Visual Communications

Curriculum

The following are the required courses for this major. Students meet with the Education Department to provide personalized academic counseling. Transfer credits, placement tests, changes in curriculum, and other factors may affect the academic plan for individual students. The FIDM Education Department can provide additional information.

Click on the green tab to see curriculum for each degree. Click on a course title to expand and read the course description.

GNST 1040
English Composition
UNITS: 3
In this process-oriented course, students combine deep, disciplined research with careful writing and revision to produce a thoughtful, creative, and personally meaningful research essay. They learn to formulate focused research questions, identify and investigate credible sources, and synthesize expert opinion with their own insight in support of a clearly defined, complex thesis. The emphasis is on curiosity, exploration, and discovery. As part of the process, students also gain confidence and competency in two primary areas of written expression: organization and mechanics.
GNST 1230
Color & Design Theory
UNITS: 3
An introductory study of the principles and elements of color and design theory. Students critique aspects of a visual representation by analyzing the components of design and the use of color by the artist.
GNST 1450
College Mathematics
UNITS: 3
An application course focusing on mathematical concepts used in everyday life. Students integrate computation and analysis with authentic learning in graph analysis, Venn diagrams, analytical geometry, statistical measures of central tendency and variation, and financial mathematics. Prerequisites: To register for GNST 1450, students must successfully pass the math placement test or pass GNST 450.
GNST 1600
Effective Speaking
UNITS: 3
A course in oral communication designed to give students poise, speaking confidence, and the ability to develop and produce a focused, well-organized speech that holds the audiences attention through effective delivery methods. Presentational skills and audience-centered communication are emphasized.
GNST 2020
Survey of Western Art I
UNITS: 3
A survey of art, architecture, and design from the Prehistoric Period through the Middle Ages. Included are the social, economic, cultural, political, and religious influences which have prompted or affected the art of each period. Students examine works of art and their iconography, stylistic techniques, and different media, with the goal of being able to recognize, understand, and discuss various art forms in their broader contexts.
GNST 2380
World Art
UNITS: 3
An introductory survey course in the art and art forms of selected African, Asian, and Meso-American cultures. Students are able to view art through its cultural, religious, and historical context by evaluating the different styles that developed in different time periods and geographical areas of the world.
GNST 2420
Survey of Western Art II
UNITS: 3
A survey of art, architecture, and design from the Renaissance through the 20th century. Art movements such as Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Abstraction, and Surrealism are studied. Particular emphasis is placed on the artist's role in society and the effect of society on art.
GNST 2750
Seminar in the Arts
UNITS: 3
A survey of the arts from a variety of origins, both classical and contemporary, with a particular emphasis on a diversity of fine, performing, and applied art forms. Students attend events that explore the following: pictures, sculpture, music, theatre, cinema, dance, architecture, and literature. Students gain an understanding of the different roles associated with these various art forms and critique these art forms through discussion, oral presentations, and essays, integrating their perceptions into their final projects.
GNST 2960
American Political & Economic History
UNITS: 3
A survey of American history from 1930-2000. Emphasis is on the political and economic features, both domestic and foreign, that contributed to the emergence of the welfare state and the nations rise to global leadership after World War II. The course provides an understanding of the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Cold War, Americas eventual emergence as the worlds only superpower, and the interrelation of all these factors.
MMKT 1550
Marketing & Brand Development
UNITS: 3
Marketing & Brand Development introduces and highlights the basic marketing principles which provide the framework for understanding the importance, value, and impact of marketing and brand management.
VCOM 1250
Survey of Visual Communications
UNITS: 3
A survey of the visual communications industry and how image and corporate identity run through all visual media.  Students examine and analyze visual marketing, graphic identity, e-commerce, fashion styling, event planning, exhibit design, trade show promotion, vendor manufacturing, retail store planning, retail theme environments, and visual merchandising.
VCOM 1350
Ideation Sketching
UNITS: 3
An introductory course in which students learn how to execute loose, quick, freehand sketches beginning with observed, existing spaces, simple elevations and plan views without perspective and to advanced invented visuals, illustrating solutions to various design and visual merchandising problems. Emphasis is placed on speed, confidence, clear communication, use of notation, credible scale, and research. In class and homework assignments consist of many small sketches as students communicate and use appropriate methodology to develop and express ideas. Prerequisite: GNST 1230
VCOM 1480
Perspective Sketching
UNITS: 3
Students learn skills and techniques which enable them to use perspective to create dramatic and effective sketches, drawings, and computer images. Prerequisite: VCOM 1350
VCOM 1550
