Curriculum

Curriculum

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

Associate of Arts, Professional Designation (A.A.)

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 1900
Professional Skills
UNITS: 0
This course facilitates a comprehensive understanding of the tools and techniques necessary to effectively navigate the complexities of the job market. Students explore critical components of employment in order to prepare for their job search; the ultimate result is placement in their desired career. Students develop the following skills: building a meaningful resume; understanding how to navigate career sites, including but not limited to FIDM Career Network and Linkedin; effectively researching desired industry and organizations; perfecting interviewing techniques and skills; and finally understanding the benefits of a sharable portfolio which can be utilized throughout their careers.
GRPH 2230
UX Design
UNITS: 3
This course offers a practical introduction to UX (user experience) design emphasizing the importance of research in the design process. Inspired by this research, students develop solutions for a variety of applications centered around a specific set of users. Wire-framing is used to illustrate design concepts and students learn how to create a clickable prototype. Prerequisite: GRPH 1300
MRCH 1450
Concepts in Trend Forecasting
UNITS: 3
An introduction to the concepts behind professional trend forecasting. Students learn to understand the fundamentals of the trend forecasting research process through the analysis of current events, social and cultural influences, and industry observation. Emphasis is placed on interpreting research into viable macro trends. Prerequisites: MRCH 1420, MRCH 1750
SMED 1100
Introduction to Social Media
UNITS: 3
This course introduces students to the history, theory, and technology of social media. Students explore the different social media outlets and have hands-on experience with social media technology. Students learn how to use this new media productively, and have a framework for understanding and evaluating social media platforms
SMED 2880
New Media Public Relations
UNITS: 3
Students use practical and hands on experience to develop an understanding of the role new media plays in current public relations. Students gain practical knowledge of these techniques by developing and presenting individual online campaigns in class. Prerequisite: SMED 1700
TECH 1100
Introduction to Adobe
UNITS: 3
This course is an introduction to design techniques, naming conventions, and digital asset management within Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Students gain basic knowledge of digital design components such as vector and raster graphics, tools, and key menu items, which they use to complete work in their major areas of study. These concepts support use of industry-standard computer aided design tools and facilitate communication between designers, clients, and manufacturers.
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 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 2080
Environment Styling: Commercials to Lifestyle
UNITS: 3
An introduction to a variety of styling techniques needed for advertising, commercials, publishing or social media posting for lifestyle branding. Students learn the tools and tips needed with emphasis placed on product styling techniques and concepts. Students produce, art direct, and style photo shoots. Prerequisite: VCOM 2350
VCOM 2130
Mobile Photography
UNITS: 3
This course enhances students appreciation of the skill and creativity of photography by challenging them to produce their own photographic art using mobile cameras. Emphasis will be placed on making the most out of the limitations and opportunities available with these cameras including lighting, locations, framing, and post production using Adobe software. Prerequisites: GRPH 1050, VCOM 2350
VCOM 2180
Computer Rendering
UNITS: 3
This course offers an in-depth exploration of Adobe Illustrator as a design and rendering tool. Students will gain hands-on experience using the computer to create graphic collateral, fixture designs, elevations, and architectural renderings. Prerequisite: TECH 1100
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 1480
VCOM 2350
Computer Graphics
UNITS: 3
In this intermediate digital graphics course using Adobe Photoshop, students learn how to use the programs tools, layers, and palettes to enhance and manipulate photo composites and original art into conceptual designs. Prerequisites: TECH 1100, VCOM 2180
VCOM 2370
Design Strategies for E-Commerce & Visual Environments
UNITS: 3
Students will explore the future of merchandising and key innovations in the visual environment. Interpreting marketing promotions visually through window displays, in-store installations at various levels, store outposts, graphics and other collateral elements. Students will research costs of elements, prepare budgets, ensure ease of installation and create different roll-out packages for various types of businesses based on store yearly volumes, sizes, locations, and staffing capabilities. Prerequisites: 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 2710
3-D Studio
UNITS: 3
An in-depth approach to 3-D design. Students learn intermediate to advanced features using computer-generated 3-D imagery. Students demonstrate an understanding of elements typical in 3-D production including line, shape, color, texturing, composition, rendering, and digital enhancing techniques. Prerequisites: VCOM 2020, VCOM 2370
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 2810
Experiential Techniques in the Visual World
UNITS: 3
This class emphasizes the importance of creating exciting experiences to engage customers in the way they interact with products, places, and environments. An emphasis is placed on the analysis of the use and effectiveness of existing as well as researching the direction of technologies to create customer experiences of the future. Blue Sky ideation allows students to think creatively in developing a future vision. Students visit technology companies, forward thinking retailers, and non-traditional retail spaces to explore the possibilities of new ways to engage the consumer. Prerequisites: VCOM 2370
VCOM 2820
Fashion Styling & Coordination
UNITS: 3
This course will focus on various styling techniques for photo shoots, runway shows to red carpet events. Students will learn and gain knowledge of professional styling and art direction through lecture and projects from styling for the internet, online blogs to editorial styling. The class culminates in a themed fashion shoot. Lab. Prerequisite: VCOM 2130
VCOM 2840
Entrepreneurship for Visual Presentation
UNITS: 3
Students understand the marketing and 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. Prerequisite: VCOM 2820
Total Units of Credit: 60

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

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