Department of Design

Design Overview

The Department of Design prepares visual communicators for careers in a broad range of creative disciplines including animation, graphic design, illustration, photography and other related fields. Students learn to solve complex visual problems and communicate narratives across a wide array of mediums and technologies.

Undergraduate Programs and Degrees

Minor:

  • Advertising Design (this minor is limited to students in the Communications: Advertising creative track)

*All Design majors and minor are limited enrollment.

MAJOR SNIPPETS

Watch a brief introductory video for:

Application Information

****All application information is subject to change.***

Due to high enrollment demand and limited resources, students may only apply to their program of choice twice. Students may apply for up to 2 programs at a time. Those interested in applying to 2 areas will need to complete a separate application, submit another portfolio, and pay an additional fee. Please contact the Design Department office in E509 HFAC (designdepartment@byu.edu, 801-422-7321) for additional information regarding the portfolios or application process.

Admitted BYU students should declare their intent to major in animation, before registering for DESAN 101, the prerequisite course. Based upon performance in DESAN 101, students will be promoted to pre-BFA Animation status. Successful applicants go on to complete 3 additional prerequisite courses (DES 150, DESAN 160, and CSANM 150) before applying to the Animation BFA major, available in June of each year. Applications will be available online 30 days before the application at https://designdept.slideroom.com. Additional application information can also be found at animation.byu.edu.

Admitted BYU students should declare their intent to major in graphic design, before enrolling in DESGD 145, the prerequisite course. Upon the successful completion of DESGD 145, students should submit an online portfolio of work for review. The portfolio should include the student’s 6 best original works primarily selected from DESGD 145, a letter of intent, 2 creative exercises (which can be downloaded from the application), and a sketchbook. All mediums will be considered, such as painting, drawing, printmaking, illustration, design, etc. Rather than submitting graphic design work, commissioned client work, or work that emphasizes technical proficiency over good ideas, it is recommend to submit work that demonstrates mindful selection of content, good composition, creative concepts, polished craftsmanship, deliberate use of colors, and a unique point of view. Sketchbooks must be delivered in person to C502 HFAC before 5 pm on the day of the deadline or arrive by mail to the following address: BYU Department of Design, E509 HFAC, Provo, UT 84602.

Reviews are held at the end of fall and winter semesters and spring term. Applications will be available online 30 days before the deadline at: https://designdept.slideroom.com.

Obtaining pre-BFA status is a prerequisite to apply for the graphic design BFA program, allowing students the opportunity to take additional courses in preparation for the BFA entrance review. Pre-BFA status does not guarantee or imply future acceptance to the BFA program.

Pre-BFA graphic design students go on to complete 3 additional prerequisite courses (DESGD 243, 245, and 280) before applying for admissions to the Graphic Design BFA major through a portfolio review held in June each year. Applications will be available in the Design Department office (E509 HFAC). Students must complete the application, attach a recent photo, their BYU progress report, and a one-page typewritten letter addressing their motivation for seeking a BFA degree, and return it to the Design Department office by the application deadline. The letter may include the student’s ideas regarding long-range career goals, as well as their expectations of the program. Students should discuss how they feel the BFA program will help them develop as an artist and designer. The portfolio review includes an evaluation of the student’s physical portfolio, artwork, sketchbooks, and process books they have created in thier 200-level graphic design classes. On the day of the review attach a photocopy of the completed application (make a copy before returning it to the Design office) to the portfolio before dropping it off. Students’ work should be clearly identified with their name, and be presented in a consistent format, such as process books or mounted on boards. Space will be limited and students are discouraged from creating elaborate displays, labels, or descriptions of the work. Simply arrange work on the table with a name tag. Students are responsible for dropping off their portfolio the morning of the review. Portfolios are generally due the reading day of spring term. Students will be notified as to when they may pick up their portfolios, usually between 4-5 pm on the day of the review. All portfolio materials should be picked up from the designated location on the day of the review. Any work that is left will be taken to the University Lost and Found.

Portfolio guidelines:

Students should prepare a selection of their best, most current original work from the following courses: DESGD 243, DESGD 245 and DESGD 280, and any personal work. While other work may also be submitted, evaluation will center on fundamentals taught in the 200-level courses. Be sure to include sketchbooks and process books created during these classes. The portfolio should include:

Printed Work

Students should showcase their thinking and finished design work demonstrating mastery of 200-level graphic design class content (primarily work from DESGD 243 and DESGD 245). Include process books and sketch- books.

