Academic Catalog 2020–2021

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Graphic Design Courses

GRDE240 Imaging Practices

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This digital studio course focuses on the proficient application of visual language through the manipulation of vector graphics, raster graphics, color, text, layout, grids and die-cuts. It is a course that brides learning experiences from foundation studies as they apply to graphic design. Conceptual thinking and a command in design principles are emphasized. The communicative value and visual aesthetic in diverse forms of imaging making are approached. The language and creation of imagery through digital graphics and photographic works are explored in relation to visual communication practices. Letterforms as image are introduced. The division of the course is based on demonstrations, presentations, assignments, discussions and critiques.

Prerequisites: FND236A or FND237 Studio II - Visual Dynamics

GRDE300 Thematic Workshop I

[0–2, 1 cr.]

This is a studio workshop that provides the students with specialized skills and techniques in the production of their projects. The theme of this workshop will vary and will be set depending on the visual communication mainstream trends and the market demands. Current themes for this course will be relevant to students within their first year of studies in graphic design courses.

Prerequisite: FND236A Design Studio II - Visual Dynamics, FND236B Design Studio II - Formal Tectonics, or FND236C Design Studio II - Anatomy and Space



GRDE310 Illustration I

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This studio course teaches illustration by exposing students to a diverse range of both traditional and digital techniques. A brief history of illustration is introduced creating a platform for critical analysis. Emphasis is placed on concept development and experimentation. Student projects evolve towards refined works.

Prerequisite: ART222 Drawing II


GRDE311 Illustration II

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This advanced studio course places emphasis on developing authorship in illustration. Various genres of illustration in the professional field such as comics, editorial illustration, character design, infographics and children’s books are examined through exercises and projects. Narrative qualities are addressed.

Prerequisite: GRDE310 Illustration I

GRDE312 Print Media

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This studio course teaches various printing processes, principles and techniques. Students are introduced to practical and experimental aspects of diverse forms of printed media. The course fuses workshops, fieldtrips and hands-on experimentation with printed media. Print terminologies and processes are addressed as students are exposed to professional and artistic practices of contemporary printed media.

Prerequisite: FND231 Design Studio IA

GRDE313 Advertising Design

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This studio course addresses the role of the graphic designer in the creative process of advertising. The course offers a comprehensive understanding of this process, spanning market research, communication strategy, briefing, concept development, ideation, copywriting and production. Projects are driven by clear business objectives, and communication messages crafted around valuable consumer insight. The role of media integration within the context of an advertising campaign is also explored.

Prerequisite: ENG102 Academic English II

GRDE314 Silkscreen Printing and Binding

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This studio course introduces students to silkscreen printing and book binding methods. A brief history of silkscreen printing and binding techniques serves as a platform for discussions. Emphasis is placed upon the conceptualization of projects, experimentation and design sensitivities in production. Using hand-drawn and digital separations as well as photographic stencils, a range of silkscreen techniques are explored through different projects on paper. Various book binding techniques including accordion folds as well as Japanese and single signature binding are addressed.

Prerequisite: ART222 Drawing II

GRDE315 International Traveling Studio

[1–4, 3 cr.]

This course involves a study abroad experience in which students explore contemporary graphic design on an international level. The course is supported by a preparatory series of discussions on the subject of study. Observation, documentation, analysis and design are each integral to the course. The outcome of this learning experience is first compiled into a sketchbook and then designed as an interactive interface or a book project. The course is taught primarily through studio, gallery and exhibition tours.

Pre-requisite: GRDE320 History of Graphic Design

GRDE316 Designing for Social Change

[1–4, 3 cr.]

This studio course actively engages students in the design of a community-based project. The aim of this course is to facilitate collaborations between student designers and the community to achieve a positive social change. In this class students work as a group of active citizen designers that guide and shape critical aspects of their community. The course addresses the ethical implications, role of visual communication and cultural integrity of design in society.

