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 typography and image to make meaning.

Our faculty of practicing professionals believe that experience with other creative disciplines makes for a stronger, more versatile graphic designer. The curriculum emphasizes design as an interdisciplinary field and provides you with adaptable methods across many forms of media­—from analog to digital in every environment.

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
  • 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

  • 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

  • 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, 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, and Advanced Letterform Design.

  • 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.

  • 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, and Portland Museum of Art.

  • 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, Maya, Motion, Final Cut, Soundtrack Pro, Flash, and AfterEffects.

Program

Preparation (1st & 2nd Year)
Design Basics: Form & Meaning (GD 101) and Design Basics: Typography and Image (GD 102)

Junior Year (3rd Year)
Design Topics: Core Studio (GD 311), Design Issues & History (GD 353) and Junior Seminar-Design/Media Topics (SEM 252-3-4), Web Design (GD 351) & Information Design – Mapping (GD 302) offered every other year and/or (2) Approved Studio Electives

Senior Year (4th Year)
Core Studio III (GD 411), Senior Synthesis (SEM 451-SEM 452), Senior Independent Projects (GD 450) and (2) Approved Studio Electives

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 2012 Strategic National Arts Alumni project (SNAAP)

Did you know?

56% 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.

67

Work as professional artists

24

Work as graphic designers, illustrators, or art directors

23

Work for a nonprofit

21

Work as craft artists

35

Work as fine artists

25

Work as art teachers

19

Pursued an MFA after graduation

61

Are self-employed, independent contractors or freelance workers

91

Make art in their personal time

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