New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy Graphic Design

1-Year Hands-on Conservatory Graphic Design Program

See the Graphic Design Showcase Page Students learn the essentials of graphic design at NYFA

Graphic Design 1-Year Program Overview

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The New York Film Academy’s One-Year Graphic Design program integrates key aspects of contemporary design thinking within the context of the Academy’s renowned film program. This unique curriculum offers special focus on areas of design practice relating to communication, narrative structure, storytelling, motion graphics, and the integration of design and film. Emphasis is placed on acquiring design fundamentals, while also addressing areas where graphic design and film intersect. Students will ignite a whole new creative journey and expand their possibilities in the field of graphic design. Guided by a world-class faculty of respected and active professional graphic designers, one-year students develop a diverse design portfolio, professional fluency in industry standard tools, and in-depth knowledge of graphic design.

This conservatory-style, experience-based course offers students the opportunity to master the visual language of graphic design and gain the technical, collaborative, and artistic skills required to pursue success in an increasingly competitive field. Two semesters of sequential, hands-on intensive courses ensure that students develop a cutting-edge skill set as they explore the fundamentals of design, image, and typography. These skills will come to life as students walk through real-world industry processes from start to finish — from understanding client design briefs to generating ideas, sketching, refining, prototyping, and production. The class projects will guide students in creating branding and visual identity, and learning interface design and design for interaction (mobile, responsive design and app design), motion graphics (on screen branding and identity, film titles, campaigns and trailers), and print materials (editorial, book and collateral). Students work with expert faculty and state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, discovering connections between their aesthetic sensibilities and commercial objectives.

NYFA’s one-year graphic design program equips students with the technical knowledge, design theory, and studio skills they need to reach a truly competitive level of professionalism and artistry. Students will complete this course of study with comprehensive knowledge of graphic design — and a professional portfolio of 7-10 pieces showcasing the breadth and depth of their design skills and experience.


Students are introduced to the fundamentals of graphic design and build a design skill set through courses in basic design, communication, and typography. History of graphic design and computer lab courses augment students’ knowledge base as they develop fluency in current industry software such as Adobe Creative Suite-InDesign, Photoshop Illustrator, and After Effects. Faculty work with students to establish an in-depth understanding of the design process. From initial brainstorming and sketching to rapid prototyping, students foster an understanding of visual relationships and how to use them to communicate a direct and coherent message in varied, interrelated media formats.


Building on the skills acquired in semester one, semester two students engage in design problem solving and application. Through courses in branding and visual identity, interactivity and user interface, and design and motion, students work to address real-world graphic design challenges in a client-based setting. Portfolio production, business practices, and computer lab courses augment hands-on learning, providing students with the rigorous academic foundation for achieving fluency in current industry software such as Adobe Creative Suite-Premier, and Dreamweaver, as well as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery.

Course Description

  • Semester 1
  • Elements of Design This course develops an understanding of visual relationships and how to use them to communicate a direct and coherent message. The course will investigate issues of composition, organic and geometric form, color, craft, and the process of communication.
  • Communication Design This course develops an understanding of basic image meaning, sequencing, and narrative structure, and how these create visual impact and clarity while solving communications problems. Special attention is given to developing the student’s perceptual abilities through the introduction of basic semiotic theory.
  • Fundamentals of Typography This course develops an understanding of basic typographic vocabulary and basic typographic visual relationships. Through a thorough understanding of typographic history, and classification students learn to recognize type families and key fonts. Through a series of visual exercises, students learn how hierarchy, composition, image, motion and sound are used to communicate a message.
  • Drawing & Image Making This course develops an understanding of image making and drawing, and their potential as tools for communication. Students will explore image making with traditional as well as experimental materials. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the basic meaning of an image and how that meaning can be changed, manipulated, or strengthened depending on how it is generated. Students will explore single-image, image combination, composition, and type-image relationships.
  • History of Graphic Design This course exposes students to a comprehensive history of graphic design. Through visual presentations, lectures, and class discussion, students will explore this history from the invention of writing to the industrial revolution to the digital revolution.
  • Tech Lab 1 This course introduces students to essential industry standard design software. The course will cover basic file set-up, file management and best practices. Emphasis will be placed on student proficiency with Adobe Creative Suite and related software.

  • Semester 2
  • Communication Strategies — Branding and Visual Identity This course introduces students to branding and identity, and the designing of a visual identity program for delivery in varied, interrelated media formats — collateral, web, print, and mobile. This course develops approaches to solving branding and visual identity problems of broad scope and increasingly practical applications. Students working within static and motion contexts focus on developing the “narrative structure” of a brand. Students will develop a design brief, design proposal, and a solution that emphasizes the visual and narrative structure of their brand identity.
  • Design for Interaction This course develops approaches to designing for interactive media across multiple platforms. From print to tablet to mobile device, students will apply the skills that they have acquired within the graphic design program to solve interactive design problems. Students are introduced to concepts of interactivity and user experience while expanding their understanding of typographic and visual communications. Working with Adobe Creative Suite software, students will create and implement design prototypes — and will user-test their designs, refining their interface models as needed.
  • Type and Motion This course expands the understanding of narrative storytelling by investigating typographic and visual principles in an on-screen environment over time, and incorporating sound and motion. Conceptual clarity, organization, pacing, craft, storytelling, and expressive richness are emphasized through a series of individual projects building in length and complexity as the semester progresses. Emphasis will be placed on students developing a nuanced understanding of how words, images, and ideas take visual form in an on-screen reading environment.
  • Tech Lab 2 In this class, students will continue to gain proficiency with and become fluent in advanced software used in contemporary design practice. Adobe Creative Suite: Photoshop, After Effects, Premier, Dreamweaver, HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery will be the primary focus. Students will learn programming for web, mobile devices, and responsive web design. Students will also gain knowledge of the technical process involved in the production of digital pre-press and print production.
  • Portfolio Production and Business Practices This class focuses on the professional portfolio and the business of design: understanding client needs, contract negotiation, use rights, copyright, invoicing, etc. Students will develop a professional portfolio in multiple formats (print and web) and develop self-promotional strategies including resumes, cover letters, and promotional mailers. Students will also visit New York design studios to see first hand how a professional design studio functions and to make valuable networking connections.
  • Design Studio The Design Studio is a simulation of a real-world graphic design challenge in a client-based setting. Through research into various design areas — interface design, web design, print, motion graphics — students will research a design problem and present a design brief that addresses and offers solutions to the selected problem. The brief will include details of the design problem to be solved. Students will work to “client” timelines and deadlines.

Dates & Tuition

Fees Per Year

Tuition: $33,142 (USD) +
Lab Fee: $1,068(USD)

Number of Semesters: 2

Students will also incur additional expenses relating to their design projects such as: color prints, art materials, books and magazines and presentation materials.

Location & Available Dates

For New York City:
September 2019 - May 2020
January 2020 - September 2020
September 2020 - May 2021

For Los Angeles:
January 2019 - September 2019
September 2019 - May 2020
January 2020 - September 2020
September 2020 - May 2021

Please note: Dates and Tuition are subject to change
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