Digital Work

Students should showcase their thinking and finished design work demonstrating mastery of principles from DESGD 280. Work should be submitted via a Dropbox link before the morning review.

Digital work will be reviewed on projector screen or computer monitors in the classroom.

In addition to the student’s portfolio, faculty reviewers will also consider the cumulative record of each student including their past performance in class, work ethic, attitude, progress, and commitment— all factors considered to be of major importance. Students will be notified via email of the review outcome by the department office, usually within a few days of the portfolio review.

Admitted BYU students should declare their intent to major in illustration, before enrolling in DESIL 101, the prerequisite course. Upon the successful completion of DESIL 101, students should submit an online portfolio of work for review. Each application requires a portfolio of 10 to 12 examples of the student’s best, most current artwork, a letter of intent, a creative exercise (which can be downloaded from the application), and a physical sketchbook. All mediums will be considered including painting, printmaking, and illustration. The portfolio should demonstrate the student’s ability to draw from life observation as well as imagination, rather than derivative images copies from photographs or other artists’ work. The portfolio should include 7 or 8 pieces selected from DESIL 101, with at least one example to represent each major unit of the course. Students may also include a few of their best pieces created in other classes, as well as a few personal works that showcase their strengths. Students should refer to the Illustration Portfolio Guidelines on how to select, photograph, and present their work in the portfolio. Students should submit their most recent sketchbook for review to the Design Department office in E509 HFAC or mail to the following address: BYU Department of Design, E509 HFAC, Provo, UT 84602. Sketchbooks are due by 5 pm on the application deadline date. Students may submit up to 2 sketchbooks, both marked with their name. Reviews are held at the end of fall and winter semesters and spring term. Applications will be available online 30 days before the deadline at: https://designdept.slideroom.com.

Obtaining pre-BFA status is a prerequisite to apply for the illustration BFA program, allowing students the opportunity to take additional courses in preparation for the BFA entrance review. Pre-BFA status does not guarantee or imply future acceptance to the BFA program.

Pre-BFA illustration students go on to complete 3 additional prerequisite courses (DESIL 130, 140, and 150) before applying for admissions to the illustration BFA major through an online portfolio review held in June each year. Each application requires a portfolio, a progress report, a statement of intent, and a physical sketchbook. The portfolio should include a selection of 15-20 examples of the student’s best, most current work. These should include 6-10 figure drawings from life-short and long pose figure studies, plus some examples of heads, hands, a curated sampling of projects and assignments from the prerequisite classes, and optionally some of their personal work. Students should consider the Illustration Portfolio Guidelines for ideas on how to select, photography, organize, and present their work in the portfolio. Student’s sketchbook must be submitted separately to the Department of Design in E509 HFAC or mail to the following address: BYU Department of Design, E509 HFAC, Provo, UT 84602. Students should place their name (first and last) clearly on the outside of the sketchbook. Sketchbooks are due by 5 pm on the application deadline date. Students may submit 2 sketchbooks for review if they wish. Digital sketches should be printed, coil-bound, and included as an attachment to the physical sketchbook(s).

Admitted BYU students should declare their intent to major in photography, before enrolling in DESPH 116, the prerequisite course. Upon the successful completion of DESPH 116, students should submit an online portfolio of work for review. Each application requires a portfolio submission and a letter of intent. Students applying to the photography program should submit only their best work for review. While other mediums will be considered, reviewers will focus on photography. Students should submit 10 photos of their personal work. In addition to their personal work, reviewers would like students to submit 5 inspirational images from another photograph that represents the kind of photography students see themselves going into. Submissions should demonstrate vision, creativity, originality, technical competence, and good craftsmanship. The portfolio should demonstrate strong aesthetics, an understanding of composition, and have a unique point of view. Works should be mostly selected from your projects in DESPH 116, but can include outside work. Students may also include any work they have created independently that demonstrates skill. Reviews are held at the end of fall and winter semesters and spring term. Applications will be available online 30 days before the deadline at: https://designdept.slideroom.com.

