Our alumni have design positions at Nike, Reebok, Google, Lyft, Bumble, Humana, Paper Source, The Florida Marlins, Aeropostale, RIGGS partners, ByFarr Design Studio, The Half and Half, Stitch, The Charlotte Hornets, Auburn University Athletics, University of South Carolina Football, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and The South Carolina Lottery. With award winning faculty, GD+I students are set up to engage, explore, and achieve. Students leave our program with practical experience and a professionally reviewed portfolio prepared to enter the ever-expanding fields of design and illustration.
Applying to GD+I
The Graphic Design + Illustration BFA does require a portfolio submission for upper level classes (300 and above)*. Once admitted, students take a tiered series of design and illustration courses including product, packaging, interaction, motion design, traditional and digital illustration. There is no application required to minor.
The GD+I Portfolio Review takes place every Spring semester. Students submit their
portfolio and statement of intent after successfully completing ARTS102. For more
information about the application process contact Stephanie Nace. For information
on advising contact Brittany Sparks or Della Bryant.
Read all about the program, see the curriculum and requirements in our digital GD+I FAQs brochure here.
GD+I Studios + Events
Something good is always happening here. Between the GD+I Visiting Speaker Series, our Monthly Meet Ups, and interdisciplinary projects across the School of Visual Art + Design, the College of Arts + Sciences, and the University at large, our students are presented with so many ways to engage with professionals and peers, practice and hone their craft as emerging illustrators and designers.
Visitors to our program include Aaron Draplin, Stefan Sagmeister, Kelly Walters, Michael
Beirut, James Victore, Chip Kidd, Stitch, Gil Shuler, Blue Ion, Jay Fletcher, Noah
Scalin, Leo Espinosa, Chris Belheimer, Trollback+Co., House Industries, and Seymour
Visual + Verbal Interaction
Valdes leads junior-level design students on client-driven projects for real clients. This past year, the class collaborated with the USC Women’s Soccer Team to produce a 28-page full color and professionally printed publication that featured an in-depth look at what drives student athletes to success. Two students from the course were awarded a Magellan Scholar Award and were able to print 800 copies of the publication which were distributed at the soldout Carolina/Clemson Soccer game and to local soccer youths playing club and high school soccer.
Students in Dedas’ course explore self-driven content and further develop their illustration style. A combination of hand-drawn and digitally layered images widen the artistic depth within each student’s portfolio. Images for screen and print are explored. Projects developed include animations, posters and comics. Collaborations with local businesses are incorporated into this course to create experiential learning opportunities.
Process + Systems
Professor Khalili engages students in process-driven assignments that require iterative practices and deliverables, indicative of working-world expectations. Designers are encouraged to highlight their unique strengths within each design solution. This course provides constant opportunity to present work to visiting professional creatives.
Visual + Verbal Interaction
Professor Nace’s students for the last 20 years have been challenged with translating textual information to a visual poster and book cover forms. This project, The First-Year Reading Experience is a student competition that relates directly to real world client based work. The winner’s work in reproducted in great numbers and in many formats.
Professor Nace’s Structure class researches current topics that are affecting culture as well as investigate existing brands on the market today. They look at the strengths and weaknesses to learn how to better present the brand into today’s marketplace.
Time + Sequence
Catherine Chi’s time-based motion design course challenges designers and illustrators to think critically about the narratives they develop and explore visually engaging ways to convey them.
Rylei Brown-Campbell and Gracey Dorn granted UofSC Magellan Scholarships.
Communication Arts Illustration Annual
Josh Jackson, graphic designer and illustrator from South Carolina, now living and working in NYC. Josh is passionate about both design and illustration, and is happiest when he gets to bring those skills together to create something amazing and unique.
AIGA InShow Awards
So many of our students win at the AIGA South Carolina awards! Our students, faculty, and alum have been awarded best of show and special judges awards.
American Advertising Federation Midlands Addy Awards
Our GD+I students, faculty, and alum win at the American Advertising Federation Midlands awards!
Studio Art Rising Senior Award
Mitchell Zarkis (2022)
Undergraduate Distinguished Service Award
Kylie Wilkins (2022)
Undergraduate Studio Art Excellence Award, in honor of Ed Yahgijan:
Gracey Dorn (2021)
Undergraduate Distinguished Service Award
Jahnna Blyden (2021)
Distinguished Alumni Award
Sam Spina of Cartoon Network’s Regular Show and the upcoming HBO Max series Close Enough.
Graphic Design BFA alum Michael Belton is now the Associate Creative Director at Rhodes Branding in Columbia, South Carolina.
Graphic Design BFA alum Bleu Hedrick is a visual designer and illustrator specializing in conceptual imagery and visual storytelling with emphasis on ADA compliance, supporting powerful emotional communications across all disciplines and audiences.
Graphic Design BFA alum Coryn is currently in New York City working as a designer for Google Creative Lab.
Graphic Design BFA alum Jason Richburg is co-author of Do the F*cking Work, Copywriter at GFDA, and Curriculum Director at The Art of Risk-Taking.
Accelerated Master of Arts
The MA degree has proven to be a valuable investment for students looking to spend additional time in the GD+I program to focus on improving their portfolios, learning new marketable skills, or gaining experience working with a faculty mentor to assist in teaching at the college level. GD+I is thrilled to work with students from other majors who discover the GD+I program later in their academic career and want more experience.
Professor Valdes has been recognized by Graphic Design USA, HOW, Print, Communication Arts, Creative Quarterly, STEP, American Illustration, AIGA InShow, AIGA SEED Awards, and The South Carolina Advertising Federation Addy Awards.
Professor Nace has been recognized internationally with awards from PRINT, AIGA, UCDA and PICA. She has work in the permanent collection at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, CA.
An International Design Awards Gold Medalist, Professor Khalili is also the recipient of the National SECAC Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement in Graphic Design. She is a professor of design and interaction who makes daily drawings of things.
Professor Dedas was included in the Art/NaturSci Pavilion: Equilibrium exhibition at the 2019 Venice Biennale. He maintains an extensive exhibition record in galleries and museums across the U.S. and internationally.
Catherine Chi explores a wide range of media including 3d animation, interactive art, game art, drawings, paintings, and video installations.
Donna Smith is a professional graphic designer and illustrator. She has done work for a variety of clients including Johnston & Murphy, Clayton Homes, and Anchor Hocking. She collaborates with Toggle Design Collective on a variety of design and illustration projects.
We love Apple products, but not to the exclusion of PC products. If students prefer to get something other than a MacBook, then the main requirement is being able to run Adobe Creative Cloud.
Students will want a minimum of the following:
- Windows 10 versions 21H1, 20H2, 2004, and 1909 (LTSB branches are not supported)
- macOS 12 (Monterey), macOS 11 and macOS 10.16 (Big Sur), and macOS 10.15 (Catalina)
For an in-depth look at the system requirements, visit these links:
- Adobe Animate system requirements
- Photoshop system requirements
- Adobe Illustrator system requirements
- After Effects System Requirements
We have computers on campus that can be used most of the time. In the first year, students will likely need an external disk drive with a minimum of 1TB of storage.
Applying with transfer credits or transferring from another school? Please contact Brittany Sparks, undergraduate advisor, at email@example.com