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Lakeland University has created a new graphic design degree program, incorporating the latest industry trends to better position Lakeland students for post-graduate success in this popular, fast-changing career.

Previously, Lakeland offered graphic arts as an emphasis area as part of its art major. Graphic design will now be a standalone bachelor’s degree program. It will also be offered as a minor.

The art major will become a studio art major, providing Lakeland students with a second standalone bachelor’s degree program. However, students may opt to pursue both degrees.  

The new graphic design degree is a mix of existing graphic arts courses and new, forward-looking and commercially-focused graphic design curriculum.

The most significant change is removing a number of studio art electives from the graphic arts curriculum, replacing them with industry-specific graphic design courses.

"Our students will learn to understand client goals, target audiences and branding," said Monique Brickham, assistant professor of art and the lead faculty member for the new program. "Our program will be very career focused."

Brickham, who is completing her first year at Lakeland, has brought a wealth of professional experience to the program, having worked as a print and digital freelance designer since 2005, serving a lengthy list of clients.

Prior to coming to Lakeland, she was a graphic designer at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. She also worked as creative director at Convergent Marketing in Appleton, and as a publication designer at Journal Community Publishing Group in Waupaca, Wis.

"Design thinking and technology have evolved at an incredibly fast pace over the past decade, specifically with digital and mobile media," Brickham said. "This new degree will allow our curriculum to adapt by including courses that not only explore print-based design, but also digital design."

The heart of the major is a series of four graphic design courses, each of which focuses on a specific aspect of graphic design: digital illustration, image editing, page layout and brand identity.

Students will learn how to use design software within each of these areas, and the courses will focus on exploring and practicing design thinking and creative problem solving.

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