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Graphic Design

At the center of ad campaigns both in print and on screen is an art director with expertise as an artist and graphic designer. There is a major need in both the commercial and educational art worlds for graphic designers. Spring Arbor University’s graphic design program within the Department of Art & Design has answered that call.

View examples of student artwork.

Why should you choose SAU’s art program?

The art program at SAU offers the student a unique developmental combination of technical skills relative to the various media with emphasis on personal creativity and style. This combination begins in the introductory studio courses and is completed in the individualized structure of ART 415: Advanced 2-D and 3-D Design and ART 470: Art Seminar.

Facilities for the major are housed in the 8,100-square foot Ogle Art Center, which contains classrooms and a state-of-the-art computer lab, along with traditional studios for drawing, sculpture and painting, a darkroom, complete woodshop and kiln area. The Ganton Art Gallery is one of the largest single-space galleries in Michigan and displays revolving exhibits of graduating majors, semester art shows and professional artists.

In the first year of the program, students take ART 160: Introduction to Art. This course provides insights by professionals in various art fields and explains the academic and experiential requirements to pursue a job in their area. During the sophomore and junior years of the programs, art students meet one on one with department faculty to discuss their progress and possible careers. The art major culminates in individual senior shows, in which students showcase their best pieces in the Ganton Art Gallery. These shows center around the student’s area of concentration and are held throughout each semester.

Another strength of the program is juried competitions at the end of each semester, exposing students to critiques from visiting artists and showcasing their best works to the community. Students in the major are also expected to participate in the annual Michigan Small College Art Competition held every spring. Art scholarships are available through portfolio review and also are awarded at annual semester competitions.

Courses, Course Descriptions & Four-Year Plan

The graphic design program is a concentration within the art major at SAU. Courses for the 52-hour art major include such subject areas as drawing, two- and three-dimensional design, painting, color, history of art, as well as courses in graphic design and typography for graphic design students.

To view the course requirements and layout, course descriptions, a sample four-year plan, as well as learn more about the art program at Spring Arbor University, download the undergraduate catalog.

Career Opportunities

When you graduate from our program, you will have a marketable skill and opportunities for careers in graphic design and art direction. In addition to having a sense of background (you will know the history and development of graphic design), you will have a working knowledge of the most current layout, design and photo manipulation software. You will also have skills in conceptualizing, visual problem solving and working with communications objectives. Upon graduation, your portfolio will include numerous samples of your work, including your own letterhead, CD packaging and more. Visit our career development section for more information on careers in graphic design.

On-Campus Opportunities

Spring Arbor University offers a wide range of activities and opportunities for students to get involved and apply what they’re learning in the classroom to real-world contexts. Here are some opportunities that may interest graphic design students:

  • Art shows: Art students bring each semester to a close by participating in a juried show in the Ganton Art Gallery. In addition, senior art majors are given the chance to showcase their most awe-inspiring artistic endeavors in an individual art show that forms the capstone of the art program.


Brian Shaw, MFA, Professor of Art
Brianne Witt, MFA, Professor of Art
Jonathan Rinck, M.Lit, Assistant Professor of Art