Students find ‘solution’ to graphic design on campus, despite gap in program Students find ‘solution’ to graphic design on campus at Northwestern University

Students find ‘solution’ to graphic design on campus, despite gap in program Students find ‘solution’ to graphic design on campus at Northwestern University

From club posters to campus fliers, digital art and design can be found all over Northwestern’s campus. Online platforms like Canva have made graphic design accessible to the masses – especially at Northwestern University.

Ryan Murphy, a sophomore at McCormick University, says graphic design has a big presence in campus clubs because of its accessibility and versatility. Murphy designs Wavelength, NU’s music magazine.

“Graphic design is great because it’s not just for art lovers,” Murphy said. “(Infographic-based) marketing on social media is huge for clubs at the moment.”

However, NU does not offer classes or programs focused on graphic design, leaving students to seek outside clubs and organizations to grow as digital artists.

One of those students is Weinberg graduate student Julie Elorza, who says she is exploring her interest in digital illustration by majoring in art theory and practice and taking classes in radio, television, and film. But she also relies on clubs and organizations on campus to provide her with the practice she needs.

“I found that a lot of people were doing their own different things to try to come up with their own graphic design,” Elorza said. “It’s kind of self-learning.”

Although there is no graphic design program at NU, clubs and organizations often use software like Canva for posters, social media graphics, and projects. Graphic design and illustration are also a mainstay in many NU publications on campus, including North By Northwestern.

Hope Cartwright, a senior Medill executive, is a member of NBN’s creative team, which uses software such as InDesign and Photoshop to design its quarterly magazine. She says she often sees graphic design used for clubs and publications on campus.

However, she also says she doesn’t mind the lack of graphic design classes on campus, because she believes it prevents clubs from becoming too selective.

“I don’t know if there will be NU students involved in that,” Cartwright said. “I feel that Nile University students have a competitive streak, especially when it becomes academic. So, I feel like it might amount to cutting a throat.”

Despite the frequent pairing of graphic design and journalism, NU is one of the only colleges in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the top 10 colleges for journalism, which includes New York University, Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Texas-Austin, without graphic design. program.

For students interested in pursuing graphic design while at UNC, there are a few programs that develop skills that overlap with graphic design.

Art Theory and Practice offers art as a major and minor for undergraduate students. While the department does not offer classes focused on digital art, platforms such as Photoshop and InDesign are used in class projects. The department also provides access to Adobe in its computer lab.

Elorza says that although she is interested in graphic design, she rarely creates digital projects for her classes.

“The art major is very traditional,” Elorza said. “I wish there was more. I don’t want to say there isn’t an openness to digital art and graphic design, but I think it is not seen as legitimate.”

The Media Arts and Game Design unit is another adjacent graphic design program at NU in the School of Communication. The unit offers computer animation classes and teaches 3D animation software.

Communications major Austin Lopez-McDonald follows the Media Arts and Game Design unit. While he entered NU through McCormick, he hoped to pursue a career in video game design. But he says he was disappointed by the class’s preparation for the future jobs he is interested in.

“The way these classes are structured is that if you want to get into the industry, but you don’t know how to do it, these classes won’t teach you,” Lopez-McDonald said.

To find his design outlet, Lopez-McDonald joined the Illustrators and Animators Club and helps teach other students what he knows about graphic design.

The Animators and Animators Club is a student organization focused on teaching 2D and 3D animation. Lopez-McDonald says he loves helping teach others what he has learned about making illustrations through the club.

“I really wanted a space where I could talk about and critique design,” Lopez-McDonald said. “And showing people different design processes and providing feedback that NU doesn’t do.”

As the graphic design industry grows, many students continue to explore digital art skills regardless of their career goals, with Murphy saying he finds it a more practical way to find a career in art.

“Previously, there was talk about how concerned parents were about the starving artist stereotype,” Murphy said. “And nowadays, it’s not really true if you like graphic design because of how big it is.”

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