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School of Visual Art and Design

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Graphic Design + Illustration

We teach motion, interaction, UX and UI design, design using augmented reality AI and machine learning, product design, packaging, typography, design systems, traditional illustration, drawing, and digital illustration. Designers and illustrators understand the objects and interactions we create are part of larger systems and that we have responsibilities as message-makers. We lead with research and data to make informed solutions. 

The School of Visual Art and Design celebrates its centennial in 2025. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) we are preparing the next generation of skilled, applied artists and designers. The GD+I curriculum brings together analog and digital studio practices with a focus on ideation, process, collaboration, experiential learning, professional presentation, and leadership. 

ixd students on the South Carolina State House floor

Our students win awards and our alumni are in high places. IBM, Nike, Reebok, Google, Lyft, Bumble, Humana, Paper Source, The Florida Marlins, Aeropostale, RIGGS partners, ByFarr Design Studio, The Half and Half, Stitch, The Charlotte Hornets, Auburn University Athletics, University of South Carolina Football, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and The South Carolina Lottery have all hired our program alum. Our design + illustration students consistently compete on the national stage, winning awards from top-tier organizations such as the American Advertising Federation and exhibiting at universities across the nation. 


Our capstone experience ensures students graduate prepared for their design career with professionally reviewed portfolios and practical, applied experience. Prior to the capstone, students gain experience working in the industry through internships, our McCausland Innovation Grant funded design studio, and garnet and black magazine to name just a few opportunities. Our student-run, faculty led design studio and internship programs give students real industry skills that put them out in front. With award-winning and internationally recognized faculty and a curriculum that supports hands-on industry knowledge and gets to the business of design and illustration practice through experiential learning, GD+I students are set up for their careers to engage, explore, and achieve. 

Applying to GD+I

The Graphic Design + Illustration BFA concentration requires a portfolio review for 300-level classes and above. Students apply and once admitted they take a tiered series of courses including product and packaging design, interaction design, motion design, traditional and digital illustration. There is no application required for minors. 

The GD+I Portfolio Review takes place the last week of April, every spring semester. Students submit their digital portfolio and statement of intent after successfully completing ARTS 102 (for early admission) and/or ARTS 246. Approximately twenty students are accepted to each cohort. These cohorts go on to form strong relationships in their classes. For questions or information about the application process contact any GD+I faculty. For information on advising, contact Brittany Sparks or Della Bryant.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.