Design is the visual communication of ideas. Western's Design program emphasizes the process of problem solving and encourages 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 to an audience and themselves to the world.
Western's program is unique in its size and depth of curriculum. Students have significant opportunities to work with their faculty outside of class. Western’s Design faculty members are active in the profession, but place teaching first and foremost in their activities. Because industry expects designers to be fluid in both traditional print based graphic design and interaction design (web/app), the Design program does not offer areas of specialization within its curriculum.
Western's design production lab provides students access to equipment found in the industry and establishes a learning environment that allows for hands-on education. Through the lab, students have access to: hand and power guillotine paper cutters, foil-stamping, various mechanical and perfect binding units, offset and photopolymer plate making units, medium and large format inkjet printers, two Vandercook proofing letterpresses as well as a Heidelberg GTO offset press.
Western offers both Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees in Design. The BFA is the professional degree option for students admitted to the Design Program. The BFA degree option is a highly competitive degree limited to a maximum of 18 students per year. Courses in the senior year focus on the integration of graphic production and digital media design in the solution of visual communication problems.