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Graphic Design Program Changes Name to Reflect Expertise in User Experience Design

BGXD students fill out a "Matrix of A.I. Possibilities" for a sponsored studio project with REI.

After months of preparation, the graphic design program will change its degree names to reflect career opportunities for students. The Bachelor of Graphic Design and Master of Graphic Design degrees will change to Bachelor of Graphic & Experience Design (BGXD) and Master of Graphic & Experience Design (MGXD) respectively.

“These new degree names emphasize not only the current strong curriculum taught by faculty, but deepen our alignment with exciting trends in the profession,” says Department Head of Graphic Design and Industrial Design Tsai Lu Liu. The name change officially acknowledges the program’s understanding that user experience and user interface design (UX/UI) represent strong growth sectors within the profession—sectors that will continue to thrive according to statistics from the Department of Labor. UX/UI intersects with more traditional graphic design practices like branding, publication design, service, and exhibition design, bringing a human-centered approach to the design process.

The program’s strong national and international reputation reflects this deep understanding of current and future trends. Animation Career Review ranks the program number one among the top 50 public graphic design schools in the United States. 69% of professionally-placed alumni over a recently tracked 5-year period are employed in high-paying UX/UI positions. Such alumni also informed the name change process, encouraging the program to expand its title to better reflect student expertise. Strong interest by companies, which continue to partner through sponsored studio projects, testifies to the program’s success in UX/UI. Recent sponsored studio partners include such companies as SAS, REI, Sealed Air, Advance Auto Parts, WebAssign, Red Hat, and IBM.

For the past 16 years, the program has been evolving as part of a long-term strategy. A 2009 NASAD accreditation review supported the program’s anticipation of future trends in graphic and experience design. In 2012 and 2013 the department shared with the college a researched overview of academic and professional practice that emphasized emerging categories in graphic design such as user interface design (UI) and user experience (UX). This future-facing approach has allowed the program to strategically build the curriculum and teaching faculty over the past nine years, successfully positioning for leadership in the discipline.

“We’re grateful to NC State for supporting this important step for the graphic design program,” says Liu. “I appreciate the work produced by our faculty and students, and I know that this degree name change will continue to produce graduates who are top designers in their field.”

This post was originally published in College of Design Blog.