Prerequisite: FND281 Design Culture

GRDE317 Design Management

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This course aims to develop strategic management skills with a focus on the role of design in the creation and management of strategic and sustainable business practices. Classes are structured to replicate real-world industry scenarios providing a hands-on experience in designing, managing, and improving design intensive and creative firms. The course integrates research with design-centered studio work. Perspectives on business, operations, sustainability, management, leadership, entrepreneurship, design innovation, and design research are explored. Students develop their capacity to inspire and lead creative teams.

Prerequisite: FND281 Design Culture

GRDE318 Introduction to 2D Animation

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This studio course introduces various 2D animation techniques and software. A history of animation is introduced highlighting key innovations and innovators as a basis for the course.

Emphasis is placed on concept development, narration, writing and timing. Students are taught to create an animation from start to finish. The fundamentals of character design, animation, storyboarding, movement, sound design, acting and editing for an animated short movie are explored.

Prerequisite: FND251 Digital Media and ART222 Drawing II

GRDE320 History of Graphic Design

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course serves as a comprehensive survey of the history of visual communication from the late 19th Century to the present including material beyond the Western canon. It addresses the evolution of communication design through the impact of political, social and technological events and innovations by historical Western and non-Western figures in the field. Emphasis is placed on critical analysis linking historical styles to current design debates and practices. The material is delivered in the form of presentations, and requires additional visual research and readings.

Prerequisite: ENG102 Academic English II


GRDE330 Typography I

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This studio course introduces students to the history and principles of typography. Through presentations, demonstrations and projects students will explore the fundamentals of Latin and Arabic typography. This course investigates the anatomy of letters, basics of type design, typographic terminology, history of type and printing, hierarchy of information and layout systems.

Prerequisites: GRDE240 Imaging Practices



GRDE331 Typography II

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This intermediate studio course addresses the refinement of complex typographic layouts on a micro and macro level. Emphasis is placed upon the application of typography within diverse contexts in digital and print platforms. Typographic grids are examined as a powerful and creative communicative tool through both Latin and Arabic type applications.

Prerequisite: GRDE330 Typography I

GRDE340 Branding

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This studio course investigates visual identity systems applied to printed and digital contexts. It explores the conceptualization and design of brand identities from market research, logo development to the execution of a fully cohesive and comprehensive bilingual visual identity. The roles of brands in society are addressed. Students are encouraged to explore the creation and application of a unique visual identity system, through research and concept development.

Prerequisite: GRDE240 Imaging Practices

GRDE341 Publication

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This studio course is an in depth study in publication design. The role of the designer as author is approached as projects evolve from the students’ voice and experimentation. Emphasis is placed on grid system development and the challenges of visually structuring and communicating dense textual informational. Systematic design methods towards text and image relationships are addressed. The visualization and sequencing of bilingual information and narratives are explored in printed and digital context.

Prerequisite: GRDE330 Typography I


GRDE350 Internship

[1 cr.]

Internship formally introduces students to the professional world of communication design. Students choose industry-related organizations to complete the required hours over the course of a year. The hours may be split between different organizations.

GRDE360 Sketching for Animation

[1–2, 2 cr.]

This course examines the concepts and techniques for animation.  Emphasis is placed on developing the drawing and sketching skill sets particular to the practice of animation both 2D and 3D. It is designed to build a solid foundation in drawing the human figure in motion and to develop a strong draftsmanship of traditional drawing skills. Through life drawing students gain an opportunity to further their animation skills by focusing on what’s most important in the pose. Basic anatomy is the focus, along with exploring different elements of the human body. These skills and knowledge will be necessary and beneficial in the creation of animation projects in the advance animation courses.

GRDE361 Design for Animation

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This class focuses on the process of shot design. Building on a solid foundation of research, this class teaches students how to work within a brief to create designs for characters, props, and locations. Students gain first-hand experience of how to visualize, communicate an idea, and create design documents.

