In today’s world, visual artists touch virtually every commercial and media asset—from product packaging and in-store displays to advertisements and promotional print materials to television and video graphics to website and interactive media designs.
TFA’s Associate of Applied Science degree in Design & Visual Communication teaches students timeless design principles, contemporary technologies, and emerging trends employed in the visual communications industry today. Students have the opportunity to develop brand identity systems, product and package designs, websites and mobile applications, and social media and digital marketing campaigns—all while cultivating robust print and digital portfolios of original and client-based projects.
Starting their first semester, students dive into discipline courses while taking a mix of core studies courses taught in a way that relates to the media industry. Each student will take on various graphic design roles throughout their two-year program, working both individually and in teams to create a strong portfolio of original work. In addition, students will have opportunities to work with outside clients, building both resume and real-world perspective that will be essential in the professional world after graduation.
Considering a Graphic Design School in Chicago and unsure about the career outlook? In this Graphic Design program, students have the opportunity to build broad and transferrable skills in the principles of design for print and interactive applications. Here are some of the skills taught in the AAS in Design + Visual Communication program.
The AAS in Design + Visual Communication is designed to help students become skilled generalists in their field. Graduates may pursue entry level positions such as Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Motion Graphics Artist, Experiential Designer, and Associate Brand Manager. Students may also choose to submit their portfolio to be considered for TFA's bachelor’s in digital media with a major in digital art.
Talk to an admissions representative to learn more about earning your degree in Design + Visual Communication at TFA. Click here to get started.
The diverse and exciting career paths within graphic design require future designers to have much more than just a strong grasp of the basic tools. That’s why TFA’s Design + Visual Communication program injects real-world projects into the classroom experience as early as the first year of study. Unlike a typical school for graphic design that shield students from client-based projects, TFA establishes strong relationships with local and national clients who understand the value of working with our students. These relationships provide opportunities for our emerging professionals to learn, practice, and refine the aesthetic, technical and interpersonal skills needed to succeed in the professional design world.
Graphic design students at TFA grow into skilled, mature and experienced designers by working like professional designers. Under the sure guidance of our professional instructors, our students set up project pipelines, establish protocols with real clients, draft creative briefs, hold meetings and conference calls, set milestones and, of course, practice and refine their graphic design skills and on a wide range of unique projects. You would be hard pressed to find another school of graphic design that supports and executes more real-world, student-driven projects than the Design + Visual Communication program at TFA.
When you leave TFA, you’ll have much more than just a degree to show employers or clients. You will have a polished portfolio demonstrating your talents and skills with a multitude of projects ranging from real client style guides, to TV-ready motion graphics, to flourishing websites, to interactive design applications and beyond. Prospective employers will clearly see that you are a step ahead of your competition due to your unique client-based experiences, your deep knowledge of a variety of design tools and techniques, and your uncompromising work ethic and professionalism. We think you will agree that your choice to enroll at the best school for graphic design puts you on a clear path toward success well before you graduate.
FYE010. First Year Experience is a course designed to successfully onboard students to Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy. Taken in the first semester of enrollment, the course serves as both a training ground for the systems, rules, and culture of the college, as well as a consistent touch point for incoming students during their first semester on campus. Through a variety of lectures and activities designed to educate and inform, students achieve proficiency in student information systems, learning management systems, organizational strategies, time management, and professional correspondence. The course also provides the structure for students to practice skills, habits, and behaviors necessary to succeed in higher education. Total Contact Hours: 24 / Total Credit Hours: 0
MAS111. The Production-In-Action course offers every student direct, hands-on experience in completing a professional media production, which encompasses all disciplines at Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy. During Production-in-Action students collaborate with fellow students as well as industry professionals to create the finished product. Students will work as part of a cross discipline team to create digital assets for the production.Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
ENG101. Composition I is a reading/writing-intensive course that guides each student in establishing his or her writing process and in developing an individual style of written communication. The course curriculum encourages students to demonstrate the ability to organize information, edit, and revise written work, demonstrate an understanding of subject matter, and exhibit critical thinking skills. Through creative, narrative, persuasive, expository, and research-based writing, students strengthen and scaffold their reading comprehension skills, their ability to organize information from multiple sources, and analyze readings by a variety of writers. Emphasis is placed on writing as a means to self-discovery, as well as the value of the writer’s interaction with his/her audience. Underlying each assignment is the importance of demonstrating a mastery of standard American English and an ability to present written work in the correct format. The prerequisite for enrollment in Composition I is a minimum score of 8 on the written essay portion of the COMPASS® test. Students who score a 7 on the written essay will be reviewed for placement by faculty. In some cases, an instructor will require the student to attend the Writing Lab as part of his/her course work. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
SPH101. Oral Communication is a year one course designed to build students’ effectiveness as oral communicators. Assignments and exercises are designed to develop speech and presentation skills, and strategies for building confidence as public speakers. Students in this course will 1) develop awareness of the communication process; 2) learn various organizational and expressive strategies; 3) gain understanding of a variety of communication context; and 4) expand their critical skills in listening, reading, thinking,and speaking. Students will be required to deliver both extemporaneous speeches and fourplanned speeches/presentations, which demonstrate clear expression, reasoning, and knowledge of a topic. At the completion of the course, students will have gained confidence and competency in the practice of oral communication skills as well as an understanding of communication theory. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