Obtaining pre-BFA status is a prerequisite to apply for the photography BFA program, allowing students the opportunity to take additional courses in preparation for the BFA entrance review. Pre-BFA status does not guarantee or imply future acceptance to the BFA program.

Successful applicants go on to complete 2 additional prerequisite courses (DESPH 120 and 260) before applying for admissions to the Photography BFA major through a portfolio review held in June each year. Applications will be available in the Design Department office (E509 HFAC). Students must complete the application, attach a recent photo, progress report, and type-written letter of intent and return it to the Design Department office by the application deadline. The letter of intent should be 200 words or less and address the student’s motivation for seeking a BFA degree in photography and what they intend to accomplish with the degree. Students should not simply state that they want to learn more. The portfolio review includes an evaluation of the student’s physical portfolio and artwork. On the day of the review students should attach a photocopy of the completed application (make a copy before returning the application to the Design office) to their portfolio when they drop it off. The student’s work should be clearly identified with their name and should be packaged in a portfolio. Students are responsible for dropping off their portfolio the morning of the review. Portfolios are generally due the reading day of spring term. Students will be notified as to when they may pick up their portfolios. All portfolio materials should be picked up from the designated location on the day of the review. Any work that is left will be taken to the University Lost and Found.

Admitted BYU students should declare their intent to major as a Design student, before enrolling in DES 217 and either DESGD 145, DESIL 101, or DESPH 116, the prerequisite courses. Upon the successful completion of a prerequisite courses, students should submit an online portfolio of work for review. Each application requires 10-15 of the student’s best original works, 2 projects selected from the Design Creative Exercises (will be available on the application), and a BYU progress report. Students applying should submit only their best work for review. All mediums will be considered, such as painting, drawing, printmaking, illustration, design, photographs, etc. Students are encouraged to submit work completed in prerequisite classes such as DESGD 145, DESIL 101, or DESPH 116 and DES 217 (a pdf of one of their projects), as well as any other creative works they have created on their own that demonstrates their skills. Portfolio reviews will be held in June each year. The online application can be found 30 days before the deadline at:  https://designdept.slideroom.com.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can someone review my portfolio before I apply?

*Coming Soon

Animation: 

Graphic Design: 

Illustration: 

Photography: 

Design: 

Does the Design Department offer scholarships?

All students are encouraged to apply for department talent awards and other scholarship by the December 1 deadline. Online applications will open on November 1. Apply online at https://designdept.slideroom.com.

How do I check my progress/read my progress report?

Log on to MyMap. On the student summary tab, click on My Progress Report at the top of the Tools sidebar.

How do I declare a Design pre-major?

Submit a request through the Change Major link on the MyMap page.

What is the difference between the Art and Design Departments?

*Coming Soon

What is the difference between a BA and BFA?

*Coming Soon

What are the equipment requirements for my program?

Equipment requirements for each program can be found on the individual program MAPs (Major Academic Plans) in the catalog.

Where do I go to request a substitution or to see if my transfer classes will be accepted for my major?

Pre-major students should contact the appropriate faculty member as listed below for substitution or transfer equivalency requests. Please note that only prerequisite classes will be evaluated. Major credit is not reviewed until after acceptance to a program.

  • Animation: Sam Nielson (sam.nielson@byu.edu) or Nathan Lindsay (n8animation@gmail.com)
  • Graphic Design: Brent Barson (byuresourceroom@gmail.com)
  • Illustration: Justin Kunz (justin.kunz@byu.edu)
  • Photography: Paul Adams (paulfkcc@hotmail.com)
  • BA in Design: Contact the Design Department (stephanie_miller@byu.edu)

BFA or BA major students should contact the appropriate faculty member as listed below for major specific substitution or transfer equivalency requests.

  • Animation: Kelli Loosli (kelly_loosli@byu.edu)
  • Graphic Design: Brent Barson (byuresourceroom@gmail.com)
  • Illustration: Justin Kunz (justin.kunz@byu.edu)
  • Photography: Paul Adams (paulfkcc@hotmail.com)
  • BA in Design: Student’s assigned faculty mentor

For General Education course substitutions visit gesub.byu.edu.

Still have questions? Schedule an appointment by calling our office at 801-422-3777