GRDE363 Storyboarding

[0–2, 1 cr.]

Storyboarding is the art of working out story problems and determining which camera angles give the most impact to a scene. It is a visual format of the story idea and serves as a “blueprint” throughout the animation and/or film process. Students express their ideas visually using proper film terminology, labeling, and presentation. They study basic storytelling principles, and learn to illustrate camera angles through drawing, composition, and perspective in order to create a mood in a scene or emotion in a character. Students use storyboards as a tool to further develop an idea and as a comprehensive communication device in teamwork.

GRDE364 Character Design

[0–2, 2 cr.]

In this course, students discover and practice the fundamental character design principles, professional techniques, procedures, and terms used in the creation of characters and model sheets. Students study the various disciplines of character design, including the importance of turnarounds and silhouette, the use of different proportions to visualize archetypes, poses that define action and personality, character design analysis, developing complementary and contrasting characters, and exploring different character design styles.

GRDE400 Thematic Workshop II

[0–2, 1 cr.]

This is a studio workshop that provides the students with specialized skills and techniques in the production of their projects. The theme of this workshop will vary and will be set depending on the visual communication mainstream trends and the market demands. Current themes for this course will be relevant to students within their second year of studies in graphic design courses.

Prerequisite: Open to SArD students who have completed 2 credits of GRDE300 Thematic Workshop I

GRDE410 Motion Design

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This digital studio course explores the concepts, methods, creation and applications of graphic design in motion. The course includes lectures, screenings, critiques and lab studio. Visual narration and storytelling processes are addressed through concept development, storyboarding and animatic. Emphasis is placed on time-based media combining bilingual typography, image, sound and video. Projects cover best practices in animation and visual effects in classical and interactive broadcast, motion branding, film titles, mobile platforms, Data visualization and infographic animation.


Prerequisite: FND251 Digital Media and GRDE331 Typography II

GRDE411 User Experience

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This digital studio course explores effective visual communication through human interaction with designed interfaces. The course is designed to equip students with behavioral theory, design practice and technological know-how that are necessary for interaction design, gaming, usability and user researcher. UX/UI are taught as the course addresses complex concepts and techniques of user experience design. Focus is on the analysis, design, prototyping and evaluation of multimedia, multi-modal, and multi-platform user interfaces. A history of user centric interactive media and its evolution serve a basis for the course.


Prerequisite: FND251 Digital Media

GRDE412 Package Design

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This course examines the multi-faceted problem solving methodologies of three-dimensional graphic design. Importance is placed on the development of innovative, economical, sustainable, functional and aesthetic package design. This course is taught through exercises, demonstrations, projects, discussions and critiques.

Prerequisite: GRDE340 Branding and GRDE331 Typography II

GRDE413 Introduction to 3D Animation

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This digital studio course explores concept development and techniques of 3D modeling, rendering and printing using Autodesk Maya and Mudbox as primary tools. Virtual designed environments, imaging for animation and introduction to 3D character mechanics are each addressed. The course examines different genres, styles and formats. 3D graphics styles in film, commercials, 3D visualization, 3D printing and motion design are studied. Emphasis is placed on camera positioning, movement, lighting, timing and editing.

Prerequisite: GRDE462 Introduction to 2D Animation

GRDE420 Visual Culture

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This studio course approaches the study of visual culture and its theoretical frameworks. How designers decode visual information and audiences encode them is fundamental to the discipline of graphic design. This course approaches the study of visual culture and its theoretical framework. It investigates the production, form and reception of images as well as introduces theoretical strategies to understand how meaning is produced by and through images within their historical context. This course is taught through presentations, discussions, projects and critiques.

Prerequisite: ENG102 Academic English II

GRDE421 Design Research

[2–2, 3 cr.]

