ARTS 173 Studio Seminar

To view the complete syllabus, assignment calendar or individual assignments for ARTS 173, mouse over the ARTS 173 Studio Seminar Tab found under COURSES from the main menu and look for the appropriate pullout listings that appear on the right.

English: graphic design work by Emmanuel Cloix

Emmanuel Cloix

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Course Overview

As the first of the two senior capstone seminars, STUDIO SEMINAR is a comprehensive design course allowing students the opportunity to apply the combined understanding gained from earlier courses to multi-dimensional problems involving research, sequential thinking and contextual meaning. A main goal is to help students develop mature works that may be exhibited in the spring at the senior show, serve as a major focus of the portfolio and thirdly, aid the student in transitioning from the college environment to that of a working professional. Acceptance into STUDIO SEMINAR requires completion of all relevant portfolio requirements established by the overall degree program.

Students will be challenged to explore the effectiveness of visual communication through a variety of media appropriate to the individual student in both practical and theoretical situations. Research and process documentation will be an essential aspect of project assignments. Historical examples, contextual relevance, stylistic appropriateness, client/patron needs/preference, and market analysis will be expected as reference areas and points of student research. Application of theory and Design Thinking to environments with site-specific requirements will be explored. Students will be expected to demonstrate an ability to work effectively within a self-designed design brief or artist proposal, express sound reasoning behind their aesthetic choices and apply theory/research to creative and effective visual solutions.

Specific application of visual metaphor will be the focus of the first assignment. The second assignment will focus on the development of an individual design/art approach to a major social, political or environmental issue of the student’s choice. This extensive “Art That Makes a Difference”project will include a written thesis and proposal to be submitted to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). Presentation of this project at the Pacific Undergraduate Research & Creativity Conference(PURCC) in the spring semester is required. A third major focus of the course is the initial development of a personal visual identity brand. This project will carry forward to the second semester as a part of ARTS 175 or ARTS 185. Best business practices within the design and art professions will be emphasized throughout. Active membership in Pacific’s student chapter of AIGA, the organization for professional graphic designers or Pacific Art Club is strongly encouraged.

Course Objectives/Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course the student should be able to:

  1. To explore closely the relationship between form and content in design applications.
  2. To learn to apply the theories of visual communication to problems of multi-dimension.
  3. To explore the relationships between social need and contemporary art/design.
  4. To explore the effects of sequential presentation of visual information.
  5. To develop a senior project suitable for exhibition and portfolio focus.
  6. To develop strong research techniques as a means of an informed personal image-making process.
  7. To develop professional graphic design/art business practices

The objectives will be achieved by:

  1. Completing projects of increasing complexity
  2. In class & homework exercises
  3. Analysis & critique one’s own work & then apply the skill to the work of others
  4. Readings, lectures & discussion of readings
  5. Writing


The undergraduate degree in graphic design is intended to prepare you, the student, specifically in the common body of knowledge and skills required for entry as a professional graphic designer or studio artist. You should additionally possess the education necessary to move toward management and/or leadership positions within the field and also be ready for advanced graduate study.

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