Prospective Students

The faculty in the design program at Portland State University are active makers as well as educators. Through their efforts and connections, Portland State’s graphic design students become part of the larger design community. Research, concept, storytelling, craft, collaboration, and process are the key principles of our educational approach.

Storytelling: Sharing, stimulating, narrating: Human communication involves the telling of ideas and themes that resonate with meaning, and inspiring designers understand this and practice it within their work. Our program fosters approaches for meeting the needs and natures of audiences in order for information and our lives themselves to be enjoyable. Story matters at PSU.

Craft: Producing, shaping, perfecting: Presentation and perception are key to an audience finding real merit and value in design. Graphic design at PSU demands good practices of manifesting ideas into functional, interesting form. This means working hard to produce final pieces that appear as effortless as they are attractive. Craft matters at PSU.

Concept: Ideating, exploring, orienting: The work of design is not merely visual; strong design is rooted in an underlying logic and thoughtful approach that keeps the efforts of the designer focused and relevant. Interesting people make interesting designers, and the most effective way to achieve this status is the generation of intriguing, provocative ideas. Concept matters at PSU.

Process: Thinking, making, critiquing, and repeat: There’s no secret magic to creating strong design; working through a problem with a reflective, critical approach is the key. This requires an iterative process of engaging with the problem, busily chasing down a range of possibilities, and getting one’s hands dirty figuratively and literally. Process matters at PSU.

Research: Looking, analyzing, understanding: When addressing any given design problem, the sourcing of relevant information and the synthesis of these findings into a coherent stance is crucial to success. Design students at PSU engage in diverse processes of generating contextual meaning for the materials they produce as designers. Research matters at PSU.

Community: Connecting, engaging, strengthening: As part of the broader mandate of the University at-large, the PSU design program is invested in community based learning through projects that reinforce networks between students and members of the metro area. If it takes a village to raise a child, it requires an inter-connected urban setting to train an educated citizenry.
Community matters at PSU.



Want to know more about the program? Download our student designed newspaper: Being Graphic!