In this course students develop an in-depth thesis proposal for their senior project. Diverse topics and research methodologies are addressed. Discussions on students’ findings regularly take place through the semester. Emphasis is placed upon the articulation of research process and results within written and presentation forms. Diverse sources of information and research potentials both in and outside the classroom context are addressed.

Prerequisite: GRDE320 History of Graphic Design

GRDE430 Typography III

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This advanced level studio course explores the intricacies of typography. It focuses on bilingual typeface design through typographic experimentation. Emphasis is placed upon a thorough understanding of nuances in structure and proportion in relation to Arabic and Latin typefaces.


Prerequisite: GRDE331 Typography II

GRDE431 Graphic Design in the Middle East

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This lecture course is divided into two parts. The first component addresses the development and use of Arabic letterforms and the way typography functions as visual language. Through field trips, lectures, guest speakers and documentaries, the second part examines traditional and contemporary graphic design work in or about the Middle East and North Africa region. It includes works by graphic designers, illustrators and typographers from nations as diverse as Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Turkey and the UAE. One of the main objectives of the course is to look at design practices that attempt to deepen our understanding of visual communication in print and digital media from varied cultures. Topics discussed are visual vernacular, posters and other publications that respond to socio-political major events in the region such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, activism in times of instability and war, the politics of gender and sexuality in the Arab world, and the recent rise of archival material that prompts us to rethink the past. Various methods of visual analysis will be explored.

Prerequisite: GRDE420 Visual Culture

GRDE440 Interactive Media

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This digital studio course explores the design of online interactive platforms, website navigation and web structures for bilingual user experiences. Research and concept development support the design and development of web spaces. Students are introduced to HTML and CSS through an integrated lab. Teamwork and collaboration tactics with developers are encouraged within the course.

Prerequisite: GRDE341 Publication

GRDE441 Senior Project

[2–2, 3 cr.]

In this rigorous course students develop their final year project based on their approved proposal. Emphasis is placed on students’ ability to translate their cumulative knowledge into an effective design solution. Senior projects are expected to highlight student individual strengths in an original, multifaceted, explorative and cohesive final design. This course culminates in an exhibition.


Prerequisite: GRDE421 Design Research


GRDE450 Portfolio Design

[0–2, 1 cr.]

This course provides students with the guidance and advising necessary to transition into careers in design industries or entry into graduate studies. Focus is placed upon the development of an individual portfolio, CV, cover letter, references sheet and business card. Emphasis is placed on the development of a cohesive, well-presented printed and online portfolio as a personal marketing tool. Business, legal and ethical practices in graphic design are also addressed. The class cumulates in a final portfolio review.


Prerequisite: Open to SArD students who have completed 60 credits 

GRDE460 Digital Painting

[0–2, 1 cr.]

Students learn how to draw environments for their animated sequences. They will enhance their color theory, design, sketches and visual research to express the mood and theme of a script. This course culminates in the development of compelling digital paintings in service to story. The majority of class time is structured around digital painting and sketchbook studies. 

GRDE461 2D Animation

[2–2, 3 cr.]

Animators breathe life into characters and make them come alive on screen. Regardless of the medium used, the animation principles required to make characters believable are the same. With a focus on traditional, hand-drawn character animation, students learn key industry terminology and practice production procedures including how keys, breakdowns, and in-betweens, all combine to make fluid action. In interactive lectures and hands-on exercises, instructors stress basic principles as students explore squash and stretch, anticipation and settle, the wave principle, and overlapping action. Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in clean-up, the technique of producing a polished drawing from a rough animation.

Pre-requisite: GRA307 design for animation, GRA310 Character design

GRDE462 Advanced 2D Animation

[2–2, 3 cr.]

This advanced course allows students to apply animation principles creatively in making a short animated film. By combining all the skills acquired students will come up with a concept, storyboard it, animate it and apply sound to it resulting in a final cohesive animated film with a clear vision.

Pre-requisite: GRDE461 2D Animation, GRDE363 Storyboarding.