Graphic Design Degree

Visually Communicate Your Ideas with Graphic Design

Learn how technology, marketing,
and business impact your graphic design career.

"Beyond the fundamentals, it is imperative that graphic design students be encouraged to have fun, take risks, collaborate, and experiment, as each is a key ingredient in assuring their personal potential is met."

Graphic Design degree chair Mark Mabry

Mark Mabry MFA Ed.D
Graphic Design Department Chair

Career Outlook

Graphic Designer/Artist

UI or UX Designer

Production Artist

Web Designer

Art Director

Package Designer

Motion Graphics Designer


App Developer

Creative Director


Brand Identity Developer

Digital Publisher

Senior Design Manager

Marketing Director

Freelance Designer

Graphic Design Courses

Focus on Our Four-Year Program

Bachelor's Degree

Bachelor of Graphic Arts in Graphic Design

133 curriculum hours

BD 101


This fundamental course introduces the beginning art student to the principles of drawing. Accurate observations of shapes, forms, contours and tones will be stressed while learning to use a variety of mediums, i.e. pen and ink, graphite pencils, charcoal, marker and colored pencil techniques. Fundamental understanding of perspective drawing concepts, including one-, two- and three-point perspective will also be taught in this course. Students will produce works of art using a variety of drawing techniques i.e: cross-hatching, hatching, scumbling, back-fourth strokes, overlaying colors, stippling and washes.

GD 200


The objective of this course is to develop student's conceptual thinking skills in graphic design while integrating artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to explore innovative approaches and possibilities in design creation. Through a combination of theoretical exploration, hands-on extermination, and critical analysis, students will cultivate the ability to conceptualize, develop and execute design projects effectively communicate ideas, provoke thought and engage diverse audiences, leveraging AI as a tool for enhancing creativity and efficiency in the design process.

AI 140


This course will teach students the Adobe Illustrator program, which is the industry standard for vector-based design in the graphic arts field. Students will learn to create their own designs, illustrations, and reach an understanding of the types of real-world problems students face on the job. Printing, color, and design techniques (the latter learned in the various graphic design courses) will be integrated for completion of the various projects.

CT 105


Students are introduced to the principles of color theory utilizing various affects, techniques and mediums to create a comprehensive understanding of color principles. Light, hue, value and saturation are all explored in the course and students will learn many aspects of color relationship, application and how to affectively utilize the many facets of color and color theory in the commercial art field.

ID 160


InDesign is the program for page layout artists. It is used to lay out magazines and books, create high-end advertisements, as well as other print projects that need exacting typographic and layout specifications. InDesign has the ability to produce interactive PDFs and apps for the iPad. In this course, learn how to implement InDesign into the daily workflow of your design career. You will break down actual ad and layout designs from magazines and newspapers to discuss how they can be built in InDesign.

PS 142


This course teaches students the core principles of Adobe Photoshop, the industry-standard raster-based photo manipulation program. Similar to Adobe Illustrator in significance and industry dominance, the ability to manipulate raster images will be a persistent theme throughout any career path involving print or digital media. Among the fundamental concepts explored will be file type constraints, image optimization, compositing, image restoration, color correction, masking, typography, effects, layout, print management, elementary animation and video, and even elementary 3D principles among other topics. By the end of the course, students will have a broad enough understanding of Photoshop to competently utilize it in whatever their chosen course of study.

GD 115


Students will explore the theory of aesthetics and design concepts as it applies to graphics. It will also encompass a detailed investigation into the principles and concepts of effective visual communications through the use of two- and three-dimensional design with a goal of creative problem solving. There is also an emphasis in Information Gathering, Step 1 of the Nossi 9 Step Creative Process and commercial application of designing corporate graphics such as logos and symbol designs.

TY 110


Students will study the history of lettering from ancient symbols to today’s digital technology. Students will also study various type families, become familiar with the terminology and practice the art of hand lettering. Students will learn the art of designing with type and become familiar with different ‘moods’ or the feel type can have for different occasions. Students will also learn different styles of type used throughout history. Emphasis on rules for proper letter spacing, word spacing and the arrangement of type for maximum readability will be stressed.

WD 185


Knowledge of basic web design has become a prerequisite skill in many technology-oriented occupations. Even for those who do not intend to enter a career exclusively in web design, the current demand for basic abilities to create and manage a web presence is becoming widely expected. Students will be introduced to prototyping web designs, a variety of web programming languages such as HTML and CSS, a variety of industry standard web editing tools, creation and optimization of web graphics and animations, web page layout, and authoring web pages to the Internet. By the end of the course, students should feel comfortable designing web content from scratch or editing existing web content regardless of their chosen career path.

