New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy Graphic Design

One Year Hands-on Conservatory Graphic Design Program

Students learn color theory at NYFA's graphic design school

Overview of our 1-Year Graphic Design Program

The New York Film Academy's One-Year Graphic Design program is a two-semester, conservatory-based, full-time study program. Designed for professionals in related fields or for the student wishing to gain initial proficiency in the discipline, the One-Year Graphic Design curriculum is designed to educate, train, and immerse students in core aspects of graphic design and visual culture. Graduates of the program may continue in the professional field of graphic design or related disciplines or move on to further studies in pursuit of an undergraduate degree.

As a convergent discipline, graphic design connects to many areas of visual art, film, and design. With an emphasis on formal and conceptual skills — sequence, motion, narrative structure, storytelling, interaction, and communication — students will become articulate in the visual language of graphic design and will gain the skills necessary to solve complex design problems.

The graphic design curriculum operates at the nexus of practice, theory, and context. Students gain practical working knowledge of design and of the profession, while also gaining a thorough understanding of design theory within the context of historical and contemporary graphic design.

NYFA fosters a creative and encouraging setting in which to inspire and challenge students as they follow a rigorous curriculum and achieve multiple learning objectives. The NYFA One-Year Certificate in Graphic Design curriculum is designed to withstand short-term cultural trends, providing students with essential core knowledge and state-of-the-art practical skills.

The One-Year Program in Graphic Design is structured through a series of sequential courses designed to work together to educate students in all aspects of graphic design practice and theory.

Semester One

Students are introduced to the fundamentals of graphic design and begin to build a design skill set through courses in basic design, communication, and typography. Students are supported by courses covering the history of graphic design as well as computer lab courses, where they learn and become fluent in current industry software such as Adobe Creative Suite-InDesign, Photoshop Illustrator, and After Effects. The Graphic Design program is based on the in-depth understanding of the design process; from initial brainstorming and sketching to rapid prototyping, students develop an understanding of visual relationships and how to use them to communicate a direct and coherent message in varied, inter-related media formats.

Semester Two

Building on the skills acquired in semester one, 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. Students are supported by courses in portfolio production and business practices as well as computer lab courses where they further develop fluency in current industry software such as Adobe Creative Suite-Premier, Final Cut Pro, and Dreamweaver, as well as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery.

Course Description

  • Graphic Design (Type, Image, Layout Fundamentals) Introduction to the principles of graphic design practice and the process of solving visual problems, combining type and images. Students are introduced to the graphic design language and vocabulary (scale, contrast, grid, layout problems, 2D space, contrast, etc.). Students explore the relationship of image, text, and layout that create a piece of design.
  • Elements of Design (Design Principles) This course is an introduction to core formal elements of the visual language: line, shape, tone, texture, 2D studies, composition, and color basics. Working with analog and digital media, students will develop fundamental understanding of the core tools of visual design and will be introduced to the infinite creative possibilities of the 2D surface.
  • Type (Type Fundamentals) Introduction to typography. Students learn fundamentals of type and learn to recognize type families and key fonts. This course covers basics of the vocabulary of type, including x-height, ascenders, descenders, tracking, leading, serif and san-serif. Students study letterforms and learn to recognize important typefaces and fonts.
  • Drawing & Imaging (Introduction to Image Making) Students will explore image making using traditional drawing tools, experimental materials, and the computer. Students will tackle problems of representation, explore fundamentals of composition, and explore methods of visualizing concepts and themes.
  • History of Graphic Design This course surveys the pivotal events and achievements that led to the current state of graphic communication. Through lectures, video, discussions, presentations and research, students are introduced to the creative thinkers, important innovations and breakthrough technologies that have shaped the evolution of visual communication.
  • Communication Design In Communication Design, students see where the practice of graphic design and graphic design outcomes are distributed across a range of outlets and channels. Students are introduced to ‘message construction,' the campaign, and designing a message for delivery in different inter-related formats (posters, web pages, print ads).
  • Interactive Design An introduction to interactive media, this class consolidates all skills learned to date and challenges students to apply their graphic design skills to interactive media: web sites, app design, mobile interfaces, and social media. Students will be assigned a message for which they will create a visual design that will function across different channels of media and distribution.
  • Pre-Press & Print Production In this class, students will gain knowledge of the technical process involved in the production of printed graphic design pieces. Students will become aware of the how the designer can control the end product. This class covers CMYK, Color Separation, File Prep, and Paper Stock.
  • 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.
  • Design Studio The Design Studio is a simulation of a real-world graphic design challenge in a client-based setting. The instructor will present a brief to students. The brief will include details of a fictional company and that company's needs for the project. Students will work to “client” timelines and deadlines. Bringing together many aspects of the courses and student skills, this project requires student collaboration and teamwork.

Dates & Tuition

Fees Per Year

Tuition: $31,000 (USD) +
Lab Fee: $1,000(USD)

Number of Semesters: 2

Students will also incur additional expenses on their own productions. This varies depending on how much film they shoot and scale of the projects.

Location & Available Dates

For New York City:
September 2016 - May 2017
January 2017 - September 2017
September 2017 - May 2018

For Los Angeles:
January 2017 - September 2017
September 2017 - May 2018

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