Visual Communication Design

Great design provides for dynamic touch-points that serve to connect with people through a visual language that is highly focused and contextually appropriate. Designers seek to inform, immerse, allow for exchange, embed meaning, persuade, inspire, provoke, validate, and entertain people. As technology opens more avenues for communication, the design process is becoming increasingly more complex, demanding stronger and more thoughtful visual solutions from designers. It is the intention of the Visual Communication Design faculty at the University of Texas Arlington to educate our students effectively and creatively by providing them with a solid framework for communicating ideas visually to an international community.

The Visual Communication Design curriculum is based on the understanding of problem solving relative to assigned, increasingly complex projects and experiences. Student designers are encouraged to actively research, analyze, plan, create, produce, evaluate, refine and reflect at each level of study. Students develop the ability to work in groups as well as individually on projects. In these situations students realize how to manage time and utilize resources to solve problems creatively. The merging of knowledge and creative experiences in an academic environment with industry-based processes, standards and culture is essential to the development of each individual designer.

Our Visual Communication Design students and graduates routinely receive local, state and national awards. Our students are employed by top design agencies/studios in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and throughout the nation. Students in design have won over 132 state, regional, and national awards since 2001. With more than 300 students in the program, the largest in the Art and Art History Department, the visual communication design concentration continues to be one of our most well-known and active department communities.

“Graphic design is the profession that plans and executes the design of visual communication according to the needs of audiences and in the context for which communication is intended.” - American Institute of Graphic Arts

“Graphic designers apply what they have learned about physical, cognitive, social, and cultural human factors to communication planning and the creation of appropriate form that interprets, informs, instructs, and persuades. Graphic designers use various technologies as means for creating visual form and as an environment through which communication takes place. Graphic designers plan, analyze, create, and evaluate visual solutions to communication problems. Their work ranges from the development of strategies to solve large-scale communications problems, to the design of effective communication products, such as publications, computer programs, packaging, exhibits, and signage.” - National Association of Schools of Art and Design


  • Corrugated Prototype Design and CAD Production Lab Donated by The International Corrugated Packaging Foundation
  • Advanced Digital Studios & Printings Labs
  • Over 40 Mac Computers in the Visual Communication Design Area
  • All studios equipped with Adobe Suite and other area specific programs
  • Studio Createc Gaming Studio

Visual Communication Design Faculty

Ben Dolezal

Associate Professor

Lisa Graham


Josh Wilson

Assistant Professor

Steve Holland


Steve James


Loryn O’donnell

Senior Lecturer

Area Coordinator

Gladys Chow

Senior Lecturer

Shaban Al-refai


Farzaneh Eftekhari, PhD

Assistant Professor

Kim Elliott

Visiting Assistant Professor

Tim Carvalho

Area Coordinator

Assistant Professor

photo of instructor


Creative problem solving using basic elements of visual communication design with an introduction to typography, composition, and materials. Prerequisite: ART 2304, or permission of the advisor.

Development and application of concept, layout, and design as related to visual communication design. Prerequisite: ART 2304 or permission of advisor.

Practical approach to concepts, techniques, and problem solving with illustration. May be repeated for up to 9 hours credit. Prerequisite: ART 2354. Advisor permission required to enroll in this course.
Design and problem solving focusing on transformation of visual elements into logos, logotypes, information and environmental graphics. Prerequisite: 2354, 2355, or permission of the advisor.
Typographic theory exploring traditional and non-traditional forms, both historical and contemporary typographic achievements. May be repeated for up to six hours credit. Prerequisite: ART 2354, 2355, or permission of the advisor.

Instruction of typographic theories and practice for the web to facilitate connections with words, ideas, and information. Emphasis is placed on the structuring of information hierarchy, grid application, and typographic systems. May be repeated once. Prerequisite: ART 2304 or permission of instructor.

An overview of critical environmental issues that affect the contemporary practice of visual communication design. Emphasis on ethics, environmental and society responsibility, and creative visual problem solving. Course may include, but is not limited to, lecture, discussion, reading, and creative design exploration. Prerequisite: ART 2354 or permission of the advisor.
Philosophy, concepts, and structures of magazine and book design. Prerequisite: ART 2354, 2355, or permission of the advisor.
Exploration of the graphic visualization and representation of data driven information sets to achieve insights into the cognitive and perceptive complexities of the world around us. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: ART 2304 or permission of instructor.
Creative exploration and application of complex visual communication design skills to the development of a visual identity system. Prerequisite: ART 3354, or permission of the development, gelatin silver printing techniques, and archival presentation.
Exploration and development of the visual communication design portfolio. Course work includes advanced level conceptual assignments. Emphasis on complex professional skills. Prerequisite: ART 3354, or permission of the advisor.
Typography, layout, visualization, and conceptual problem solving as applied to advertising. Prerequisite: ART 3354, or permission of the advisor.
Concentrated study in the use of design, creation, and strategic planning of websites. Emphasis is placed on creative concepts, information architecture, user experience, and site development. Course work will explore issues of differing perspectives of technology as a tool, a medium, and/or an environment. May be repeated for credit with grade of B or better. Prerequisite: ART 3356 or permission of instructor.
Visual Communication design outreach and problem solving. Individual and group projects for clients selected by the instructor. Provides advanced undergraduate students an opportunity to interact with clients on the development and completion of complex communication design problems. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
Special course work in new or experimental offerings for which there is immediate need and for which special resources are available. Primarily for art majors.
This course is an introductory overview of the digital game world, intended to lay a solid foundation of concepts that can be expanded upon in more advanced courses. The course will look at games from the historical perspective, explain how games are developed, investigate the systems and components used in current titles and analyze general game creation techniques.
Comprehensive process of designing and prototyping mobile web applications for portable technologies. Exploration of visual design, user experience design, interaction design, fundamental development, and application production are facilitated to deliver immersive artifacts. May be repeated for up to six hours credit. Prerequisite: ART 3356 or permission of the instructor.
An opportunity to apply academic training as participant/observer in a professional organization relevant to a major area of concentration. With permission of advisor, internships may be repeated for up to a maximum of nine hours credit. Internships must be arranged with the internship supervisor in the semester prior to enrolling for this course. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
Packaging structure design, materials, performance, testing and sustainability. The curriculum integrates with the Corrugated Prototype Design and CAD Production Lab (CORRPRO). Students use 3D structural design software, a variety of materials, and a computer-aided design (CAD) table to produce significant packaging solutions. May be repeated once for credit.
An overview of the development and design process for mobile web applications and portable technologies. Exploration of best practices for mobile app design and brand strategy, user experience, concept development, mobile content strategy, information architecture, interaction/interface design, visual design, and rapid prototyping. No coding is required or expected with this course.

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