Tap into your creative side and learn how to produce designs that inspire and influence with the online BA in Graphic Design and Media Arts from SNHU. Whether you dream of the fast pace of an agency, the rigors of a design firm or the independence of running your own shop, our online graphic design degree program will teach you how to translate your ideas through concept, design and digital media. Choose the general design and media arts track or focus your degree with our web design concentration.
Coursework in SNHU's online graphic design degree program is built around training you in aesthetics and creative problem solving using the latest technology, while also providing cultural and social context for the work you do. Have the creative vision but not yet familiar with today's design technology tools? Ramp up or refresh your graphic design software skills with the elective GRA 100: Introduction to Graphic Design Technology.
As a private, nonprofit university, SNHU has one mission - to help you see yourself succeed. The benefits of earning your bachelor's in graphic design and media arts at SNHU include:
Armed with a bachelor's in graphic design, you can work in a variety of corporate, government and nonprofit organizations or for yourself. Positions include:
A poster design created for a mock lecture series to show balance of design principles and topical information.
Student Art Exhibition: 1st Place in Print
This poster is one of a series that was created for a friend of mine who teaches economics at another university. The purpose of this poster series was to draw attention to and promote classes offered through the university's economics department.
Student Art Exhibition: 2nd Place in Print
The goal of this piece was to create an invitation for a fundraiser which should include an infographic with some statistics that would spark interest in the inside.
Student Art Exhibition: 2nd Place in Photography
I wanted to experiment and see if I could pull off some similar shots to what the professionals for publications like National Geographic can do. Jeremy received second place in the photography section of the SNHU Student Art Exhibition.
Student Art Exhibition: 1st Place in Photography
The goal was to visually show the impact of what Martin Luther King Jr. did in his time and how it is still impacting us in 2015. Johnathon received first place in the photography section of the SNHU Student Art Exhibition.
Student Art Exhibition: 2nd Place in Web Design
The website I created is used to inform the customer what we do and sell our service. Danielle received second place in the web design section of the SNHU Student Art Exhibition.
A fictional magazine cover for DYNAMIC magazine featuring Rammstein.
An example of a magazine cover created for a women's surfing magazine.
Informative poster for the Tahoe National Forest Conservation Organization to educate the public on the forests' vital role in drinking water availability.
Label and packaging design for Twist Sparkling Water.
Excerpts of a game day program made for semi-pro soccer team.
The online graphic design degree curriculum is taught by award-winning creative faculty while using the most advanced technology available. Enjoy small classes where feedback comes directly from instructors who understand the creative process. Learn more and view the work of our current students.
SNHU's bachelor's in graphic design and media arts program includes:
General Education Program
Our programs are designed to equip you with the skills and insights you need to move forward. In recent years, employers have stressed the need for graduates with higher order skills - the skills that go beyond technical knowledge - such as:
All bachelor's students are required to take general education classes. Through foundation, exploration and integration courses, students learn to think critically, creatively and collaboratively, giving you the edge employers are looking for.
This is an introduction to the practice of media production and the study of visual media literacy. The course examines the fundamental components and structure of moving image texts, explores how dynamic relationships between those elements convey meaning, and then exercise that knowledge through media production. Production design, language, technology, and methods will be discussed enabling all students in the class to have a common language of image analysis and creation. Readings and discussions on topics such as cinematography, narrative meaning, image and sound design, editing, genres, and culture will be included. Creative interpretative and expression of ideas will be exercised in the production of media.
This course is an introduction to the principles and practices of graphic design. Students are introduced through lecture, demonstration and hands-on computer work to the basic elements of graphic visual communication. Adobe Illustrator is used as a primary tool in exploring visual perception through a variety of creative exercises that familiarize the student with basic visual principles such as figure/ground manipulation, shape grouping, letterform shape creation, and grid and system creation. Formal elements of graphic design such as line, shape, color, texture, pattern, balance, symmetry, rhythm, space and unity are thoroughly explored by example and hands-on computer exercises; special topics included are: designing with type, layout strategies, logo design, symbol and pictogram development and stationery systems.
