Academic Calendar

DESN – Design Studies

DESN 102
3 Credits          Weekly (1-3-0)

Students apply the principles of linear perspective and structural analysis to represent observed subjects. With a focus on the formal principles of pictorial composition, students investigate the expressive potential of drawing and are introduced to the representation of human figure.

DESN 103
Concept Visualization
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

This course fosters creative thinking through brainstorming, rapid visualization, sketching and storyboarding. Design concept and ideation are emphasized as students are challenged to express original ideas on paper. Students develop a visual vocabulary for the exploration and representation of ideas through the study of line, gesture, media and mark-making, observational exercises and other drawing techniques.

Prerequisites: DESN 102.

DESN 110
Design Studio I: Visual Organization, Composition and Visual Language
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

This course introduces the foundational elements and principles of two- and three-dimensional design as they relate to visual communication. Design process and problem solving through project-based studies are emphasized as students acquire the fundamentals of visual language, composition and colour. This course also introduces students to the principles of visual communication theory.

DESN 120
Introduction to Design Software
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

This course introduces the digital work environment of a visual communication designer. Students develop a foundation of software skills while attending to best practices of reliable organizational and file management habits, suitability of software application for a variety of production outcomes and technology problem solving skills.

DESN 150
Image Structure and Meaning
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

Students develop visual sensitivity through the creation of static and dynamic images using photography and video. Composition, framing, viewpoint and use of light are studied and practiced as students visually explore the world around them. Students research a range of subject matter in order to develop a message as well as compose, shoot and edit photographs and video. Special consideration is given to the relationship between composition and communicative value. This course also introduces students to the basic principles of communication theory and selected aspects of the history of the lens arts.

DESN 200
Drawing for Illustration
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

Students explore the communicative potential of illustration as a visual medium. The human figure, natural and manufactured forms are rendered through traditional illustration techniques. Through creative, aesthetic and expressive choices, students are challenged to resolve the illustration of visual concepts.

Prerequisites: DESN 103.

DESN 210
Design Studio II: Intradisciplinary Design Projects
6 Credits          Weekly (4-4-0)

With a focus on concept development, this course explores, in an intradisciplinary context, the multiple specialty areas within the discipline of visual communication design. Special consideration is given to adaptability of message to audience, media and context of use. The role of the designer, design research and process, and project management are emphasized in a project-based context, as students are challenged to develop original concepts, sound rationales and formal solutions to real-life design problems. Principles of visual communication theory and visual rhetoric are introduced, along with selected aspects of the history of design.

Prerequisites: DESN 102, DESN 110, DESN 120, DESN 150.

DESN 230
Typography I
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

Students are introduced to the history and development of letterforms, the typographic system and the use of typography as it relates to visual communication design. Terminology, systems of measurement, type families and classification are explored, while students study the structure and use of letterforms, words and sentences for expressive purposes. In a project-based context, there is special emphasis on the fundamentals of legibility, readability and hierarchies of information, as students create posters, logotypes and basic layouts.

Prerequisites: DESN 102, DESN 110, DESN 120.

DESN 240
Introduction to User Experience Design
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

Students apply typographic, layout, and design skills in the creation of visual interface designs for websites and software applications (apps). Students learn to recognize audience behaviors, translate behaviors into user goals and tasks, and incorporate these tasks into visual interface designs. Static interface designs may be translated into clickable prototypes functioning using industry standard tools. While developing creative and technical skills in the medium, students design and manage digital projects from research to conceptualization to refined designs.

Prerequisites: DESN 210, DESN 230.

DESN 241
Interaction Design I
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

Designers wireframe and prototype software applications (apps) and other high interactivity digital products using the latest industry tools. Students learn how to turn a user's needs into product concepts, task flow diagrams, wireframes and finally high-fidelity prototypes. Projects require skills of typography, information design and knowledge of user experience and interaction design principles.

Prerequisites: DESN 240.

DESN 250
Introduction to Photography
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

Using a DSLR camera and accessories, students explore photography as a tool of communication. Through the practice of photographic techniques, students develop the photographer’s sensibilities for composition, exposure, lighting and camera operation. Creative decisions, both technical and aesthetic, are emphasized. Master photographers are studied to inspire and develop a critical vocabulary.

Prerequisites: DESN 120.

DESN 251
Applied Photographic Design
3 Credits          Weekly (1-3-0)

Students explore advertising and editorial photography as an integral component of visual communication in design. Students build upon prior courses to employ creative process and advanced camera techniques in the creation of compelling photographic imagery.

Prerequisites: DESN 250.

