The Department of Design at Western Washington identifies design as the communication of ideas. The department utilizes a curriculum that emphasizes the process of problem solving and encourages the students to make connections between culture and design and their role as visual communicators. Students learn to combine personal expression and critical thinking as they create solutions that connect industry, individuals, and institutions to specific audiences and themselves to the world.

Career opportunities are found in all segments of industry, both in the private and public sector. Western design graduates go on to work in advertising agencies, design firms, in-house departments, paper companies, printing firms, as well as serving as private consultants in corporate identity, environmental graphic design, packaging, publications and web design. They work as designers, art directors, production managers, webmasters and digital image makers.