Master image

Master

The Art of Visual Communication.

Present image

Present

Ideas to the World.

Graphic Design

Before you begin to sketch or sit down at a computer, there are two essentials of graphic design you need to know: how to turn an idea into a compelling visual message, and what you can bring to it as an artist.

As a Graphic Design major at MECA, you’ll learn how to give concepts their most compelling voice, how to analyze and understand your audience, and how to effectively use the visual languages of type, and image and context to enhance meaning.

Our collaborative faculty of practicing professionals believe that experiences combining graphic design with other creative disciplines make for a stronger, more versatile graphic designer. Our curriculum emphasizes design as an interdisciplinary field and provides you with methods that are adaptable across many forms of analog and digital media.

You’ll explore letterforms and typography, develop effective design strategies, and keep your skills broad—delving into interactivity, websites, video, narratives, publications, and information design. During your studies at MECA, your techniques and design processes will evolve into an individual approach that will form the foundation of your professional practice.

 

Spotlight

  • Faculty
  • Alumni
  • Student
  • Tyler Eldridge '18 (Illustration & Graphic Design)

    I’ve felt really challenged to hold myself true to this honesty when I’ve wanted to make something purely . . .

    Describe a body of work that you are currently working on. My work currently focuses on storytelling through referencing the past. Most of my characters are inspired from old found photographs of people during the early 1900’s. I love their clothing, haircuts, and expressions as they were captured during a time far before me. Some of . . .Read More

  • Libby Connolly '16

    The language and purpose of design made sense to me.

    Describe a body of work that you are currently working on. I just finished up a packaging/identity project. We had the decision to choose between Geary’s Summer Ale, loose leaf tea, or marijuana. I ultimately decided to package and redesign marijuana. I decided marijuana because it’s very up and coming. The industry will be . . .Read More

  • Design Majors and Faculty

    The uncommon process employed to develop MECA’s new mark exemplifies creative problem-solving at its finest.

    MECA is excited to announce the launch of a new visual identity designed to convey the College’s rich history and dynamic future. Our new mark reflects the institution’s strongest assets: an extraordinary community of artists and the mission of promoting academic excellence, creative entrepreneurship, and civic engagement. The . . .Read More

  • Sean Wilkinson ’01

    Get out, meet people, talk about what you do. Then go do it again and again.

    Sean Wilkinson ’01 (Graphic Design) is the co-founder of the Portland design studio Might & Main, which was founded on Sean’s principles of collaboration, hard work, and rigorous attention to detail. Because of this ethic, they have created memorable and iconic brands for local and national businesses. Current MECA alumni . . .Read More

  • Justin Carey '16

    Student Perspective: Justin Carey (Graphic Design '16) from Maine College of Art. View more of . . .

    Student Perspective: Justin Carey (Graphic Design ’16) from Maine College of Art. View more of Justin’s work in his portfolio here.Read More

  • Aaron Staples '08

    Art is a lens to look at issues that are too complex to examine in words.

    Aaron Staples ’08, who grew up in Maine and earned his BFA from MECA in Graphic Design, worked with Greenpeace to create art for their “Not Just Tuna” campaign that demonstrates the environmental destruction implicit in commercial tuna fishing, which includes destructive fishing methods and exploitive and unsafe working conditions . . .Read More

  • LK Weiss ’11

    LK describes the coast of Maine as her “passion, inspiration and obsession.”

    It is no surprise that LK Weiss titled her business identity “The Portland Designer.” The co‐founder of Bowline Company, which manufactures handmade unisex bow ties, she is also an illustrator, freelance graphic designer and the founder of Jack Tar 207, a “body‐project visibility project” that also offers product photography. . . .Read More

  • Faculty Margo Halverson

    PechaKucha Portland: 'Piling Up the Rules: An Inquiry' by Margo Halverson. Watch the video within this link.

    PechaKucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. Margo Halverson has taught at MECA for over 20 years. Her love of words, together with the narrative power of the photographic image, led her to the world […]Read More

  • Faculty Mark Jamra

    JamraPatel has just published a calculator app for Google’s Android mobile device platform. The app, which . . .

    JamraPatel has just published a calculator app for Google’s Android mobile device platform. The app, which uses the numerals of the N’ko-script typeface that Mark Jamra, Professor of Graphic Design at MECA, and Neil Patel designed for the Manding language and dialects of West Africa, quickly follows the release of their first app . . .Read More

  • Mark Jamra

    it’s a syllabary and so I had to look at everything I was doing in a completely different way.

    In 2014, inspired by a conference presentation he saw about the Cherokee Nation’s efforts to integrate the Cherokee language into current technologies, Associate Professor of Graphic Design Mark Jamra invented the Phoreus Cherokee typeface, the first usable multi‐weight Cherokee / Latin typeface family. Previously there were few . . .Read More

  • Margo Halverson

    Her work was included in the group exhibitions NO QUO @ EXCHANGE at Crane Arts Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, . . .

