This month we’re spotlighting the Digital Arts & Design Bachelor’s Degree program, focusing on the courses that make up the backbone of the curriculum that students learn across its 21 months.
In the last few months of the Digital Arts & Design degree program, students’ skills are really taking shape. They understand design, typography, and color theory, so by Month 17, it’s time to throw something new into the mix: expanding those design chops and learning to create functional content for the web. The Graphic Web Design course gives students a basic understanding of HTML and web standards, and over a month they’re tasked with using web authoring tools and other software applications to design and code a professional website.
Graphic Web Design site comp by Justin Krout
The Graphic Web Design course is the first of a block of web design-related courses students will take in the program, all of which are geared at helping print designers learn web design and development.
“About 80 percent of their design skills come into play [in this course],” says Jensen Hendriks, the Graphic Web Design Course Director. “The other 20 percent is a shock to their system; it’s students readjusting the way they think in order to have their designs function properly on the web.”
Just like working for a client, in Graphic Web Design students come up with a business proposal for a website, then design four pages of comps for what it will look like once it’s complete, and then they actually start coding the site. (They’ll also work on coding two other websites over the course of the month.) By the end of the class, students will have a basic understanding of HTML, CSS, and Dreamweaver. Jensen’s goal is to have students leave his course competent enough to get hired at a creative agency and be able to make changes to an existing website. “An employer may not build a site in-house, but if they have somebody in-house who can make edits for them, that’s a plus,” he says.
Graph Web Design site comp by Tim Starr
And while some students come in with no desire to learn code, Jensen finds that many of them will leave with a newfound love for the logic behind the process of coding a website. Plus, having a background in web design is a beneficial skill set that will help aspiring designers in the work force after graduation.
“To be able to transfer print design to digital design is a huge step in the right direction,” says Jensen. “Any designer job description online right now requests experience with digital media. Being able to put on your resume that you’re competent in HTML and CSS is definitely a plus.”