The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Academics

Design & Creative Technologies

The discipline of design integrates visual art, creative technology, and problem solving, across various media, to prepare the next generation of forward-thinking creatives. In design studio courses, you can create posters, books, graphic identities, typography, infographics, products, mobile app concepts, games, websites and more. Focus is placed on experimentation and critical engagement with contemporary culture, emphasizing topics core to design, such as: accessibility, equity, and sustainability. Coursework focuses on the aesthetic, technical, and intellectual skills necessary to pursue a design practice and career. You will undertake real world assignments in an internship and/or service-learning based course, honing your sense of art production and design in everyday contexts.

 

Can I take graphic design courses at UMass Amherst?

Yes! Undergraduates majoring in Art may enroll in our Bachelor of Fine Arts Program, tailored to students who plan to become 21st century professional artists and designers. Art majors who are looking for the broadest available liberal arts education may choose our Bachelor of Arts in Art degree. Students in all degree programs, including the Minor in Art, who are interested in graphic design and related fields are welcome to participate in design and creative technologies special-topics courses offered each semester.

The Department of Art is preparing to launch a Certificate Program in Design & Creative Technologies in the coming semesters, pending University approval. Currently, BFA students interested in graphic design, motion graphics, and/or digital art typically focus In Animation or Intermedia and gear their upper-level electives in design. Students interested in 3D design, furniture design, or digital and traditional fabrication are encouraged to take courses in Sculpture. Those interested in games and visual stroytelling are encouraged to pursue courses in Game Design and Interactive Narrative available with the Department of English.

Contact Assistant Professor Jeff Kasper with any questions: jeffkasper@umass.edu.

 

What kind of internship and job opportunities are there for UMass design students?

Student may pursue internships on or off campus as part of their studies at UMass. A maximum of 12 Independent Study and/or Practicum credits can be applied toward degree requirements. Students have interned with the University Museum of Contemporary Art, Herter Art Gallery, Department of Theater, and with cultural institutions, marketing and design firms, among others. Independent and community-engeged projects have recently been offered with Paperbark Magazine and Mass 4-H. Graduates are currently working in the non-profit, publishing, film, and technology sectors, as social media and communications associates, graphic and motion designers, program managers, user experience designers, and more!

Each semester Arts Extension Service offers an Arts & Humantities Internship Fair. Visit the HFA Careers Office for more information about jobs and internships in the field.

 

Current Course Offerings:

ART 297DD - DIGITAL DESIGN

Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: ART 131
Offered in Fall Semester

Digital media is a key creative tool for artists and designers. Lectures, readings, and tutorials introduce students to contemporary design practice, including: digital typography, page design and layout, vector based graphics, and design for the screen. Design projects range from purely textual, single and multi-page document design, to problems that require the successful integration of typography, image, and basic interaction. Students explore how context and form affect meaning and message through the creation of conceptual solutions. Assignments and exercises assist in developing fluency in creative problem-solving and visual communications using desktop publishing and computer graphics software.

 

ART 397DT - DESIGN THINKING

Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: 200-level ART course
Offered in Spring Semester

This course offers a practical, experience-based introduction to design thinking tools and techniques. Students explore design for social impact through individual assignments and by working in teams. In this service-learning course, students will participate in a community project or placement guided by an organizational partner that contributes to the public good. By developing projects on and off campus, students will build core skills in creative research, art direction, visual design, prototyping, and the ability to work collaboratively. 

This course is a designated “Service-Learning” course, endorsed by the office of Civic Engagement and Service-Learning at UMass Amherst. Design Thinking provides opportunities for students to be involved in a community engaged project or collaborative placement guided by appropriate input from local constituents and an organizational partner that contributes to the public good.

 

ART 398P - PORTFOLIO PRACTICUM

Number of Credits: 1
Prerequisites: Junior and Senior ART and BDIC majors only
Offered in Spring Semester

This practicum is geared towards students interested in preparing effective job search tools, resumes and digital portfolios of creative work. Students who have previously taken an internship in design or creative fields develop a presentation that includes work samples from the internship experience. Additionally, this practicum includes guest speakers from the university, local organizations, and creative industry geared towards students' exposure to the professional workplace for artists, makers, creative technologists, and designers.

 

ART 497P - DESIGN PROJECTS & PRODUCTION

Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: 200-level ART course
Offered in Spring Semester

Exploration of form, content, function, strategy, and problem solving by integrating digital media, art production, and interdisciplinary visual design methodologies. Students will engage in various intermediate and advanced level studio projects using industry standard software to create and prepare final work for screen, print, and digital fabrication. Topics may include both practical and conceptual applications of data visualization, visual identity, product development, publication design, user experience, motion design, and interactive projects.

 

Recommended Courses:

ART 274 - ANIMATION FUNDAMENTALS

Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: ART 104, 110, 120, or 131
Offered in Fall Semester

Introduction to traditional animation techniques as used in fine art animation and experimental film/video.  Basics of locomotion, timing, lighting, camera moves, exposure, sound design and audio an visual editing.

 

ART 275 - DIGITAL IMAGING

Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: ART 104, 110, 120, or 131
Offered Fall and Spring Semester

This course explores the creative possibilities of digital image creation and manipulation using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.  Through demonstrations, creative technical assignments, students explore the digital workflow in independent projects involving sustained inquiry into self selected theme.

 

ART 385 - MEDIA AND MOTION GRAPHICS

Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: ART 274
Offered Spring Semester

Experimental and narrative film titles and interactive art are studied and used as a catalyst for creation of experimental and applied motion graphics. Previous sound and visual editing experience helpful.

 

ART 345 - DIGITAL MEDIA: PRINTMAKING

Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: ART 104, 110, 120, or 131

This course explores, through demonstrations and technical assignments, the creative possiblities of digital image creation and manipulation using primarily Photoshop, and the printmaking technique of Photopolymer Gravure processes.