WSU Design Program


Two diverse paths, one unique program

Winona State Design Program

The WSU Art & Design Department’s Design Program offers the Bachelor of Arts degree in I–Design or Bachelor of Arts with an option in Graphic Design. Through a combination of studio and art history courses, design majors build cognitive skills while engaging in the inherently creative activities of the creative process.

Students acquire interrelated skills in visual perception, creative problem-solving, and critical thinking, all of which complement the objectives of a liberal arts education. The foundation of both majors is the study of the history of art, focusing on human achievements of the past and present, as well as the various criteria by which they are evaluated. Students studying design enrich contemporary society and culture by creating unique expressive forms of communication and experiences through a broad range of design careers.

In addition to taking coursework offered by professors who are design professionals, students are involved in the AIGA Winona Student Group and other organizations on campus, and take trips to major cultural centers organized by faculty. Destinations have included New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Minneapolis, Madison, and Indianapolis. The Paul Watkins Gallery sponsors exhibitions by regional and Twin Cities artists, with accompanying slide talks, workshops, and demonstrations. Most student exhibitions are in the Weber Gallery; twice a year the graduating seniors show in the main Paul Watkins Gallery.

I–Design Major Path

The I–Design major provides students with up-to-date and adaptive design education. As the creative field continues to expand, the program will enable students to become leaders in multiple design-related industries and even their own communities.

Employing the Design Thinking methodology, the I–Design major is developed as an integrated design program that is localized for the WSU environment. It develops creative identity through interdisciplinary problem-solving skills, new media and technology, collaboration and global cultural experience.

Students studying design enrich contemporary society and culture by creating unique expressive forms of communication and experiences through a broad range of design careers.

The I–Design major incorporates a concentration elective (mimicking the area of expertise) that allows students to individualize their program with an area of interest.

Students may choose from Studio Practices, Conceptual Illustration, Technology & Interactivity, Business & Marketing, Sustainable Application, Community Development and Integrated Studies. Find out more about your future major…

Studio Practices

Studio Practices concentration is an opportunity for students who wish to extend their creativity into fine arts. This concentration provides students with the opportunities to develop advanced and creative experimental works. Students may explore drawing, painting, digital art, photography, installation, sculpture, typography, and video production while discovering their creative identity.

Inspiring  job titles of our graduates

Art Director, Industrial Design Contractor, Accessories Design Manager, Packaging Specialist, Partner and Creative Director, 3D Sculptor/Designer and CNC Machinist, Manager of Engineering/Design/Drafting, Owner/Designer, Design Strategist, Curator/Producer, Arts Administrator, Spatial Designer, Mural Artist, Gallerist, Art Therapist, Studio Manager, Commissioned Public Artist, and many more.

Conceptual Illustration

Conceptual Illustration is an opportunity for students within the I-Design program to transfer ideas into completed professional works of design in a variety of mediums and extend their creativity into industrial-specific studio practices. The execution of ideas is important, but the true spirit of the concentration is the creative process of developing ideas and bringing them to life. The correct combinations of classes can lead students into the following career paths: medical illustration, game conceptual art, graphic art, creative writing, spatial typography, info-graphics, etc.

Inspiring job titles of our graduates

Multimedia artist & animator, Illustrator, Book / Magazine Designer, Label / Cover Designer: Book, CD, Video, Exhibition / Display Designer, Character Animator, Concept Artist, Comic Book Illustrator, Illustration Historian, Storyboard Artist, Image Curator, Layout Artist, Technical Artist, Texture Artist, 2D Animator, 3D Animator, 3D Character Animator, 3D Modeler, and many more.

Technology & Interactivity

Technology & Interactivity is for students who wish to be on the frontier of design technology and desire to extend their creativity into web technology, programming, UI/UX design, mobile design, mixed reality, game design, interactive installation, data visualization, etc. As technology continues to grow, it offers an abundance of opportunities to develop new visual languages. The Technology & Interactivity Concentration allows students to be more appreciative and adaptive to the technology evolution.