DESN 252
Digital Imaging
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

Students use digital imaging techniques to influence the communicative impact of an image. Industry standard software is used to process and create images while employing current digital workflow practice.

Prerequisites: DESN 120.

DESN 260
Introduction to Video
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

This course introduces the communicative possibilities of video, focusing on creative vision, acquisition, and editing. Students engage in the creative process, produce short video projects, and learn how to creatively utilize video assets. Students will explore how audio and visual editing techniques influence the message and viewer perception.

Prerequisites: DESN 150.

DESN 261
Motion Graphics I
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

Students create visual narratives with motion typography and animation. The principles of motion, time, colour, sound and space are explored as students learn to apply the tools and techniques of the motion graphics designer to creative animated visual sequences.

Prerequisites: DESN 260; DESN 330.

DESN 270
The History of Design and Material Culture Through the 18th Century
3 Credits          Weekly (3-0-0)

This survey course introduces the socio-cultural and stylistic movements of design and material culture from prehistory through the 18th century. Students are introduced to the vocabulary of art, design and material culture focusing on the contexts of production, consumption, value and meaning. Artifacts of western and non-European culture including art, architecture, furniture, products, interior design, clothing, and visual communication design are examined in the socio-cultural context of design history.

Prerequisites: Six 100-level credits of English or ENGL111 and ENGL 211.

DESN 271
The History of Material Culture and Design From the 18th Century
3 Credits          Weekly (3-0-0)

This course introduces students to the history of Modern design and material culture. Students will examine the relationship between visual and material culture and major socio-economic and cultural formations of modernity such as industrialization, mass production, mass media, urbanization, technology, progress, consumption and lifestyle. Artifacts of western and non-European culture including art, architecture, furniture, products, interior design, clothing, and visual communication design are examined in the context of design history.

Prerequisites: DESN 270.

DESN 300
Illustration Techniques
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

Students develop the technical, conceptual and expressive illustration skills to design, prepare and produce illustration work for commercial outcomes. The history, use and trends in hand-rendered and digital illustrative design are also explored as students experiment with a wide range of media and stylistic techniques. Study, practice and assignments focus on the development of illustration concepts and principles of composition.

Prerequisites: DESN 200.

DESN 310
Design Studio III
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

With a focus on concept development, students explore communication theory-in-practice. There is a special emphasis on content, context and audience; messages that inform, instruct and persuade; and, the ideation stage of the design process. Students are challenged to stretch their creative capacity and go beyond the common-place in order to conceive, execute and present original solutions to complex design problems.

Prerequisites: DESN 210.

DESN 311
Corporate Identity Design and Branding
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

Students explore the principles of product and corporate identity and the visual communication of comprehensive brand experiences through the examination of brand positioning processes and brand case studies. With an emphasis on design process, students create and execute a range of brand identity programs, developing a consistent and appropriate visual voice for multiple applications.

Prerequisites: DESN 310, DESN 330.

DESN 313
Information Design
3 Credits          Weekly (1-3-0)

Students examine the processes by which complex information can be organized and presented visually so that it is understandable and useful to the viewer. The design of diagrams, symbols, charts, infographics, and orientation systems are explored with a special emphasis on information analysis, architecture and visualization for print, digital and interactive displays.

Prerequisites: DESN 330.

DESN 314
Environmental Graphic Design
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

This studio course introduces students to graphic design principles and practices specific to the design of informational and directional graphics for the built environment. Students engage in a mix of theoretical and practical production activities to develop critical and applied understanding of graphic design for three dimensional application. With an emphasis on wayfinding and place making, students design effective solutions that consider form and user experience as it relates to information, environment and cultural context.

Prerequisites: DESN 311.

DESN 315
Visual Narrative and Storytelling
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

The focus of this course is the exploration of visual narrative forms and their role in visual storytelling. Contemporary visual narrative theories guide student projects as they explore and discuss their effect on storytelling. Students stretch their image-making and design abilities to tell dynamic stories in visual form, while choosing appropriate media, narrative structure, pace, rhythm and sound, in order to elicit an emotion in the viewer.

Prerequisites: DESN 310.

DESN 316
Branded Environments
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

This course explores brand identity when it is visually and spatially applied to the built environment. Students extend the audience's experience of a brand into three dimensions through the use of visual and sensory cues, including environmental graphics, signage, identity systems and finish materials selection.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C+ in DESN 311.

DESN 317
Publication Design
3 Credits          Weekly (1-3-0)

In this advanced course, students examine and compare the anatomy and overall design characteristics of editorial publications, catalogues, and books with a focus on audience, style, format and organization. Students experience the publication process, from initial client meetings to final production. Working alone and in teams, students develop and defend solutions that address the communication needs of these varied publication types, while planning and adhering to industry standards of production workflow.

