Design Foundations


All design disciplines encompass a broad spectrum of foundational knowledge; not the least of which is thinking like a designer and embracing the research and design process. The First-Year Design Foundations course sequence consists of 18 credit hours of design coursework (9 in Autumn Semester, 9 in Spring Semester) and is the beginning of the interdisciplinary core coursework included in all of our design majors. During foundations, students focus on learning the basic drawing skills that enable designers to think visually and formulate ideas through sketching, mapping and making diagrams. Students practice using basic design software tools for depicting, creating, modifying and presenting. They are introduced to typographical principles and page design that enhance communication and presentation. Students work individually and in teams and participate in open discussions and reviews of design ideas.

This Design Foundations sequence begins with a highly competitive selection process to become a design foundations student and concludes with a competitive portfolio-based major admissions review process. More specific information about this process can be found below.


Curriculum and Course Sequence

All required courses in the Design Foundations Program must be taken in an exact sequence, as they are offered only once per academic year and each course is a required prerequisite for the following courses. Any student failing a required course will be removed from the foundations program and be required to stop the course sequence.

Required Courses

Subject Course # Title Credits Autumn Spring Summer
DESIGN 2110 Design Fundamentals I 3 Au    
DESIGN 2310 Visual Principles and Techniques I 3 Au    
DESIGN 2700 Introduction to Design Practice 3 Au Sp  
DESIGN 2130 Design Fundamentals III 3   Sp  
DESIGN 2330 Visual Principles and Techniques III 3   Sp  
DESIGN 2750 Design History 3   Sp  

Technology and Supply Requirements

The Department of Design is very sensitive to the economic, financial, and environmental costs traditionally associated with art and design educations. With this in mind, we have worked hard to reduce these costs where ever possible. 

Digital Flagship 

Having the right tools is important, which is why Ohio State provides a common device to support your learning and life through its Digital Flagship Initiative. The Department of Design supports this by having ensured that the Digital Flagship Devices are heavily integrated into the Foundations curriculum and that all learning goals can be met using this device. 

ALX Grant Lending Libraries

Many of the tools that we find useful in the foundation program are less useful to students later on in their curriculums. With this in mind, Ohio State Design has utilized Affordable Learning Exchange Grants to build a library of tools and systems for students to share material surpluses. Check out the video below for more. 

Design Foundations Supply Kit

To ensure that all students have access to quality materials for those consumables they are required to purchase, Ohio State Design works with our local Blick Art Materials store to create specific supply kits. We work with them to keep costs low, quality high, and to bring the student kits to Hayes Hall so that students have everything they need, when they need it.