Inspiring job titles of our graduates

Interaction Designer, Production Design Manager, User Experience Director, Solutionist, User Interface Visual Designer, Web Consultant, Creative Strategist, Chief Product Officer, Mobile Designer, Flash Animator, Stop-Motion Animator, Character Animator, Website Creative Content Coordinator, Project Coordinator, Creative Strategist, Web Consultant, Design Strategist, Interface Designer, Multimedia Artist & Animator, Designer Coder, UX/UI Designer, and many more.

Business & Marketing

Business & Marketing is an ideal I–Design concentration for students who wish to channel their creativity into a career in business and marketing strategy, entrepreneurship, design manufacturing, and production, etc. The study of design and business are intertwined with creativity as a foundation to allow students to thrive in their future careers.

Inspiring job titles of our graduates

Communication Design Officer, Principal Designer, Social Media Strategist, Creative Director, Global Head, Employee Communications, Visual Designer, Creative Strategist. Designer Entrepreneur, Business Designer, Advertising & Promotions Manager, Sports Branding Designer, Corporate Branding / Identity / Logo Designer, Chief Visual Officer, Associate Creative Director, Chief Product Officer, Design Strategist and many more.

Sustainable Applications

Sustainable Applications is an opportunity for students within the I-Design program to focus and expand their studies into sustainable industries and practices. Students have the chance to challenge the design industry and better their traditional practices moving toward becoming more environmentally aware. Students are able to utilize the basic skills and techniques of sustainable design and integrate them into their professional work.

Inspiring job titles of our graduates

Landscape Architect, Environmental Design, Solutionist, Project Specialist, Environment Artist, Architect, Integration Artist, Concept Artist, Project Coordinator, Creative Strategist, Visual Designer, Hybrid Design Researcher, Spatial Designer, Sign Designer, Creative Director, and many more.

Community Development

Community Development provides students with an opportunity to extend their creativity into social activism, design leadership, and social entrepreneurship. Students develop skills to engage citizens and professionals to build stronger and more resilient local communities by providing them with the skills they need to affect change. Designers generate innovative creative solutions to improve non-profits, businesses, and communities.

Inspiring job titles of our graduates

Hybrid Design Researcher, Social Innovator, Art Director, Communication Design Officer, Creative Strategist, Project Coordinator, Educator, Design Entrepreneur, Publishing/Layout Designer, Sign Designer, Exhibition/Display Designer, Social Media Strategist, Solutionist, Community Arts Programmer, and many more.

Integrated Studies

A customized and individualized concentration based on special needs and interests. A combination of courses and a detailed proposal needs to be approved by the Design Academic Advisor during the sophomore year. The approved course list must be submitted to the Warrior Hub to be added to DARS.

Inspiring job titles of our graduates

Website Creative Content Coordinator, Communication Design Officer, Advertising & promotions manager, Book / Magazine Designer, Associate Creative Director, Art Market Analyst, Visual Designer, Integration Artist, Compositor, Product Image Manager, Image Curator, Photo Editor, Chief Visual Officer, Project Specialist, Solutionist, Principal Designer, and many more.

Graphic Design Major Path

Graphic Design is a traditional design major relying on strong fine and liberal arts foundations, integrated with contemporary multi-disciplinary practices. Although the program is predominantly based in the Art & Design Department, students will also take courses in the Computer Science, Communication Studies, Marketing, and Mass Communication departments.

Building on a foundation in design theory, studio arts, and art history, students work with professional design software and technology as they investigate contemporary design practices and emergent visual communication media. Through critical inquiry and innovative collaboration, students showcase diverse creative works in the Senior Design Exhibition during their final semester as the culmination of their undergraduate education. Find out more about your future major…

Business & Marketing

In their business & marketing classes, students will learn business and marketing strategy, entrepreneurship, design manufacturing and production, etc. The study of design and business are intertwined with creativity as a foundation to allow students to thrive in their future careers.

Computer Science

In their computer science classes, students will learn to use technology to creatively solve problems, leverage the use of databases and content management systems, and understand the fundamentals of website building.

Mass Communications

In their mass communications classes, students will take courses in advertising principles, copywriting, media planning and buying, ad and advertising campaigns.

Studio Art

In their Studio Art classes, students will learn basic skills in painting, drawing, photography, and advanced experimentation and abstraction skills in contemporary art.