Foundations are a group of classes that all art and design majors take during their Freshman year. Their purpose is to give you an understanding (foundation) of knowledge and skills that will strengthen you as an artist, no matter what your specific interest may be. That means that classes such as Drawing I, Design and Color or 3-D Design will have a mix of students in them majoring in both Graphic Design, as well as Studio Art. It further means that you will find students majoring in Graphic Design who are mostly interested in Web Design alongside Graphic Design majors who are focusing on Illustration. There will also be Studio Arts majors who plan to be sculptors or painters or photographers, etc. as well. So it is a mix. This is because the kind of knowledge presented in foundations courses is not specific to any one discipline or area of expertise, but instead is meant to introduce you to theories of composition, color theory, materials and techniques that you might use in any area of art or design. Your awareness, knowledge and practice of those techniques, skills and theories will help to make you a better graphic designer, drawer, web designer, sculpter, ceramicist, printmaker, painter, photographer, animator, typographer, or videographer—a better artist.
We might refer to that foundation of knowledge and skill as Visual Literacy. It should be one of your prime goals to become as visually literate as you possibly can. A first step towards that goal is to learn to see critically. So, this theme underlies all foundations courses. The goal of that theme is to help you increase your ability to do the following—
- Describe What You See
- Analyze What You See
- Interpret What You See
- Judge What You See.