Communication Design

BSDES

Why study Communication Design?

Communication Designers give visual form to information, ideas, and feelings. They inform, persuade, educate, and entertain using typography, photography, drawing, video/animation, audio, storytelling, interaction, and space. Communication designers increasingly collaborate with other fields to help meet human needs.

At the University of Cincinnati, Communication Design students receive a foundation in visual problem-solving. The core of the curriculum is a series of sequential design studios. These courses help students develop critical and visual thinking along with essential design processes. Students also have opportunities to further develop in specific areas of interest (including graphic design, interaction design, and motion design). Students reinforce their skills in the field through several co-ops.

Professional communication designers build careers wherever communication is important. Designers often work for design firms, internal design teams, or as independent freelancers. They have career opportunities in advertising, branding and corporate identity, digital product design, exhibit design, interface design, motion graphics and post-production design, package design, service design, user experience design, and web design. Today's designers may be found working in the healthcare system or for governments and NGOs impacting society. Established designers may create their own firms or pursue entrepreneurial activities. Regardless of their career, almost every designer works on behalf of an interested party (or client) and an audience, identifying specific problems and helping fulfill the needs of both groups.

Admission Requirements

The College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati seeks to attract, enroll, and graduate academically talented students of varied and diverse backgrounds. Success in our programs is largely dependent upon sound academic preparation. In multidisciplinary programs like those in DAAP, students’ insight and perspective are greatly enhanced by exposure to students from different backgrounds, geographies, and co-curricular interests. DAAP has an admissions review process to support these goals. In addition to the required application materials, students who apply to Communication Design may submit an optional portfolio. Please note that it’s impossible to predict – or guarantee – what credentials a student will need to gain admission into DAAP, because the size and quality of the applicant pool varies each year..

Optional Portfolio Review

Students who include Architecture, Communication Design, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Industrial Design, or Interior Design among their program options on their admission application will be invited to submit a portfolio for admission consideration. This is an optional portfolio, but students are encouraged to submit one if they think it would strengthen their application. The portfolio is not part of The Common Application. After the application is received, an email containing a link and instructions for portfolio submission will be sent. Please note that required application materials will continue through the admissions review process, and it is possible that students will be admitted based on the strength of those materials.

DAAP Optional Portfolio Guidelines

  • Include 12-20 pieces of work from the last two years
  • Include examples of architectural work, design (e.g. clothing, interior spaces, logos, posters, websites), drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, 3-D renderings, work in other media, and/or things you have sewn, built, or invented
  • Include some samples of drawing from observation (instead of from imagination or reproduced from photographs)
  • Emphasize your artistic and design strengths
  • May also represent your extracurricular involvement and interests
  • Include the title, medium, date completed, and a brief description that addresses each work’s concept and/or inspiration

Please visit the Admissions Office's website for more information, including application materials, requirements, deadlines, and timelines.

People who are successful in communication design tend to have visual and kinesthetic/tactile learning styles. Communication designers are creative, imaginative and artistic, and possess good hand-motor skills. They are methodical and process-oriented in approaching their work, exercising good time- and project-management skills. They critically analyze the things they see and contemplate. Communication designers have an enormous curiosity about learning different things. They must possess strong communication skills, and they need to know how to create informative and persuasive proposals while maintaining good client relationships.

Communication Design career opportunities include the design of advertisements, exhibitions, publications, corporate communication, packaging, posters, websites, branding systems, books, signs, magazines, environmental designs, and video messages. They may be identified as communications designers, visual designers or graphic designers; and they may work in art direction and design consultation. Students may find employment with a private or public organization or a design agency. Some choose to work on a freelance basis.

Students focusing on interaction or motion design are prepared to work in a variety of capacities. They are most likely to work for digital design firms to develop structural and functional information architecture for interactive and immersive environments. Students could design educational and/or game applications; develop networked communications design for the Internet; create 3-D animation, film effects and virtual reality applications, such as product walk-arounds and building fly-throughs; applications for smart phones or tablets; work independently or as members of a multidisciplinary team (which may include illustrators, designers, sound engineers, videographers, photographers, writers, filmmakers, management personnel, etc.).

Communication design is not offered as a minor.

Prospective students are encouraged to explore the information on our website and contact DAAP Student Affairs at 513-556-1376 or daap-admissions@uc.edu with questions. The Transfer and Transition Advising Center is available to assist prospective transfer and transition students. Current DAAP students are assigned an academic advisor based on their major/program. For more information on DAAP advising, please visit the DAAP Undergraduate Advising webpage.

