016-08-03T11:23:40.188-05:00 2016
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