GD 120


This course is a continuation of Graphic Design Fundamentals and delves deeper into visual rhetoric. There is a heavier emphasis on the creative process, concept development, and design execution. Students will be introduced to campaign design and the importance of visual continuity, message consistency, and visual appeal. This course requires proficiency in working with and combining raster-based and vector-based digital imagery.

PA 205


In this course the student will learn a series of steps for creating a printed product. From the conception and execution of a design through editing and production of the finished product, students will learn about various printing processes focusing mainly on offset lithography. Upon completion of this course, the student will have a clear understanding of the four-color printing process and their role as graphic designer in the process.

WD 195


A continuation of Web Language I, this course emphasizes responsive web design. Responsive design utilizes HTML and CSS to automatically resize or hide the components of a website to assure proper presentation and function on all devices (i.e., desktops, tablets, and phones). Students will be challenged to experiment with various layouts, split content, hidden navigation, and parallax web design. This course introduces the responsive frameworks, Bootstrap and Foundation.

WD 290


Expanding on web languages and technologies learned in Web Language I and II, students will learn more advanced constructs of the responsive framework, Foundation. Moreover, students will learn a number of additional tools for advanced web development including CSS preprocessors, Content Management Systems (CMS), and a brief overview of server-side scripting languages such as PHP and Javascript. By the end of the course, students will be able to fully develop a responsive website from a prototype, integrate it into a content management system using PHP frameworks and author it to the web.

TY 216


Students will delve deeper into the usage of fonts as a major design element. Real life projects will allow students to “practice” choosing appropriate fonts for the subject/client as well as choosing the correct size and color. Students will learn to properly use space, the typographic grid and hierarchy in their designs. Students will begin to use type as a graphic art.

GD 220


By concentrating on layout composition and grid systems, this course will utilize design principles and problem-solving skills developed in prior fundamental and mid-level graphic design courses. With an emphasis on design process, students will explore various means of hierarchy and visual wayfinding. Students use critical thinking in the application of type and other design elements to create clear, sophisticated, and relevant communicative designs.

GD 230


This course will explore the history of advertising and examine its role and importance in society. The student will learn the basics of marketing and product positioning with a focus on Conceptualization, Reflection and Refinement, Steps 3, 4 and 5 of the Nossi 9 Step Creative Process. How an advertising campaign develops, from the concept to final executions including newspapers, magazines, direct mail, television, radio and billboards will be explored, including the use of new medias, i.e. online advertising and social media.

UI 140


In this course, students will learn to identify and compose effective design patterns for digital interfaces. In addition, students will learn usability fundamentals such as learnability, visibility, error prevention, efficiency and solid interface design. Lastly, students will also learn how to use associated prototyping tools to create both low-fidelity and high fidelity prototypes. By the completion of this course, students will be able to better implement and understand the theory of effective design aesthetics and functionality and relate it to future academic and professional development projects.

CW 210


The focus of this course is to provide students with the essential skills for professional copywriting and editing. Students will learn how to recognize the purpose behind any piece of copy, use creative skills to make their copy reach target audiences, apply technical specifications to any piece of copy through the use of style sheets and format spoken English into acceptable professional copy.

UX 240


This course provides a comprehensive overview of the user experience design process, and is intended to familiarize students with the methods, concepts, and techniques necessary to make user experience design an integral part of developing information interfaces. The course provides students with an opportunity to acquire the resources, skills, and hands-on experience they need to design, develop, and evaluate information interfaces from a user-centered design perspective.

MG 250


In this course, students continue to learn traditional content and functions of illustration as it relates to books. In addition, students will learn the fundamentals of choosing themes to visualize in a narrative. Students will learn advanced aspects of book illustration, including styles, market, reproduction, character development, and audience. Students will work on independent projects and explore the subject of book illustration in depth. A basic history of the Illustrated Book is covered through an examination of both historical and contemporary examples. Students will learn how to develop the concept of an original idea and how to prepare it for presentation to a commercial publisher.

IL 380


In this course, 3D will be explored for commercial use such as building and animating logos and illustrating products in 3D to replace the use of photography. This course will also explore the practical use of 3D in the realm of concept art. A variety of programs will be explored to create a variation of projects and concepts.

ID 280


Interactive Design represents a critical and rapidly evolving construct of the overall Internet user experience. Pacing with current industry standards means evolving beyond static web content to web pages and applications that can offer more dynamic user experiences with interactivity and animation. While the concept of Interactive Design embodies a broad spectrum of techniques and methodologies, the scope of this class will be limited to those most prevalent for basic web design. Students will expand on their Prerequisite knowledge of Web Language I to gain proficiency in basic Javascript, related libraries such as jQuery, and additional CSS and HTML technologies. Currently, Interactive Design is in a state of rapid maturation. In keeping with this, students will learn a number of different relevant toolsets for developing interactive content, from code editors to graphical integrated development environments. By the end of this course, students will have built their own web applications, animations, widgets, advertisements and other interactive content for multiple platforms and devices through the use of HTML, CSS and Javascript.