This course is an introduction to the software application Adobe InDesign designed for the novice user. The Macintosh platform is used in the classroom studio lab, and the student is introduced to the creative and practical aspects of the desktop publishing program that is considered indispensable in the contemporary communications and design industries. This course is based on a series of introductory exercises and a regimen of hands-on practice that teaches software and design skills; students learn how to combine the use of InDesign with other professional graphics and work-processing software such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Word.
This course examines the basic elements and principles of design, including balance, emphasis, proportion and rhythm. Students are introduced to visual designing systems that guide the student through the application of computer graphics tools. The basic visual design elements of line, space, texture and color are creatively explored as students complete a series of projects that relate to advertising layout and design and visual merchandising.
Using industry standard image editing software software, this course is an introduction to professional computer graphics creation and to the software and hardware typically used in the graphic design, video, photography and interactive Web/multimedia industries. Image editing and color management systems will be discussed and demonstrated. The important differences between vector and bitmap graphics will be defined, as will the significant differences in preparing images for print, broadcast and Web distribution. Students will be encouraged to experiment with their own and preexisting images using sophisticated digital editing techniques such as layering, channel masking, filtering, cloning and montaging. Special attention will be paid to copyright awareness in the age of the digital image.
This course focuses on digital graphic design theory and its application to web design. Students learn about the technical requirements of professionally created digital web documents. Students will be focused on designing communication and marketing applications for the World Wide Web all the while considering user experience and functionality. Differences in designing for the desktop computer and mobile internet appliances will be a topic for discussion and incorporated in hands-on exercises and projects. Each student will develop several minisites and by the end of the semester will have produced at least one deployable site. Topics include design strategies, web authoring/editing environments, color calibration and aesthetics, web typography, style sheets, template use, graphics format selecting and optimization, and HTML coding and debugging.
Typography deals with the language of type, the history of typography, typeface and character recognition, legibility, appropriate uses of measure, manuscript specifications and the individual visual dynamics of letterforms. In this class students will learn how to work with type as a stand-alone design element. Students will also learn how to incorporate type successfully with imagery. The assignments will cover a broad range of type applications. Students will primarily focus their efforts towards developing a greater understanding of typographic form through exercises based on the setting of words, phrases, sentences and short paragraphs. Students will first focus on the appropriate setting of spaces in-between the letters that make up words and projects will gradually increase in scope and complexity up to the setting of pages of text with multiple levels of hierarchical meaning.
This course engages upper-level design students in current industry standards used in designing content for multimedia and interactive communication. Emphasis is placed on designing for computers, tablets and phones. The course is divided into teaching modules emphasizing the integration of several software packages for design problem solving. Emphasis is placed on conceptualization and the mastery of professional site mapping and wire framing techniques. Exercises and projects provide challenging design problem-solving experience. Project themes involve self-promotion and client-based work. All projects rely on the student's ability to integrate previously mastered techniques in a broad range of software.
This hands-on computer graphics course combines skills from previous design courses to explore the history, process and essential skills required to develop successful brand identity systems. Topics such as logo design, selection of fonts and colors, and the development of branded marketing materials are covered in depth. In addition, the important techniques of imaging software integration and file format compatibilities are discussed and applied while preparing images for print, video and Web. At the conclusion of this course, students will have developed a complete branded identity system and assembled a portfolio presentation for public viewing.
Students create both digital and print portfolios that demonstrate competency in the graphic design and media arts program outcomes. Students showcase their professional design work, establish branded identities as working professionals, and engage in peer and professional critiques of design work in preparation for formal employment and contract interviews.
Total Credits: 120
Students enrolled in the Graphic Design and Media Arts programs (and associated concentrations) are responsible for ensuring they have the minimum system hardware, software, and photography equipment required in the courses in the program. System requirements often change, so it is important that students maintain awareness of the various minimum hardware requirements for the required software listed below.
The below computer specifications are recommended for students to meet the minimum system requirements of the software programs required for download in the program. Student discounts are available, your academic advisor will provide details.
Digital Camera (required in FAS-226, recommended for students to use throughout the program):
Please note that for students pursuing the BA in Digital Photography or the 3D Modeling and Animation concentration will need to be responsible for additional requirements.
Adobe Creative Cloud is required by all students in the Graphic Design and Media Arts program. Creative Cloud licenses are available at an educational discount directly through Adobe
Please note that Adobe’s terms and conditions require a full year contract for Creative Cloud.
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
*Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
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