Meet Your Major

As a graphic design major, you will develop your capacity for artistic and creative expression in both design and the studio arts.

This dynamic program, which blends art and design history, provides a rich and strong foundation that encompasses design thinking, theory, process, and practice, along with a background in the liberal arts.

Merrimack’s multifaceted graphic design curriculum combines research, critical questioning, problem analysis and the methodologies of the design industry. As a student in this program, you’ll sharpen your conceptual and critical-thinking abilities and develop a practical, in-depth understanding of current industry-standard technical skills. And, as part of the Mobile Merrimack Initiative, you will incorporate mobile technology into your learning.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll start with foundational courses. They will challenge you to look, think, question, make, critique, and to critically evaluate art and design. Graphic Design History, with an additional art history course of your choosing, will help you understand your major within the context of world culture. Next, you’ll choose one of two foci (Brand Design or Interaction Design) thereby selecting advanced coursework most appropriate to your learning, creative, professional and career goals. Lastly, in your senior-level coursework, you’ll dive into design research, enabling you to produce a professionally designed senior capstone project. Through courses of increasing complexity, as well as internships and opportunities for real-world design practice, you’ll learn to:

  • Understand and perform various types of industry-related research

  • Write for a broad range of applications

  • Develop the capacity to collaborate successfully, both online and in-person

  • Motivate yourself and manage creative projects

  • Develop ideas that stand the test of critical analysis

  • Deliver effective oral presentations to students, professors and outside clients

  • Brand and market yourself by creating a professional identity and portfolio

  • Become proficient in relevant industry software, hardware and social media

  • Be accountable, responsible and ethical in your work

Technology Needed

Graphic Design majors are required to have an Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription and a professional-level laptop at the start of their junior year. Upon becoming a Merrimack student, you’ll receive an Apple iPad and Pencil as part of the Mobile Merrimack Initiative, which will be an added benefit to your creative explorations. Inquiries about technical requirements are always welcome. Please contact Nancy Wynn, Director of the Graphic Design program, by email: wynnn@merrimack.edu

Hands-On Learning

To set you up for success, you’ll work with the O’Brien Center for Career Development starting in your freshman year. In your sophomore and junior years you will work one-on-one and in groups to create a dynamic resume and LinkedIn profile, take internship boot camps, get your professional headshot done, become more comfortable with networking, and apply for internships. During your senior year, you will create a senior capstone project and professional online portfolio to set you up for employment. Along the way, you can take creative workshops, join the Art Warriors Club, or hang out with your peers at the Media Center.

Recent graphic design internships have included design work for Spaulding, DKNY Men’s Sportswear Division, Tripadvisor, RevHealth, PROCON, Brides Across America, O’Brien Center for Career Development, and MindEdge.

Career Options

Our graphic design program will prepare you to succeed in a dynamic and constantly changing industry. Graphic designers working in web and app design, print and e-publishing, or identity and branding design are essential to the success of many businesses. As a graduate, you’ll be confident and prepared for employment in advertising and marketing agencies, corporations, nonprofit institutions and much more.

Recent graduates are working at TJX Companies, AMP Agency, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Bosch Healthcare Solutions, Bond Brothers, iSlideusa, Ana Donohue Interior Design, The Kirk Minihane Show and The Case show at Barstool Sports, and Europerfumes.

This major can also serve as a foundation for creative work in the fine arts, or further study in a graduate program.

Transfer Students

If you’re transferring into the program, the transfer of studio courses and level of placement in the Graphic Design program will be determined by the Graphic Design faculty. Upon application to Merrimack College, you’re required to submit a portfolio to the Department of Visual and Performing Arts for review. During the portfolio review, the Graphic Design faculty will assess your studio skills, as well as the courses to be transferred toward the degree requirements. Faculty will compare your level of accomplishment with the Graphic Design Program’s expectations to determine where you’re qualified for placement into the program.

Portfolios can be submitted in person or digitally. To submit a portfolio, or ask questions about the process, please contact Nancy Wynn, Director of the Graphic Design program, by email: wynnn@merrimack.edu

What You’ll Take

The Graphic Design major requires the completion of a minimum of 64 credits. You start with foundational courses, add history courses, choose one of two foci (Brand Design or Interaction Design) for your advanced courses, and finish with your senior-level courses.

Go to our catalog for full Graphic Design program details.