  • The city of Cincinnati, once called the "Queen City of the West" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, provides an excellent array of cultural resources for students who intend to pursue a degree in the visual arts. It offers the energy and assets of a larger city, along with quiet neighborhoods steeped in rich traditions. Cincinnati offers live music venues that range from top-notch symphony and opera companies to a growing pop and rock community. Home to the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum and the Contemporary Arts Center, the city also enjoys the presence of numerous art galleries and a strong support system among practicing artists. Cincinnati is situated within driving distance of Chicago, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and New York City, allowing DAAP students to take advantage of the rich cultural resources of these cities as well.
  • UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) is one of the most comprehensive colleges of its type in the country. A collection of nationally respected design and art programs is housed in a unique and educationally stimulating architectural setting. 
  • Students learn creative and technical skills in the studio environment, taught by a passionate faculty who interact with their students on a daily basis. The goal is to guide students as they grow both intellectually and professionally.
  • The DAAP college library has an outstanding collection of books, periodicals and visual resources supporting architecture, planning, design, art history and related subjects. Access to library holdings is provided by an automated online catalogue, UCLID, which provides access to the University of Cincinnati Library information database, and through OhioLINK, the holdings of other academic libraries throughout Ohio.
  • The Computer Graphics Center is a state-of-the-art university facility with hardware that includes PCs, Apple computers, and peripherals such as scanners, plotters and digital video-editing suites. Students have access to sophisticated graphics equipment and receive hands-on instruction to augment the use of laptops in the classroom. All computing equipment is linked by high-speed Ethernet to facilitate access across the campus.
  • Communication Design co-op students work for both large and small design firms, in the areas of interactive multimedia, networked communication, 3-D design and animation, areas of corporate identity, environmental graphics, print, packaging, and new media.  Students begin their co-op experiences in the second semester of their sophomore year and alternate semesters of full-time work and study on a year-round calendar until the final semester of the fifth year (there is no tuition for the semesters students work). They graduate with five semesters, or a year-and-a-half, of work experience in their field.
  • DAAP students learn creative and technical skills in the studio environment, taught by a passionate faculty who interact with their students on a daily basis. The goal is to guide students as they grow both intellectually and professionally. Faculty are innovative in transforming the art and design disciplines by applying the newest technologies. They inspire students to take advantage of interdisciplinary studio projects and work within corporate partnerships. This prepares DAAP students to practice their art and design in both local and global markets.
  • Computer Requirements: All undergraduate students in this program are required to purchase a personal laptop computer. Each discipline has its own specific recommendations for hardware and software. Please note that these recommendations may be slightly altered as equipment evolves. Therefore, students new to DAAP are encouraged to delay their computer purchase until the summer prior to entering to make the most informed computer purchase. Many of our programs have additional technology requirements for students in the later years of study.

Students must also complete five semesters of mandatory professional practice (co-op) and receive a satisfactory (S) for all required work semesters. Students must obtain a minimum overall grade point average of 2.0. In order to be eligible for graduation with honors, a student must have completed 60 semester hours in the college and have earned at least a 3.6 grade point average.

Students seeking to transfer from another regionally accredited university or college must be in good standing to be considered for admission. Students wishing to transfer into a DAAP program should submit a Transfer Application. Transfer students are generally admitted to the first year of our studio-based, co-op programs due to the sequence of studios and co-op. For further information such as minimum grade point average and application deadlines, please refer to the DAAP Transfer and Transition webpage.

Students seeking to transfer from other colleges and programs at UC must be in good standing to be considered for admission. Students wishing to transition into a DAAP program should submit an Application for Change in College and Program. Transition students are generally admitted to the first year of our studio-based, co-op programs due to the sequence of studios and co-op. For further information such as minimum grade point average and application deadlines, please refer to the DAAP Transfer and Transition webpage.

Please visit the university’s Office of Admissions website for general admissions information and application requirements for international students.

Application Deadlines

High school applicants who submit a complete application by the December 1 Early Action deadline will be pooled and reviewed for selection. Early Action applicants can expect to learn their admission decision on Cincinnati Decision Day. This date varies by year and is shared on the university’s Office of Admissions website. Students who apply by December 1 also receive maximum scholarship consideration. Applications received after December 1 may be considered on a space-available basis.

Students seeking to transfer from other colleges and programs at UC or another regionally accredited university or college should submit a complete application for admission by the priority deadline of March 1 for the following academic year.

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

All programs in the School of Design are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Contact Information

College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning
DAAP Student Affairs
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0016
(513) 556-1376
daap-admissions@uc.edu

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Program Code: 23BC-CODE-BSDES