PG 410


This introduction to packaging design will allow students to see the importance of packaging in the marketplace. A gained knowledge of packaging’s role in cultural society as well as brand importance will be addressed. Students receive a broad overview that covers essential package design basics, including materials and production methods, structures and surfaces, product positioning, and environmental concerns.

GD 405


The role of communication design in creating comprehensive corporate identity systems is the focus of this course. An analysis of corporate objectives and practical applications will be the basis for developing a structured corporate identity system, including logo design, color, symbols, and branding. Other business collateral may also apply (stationery, business cards, signage, packaging, and vehicle graphics). Students will study and analyze effective corporate identity systems through case studies. Project solution will require innovative thinking and alternative design approaches with creative, intense use of otherwise traditional media output.

GD 460


After completing this team-based course, the student will have a firm grasp of the fundamentals of art direction. Mimicking real-world project scenarios, this course applies the principles of project management, concept development, problem-solving, and teamwork as they relate to the functions of the art director and creative team members. Helping to promote cross-disciplinary collaboration, students in this course will have the opportunity to work with fellow creatives from other Nossi programs (i.e., Photography and Illustration).

GD 490


This course provides an introductory overview of the process, materials, methods, and technologies for planning, designing, and specifying graphic elements in built and natural environments. Students learn application of spatial perception, symbolism, and typography for the purpose of wayfinding and placemaking in directional, informational, and decorative systems. Special attention is given to the science of wayfinding, in-depth research, idea generation, audience consideration, execution, and fabrication.

MG 360


This course is designed to extend the understanding of the software and techniques used in the creation of professional motion graphics projects including motion logos, motion text, and infographic presentations. With the demand for specialized information presentations in nearly all aspects of marketing, communication, and content production on the rise, having an understanding of key concepts and methods in motion graphic production as well as experience with relevant software will provide an extension of the capability and flexibility of graphic designers. With such a wide range of concepts and techniques available, continued study and practice of motion graphics introduces new capabilities including 3D layers, lights, cameras, and advanced effects use and animation techniques. Building on previous semesters, students will create pro-level graphics presentations within Adobe After Effects and other software tools available.

BM 375


In this course, students will learn the skills and procedures necessary to start a successful freelance operation. Students will learn the advantages and disadvantages of freelancing and also what steps are necessary to protect their creative property and ensure they are paid according to their skills and demand. Ethical standards as well as moral standards will be explored in order that students may understand fair competition in the freelance world.

PD 380


The focus of this course is on creating a print publication from cover to cover. With an emphasis on hierarchy, grid, page sequence, and spreads, the publication integrates images, color, texture, and typography relative to the subject of the publication. The pace of the course is fast and designed to simulate a working environment, while still giving students time to think out their concepts and make careful and considered design decisions.

GD 420


Portfolio and Capstone aim to prepare students for entry-level employment within the industry by assisting them with the development and presentation of a graphic design portfolio that reflects the stated exit competencies. Capstone begins the portfolio process by creating or refining self-branding, beginning the portfolio website, and taking on new projects where necessary for a diverse portfolio. Students also officially prepare for their required internship by beginning the process of securing field sponsorship.

IS 440


Independent study courses are individually designed to meet the specific needs of students. They may vary from one to four semester hours of credit. They may be in any subject area a student needs in order to complete degree requirements. Independent study courses must be approved by a member of the Faculty, the student's Program Chair/Director, and by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

BU 450


This intensive capstone course provides students with the technical, conceptual, and aesthetic skills to organize and develop an outstanding professional portfolio. Students will build on their comprehensive body of work while at Nossi College. Self-promotional identity themes are developed along with a thorough review of student resumes, cover letters, and business cards. Interviewing techniques and job search preparation are also stressed. Portfolios, resumes, business cards, and self-promotional materials are showcased at the mandatory Portfolio Review each semester. Industry professionals and potential employers attend the event.

INT 450


Nossi College of Art & Design students have the opportunity to take an internship for class credit during the last semester of their program. The internship is a program completion requirement and must be approved by the current Program Chair/Director.

The goal of the internship is to expose the student to valuable job experience that will enhance their skill sets. This monitored program for senior level students provides an opportunity to work part-time with cooperating employers (i.e., Sponsor). Though students will be provided professional leads, they must secure their own internship.

SS 104


Success Strategies is a course in goal setting, techniques of note and test taking, problem solving skills, time management and critical thinking skill development. The course is designed to help each student improve his learning skills. In addition, students will acquire skills necessary to succeed as commercial artists. Life enhancing principles are also a major aspect of this course.

AH 302


This course examines history in America. The course will be a combination of lecture and discussion.

