Graphic Design Media Degree Program

Summer Classes Start
May 11

"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."

Nossi mark mabry

Mark Mabry MFA Ed.D
Graphic Design Media 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 Media Courses

Focus on Our Four-Year Program

Bachelor's Degree

Bachelor of Graphic Arts Graphic Design Media

133 curriculum hours



Students are introduced to the principles of design using a variety of media as they complete projects that emphasize various aspects of composition. They will learn about balance, repetition of shape, positive and negative space, focal point, the illusion of depth and motion.



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.



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.



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.



This course teaches students how to work with Adobe Photoshop, the industry-standard photo-manipulation program, from a photographer’s standpoint. Building upon what was learned in the initial Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop for Photographers will delve deeper into the technical aspects of the program, showing photography students techniques for color management, image and color adjustments, montage techniques and preparing images for print.



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



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.



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.



Knowledge of basic Web Design is rapidly becoming 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. In WD 285, students will be introduced to prototyping web designs, a variety of web programming languages such as HTML5 and CSS3, 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.



This course is a continuation of Graphic Design Fundamentals concerning the creative process. Emphasis is on conceptual execution with diverse projects including simple packaging, ads, posters, print design and brand identity. The course focuses on how people see and arrange visual information into a meaningful whole. Students will also get a deep-dive into specialized printing materials and techniques, design terminology, digital design and the ‘business of design.



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.



Interactive Design I 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 offering 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 Web Language I knowledge to gain proficiency in basic javascript, related libraries such as jQuery and additional CSS3 and HTML5 technologies. Currently, Interactive Design is in 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 use of HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript.



This class is designed to expose the student to software and techniques used in the creation of professional motion graphics. With the demand for motion graphics in all aspects of marketing, communication and content production on the rise, having an understanding of key concepts and methods will provide greater flexibility and capability for graphic designers and videographers. Beginning with keyframes, this class examines the basics of motion graphic creation and animation. Utilizing Adobe After Effects, the students will create pro-level graphics presentations.



Expanding on web languages and technologies learned in Web Language I, in this follow-up course, students will go beyond basic HTML5 and CSS3. In addition to learning more advanced constructs of each of the languages, students will learn a number of additional tools for advanced web development including relevant HTML5 and CSS3 frameworks, CSS preprocessors, Content Management Systems (CMS), a brief overview of server-side scripting languages such as PHP as well as advanced techniques for responsive design. 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.



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.



Designing for online isn’t just limited to a brand’s website anymore. Social communities like Facebook and Twitter have allowed brands to communicate with their audiences in a new way. Students taking this course will learn the challenges and limitations of designing for these commonly used online sites as well as the history and theory of online social interaction. This unique course will help students gain valuable knowledge of evolving digital media development and user interface design to help them not only know how to design for currently popular online services, but also how to adapt to the constantly changing social media landscape.



In this course, students learn the skills and procedures necessary to start a successful freelance operation by learning advantages and disadvantages of freelancing. They will learn what steps are necessary to protect their creative property and ensure that 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. Governmental regulations, licenses and taxes will be explained.



This course will examine advanced concepts of developing brand campaign elements with an emphasis on Execution and Presentation, Steps 6 and 7 of the Nossi 9 Step Creative Process. Students will concept and produce various collateral materials including identity, packaging and web vehicles to promote and sell a brand through intelligent graphic design.



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.



This course will allow students to be introduced to the world of 3D visualization using Modo. Modo is recognized as a user-friendly standard in various fields like print, game design and animation. This will be the first major step for students in 3D principles. Students will start by learning the interface and how to maneuver around the application. As students progress, modeling, texturing and different layout concepts (including UV) will be explored. By the conclusion of this class, students will be able to create simple objects or environments and will texture, light and then render them for print purposes.



This course will allow both graphic design students and illustration students to take the basic information learned in their 3D Modeling class and expand on the modeling and rendering side of 3D. Students will have the opportunity to learn advanced techniques for modeling hard surfaced objects like vehicles, a variety of containers and then progress to organic objects like animals or humans. How to model efficiently is also a major part of this technologies course. This course will provide a basic foundation on how to tackle any modeling challenges with which students might be faced on a professional basis.



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. Final pieces will be executed and either photographed or digitally rendered so that each piece is portfolio ready.



This class 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 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.



After completing this course, the student will have a firm grasp of the fundamentals of art direction. Students will have basic knowledge of the varieties and usage of fonts, page layout and the responsibilities an art director faces within an advertising agency and design studio. Each student will focus on typographic design and layout techniques in order to communicate advertising concepts clearly and powerfully.



The term “environmental” in this case isn’t associated with the global eco movement referred to as“green”. The course focuses on the students solving professional art direction challenges as it pertains to advertising elements within special environments, i.e. in-store signage, graphic displays, product point-of purchase elements (including kiosks) outdoor building signage and more. Special attention is given to research, idea generation, audience consideration, execution and production as it relates to marketing strategies for today’s brands and their products or services. Students may be required to collaborate with photographers and or illustrators as needed from the college’s associated degree programs.



This final web design course is designed to display the knowledge and talent representative of the student’s cumulative abilities in completion of the BGA program. Aggregating all of their skillsets, students will independently research and evaluate a specific personal or consumer need for a website or application, propose and address a solution, address marketing strategies and deployment, as well as address monetization concerns. In doing so, students should have material evidence of their market value as a developer and designer to showcase to prospective employers and clients.



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.



Independent study courses are individually designed to meet 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 department coordinator and by the Vice President of Academic Affairs.



This course provides students who are about to graduate an opportunity to explore the presentation and interviewing techniques used to find employment. Positive self-image and goal setting concepts are reintroduced. Students are expected to create communication materials for self-promotion and develop strategies for networking and community involvement, including internship opportunities. Students must participate in a formal portfolio presentation of their work to the community and to their fellow students. They are given instructions in portfolio presentation and preparation for career opportunities.



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.



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.


American History

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



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, project scheduling, descriptive and inferential statistics and probability.



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 art works and then name the period, the style, its characteristics, influences and the artist.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.

Summer Classes Start
May 11

Who You’ll Be Learning From

Mark mabry headshot

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 headshot

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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Summer Classes Start

May 11

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