Critical Concepts for Visual Communications
UNITS: 3
This course is designed to teach students basic problem-solving methodology in visual communications, from definition and clarification of the essential problem, through exploration of multiple solution concepts, to selection and adoption of a single appropriate solution. Prerequisites: VCOM 1480, VCOM 2180
VCOM 1850
Trends: Past, Present & Future
UNITS: 3
This course introduces students to the methodology behind tracking and forecasting trends for the fashion and design industries. Students analyze key movements in design and the wider cultural events influencing them from the late 19th century through the 21st to develop an understanding of what drives consumer behavior and how design professionals track trends.
VCOM 1900
Drafting Techniques for Visual Presentation
UNITS: 3
An introduction to basic architectural drafting techniques and skills as they relate to store planning. Prerequisite: VCOM 1350
VCOM 2010
Business Marketing for Social Media
UNITS: 3
Students examine the strategies, tactics, and impact of social media in the marketing and retail industries. Students develop blogs and evaluate current industry websites to understand the importance of social media as a marketing tool. Case studies and projects are applied to create a marketing plan specific to online customers.
VCOM 2020
Layout & Design
UNITS: 3
This course introduces the formal elements of line, shape, color, texture, and composition as well as the principles of design balance, scale, emphasis, repetition, and unity. This course integrates image and type use to communicate meaningful concepts for visual presentation. Prerequisites: VCOM 2180, VCOM 2350
VCOM 2180
Computer Rendering
UNITS: 3
An introduction to Adobe Illustrator as a design and rendering tool. This course provides students with hands-on experience using the computer to create graphic collateral, fixture diagrams, and store layouts.
VCOM 2220
Materials & Props (6 hours)*
UNITS: 3
This class exposes students to a variety of materials, including plastic, wood, metals, and tile, and their application to the industry. Students explore methods, materials, and techniques for producing visuals for the industry. Includes a three (3) hour lab. Prerequisites: VCOM 1250, VCOM 1900
VCOM 2350
Computer Graphics
UNITS: 3
An introductory computer graphics course in which students learn PC applications of Adobe Photoshop, analyze problems of visual thinking, design, and graphics, and present creative solutions. Prerequisite: VCOM 2180
VCOM 2380
Advanced Digital Imaging
UNITS: 3
Students learn intermediate-to-advanced features of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and enhance their software skills to digitally create professional quality pieces to include in their visual communications portfolio Prerequisites: VCOM 2420
VCOM 2420
Design for Social Media Branding
UNITS: 3
Using design principles and technology, students develop brand campaigns for online and social media formats. Existing brands are evaluated to determine effectiveness of brand messages; research will provide critical analysis for creating new brand campaigns in specific markets. Prerequisites: VCOM 2010, VCOM 2020
VCOM 2460
Design Installation (6 hours)*
UNITS: 3
An introduction to the crafts of visual presentation. Students receive hands-on experience in working with the tools and materials used to produce merchandise presentations and window displays. Standards of excellent craftsmanship are stressed as students design and install portfolio-quality visual presentations. Includes a three (3) hour lab. Prerequisite: VCOM 2220
VCOM 2480
Marketing Events
UNITS: 3
An introduction to event planning and marketing, and the strategies and skills used to ensure a successful event. Students explore the challenges and opportunities offered in this field, including leadership strengths and skills, research and strategy in planning, operations analysis, execution, and evaluation. This course examines how special events are produced to generate sales, gain favorable media attention, convey a specific message, or secure the image and reputation of a company, organization, product, or program.
VCOM 2520
Lifestyle Presentation
UNITS: 3
This is an advanced course where students discover innovative and environmentally sensitive ways to solve home product retailing, design, and merchandising challenges.
VCOM 2560
Entertainment & Fashion PR
UNITS: 3
Students design campaigns and plan strategies, incorporating the use of social media, to create and maintain favorable public images for individuals, businesses, and organizations engaged in entertainment, fashion, and music. Through press releases, seeding, product placement, and relationship building, students develop media, publicity, and public relations skills essential to the industry.
VCOM 2780
Portfolio Preparation & Presentation
UNITS: 3
This class assists students in preparing and developing a professional portfolio of their work. Students learn to deliver presentations with practical techniques on how to structure the material to be presented, create visual aids, and speak with confidence. Prerequisite: VCOM 2460
VCOM 2820
Fashion Styling & Coordination
UNITS: 3
A course which explores job options and the process for both finding work and preparing for a shoot or event. Students survey the work of important contemporary designers, photographers, and stylists. The class culminates in a themed fashion shoot.
VCOM 2840
Entrepreneurship for Visual Presentation
UNITS: 3
Students understand the financial data essential to making informed business decisions. Basic financial statements and their interpretation, cost analysis, and relationship to the visual communications industry are included.
Total Units of Credit: 90
GNST 1230
Color & Design Theory
UNITS: 3
