CFA AR484 Senior Degree Project in Graphic Design involves extensive, student directed research investigations in graphic communications. One of the goals of this interdisciplinary course is to have each student address, through self-authored graphic design projects, social, environmental, political, linguistic, philosophical, and cultural issues across the academic spectrum. Traditionally, graphic design has been understood as an effective tool for managing content and form to communicate information clearly and creatively in a commercial sense. However, graphic design has been largely overlooked as a means of expression and inquiry through qualitative and quantitative research across other fields of study. The role of graphic designer has changed in recent years as a result of new media. In this new role, a new term has evolved: “authorship” or “designer as author.” This term is based on new approaches to the design process, the notion that designers can function as their own clients, developing their own content and means of communication, and marketing these independent, creative ideas to society. The Senior Degree Project addresses these and other issues through the broadening of interdisciplinary study and research.
The Senior Degree Project is an independent assignment focusing on an analytical and conceptual position as well as the design of narratives. It is the final requirement for the BFA degree in Graphic Design and is the consummation of the methods and principles learned through the students’ three years of study in Graphic Design at Boston University. Students synthesize their research, document and diagram the design process, and produce a final project based on their chosen subject matter. The thesis project involves a visual interpretation of the chosen subject matter and may culminate in a book, multi-media presentation, a series of posters, or other media.
Examples of previous student projects include autobiographical narratives; visual interpretations of rock, jazz, rhythm and blues, opera and choral work; challenges to the perception of ordinary experience and observation; optical allusions; symbolism; ancient multi-cultural forms and alphabets; semiotics; PHP user-interface computer programming; Judaism: traditions and customs; analysis of world statistics; mathematical patterns; the interrelationship of prenatal and living organisms in the ocean; and combining traditional printing techniques with digital technology. These visual investigations culminate into a book manuscript and senior exhibition in the George Sherman Union Gallery at the end of the spring 2010 semester.