Loyola University Chicago

Fine Arts

Department of Fine and Performing Arts

Major in Visual Communication

Visual Communication means the communication of information and ideas through a combination of text and image. Graphic designers use these elements to organize complex information in order to persuade, to entertain, and to educate a diverse audience. They work collaboratively with professionals in other fields to help meet these goals, building careers wherever communication is important.

The visual communication program in the Fine Arts Division at Loyola University Chicago prepares students to enter the workforce as design professionals, with graduates employed in graphic design studios, internal design teams, branding firms, cultural institutions, and other creative agencies. Students learn graphic design history, theory, and practice, in a rigorous program that covers the essentials needed by professionals. Graduates of the program have career opportunities in branding and corporate identity, advertising, web design, motion graphics, interface design, package design, mobile interactive design, digital product design, exhibit design, print and publication design, and more.                                                                                                                                                            

The history of graphic design is closely interwoven with the history of art, from the development of writing and record-keeping, to the invention of printing processes that were used by fine artists who also designed advertising posters, through the Bauhaus School and up to the present day when the computer has become a common tool for art and design. Allied studio art and art history programming provides opportunities for the development of an interdisciplinary approach, and a required internship gives students hands-on experience in the field.

For more information about Fine Arts careers, click here.

A total of 45 credit hours are required for the major in Visual Communication.

Foundation courses provide form-building essentials through a series of lectures, exercises and projects. These include FNAR 113 Drawing I, FNAR 112 Two-dimensional Design, FNAR 170 Three-dimensional Design, and FNAR 190 Color Theory (12 credits).

Art history courses provide a conceptual framework, with students choosing FNAR 202 Modern Art or FNAR 364 History of Graphic Design. Modern Art provides a broader arts context from which contemporary graphic design emerges, while History of Graphic Design focuses on the subject from pre-history to the present (3 credits). 

The applied courses include a four-course sequence in visual communication, a four-course sequence in digital media, and a photography course. FNAR 132 Visual Communication I introduces typography and composition, including the design of posters and booklets. FNAR 232 Visual Communication II uses the history of design as a source of research to be applied to student presentations and projects. FNAR 332 Visual Communication III prepares students for professional experience. FNAR 382 Visual Communication IV focuses on complex portfolio-ready projects. Adobe software programs Photoshop and Illustrator are the focus of FNAR 233 Digital Media I: Pixel and FNAR 234 Digital Media II: Vector. Principles of animation and design for web and mobile platforms are covered in FNAR 334 Digital Media III: Motion (elective) and FNAR 383 Digital Media IV: Interactive. FNAR 115 Foundations of Photography introduces students to the technical skills of manually operating a digital camera and using it to produce photography as art. (24 credits)

Two synthesis courses include FNAR 380 Internship I, a practical work experience in the field. FNAR 398 Senior Exhibition Preparation is an opportunity to work on a semester-long capstone project as a culmination of the program. (6 credits)

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the role of visual communication in the culture at large
  • An understanding of and experience in the variety of forms of visual communication from print to digital media, mastering the basics of visual form, color, typography, photography, layout, and interactive media
  • Technical skills used to produce visual communication digitally and by hand 
  • Knowledge of key historical periods in the history of graphic design
  • Skills in critical thinking, written and oral communication, visual literacy, and the conceptualization of self-developed projects 
  • Readiness for a career through a capstone project, an internship experience, and the preparation of a portfolio and related professional documents

 For information about Visual Communication course requirements, click here