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At Pratt, we see communications design as a close alignment of thinking and making. Our curriculum pairs critical, cultural observation with emerging technologies and tools to help you form your own design process.

Disembodied arms of different colors wrap around each other against a black background creating a tangled mess.
Undergraduate, BFA
Undergraduate Communications Design
School of Design
Courses Plan of Study

The Communications Design curriculum embraces the multifaceted and interdisciplinary nature of communication design practice. Our courses and projects promote the rich exchange embodied in a studio culture that values the development of individual perspectives, critique, visual literacy, media fluency, experiential learning, and innovative formal outcomes.

Second-year coursework introduces fundamental theories, methodologies, and skills central to communication design. Courses prompt students to define and explore a design process that engages research, historical and contemporary contexts, experimentation, audience, technology, and play in the construction of meaningful visual forms.

Upper-level studio courses prompt students to engage in increasingly complex projects that introduce time-based media, visual systems, branding, and installations. Beginning in the third year, students develop an individual focus or set of interests inside the larger discipline through courses in their chosen area of emphasis: graphic design or illustration. Electives both inside the department and throughout the Institute expand the core curriculum, allowing students to explore ways of thinking and making throughout the visual arts.

Emphasis in Illustration

Students who select the Illustration Emphasis take a series of upper-level studio courses that explore topics particularly relevant to image-based communication, such as advanced storytelling, socio-political commentary, and authorship. Courses throughout the major encourage experimentation with multiple technologies, platforms, and techniques. Electives provide opportunities to explore a wide spectrum of contemporary illustration practice, including graphic novels, animation and 3D modeling, independent publishing, editorial illustration, children’s books, concept art, and illustrated typography.

An illustration of a girl with red lips and a cigarette in her mouth. She is surrounded by mushrooms of various colors as she looks despondently towards the viewer.

In the Communications Design BFA program students will undertake a course of study where they will work towards:

  • Developing a professional, responsive and interdisciplinary perspective on the role of design and the designer and their relationship to economic, social, ecological, historical and political systems

  • Engaging with form, systems, experiences and interactions as intersecting modes of knowing, thinking, making and being, and the implications on people, communities and environments across scale

  • Situating making practices, research and theory in response to the legacies of design history and to global, local and personal narratives

  • Demonstrating fluency in challenging the use of tools, technologies and materials across media in consideration to the value systems they embody

  • Practicing exploration and experimentation of the interplay between thinking and making towards developing a diverse body of work