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Graphic Design

The Graphic Design major is a professional program providing a sequenced curriculum structured to prepare students for successful transition to professional practice designing communications for a wide range of traditional and digital delivery. Graduating portfolios represent a rich experience in print design, branding, packaging, interactive media, advertising, typography, and image making. Students graduating from the program pursue careers in graphic design studios and advertising agencies throughout the country, or continue their education in M.F.A. programs.

The program provides a solid foundation of traditional art experiences and design practices and principles to build students' ability to create dynamic visual solutions. The core graphic design curriculum stresses essential competencies in conceptual problem solving, research, analysis and articulation, aesthetics, design theory, productivity, and the application of technology, necessary for both advanced exploration and entry into professional practice.

All graphic design students can expect a creative and collaborative environment built upon the experience of a faculty of practicing designers and design educators. Limited enrollment and class sizes ensure an intense and individualized course of study leading to a competitive portfolio for entry into the profession. Our dedicated state of the art facilities include classroom and production spaces built and equipped to facilitate instruction and invention with traditional and digital media. The program strongly encourages and supports critical interaction with the design community through internships, professional memberships, and participation in design competitions.

We Get Results

You can find current and former graphic design students working in design studios and advertising agencies in both the local market and in places as far as Baltimore, Chicago, New York, San Diego, and Dallas, to name a few. Design work created by students continually receive recognition at professional venues like Communication Arts magazine, the National Student Show and Conference, the Adobe Design Achievement Awards, the FLUX Student Design Competition, the Richmond Ad Club, the GLITCH National Student Design Competition, the American Advertising Federation Awards, and the Brass Ring Awards.


An individualized internship that focuses on the student's interest within the graphic design industry may be used as graphic design elective credit. Students interested in interning should be prepared to research positions in their specific areas of interest. The ODU Career Resources Center provides listings of internship and employment opportunities. Be aware that situations listed by the office (and elsewhere) as "internships" may not meet our standards. Internships for credit must be approved in advance by graphic design faculty before application to and acceptance by the employer.

Internship are mentoring situations where the student works on-site under the direct supervision of a full-time graphic design professional. Qualifying internships must provide an experience equivalent to upper division coursework. The internship should provide students with valuable on-the-job experience, collaboration with industry professionals, and preparation for job entry. Students must be given the opportunity to conceive, develop, and produce significant design materials. Weekly hours should be in the 10-12 range. Ideally, internships are paid situations as they provide real value to the organization or business. Final evaluation will be made by the work supervisor to the faculty of record for GDES 368.

Barry Art Building


Each semester prior to registration, all graphic design students are required to meet with one of the program advisors listed below for a preregistration advising appointment. At your appointment, the advisor will lift your advising hold, which is required in order to register for classes. Advisors will also discuss the major curriculum, academic and career goals, and identify appropriate resources needed for academic success.

Preregistration advising occurs after Fall break for Spring/Summer registration and after Spring break for Fall registration. Students must bring an updated Curriculum Checklist to their advising appointments in order to be advised.

Dedicated Faculty

Combined, the graphic design faculty have extensive teaching experience in higher education within the field of graphic design. They also have established records as productive scholars and commissioned professional designers for local, regional, national, and international clients. Their collective body of work has been recognized and published in top-tier professional and specialized journals, as well as national and international professional competitions and exhibitions. Publications from the faculty represent works in the field related to conceptual, theoretical, and applied aspects of graphic design.

Associate Professor Ivanete Blanco (iblanco@odu.edu)

Professor Kenneth FitzGerald (kfitzger@odu.edu)

Associate Professor David Shields (jshields@odu.edu)