    Margo Halverson, Professor of Graphic Design, gave a lecture titled “MECA’s Graphic Design Legacy in Portland” at the University of New England Art Gallery, was a guest critic for graphic design thesis reviews at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ, had photography work included in an exhibit at Northlight Gallery at Arizona . . .Read More

  • Samantha Haedrich

    We have an intense program that prepares design majors for a number of potential opportunities.

    Describe your body of work in a few sentences. I work as an independent designer under the name PATH, my studio is based in Portland. In general, my work takes the form of publications, posters, websites, and visual identities. PATH allows me to collaborate with artists, entrepreneurs, and organizations that I admire. My work often . . .Read More

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Outcomes

  • Formal

    Students leave the institution with a working understanding of tools and technology (including, but not limited to, drawing, printing, photography, and time-based and interactive media), and their roles in the creation, reproduction, and distribution of design. They gain a working understanding of design for production and the ability to create the design of letterforms to photographic image making, print design, web design, and motion graphics.

  • Conceptual

    Students develop an awareness of the history and theory of graphic design and contemporary design practices. They are able to develop design interventions, possess the skills to identify a design need or incentive, and are adept at research and information gathering, analysis, concept development, design strategy development, exploration of alternative solutions, design prototyping, and implementation. They demonstrate an awareness of contemporary issues, cultural context, authorship and audience perception, have a command of relevant critical language, and are able to think conceptually.

  • Technical

    Students gain a thorough understanding of what graphic design can be (a strategy, object or structure) and an awareness of the transferability and versatility of their education into the related fields of design, motion design, web design, art direction, pre-press, publishing and all areas of the fine and graphic arts, and into the field of teaching. Students leave the institution with the ability to use design strategies to explore ideas outside the discipline.

  • Professional

    An open-mind and self-affirming attitude are hallmarks of the Graphic Design graduate. They have learned how to create and develop visual form in response to design incentives, including an understanding of principles of visual organization/composition, information hierarchy, representational strategies, and typography and style. They demonstrate a working understanding of design for production and the ability to design both in and outside the computer. Students gain a working understanding of collaborative practices in contemporary design, and experience a professional work environment, through an internship or other workplace experience, with a graphic design studio or a designer. They understand the business of being an artist/designer, and are able to write a resume and cover letter, conduct portfolio interviews, get an internship, and freelance. They have developed a body of work and presented it in an exhibition, along with a written, designed process book.

FAQs

  • How do you prepare your students for the real world?

    Reality-based projects along with academic investigations, collaborations with local businesses, internships, studio visits in NYC, Boston, Montrel, and Portland, working collaboratively, continuous assessment of results, and continuous analysis of the audience for any given project.

  • What are the prerequisites to major in Graphic Design?

    6 credit hours of Graphic Design: 2 introduction classes are needed to major.

  • Will I be able to incorporate other media or interests with my work as a Graphic Design major?

    Yes; we support the exploration of communication through out many mediums.

  • What are some of the classes that are offered in your department?

    Text in the Environment, Expressive Narratives, Information Design, Visual Identity Systems, Advanced Typographic Design, Advanced Letterform Design, and Professional Studio.

  • What are some of the unique aspects of this program?

    We offer courses in letterform design, we have an emphasis on interdisciplinary study, and we have a conceptually coordinated program of study that inspires student designers to find unique paths into the practice and profession of design.

  • What are the faculty like?

    Motivated, occasionally superhuman.

  • What are some examples of internships your students have done in the past?

    Angela Adams, Martha Stewart Publishing, American Eagle Outfitters, L.L. Bean, Murphy Empire, Might & Main, Portland Museum of Art, and VIA Agency.

  • How many students (juniors and seniors) do you typically have in your major?

    The Graphic Design program typically has 20-30 majors.

  • What software does your department use?

    Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, Motion, and AfterEffects.

Program

Preparation (1st & 2nd Year)
Design Basics: Form & Meaning and Design Basics: Typography and Image

Junior Year (3rd Year)
Core Studio, Design Issues & History, Advanced Letterform Design, Design Professional Studio

Senior Year (4th Year)
Core Studio, Advanced Letterform Design, Professional Seminar, Publishing Lab: Type & Image, Interface Design, Independent Projects

View Courses
  • Having the opportunity to work with professional designers and faculty on an innovative project was truly amazing. As a student, being part of the collaboration that rebranded the school was an irreplaceable experience. I’m very honored to have been a part of it all.

    Sarah Mohammadi  2013  //  Graphic Design  //  Camden, ME

What do our alumni do?

Statistics from the 2015 Strategic National Arts Alumni project (SNAAP)

Did you know?

55% is the national average for arts alumni that work as professional artists.

45% is the national average for arts alumni that are self employed, independent contractors, or freelance workers.

63

Work as professional artists

23

Work as graphic designers, illustrators, or art directors

16

Founded a business

23

Work as craft artists

38

Work as fine artists

29

Work as art teachers

17

Pursued an MFA after graduation

47

Are self-employed, independent contractors or freelance workers

91

Make art in their personal time

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