PS 108


This is a survey course of the science of psychology. It covers the key terms of most of the psychological concepts from brain biology to abnormal, motivational and developmental psychology. This course surveys a broad field of study. A study of the thinking and research behind various fields of psychology will lead to a discussion of how each field applies to human events in the everyday lives of people. An examination of how psychology applies to advertising, graphic arts, illustration and photography will be made.

EN 270


This English class will include intensive grammar review as well as writing assignments to complete a portfolio. Illustrations are encouraged to enhance the writing and the portfolio (these can add points to the grade). A resume and a cover letter are a separate part of the writing. A research paper is required and must have the correct documentation and analysis format. Professional presentation of final portfolio is required for completion of this course.

EN 280


This course is designed to provide the student with instruction in two major areas of the English language – writing and oral communication skills. Writing techniques using correct English grammar will be emphasized and will be applicable for different environments including corporate, business and professional settings. A variety of public speaking techniques will also be taught. The student will learn what is appropriate for each situation in which, as a professional artist, he might find himself.

MA 300


Students will examine common uses of mathematics in everyday life. This course will also focus upon mathematical applications involving choice, voting systems, routing and networks, probability, project scheduling and descriptive, and inferential statistics.

AH 212


This course provides a broad coverage of the history of art from prehistoric cave painting through modern times. Students learn from lectures, slide presentations, outside reading, as well as reading the assigned class textbook. The students in this course are taught art appreciation, art history, terminology, artists, and art styles and the characteristics that distinguish individual artists and styles. At the conclusion of this course students are expected to be able to identify different artworks and then name the period, the style, its characteristics, influences, and the artist.

WC 301


This course presents students with a survey of Western Civilization from the ancient world to contemporary culture. Through discussion and appreciation of historical works, students will draw connections between the origins and influences of Western Civilization, as well as an understanding of its role in shaping cultures.

ES 300


This GE requirement was established, in part, because of the potent influence of science on society. Therefore, a major objective of this course is to help develop an understanding of the nature of science, including its philosophical basis, power and limitations. The content of the course is centered on life and its relationship to the environment.

LT 211


This class is designed to enhance the student’s understanding and exposure to literature. Readings will come from PDF files on Moodle as well as from handouts from the instructor. A novel reading is required and each student will read and analyze a different novel from a list provided by the instructor. Readings from different genres and cultures will include short stories, poetry and drama. Essays to analyze the readings are the method of assessment as well as tests over the readings and background materials.

Photo of digital typesetting in Adobe InDesign | Graphics Design Degree | Nossi College of Art and Design

Accepting Students for All Programs for Fall 2024
Taking applications for All Programs for Fall 2024!

Who You’ll Be Learning From

Mark Mabry, Graphic Design degree chair, Nossi College of Art and Design

Mark Mabry, MFA, Ed.D

Graphic Design Coordinator

Mark Mabry, MFA, Ed.D currently serves as the Graphic Design and Web & Interactive Department Chair, overseeing two separate degree programs (Bachelor of Graphic Design Media, Bachelor of Web...
Mark Mabry, MFA, Ed.D currently serves as the Graphic Design and Web & Interactive Department Chair, overseeing two separate degree programs (Bachelor of Graphic Design Media, Bachelor of Web & Interactive Design). Mark earned his Doctorate in Education (Ed.D) from Argosy University, his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Graphic Design from Savannah College of Art and Design, and his Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Design Communications from Belmont University.  As an academic, he is a published author with over ten years of experience as a post-secondary educator of graphic and web design.  Prior to joining the Nossi team, he spent five years serving as the Design Coordinator for the Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville, and Adjunct Professor of Art for Belmont University.  He has frequently served as a portfolio evaluator, a guest speaker, and has written curriculum for several college courses and numerous workshops. Beyond being an educator, Mark is an award-winning designer with 20 years of design experience; ten of which were spent as Art Director for two separate organizations.  Currently, he is the owner of Mabry Creative, a graphic and web design firm providing a broad range of design services that prioritize user experience and explore the boundaries of emerging media. Mark has an impressive clientele list and is a member of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Nashville.


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Kimberly Levitan Graphic design degree instructor | Nossi College of Art and Design

Kimberly Levitan

Graphic Design Instructor

Kimberly Levitan began studying graphic design in Brooklyn, N.Y. and continued her education in Los Angeles. She is a graphic designer with over 20 years experience. Her work has a heavy focus on the...
Kimberly Levitan began studying graphic design in Brooklyn, N.Y. and continued her education in Los Angeles. She is a graphic designer with over 20 years experience. Her work has a heavy focus on the Nashville music and entertainment industries designing numerous ad packages, advertisements, promotional materials and logos for major music labels and artists. She also works with several national non-profit organizations


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Accepting Students for All Programs for Fall 2024

Taking applications for All Programs for Fall 2024!

Save your spot and start the process now!


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