Visual Communication Design

The practice of visual communication design at The Ohio State University encourages students to explore a range of technologies that support the many areas of specialization offered by this complex profession. The use of digital tools, including advanced computing technology, to visualize and present translations of complex data and ideas is fundamental to our practices. Understanding the theories and practices of user interfaces supports the development of interactive design solutions for web and mobile applications. Students study and explore research-based approaches to the visual design of information, the development of brand identities based on present and future conditions, and the creation of way-finding systems for navigating complex environments. The production of printed materials such as books, brochures, packaging, and posters is also supported as a fundamental aspect of visual communication design. Our visual communication design program culminates in a final project that demonstrates each student's comprehensive knowledge and ability to work independently.

Career Prospects in Visual Communication Design


Students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Design take positions with design consulting offices, corporate design departments, and government design agencies.

The work of design occurs in either the context of consultant design, where independent design firms provide services to clients, or in the context of corporate, governmental, or non-governmental/not-for-profit design, where design services are provided within an organization.

Consultant design offices can be as small as one person -- an office of 15-20 people is considered relatively large -- and the largest might employ 100 or more. Consultant offices may specialize in one design discipline, or even a subcategory of that specialty. Consultant offices can also be multidisciplinary, and employ designers from all categories, as well as engineers, researchers, marketing and human factors experts, etc.

Corporate design groups exist in all major industries, and employ designers of all disciplines. Organizations that place emphasis on public communications typically maintain a visual communication design department.

Design offers many opportunities for a challenging career. Many designers begin with project work, and advance to research, coordination and management. Planning activities often place designers in the role of analyzing business trends, and establishing strategic goals for design activities. Many organizations value the contributions designers make to their businesses, and provide good opportunities for advancement.

2013–2014 Student Achievement Data


Bachelor of Science in Design (BSD) - Visual Communication Design

  • Job Placement: Of the students who graduated in May 2014, 80% were awaiting official offers.
  • Acceptance into Graduate Programs: 100% of students from the May 2014 graduating class who applied to graduate school were accepted.
  • Graduation Rates: 93% (14 of 15) of the students from the class of 2014 graduated in 4 years.
  • Retention/Attrition: 100% of the students enrolled during the spring 2013 semester returned in autumn 2013, putting attrition at 0%.

Professional Organizations


Professional organizations play an important role in the development of design disciplines and provide valuable resources to their student and professional members. The following organizations are all relevant to Visual Communication Design.

American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA)
Columbus Society of Communicating Arts (CSCA)
Interaction Design Association (IxDA)
Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD)
Usability Professionals Association (UPA)

Curriculum and Course Sequence


All required courses in the major programs must be taken in an exact sequence, as they are offered only once per academic year. Any student failing a required course will be removed from the major program and be required to stop the course sequence. They will then restart their program sequence by taking the course again the following academic year.

Year One

Autumn Semester
Design Foundations, 9 hours
Arts and Sciences 1100.09: College Survey, 1 hour
GE Courses, 6 hours

Spring Semester
Design Foundations, 9 hours
GE Courses, 6 hours

Year Two

Autumn Semester
Design 3103: Intro to Vis Com Design 1, 3 hours
Design 3200: Design Research 1, 3 hours
Design 3400.03: Design Media 1 for Visual Communication Design, 3 hours
Design 3503: Typographic Design, 3 hours
GE Courses, 6 hours

Spring Semester
Design 3153: Intro to Vis Com Design 2, 3 hours
Design 3450.03: Design Media 2 for Visual Communication Design, 3 hours
Design 3550.03: Materials + Processes for Visual Communication Design, 3 hours
GE Courses, 9-11 hours

Year Three

Autumn Semester
Design 4103: Intermediate Vis Com Design 1, 3 hours
Design 4200: Design Research 2, 3 hours
Design 4400.03: Design Media 3 for Visual Communication Design, 3 hours
Elective Course, 3 hours
GE Courses, 6 hours

Spring Semester
Design 4153: Intermediate Vis Com Design 2, 3 hours
Design 4650: Collaborative Design, 3 hours
Design 4750: Professional Practices (weeks 1 to 7), 3 hours
Elective Courses, 6 hours

Year Four

Autumn Semester

Design 5103: Advanced Vis Com Design 1, 3 hours
Design 5200: Design Research 3, 3 hours
Design 5800.03: Design Seminar for Visual Communication Design, 3 hours
GE Courses, 6 hours

Spring Semester
Design 5153: Advanced Vis Com Design 2, 3 hours
Design 5453: Vis Com Design Media 4, 3 hours
Elective Course, 3 hours
GE Courses, 7 hours

Suggested Electives


Design 4797: Study Tour
Design 4998: Undergraduate Scholarship 1
Design 4998H: Honors Undergraduate Scholarship 1
Design 4999: Undergraduate Scholarship 2
Design 4999H: Honors Undergraduate Scholarship 2
Design 5191: Internship
Design 5193: Individual Studies
Design 5194: Group Studies
Design 5600E: Design Matters (Honors Embedded)
Design 5600S: Design Matters (Service)
*Arch 2220: Sustainability and the Built Environment
*Arch 2300: Outlines of the Built Environment
*Arch 2310: Introduction to Design
*Arch 4798: Study Tour
*Arch 5110: History of Architecture 1
*Arch 5120: History of Architecture 2

* For information about courses outside of the Department of Design, please search the Course Catalog.

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