The college’s top graphic design program in Connecticut

Animation Career Review ranked New Haven University’s graphic design program as the second best in the state, praising the opportunities for students to network, develop professional identities, and gain hands-on experience.

October 6, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

The University’s graphic design program was ranked second best in Connecticut

When Carley Grife ’19 was a graphic design student at New Haven University, she served as a campus tour guide, welcoming prospective students and their families to the University. At the start of her senior year, she was meeting a group of freshman graphic design students when one of them recognized her as their tour guide. She appreciated opportunities and experiences like this which allowed her to make a significant impact on other students.

Image from Varley Grife '19.
Carley Grife’s thesis, titled “Locorum”, was a fully functional application prototype.

An active member of the university community, Grife used every opportunity she had to connect with her classmates and faculty members, and to learn as much as she could from them. She found that being a teaching assistant in a junior level class when she was a senior was an especially wonderful learning experience.

“It was very helpful for me to learn more about lesson planning, as well as how to provide information and advice to different students and learning methods,” said Grife, who is now a graphic designer for Digital agency outside of Philadelphia. “These are all skills that I am applying now in my career, and I will be eternally grateful for the time I spent in University.”

Thanks in large part to the experiences and success of Grife and his classmates, the University’s graphic design program is now recognized by Animation career review, which provides information on schools in each state that offer animation, design, and play programs. The University’s graphic design program was ranked second in the state of Connecticut. Considering criteria such as depth and breadth of the program and academic reputation, the organization considered more than 700 schools across the country for its latest ranking.

“This comforts us in the constant and important work that we do,” said Guy-Serge Emmanuel, MFA, assistant professor and coordinator of the graphic design program. “The last five years have seen a complete transformation of our program, as we have made it more dynamic and responsive to the market. Techniques and tools change from year to year, and our students must have the critical capacity to respond to such changes.

“Designers Solve Problems”

The organization praised the networking opportunities that students have with professionals, the many arts clubs and organizations on campus, and the rich learning experiences through designers, speakers and community events.

Image by Georgette Michael-Duncan '21
Georgette Michael-Duncan during a review in a typography class.

For two years, the students’ typographic works have been part of the permanent collection of Beinecke’s rare book library, a library and literary archives of the Yale University Library. The students worked with local nonprofit organizations, such as New Haven Farms and MakeHaven, gaining experience while assisting them with their design needs.

“The versatility makes the program stand out,” said speaker Javier Viramontes. “Designers are problem solvers. The design is complex and requires a multifaceted approach. Our various course offerings, our incredible guest directory, and our involvement in the non-profit sector certainly open our students to many meaningful career opportunities.

Students also participate in interdisciplinary work, in collaboration with professors from other colleges and schools of the University. Students in the Animation and Information Design courses collaborated with the Faculty of Marine Biology to create animations and posters highlighting their research on the impact of climate change on fishing conditions in Puerto Rico. Graphic animation students also worked with forensic science teachers to create animations aimed at raising awareness of human trafficking.

Animation Career Review notes that graduates of the program will be ready to pursue a variety of careers, including those of multimedia artist, product designer, and marketing manager.

“As students, we had design opportunities in the real world”
Jordan campbell
Jordan Campbell ’18 presents his motion design reel at the Seton Gallery at New Haven University.

Animation Career Review notes that graduates of the program will be ready to pursue a variety of careers, including those of multimedia artist, product designer, and marketing manager.

Among the successful graduates, Jordan Campbell ’18, who says he was drawn to the University by knowledgeable faculty who demonstrated a commitment to students through events such as open houses on the campus and studio sessions for high school students.

Today UI / UX designer at VisionXCampbell leads product design and serves as a consultant for Fortune 500 clients. He also does freelance work. He is grateful for the experiences he had as a student at the University, especially for the guidance and support of his teacher mentors.

“As students, we had real-world design opportunities, such as producing posters for nonprofits, rebranding businesses, and doing internships that changed the world. life, ”said Campbell, who is also co-chair of AIGA Connecticut, a professional association of designers that supports a network of creative change agents, problem solvers and professional leaders. “Guy-Serge Emmanuel specifically encouraged me to apply for an internship where I was able to work with renowned clients that I would not have otherwise dreamed of. It took my career as a designer beyond my years.

“I was ready to succeed from day one”

Georgette Michael-Duncan ’21 changed her major to Graphic Design after taking a drawing class taught by Jacquelyn Gleisner, MFA, and she says she is grateful for the opportunities she has had.

Image by Georgette Michael-Duncan '21
Georgette Michael-Duncan at the Seton Gallery exhibition opening on campus last year.

“The Graphic Design program provides students with unique opportunities that allow us to be exposed to the art world earlier,” she said. “Studying abroad on the university campus in Tuscany, Italy was by far the best experience I have had. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone and changed the way I look at my job.

Praising the program for enabling students to create and refine their portfolios, Animation Career Review also praised the opportunities students have to develop professional identities. Grife, the 2019 graduate, says she got the support she needed from everyone in the program, which she describes as a “tight-knit community.”

“Not only do professors and staff help us on our journey as students, they also help us grow professionally,” she continued. “I was ready to succeed from day one, surrounded by classmates and staff ready to help me solve problems, push boundaries and think outside the box. “

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