An introductory study of the principles and elements of color and design theory. Students critique aspects of a visual representation by analyzing the components of design and the use of color by the artist.
VCOM 1250
Survey of Visual Communications
UNITS: 3
A survey of the visual communications industry and how image and corporate identity run through all visual media.  Students examine and analyze visual marketing, graphic identity, e-commerce, fashion styling, event planning, exhibit design, trade show promotion, vendor manufacturing, retail store planning, retail theme environments, and visual merchandising.
VCOM 1350
Ideation Sketching
UNITS: 3
An introductory course in which students learn how to execute loose, quick, freehand sketches beginning with observed, existing spaces, simple elevations and plan views without perspective and to advanced invented visuals, illustrating solutions to various design and visual merchandising problems. Emphasis is placed on speed, confidence, clear communication, use of notation, credible scale, and research. In class and homework assignments consist of many small sketches as students communicate and use appropriate methodology to develop and express ideas. Prerequisite: GNST 1230
VCOM 1480
Perspective Sketching
UNITS: 3
Students learn skills and techniques which enable them to use perspective to create dramatic and effective sketches, drawings, and computer images. Prerequisite: VCOM 1350
VCOM 1550
Critical Concepts for Visual Communications
UNITS: 3
This course is designed to teach students basic problem-solving methodology in visual communications, from definition and clarification of the essential problem, through exploration of multiple solution concepts, to selection and adoption of a single appropriate solution. Prerequisites: VCOM 1480, VCOM 2180
VCOM 1850
Trends: Past, Present & Future
UNITS: 3
This course introduces students to the methodology behind tracking and forecasting trends for the fashion and design industries. Students analyze key movements in design and the wider cultural events influencing them from the late 19th century through the 21st to develop an understanding of what drives consumer behavior and how design professionals track trends.
VCOM 1900
Drafting Techniques for Visual Presentation
UNITS: 3
An introduction to basic architectural drafting techniques and skills as they relate to store planning. Prerequisite: VCOM 1350
VCOM 2010
Business Marketing for Social Media
UNITS: 3
Students examine the strategies, tactics, and impact of social media in the marketing and retail industries. Students develop blogs and evaluate current industry websites to understand the importance of social media as a marketing tool. Case studies and projects are applied to create a marketing plan specific to online customers.
VCOM 2020
Layout & Design
UNITS: 3
This course introduces the formal elements of line, shape, color, texture, and composition as well as the principles of design balance, scale, emphasis, repetition, and unity. This course integrates image and type use to communicate meaningful concepts for visual presentation. Prerequisites: VCOM 2180, VCOM 2350
VCOM 2180
Computer Rendering
UNITS: 3
An introduction to Adobe Illustrator as a design and rendering tool. This course provides students with hands-on experience using the computer to create graphic collateral, fixture diagrams, and store layouts.
VCOM 2220
Materials & Props (6 hours)*
UNITS: 3
This class exposes students to a variety of materials, including plastic, wood, metals, and tile, and their application to the industry. Students explore methods, materials, and techniques for producing visuals for the industry. Includes a three (3) hour lab. Prerequisites: VCOM 1250, VCOM 1900
VCOM 2350
Computer Graphics
UNITS: 3
An introductory computer graphics course in which students learn PC applications of Adobe Photoshop, analyze problems of visual thinking, design, and graphics, and present creative solutions. Prerequisite: VCOM 2180
VCOM 2380
Advanced Digital Imaging
UNITS: 3
Students learn intermediate-to-advanced features of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and enhance their software skills to digitally create professional quality pieces to include in their visual communications portfolio Prerequisites: VCOM 2420
VCOM 2460
Design Installation (6 hours)*
UNITS: 3
An introduction to the crafts of visual presentation. Students receive hands-on experience in working with the tools and materials used to produce merchandise presentations and window displays. Standards of excellent craftsmanship are stressed as students design and install portfolio-quality visual presentations. Includes a three (3) hour lab. Prerequisite: VCOM 2220
VCOM 2780
Portfolio Preparation & Presentation
UNITS: 3
This class assists students in preparing and developing a professional portfolio of their work. Students learn to deliver presentations with practical techniques on how to structure the material to be presented, create visual aids, and speak with confidence. Prerequisite: VCOM 2460
VCOM 2840
Entrepreneurship for Visual Presentation
UNITS: 3
Students understand the financial data essential to making informed business decisions. Basic financial statements and their interpretation, cost analysis, and relationship to the visual communications industry are included.
VCOM
Elective: One Three-Unit Course
UNITS: 3
Elective Course Options (3 Units):

VCOM 2420 Design for Social Media Branding
VCOM 2480 Marketing Events
VCOM 2520 Lifestyle Presentation
VCOM 2560 Entertainment & Fashion PR
VCOM 2820 Fashion Styling & Coordination
Total Units of Credit: 51

* Three (3)-hour lab included in 6 hours.

Visual Communications majors are taught the skills needed for success. Major in Visual Communications at FIDM.

Some programs offered may require completion of a second year at the Los Angeles or San Francisco campus. Please contact the campus for details.