Requirements for
Effective Programs in Graphic Design


What is Basic Design?

Basic Design is the introductory educational program for students who seek a career as a visual artist. Sometimes Basic Design is taught within the context of a single discipline, but in most instances, it is a general program preparing students to enter any one of several disciplines.

Basic Design is expected to provide a foundation that is applicable to all visual art programs. Basic Design equally prepares students who elect painting, design, sculpture, printmaking, photography, crafts or architecture as a major.

Because of general requirements for Basic Design dictated by content that is in common to all visual disciplines, imagery is more abstract than representational, and the program deals more with theory, formal values and less with practice.

What are Reasonable Objectives for
a Basic Design Program?

The foremost objective is visual literacy. Visual literacy is defined as a ability to view nature, objects or any imagery as abstractions for purpose of making visual judgments. It includes an ability to see form or illusion of form, space (both positive and negative) or illusion of space, and interaction of color.

Students should be familiar with a variety of visual elements such as line, shape, scale, texture, point, plane, and others.

Students should understand visual principles and all the various interpretations for each. Visual principles describe tension, figure ground or activation of space, spatial definitions, configurations, color interaction, rhythm, pattern or interrupted pattern or others.

Students apply for the program, they are screened and only a fixed number accepted. Acceptance into the program is based on demonstration of talent and commitment. Sections are limited to no more than eighteen to twenty-four students.

Students are expected to

) Know the terminology associated with Basic Design.

) Show initiative in exploring concepts.

) Be self-critical and able to make visual decisions and refinements.

) Have strong eye and hand skills and able to discern minute variations.

) Have good work habits and be disciplined.

) Demonstrate dexterity in using rudimentary tools.

) Have experience with appropriate media.

) Have technical knowledge of tools, materials and processes at a fundamental level.

) Have exposure to historical precedents, works and figures in art and design.

) Have the rudiments of a value system by which to make visual decisions in evaluating work or that of others.

) Have the vocabulary and criteria with which to discuss work with teachers.

Students who do not meet performance standards or other conditions of the program are dropped without hesitation.

The key factor to success is in the choice of faculty. It has been said that there are no bad students, only bad teachers.

Faculty themselves must be graduates from a structured program, educated in and knowledgeable of, visual principles and dedicated to teaching at the beginning level. Faculty may be drawn from any of the visual disciplines such as painting, design, sculpture or drawing.

An ability to communicate with students is more important than professional accomplishment or talent. Communication is not in reference only to verbal expression. Some teachers can communicate more with a finger than others who are exceptionally articulate. It is only important that teachers can communicate with students no matter how.

Faculty must be consistent and resolute in demands on students for all aspects of the program. If there is more than one section, it is best if the same faculty member teaches both sections. Faculty must be compatible with one another and willing to work as a team.


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