Design Arts

Design Arts

The Design Arts program develops dynamic makers who possess the technical and organizational skills needed to establish an influential professional presence in today’s ever-evolving creative marketplace.

Design Arts students learn the history, principles, and major theories of design. Students explore the mediums of design application, both analog and digital, traditional, and emerging; acquire skills in ideation, critical evaluation, and revision; and develop a unique personal style that also serves as a compelling professional brand.

In short, Design Arts students learn how to engage culture as innovators who can meet complex conceptual challenges in real time and offer insightful solutions with handcrafted style. While all students in the program develop the broad range of skills outlined above, students can choose to concentrate in either Communication Design or Illustration.

A concentration in Communication Design roots the designer in a crucial understanding of the relationship between medium and message.

A concentration in Illustration equips the artist with a powerful specialization in visual communication. Students develop the ability to draw images that captivate attention, to capitalize on our growing digital economy, and to fuse universal meaning with personalized style.


Communication Design


The Chair of the Design Arts department is Martin French.

Designer and illustrator Mel Larsen (‘11) produced hand-lettered signage for small businesses for her thesis. She designs and hand-lettters signage and print materials for Portland grocery chain, Zupans, and designed the poster for Design Week Portland 2013.

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