Programs of Study

Student with model prototype

General 3-D Design

Programs of General Three-Dimensional Design can encompass many of the 3D design fields described here – architectural design, environmental design, fashion design, industrial design, and interior design – and either offer students the opportunity to specialize in one of these areas or take a more survey approach. Like study in any design area, students’ design education is complemented and augmented with courses in culture, theory, and history.

School of Visual Arts / Issa Sabah
Cleveland Institute of Art / Robert Muller


Work in the field of glass ranges from individual, personal “fine art” pieces to large-scale projects and multiple pieces for commercial clients. Like most craft areas, employment opportunities range from work as an individual craftsperson to commercial designer. In glass, the artist’s visual abilities (color and form) combine with a technical knowledge of how the material performs during use.

Graphic design works on paper

Graphic Design

This is one of the largest and most diverse of all the visual fields. Often called graphic design, it is now frequently referred to as communication design or visual communications, to more fully suggest the central role of communication in this field of work. Graphic design can cover virtually anything — including ads, magazines, signage, Web site, packages, or corporate identity systems — that involves combining words and images to communicate something to others. A strong sense of...

Artist working on an ornate wall restoration

Historic Preservation

Sometimes considered the “greenest” of the design fields, historical preservation aims to adapt and reuse what already exists – historic buildings, furnishings, sites and landscapes – for the present and future use of individuals and society. Historic Preservation programs include education in restoration design, materials conservation, architectural history, and preservation planning.

History of Decorative Arts

History of Decorative Arts

History of Decorative Arts programs are usually offered at the graduate level. They are similar in structure to Art History programs but focus on the stylistic, historical, and theoretical contexts of European and American decorative arts and design.

Illustration of girl swimming


Illustration is the process of applying an image (usually drawing or painting) to a communications problem, usually for an outside client. Great skill in drawing and painting are central to this area of work. Projects can range from Op Ed illustrations, to drawings for ad campaigns, to images that accompany magazine articles. Illustration is a relatively diverse field — it can come quite close to graphic design, in that it can sometimes involve the use of typography and page layouts, and it...

Art Center College of Design / Jeremy Eichenbaum

Individualized Major

Individualized majors afford students the opportunity to construct and pursue a personalized program of study, often across department lines. If individual study is not expressly part of a college’s curriculum in that students need not declare a major, admittance to such a program is usually by proposal whereby a student must demonstrate that s/he is capable of working independently and without a prescribed curriculum.

Track athlete with prosthetic legs

Industrial Design / Product Design

Industrial or product design combines a technical/mechanical ability with skills in three-dimensional art and problem-solving, to create objects that answer customer and client needs. As a recent cover story in Time Magazine demonstrated, the designer can touch all aspects of our daily lives. Cars, household appliances, medical equipment, computers — nearly any three-dimensional object — can benefit from and be improved with designer input. As with graphic design, work in this field can be...