HUM111. Humanities Survey offers students a humanities-based introduction to the psychological, social, anthropological, mythological and historical aspects of media. Using the classic hero's journey as a lens for study, this course encourages students to ideate and develop modern media projects that incorporate a deeper cultural awareness.Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
VCM103. Digital Image Manipulation exposes students to image manipulation through current and emerging techniques and software. Basics of still photography and composition will be explored, as well as the various manipulation strategies available through the computer, enabling students to communicate through sophisticated design manipulation. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
VCM105. Motion Graphics I provides an introduction to moving image design – the aesthetics and techniques in the development of titles, interstitials, moving graphics and animations in current and emerging software. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
VCM110. Principles of Design focuses on the history of design and its applications, as well as focuses on the basic principles of design: terminology, methods of problem-solving, aspects of composition, visual hierarchy, content development, scale, contrast and pattern. Students will study design movements while learning the fundamentals behind any good design. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
VCM112. User Interface + User Experience teaches students how to define the real needs and goals of a target audience, determine the range of required features and functionality of a given concept, and develop a style that communicates a relationship with the end user. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
VCM113. In Brand Identity, students will explore brand identity and develop corporate logo and identity packages while further exploring contemporary applications of design and communication. Students will work with in-house “clients” on design teams developing identity strategies and marketing materials. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
MTH101. General Math focuses on the development of the student’s ability to conduct mathematical reasoning and problem solving in a real-world context. Three or four topics are examined in-depth and may include geometry, linear programming, exponential and logarithmic functions, statistics, probability, graph theory, mathematical modeling, or game theory. Students also gain practice in collecting and analyzing data, and building simple mathematical models. Emphasis is placed on providing opportunities for students to enhance their critical thinking skills and confidence as problem-solvers and constructors of knowledge. Students work with calculators and personal computers as tools for learning. Prerequisite: MTH010 or a score of 30 or above on the Algebra portion of the COMPASS® test. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
ENG102. Composition II is designed to further develop the writing skills students developed in Composition I. Continuing to focus on the reading-writing connection, students explore issues and delve deeper into experiential knowledge through writing strategies. The course requires their written works to exhibit inventiveness of topic and mastery of subject germane to the student's major concentration. Through a variety of writing projects, students must show evidence of their commitment to communication through written expression and analysis of academic concerns. In order to succeed in this course, students must achieve proficiency in several writing techniques, demonstrate organizational and editorial strategies, and show competency in the use of standard American English. Above all, students' writing must clearly communicate ideas to an intended audience. Prerequisite: ENG101. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
VCM205. Motion Graphics II moves students through more advanced features and techniques in the development of complex info-graphics, lower-thirds, title and credit sequences and more. Building off of skills and experiences in previous coursework, students will combine a variety of different media into robust, engaging and informative animation experiences. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
VCM212. Package Design covers the basic design principles as applied to three-dimensional package design and corporate marketing strategies across multiple mediums. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
VCM215. Social Media Design provides an introduction to social media design and marketing tools, and enables students to hone their design skills through the integration of cutting edge marketing strategies and platforms for clients. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
VCM225. Flashpoint Academy Studios provides students with the unique opportunity to participate in a media arts production company. Working in teams, students are assigned client-based projects derived from inside the institution and from the public at large. Each faculty-supervised team is responsible for delivery of a professional, finished product for the client. Upon completion of the course, students will have gained experience in collaboration and accumulated professional work credits for their portfolios. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
VCM234. In Portfolio Development students work with their finished and in-progress assets to design, develop and present their strongest work in multiple portfolio formats expected of today's industry professional, including but not limited to: print books, web sites, motion reels and professional artist brand identity assets to prepare for the job market and the start of their careers. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3
VCM245. Advanced Topics: Brand Management is an intense practicum learning experience that prepares an emerging professional to pursue a career In the evolving world of design. Building off of the skills and experiences from previous courses, students will select, scope, design and manage a variety of projects that emphasize the critical elements of comprehensive brand consistency, evolution and management across a variety of media outlets, including print, motion graphics, interactive digital devices, live events and on-location installations. Total Contact Hours: 90 / Total Credit Hours: 3
VCM247. Advanced Topics: Experiential Design is an intense practicum learning experience that prepares an emerging professional to pursue a career In the evolving world of design. Building off of the skills and experiences from previous courses, students will select, scope, design and manage a variety of projects that emphasize the critical elements of comprehensive experience-based design across a variety of media outlets, including print, motion graphics, interactive digital devices, live events and on-location installations. Total Contact Hours: 90 / Total Credit Hours: 3
GAM135. The Interactive Design course is meant to introduce students to the creation, prototyping and documentation of the interactive user experience. Basic interactive design, interface design, information design, and human-computer interaction are also covered. A detailed study of how interactive software functions, including rule design, mechanics, balancing, social interaction and the integration of visual, audio, tactile and textual elements into game products are some of the topics covered. Game prototyping and design documentation are key focuses of this course. Total Contact Hours: 45 / Total Credit Hours: 3