College of Visual and Performing Arts

The Department of Visual Communication and Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Department of Visual Communication and Design

John Motz, B.F.A.
Interim Director

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
2101 E. Coliseum Boulevard
Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1499

Office: Visual Arts Building
Room: VA213
Hours: Mon - Fri 8 am - 5 pm

Phone: 260-481-6709
Fax: 260-481-6707


Fine Arts | Music
Theatre | VCD

About Us

The goal of the IPFW Department of Visual Communication and Design is to educate and develop each individual’s creative, conceptual, and technical abilities to meet the challenges of art and design. Programs in graphic design, modeling and Animation, and Imaging and Photography encourage interdisciplinary study by providing a broad spectrum of traditional and new media. Because classes are small, students develop close ties with faculty and flourish from personalized advising and mentoring. VCD faculty, who are all practicing artists/scholars, provide expertise in industry-standard business and technical practices. State-of-the-art classrooms, studios, lecture halls, and computer labs provide a professional learning environment.

Students who choose to study in the Department of Visual Communication and Design are often artistic individuals who aspire to transform their creative energies into powerful communication vehicles for gainful employment. At VCD, a distinguished faculty of design professionals and scholars guides each student through a rigorous curriculum designed to tackle the challenges that await tomorrow’s design professionals in a global workplace.

WHAT IS VCD? VCD is an acronym for Visual Communication and Design, one of four academic departments that constitute the College of Visual and Performing Arts at IPFW. It is located on the second floor of the Visual Arts Building. Staffed by a distinguished faculty of design professionals and scholars, the department exists to educate students and the community in the areas of applied art, design, and related technologies. It offers exceptional professional degree programs that combine creative development in a design discipline with career preparation.

VCD students pursue the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree with concentrations in Graphic Design, Imaging and Photography. They also pursue the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Interior Design. Course work includes general education and history courses in various departments on campus, as well as studio courses in visual communication and design. Career internship experiences and culminating BFA and BS exhibitions are offered. For additional information, visit or call 260-481-6709.

WHAT IS GRAPHIC DESIGN? The term Graphic Design was first used by William Dwiggins in the 1920s to describe his vocation — organization of type and image — at a book publishing company. Today, also known as visual communication design, it is the art of communicating ideas and information using text and photographic, hand-drawn, or computer aided images, whether in small items of print or complex electronic media. Common examples include, but are not limited to, newspaper advertisements, postage stamps, posters, billboards, books, magazines, video and food packages, corporate identity programs or branding systems, web sites, wayfinding systems, film titling, animation, and point-of-sale environments. Graphic designers are information specialists. Their work touches the lives of people at various socio-economic levels and in distant places.

Because graphic designers work for paying clients and since they often work in teams, being able to work with others, to listen carefully, and to communicate effectively, are very important skills. The excellent Graphic Design program produces outstanding graduates who are well prepared for the contemporary, multicultural workplace.

WHAT IS IMAGING AND PHOTOGRAPHY? As a discipline, Imaging and Photography has become the universal language for communication. The camera allows one to document, explore, and interpret one’s world. From the traditional and historical practices of photography to digital imaging and video, we offer students the opportunity to develop a vision while enhancing craft and technique. The department’s faculty actively engages students in creative and technical projects, including experimental, narrative or documentary video, fine art, conceptual and commercial photography. Students are challenged both technically and conceptually as they develop their skills through the exploration of analog and digital technology. They are offered the opportunity to create multiple bodies of work culminating in a public thesis exhibition at the end of their senior year.

The Imaging and Photography curriculum encourages a broadening of each student’s vision and building a foundation for individual practice. Imaging and Photography graduates gain the skills to succeed in an ever changing field through award-winning Gallery exhibitions, critiques, workshops, and lectures by prominent visiting photographers.

WHAT IS INTERIOR DESIGN? Interior Design is a discipline that requires working with clients and other design professionals to develop design solutions that are not only attractive and appealing, but also safe and functional, in addition to satisfying the needs of the people using the space. The professional Interior Designer is qualified by education, experience, and examination to enhance the function and quality of interior spaces.

The Bachelor of Science degree program in Interior Design prepares students to function as interior designers who understand aesthetic and technical requirements of a given project, and who are able to provide design solutions to a variety of projects, including both residential and commercial projects. Interior designers must know how to plan a space and how to present that plan visually to the client. They must also be knowledgeable about the materials and products that will be used to create and furnish the space, and how texture, color, lighting and other factors combine and interact to create a human-centered interior environment. In addition, interior designers must understand health and safety issues, building codes, and other technical aspects.

The curriculum builds a collaborative work ethic and graduates with Modeling and Animation concentration are gainfully employed as concept artists, digital matte painters, special effects artists, digital illustrators for simulation processes, and animation artists for video games and the film industry.