Prerequisites: DESN 310, DESN 330 and DESN 311.

DESN 318
Advertising Design
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

In this course students focus on marketing and advertising design principles in the studio environment. Importance is placed on process, analysis, and the develop­ment of creative solutions. The advertising message, formats for common ad copy, and production methods are considered as students design several advertising campaigns.

Prerequisites: DESN 311.

DESN 330
Typography II
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

This course explores typography as an essential element of visual communication design. Students apply the principles of typographic selection, application and organization to text-based content and information. This course advances knowledge of the complex interrelationship of text, context, image, audience and function while considering factors of format, visual hierarchy, legibility, typographic systems and colour. These subjects are explored through a variety of publication types including magazine design, annual reports and catalogues. Students also further develop software skills related to the design and production of projects in various formats and media.

Prerequisites: DESN 230.

DESN 340
Web Design & Development I
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

Students expand their website design skill set and user experience design knowledge to code responsive websites using HTML and CSS. They learn how their design decisions are affected by a greater knowledge of the web technology that is used to build their websites. Information architecture is also emphasized, where students must label, structure and prioritize content according to client needs and target audience profiles. Responsive design concepts, processes and techniques are also taught to ensure websites are usable and engaging in a mobile, tablet or desktop environment. Students also learn how to publish their websites on the Internet.

Prerequisites: DESN 240.

DESN 341
Interaction Design II
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

Building upon skills and methods from Interaction Design I, students learn how to design experiences and interfaces for apps that will be delivered using various form factors: mobile, tablet, desktop, wearable, virtual. Projects are more open-ended and require students to be problem identifiers not just problems solvers, using startup or design entrepreneurship theory and best practices.

Prerequisites: DESN 241.

DESN 342
User Experience Design Theory & Methods
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

Students learn how to strengthen their interface design decisions by using participatory research methods, interaction and usability theories. Research methods are explored by learning the benefits, context of usage, implementation techniques and data analysis strategies. Emphasis will be placed on realizing a client's needs and objectives as students design and test interface prototypes.

Prerequisites: DESN 240.

DESN 343
Web Design & Development II
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

This is the capstone course for students focusing on website design. All technical skills, usability theories, information architecture concepts and research methods learned in previous courses are combined and put into practice. An emphasis on Content Management Systems (CMS) and HTML/CSS frameworks offers students insight into how the majority of websites are deployed on the internet.

Prerequisites: DESN 340.

DESN 361
Motion Graphics II
3 Credits          Weekly (2-2-0)

This course examines advanced topics and practices in motion graphics production. Students explore the communicative potential of motion graphics in a project-based context. There is special emphasis on concept development, asset management and motion branding. Students also explore animation techniques including code-driven animation.

Prerequisites: DESN 261.

DESN 380
Design Thinking Seminar: Design Strategy, Complex Projects & Systems
3 Credits          Weekly (3-0-0)

Students examine case studies of innovative design solutions and they discuss the challenging social, political, economic, and environmental contexts of complex and multi-faceted design problems. Students are guided into the creative and systematic thinking processes and methodologies of design employed by experienced designers. There is a special emphasis on user-centric design, design research, and the creation of design solutions aimed at satisfying people’s needs, wants and desires.

Prerequisites: DESN 271.

DESN 381
Design Issues Seminar
3 Credits          Weekly (3-0-0)

This course challenges students to understand and reflect on some of the major issues facing designers and the design profession. Students develop a broader and deeper understanding of the historical and contemporary context of a concern through research, discussion and presentation. Issues across design disciplines are critically examined through design theory, problems and practice. The specific topics covered in any given year will be selected by the instructor.

Prerequisites: DESN 271.

DESN 390
Portfolio & Business of Design
3 Credits          Weekly (1-3-0)

In this capstone course students create and produce a portfolio which highlights their competence, knowledge and proficiency. With a focus on how to secure a job or contract in the visual communication design sector, topics include marketing and self-promotion, business practices, negotiation and pricing, ethical and legal standards of practice and professional relationships in design. Guest speakers provide real-world examination of the professional practice. A portfolio review event concludes the course.

Prerequisites: Minimum of 15 credits of DESN courses at 300-level.

DESN 391
0 Credits          Total (0-0-105)

The opportunity to establish working relationships and observe the real-world workplace is central to this course as students experience the pace and demands of a design agency or communications department. Working under the supervision of a professional practicing designer, students apply the skills learned in course work and demonstrate the techniques, methods and problem solving expected of a professional designer.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of B- in DESN 310 and DESN 311.