Visual Communication Design

Major Requirements (SF State Bulletin: Degree Requirements)

Roadmap (SF State Bulletin: Roadmap)

GE Requirements (SF State Bulletin: General Education)

Major Department Website

Your major advisor answered a few questions to assist you with your first semester courses — see below.

General Information

What are some of the highlights and features to know about this major?

Visual Communication Design combines coursework in graphic design and digital media topics where the concern is designing visual information and often interactivity for a variety of platforms including print, web, mobile, motion, games, etc. The department focuses on visual communication design in an inclusive learning environment that promotes creativity and scholarship, and mirrors the wide range of cultural, artistic and scholarly interests in the San Francisco Bay Area.

When should I first meet with my major department?

During first semester of major coursework in the DES 370 course, students will meet with an advisor and complete a “Major/Minor contract”.

Students must periodically check with their advisor to update their major advising contract and program goals, students must also meet with their advisor prior to the semester of graduation.

How will I be assigned to a major advisor and how do I contact them? Through the DES 370 course, once declared in the major.
Where can I find information about major advising? The School of Design office (Fine Arts Building, Room 121) can assist you to find an advisor’s office hours and contact information. Faculty contact information is also available from the School of Design webpage:
Does this major require any pre-work from me before I attend orientation or register for classes? No.
What should I do if my major core and/or prequisite courses are full? See an advisor.
Is there anything else I need to know about starting in this major?

Students must be approved for the major through a supplemental application, and must have completed 2 pre-major courses as noted below.

A) Transfer Students

  • Preferred: One college level drawing, sketching, or drafting course and one computer-graphic software course ( e.g. Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, or CAD). Productivity/business applications do not qualify.
  • Alternative: Any course articulated to the SF State courses shown below as stated at Print out the course transfer equivalencies listed from the relevant school attended and attach. If a course you took is not listed on and you request an evaluation of its equivalency, list the course(s) with grade below and attach the computer printout of the online catalog description(s) of the course(s).

B) Current SF State Students

Two (2) courses from the list below (all 3 unit classes):

  • ADM 260 Textiles
  • ART 222 Introduction to Textile Art
  • ART 231 Drawing 1
  • ART 235 Printmaking 1
  • ART 240 Sculpture 1
  • ART 245 Ceramics 1
  • ART 260 Photography 1
  • BECA 235 Digital Media Basics
  • DES 210 Industrial Science
  • DES 220 Intro to Drawing for Designers
  • DES 222 Introduction to 2D Digital Design
  • DES 226 Modern Letterpress Printing: Traditional and Digital Techniques
  • DES 227 Rethinking Digital Visual Media: History, Technology, Content
  • DES 256 Design and Society: Contemporary Design Issues & Applications
  • ID 240 Color and Design
  • ID 242 Interior Design Graphic Communication I
  • JOUR 235 Photojournalism I
  • TPW 555 Visual Rhetoric and Document Design

Transfer Student Info

What upper division courses should I take in my first semester as a transfer student for this major?

There are three core requirements to begin with:

  • DES 323 Visual Design Literacy
  • DES 356 A History of Design and Technology
  • DES 370 Introduction to Design and Industry

Core requirements are also listed in the Academic Bulletin.

Are there any prerequisites to these upper division courses for the major? Students must be a DES major, and have completed ENG 214 with a C or better.
Are there any registration blocks or holds in the system for this major, and if so, what do I do/who do I contact to clear them? Students must be declared in the major.
Does this major have an approved Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) roadmap? No.

Freshmen Student Info

Are there any courses I should take first as a Freshman to get started in this major and/or are there any lower division GE course requirements that I can take that will also count toward this major?

Courses within the Art department will give you access to valuable pre-major courses and other courses you could eventually use as electives toward a Design major. Similarly, Marketing, Urban Studies, Art, Cinema Animation, or Communication Studies would give you access to courses that could become a minor or possibly used as Design electives.

Course suggestions that count for pre-major requirements and also fulfill GE requirements are:

Area B1

  • ADM 260 Textiles

Area C1

  • ART 235 Printmaking 1
  • ART 240 Sculpture 1
  • ART 245 Ceramics 1
  • BECA 235 Digital Media Basics
  • DES 226 Modern Letterpress Printing: Traditional and Digital Techniques
  • DES 256 Design and Society: Contemporary Design Issues and Applications
  • ID 240 Color and Design
  • ID 245 Contemporary Design in Housing and Interiors
  • JOUR 235 Photojournalism I
Are there entry or prerequisite requirements for these Freshmen courses?


Can any of my AP or IB tests count toward requirements in this major? None applicable.

College of Liberal & Creative Arts Advising Resource Center (ARC)

Services provided for: Undergraduate students pursuing a major, minor or certificate in the College of Liberal and Creative Arts.

Services offered: Academic planning, general education advising, academic probation advising, petition consultation, career prep and planning, major career exploration, graduation check (GE and graduation requirements), study abroad, connecting with communities and discovering campus resources.

Phone: (415) 338-1486
Location: HUM 112