Hartford Art School

Visual Communication Design

At a Glance

Gain the skills you need to succeed as a graphic designer, art director, or commercial artist with a degree in Visual Communication Design.

Full Time
Rolling Admission

Degrees Offered

Total Credits

Bachelor of Fine Arts

Varies or 120 Minimum




Visual communication design students learn how to design static and interactive work, which can include motion graphics, product packaging, advertising pieces, and so much more.

About the Major

The visual communication design (VCD) program encompasses all visual languages used to communicate, therefore your coursework aims strengthen your skills as a designer. Classes on design theory, methods, and history align with practical work with real clients by the time you reach your senior year.

Designers in this program are able to think critically about how to tell a story using design elements rather than words. You must be able to think not only about how your work looks, but also about how other people will interact with it.

After your foundation year, this program guides you through a series of independent studios and design intensives. You must complete 77–80 studio credits for your major, plus 45–46 academic credits. You must also complete a sophomore and junior review as a part of your inclusion in the program.

For a complete list of credit requirements, visit the course catalog.

Core Classes

DES 221 | Type I
DES 222 | Image Making and Meaning
DES 300 | Type II
DES 333 | Issues in Design
DES 334 | Design Systems
DES 335 | Experimental Typography
DES 390 | Special Topics
DES 440 | Sequential Graphics
DES 445 | Design Problem Solving
DES 450 | Senior Project
DES 460 | Senior Portfolio


3 credits in each of the following (12 total):

  • PTG/DWG or DES
  • SCL
  • MDA or VDO or PHO
  • ILS or GRA

Additional Requirements

PHO 220 | Intro Photography

3 credits of Mathematics (M 110, 112, 114, or 116)
6 credits in academic writing (WRT 110 and 111)
12 credits in Art History (ART)
12–13 credits from the All University Curriculum
20 credits from Foundation year

Career Ready

visual communication design students at their senior show

VCD majors become designers who function as interpreters. They achieve this through critical thinking and intellectual flexibility. Internships are an integral part of the program, as are the real clients who work with students in our Civic Design class. Your senior year includes displaying work in a networking event, which is heavily attended by design professionals who are often looking to hire new talent. The VCD major has an exceptional job placement rate, and you will enter the workforce with both a rich portfolio and a strong alumni network on your side.

Visual Communication Design Faculty

Our VCD faculty includes exceptional designers with years of experience in the field. They are here to encourage you every step of the way as you develop your personal design aesthetic and learn how to design to the needs of a client. Learn more about them here, or come visit them in person on a tour!

Visual Communication Design

John Nordyke
Visual Communication Design

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Andrew Wollner
Associate Professor
Visual Communication Design

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Michelle Nugent
Applied Arts Technician
Visual Communication Design

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Michael Scricco
Adjunct Professor
Visual Communication Design

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Student Work

Admission Requirements

graphic design work by a visual communication design student

There are a few ways students can apply for admission to Hartford Art School, all of which require a portfolio review. Visit our admissions section for step-by-step guidance, and remember that you can always give us a call. We’re here to help with any questions you may have.

Featured Success Story

Timothy Cohan

BFA Visual Communication Design, 2005

Tim Cohan currently works as an associate partner at Pentagram, the world’s largest independent design consultancy, where he and his team have tackled one of fiction’s dearest realms: the magical world of Harry Potter. Of all the types of design projects that visual communication design (VCD) graduates tackle, branding and logo work are some of the most common.

“You can be an independent designer, but big projects take big teams,” he says. “The better you are at collaborating and speaking up for yourself, the better you’ll do.”