B.F.A. in Visual Communication Design

Earn a B.F.A. in Visual Communication Design

B.F.A. candidates in Visual Communication Design study a wide range of formal design principles and visual communication theory and history, as well as the evolving nature of emergent technologies.

Throughout your time at Herron, classroom assignments introduce you to professional design practice as you develop your design process. Projects grow in complexity—from logos to branding systems, from book covers to animated type, from website design to concepts for smartphone apps.

You will become well-versed in the latest professional technologies by undertaking diverse projects. Most important to your professional success is that VCD students gain deep understanding of the design process and the skills needed for creative problem solving.


This program follows the requirements for curriculum distribution of the National Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and includes a student chapter of AIGA Indianapolis, a national organization that connects students to the professional design community.

Plan of study

Visual communication design courses start in the sophomore year and include studies in design history and theory.

In your junior year, you become eligible for your required design internship, which provides professional experience and, for many students, leads to a job offer.

Your senior year brings a focus on experience design and methods for engaging with people. The final semester culminates in a capstone project that you develop with a focus on either service experience design or digital experience design. Seniors develop an exit portfolio and personal branding.

Your senior year also includes conversations with professional designers and a shared final senior exhibition. You will leave prepared for a number of professional opportunities or graduate school.

  • General Education

    Foundational Intellectual Skills

    • Analytical Reasoning (6 credits, 3 of which must be quantitative reasoning)
    • Core Communication (6 credits)
    • Cultural Understanding (3 credits)

    Intellectual Breadth and Adaptiveness

    • Arts/Humanities and Social Sciences (9 credits total, with at least 3 credits in each area)
    • Life and Physical Sciences (6 credits)
  • Foundation Studies
    • Drawing I (3 credits)
    • Drawing II (3 credits)
    • Two-Dimensional Design (3 credits)
    • Color Concepts (3 credits)
    • Three-Dimensional Design (3 credits)
    • Creative Processes (3 credits)
    • Foundation Resources (3 credits)
    • Foundation Capstone (3 credits)
  • Art History, Theory, and Criticism
    • History of Art I (3 credits)
    • History of Art II (3 credits)
    • History of Design (3 credits)
  • Major Studio Requirements
    • VC 1: Elements and Principles (4 credits)
    • Making Meaning (3 credits)
    • History of Visual Communications (3 credits)
    • VC 2: Design Methodology (6 credits)
    • Typography (3 credits)
    • VC 3: Identifying Problems (5 credits)
    • Type and Image (3 credits)
    • Production for Print Outcomes (1.5 credits)
    • Production for Digital Outcomes (1.5 credits)
    • VC 4: Facilitating Solutions (6 credits)
    • Professional practice internship (3 credits)
    • VC 5: Designing for Innovation (3 credits)
    • Designing for People Centered Experiences (3 credits)
    • Digital Experience Design I or Service Design I (3 credits)
    • VC 6: Portfolio (3 credits)
    • Digital Experience Design II or Service Design II (6 credits)
  • Electives
    • Studio Art Electives (18 credits)
    • Academic Elective (3 credits)

    Recommended subjects for academic electives:

    • Anthropology and cultural studies
    • Business
    • Communication and rhetoric
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Psychology and human factors

    Recommended subjects for studio electives:

    • Book arts
    • Design for the web
    • Illustration
    • Painting and drawing
    • Photography
    • Printmaking

Potential careers

Publication and print design

  • Graphic designer
  • Information graphics designer
  • Package designer
  • Book designer

Environmental design

  • Exhibition designer
  • Environmental graphic designer
  • Time-based media designer

Advertising, marketing, and branding

  • Art director
  • Creative director
  • Brand strategist
  • Logo designer

Website and app design

  • Digital product designer
  • Interface designer
  • Multimedia designer
  • UX designer
  • Web developer

Design management, research, and innovation

  • Director of creative services
  • Conceptual designer
  • Design researcher
  • Consumer experience designer
  • Design collaborations leader
  • Visual sensemaker
  • Co-design leader

Join Indiana’s only professional school of art and design