Parkland's Graphic Design and Interactive Design program is a portfolio-building program. In our studio classes, students solve real-world visual communication problems through a process of exploration and discovery. Projects are critiqued and revised until they meet professional standards. The slide show gallery below contain an archive of outstanding student work from recent years. A searchable database of all published student work from past annual student exhibitions (2010–2019) can be found at Spark: Scholarship at Parkland.
View slide show gallery
The following links contain archived course material from the Graphic Design and Interactive Design program at Parkland College. All of our studio courses are grounded in visual literacy, creative problem solving and state-of-the-art technology. Instructors make a concerted effort to introduce students to a wide range of work from influential designers. Students are introduced to the world of typography, motion, color, photography, illustration, interactivity, print production, web development and creative copywriting. Students learn that inspiration can come from any source and that the creative process is a methodology that works.
- GDS 102 Graphic Design History
- GDS 108 Design Media and Principles
- GDS 110 Typography I
- GDS 120 Graphic Design I
- GDS 122/222 Graphic Design II & III
- GDS 172 Typography II
- GDS 220 Graphic Design for the Web
- GDS 230 Motion Design
- GDS 271/272 Interactive Design I & II
- GDS 273/274 Illustration I & II
- GDS 293 Portfolio Seminar
In addition to providing students with in-depth, hands-on classroom experiences, Parkland's Graphic Design and Interactive Design Programs also offered learning opportunities outside of the classroom. From out-of-town field trips to movie premieres, Parkland students participated in a variety of rich cultural experiences. A selection of these types of special events are listed below.
- Annual Graphic Design/Interactive Design Student Exhibitions
Every spring, Parkland graphic design and interactive design students are invited to enter work in a special exhibition in our art gallery. The entries are juried by our faculty, then local marketing communications industry professionals are invited to judge the show and award cash prizes for exceptional work (see pictures from the 2019 opening reception). Winning entries from recent years can be viewed here: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014.
- The ART of Illustration
In 2018, Giertz Gallery at Parkland College hosted a special group show of 10 contemporary illustrators known for their innovative work and personal style. These internationally renowned artists showcased the diverse methods available today for creating original art, from paintbrush to digital manipulation. The exhibition also included an additional lecture and hands-on workshop taught by illustrator Ed Binkley. Guest curator and graphic design instructor Liza Wynette selected these artists for their strong conceptual imagery, outstanding craftsmanship, and unique visual language. The artists in this exhibition became ambassadors representing the current state of contemporary illustration in the U.S. and beyond (view the exhibition catalog and see pictures from the opening reception).
- Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production
On November 14, 2017, Graphic Design at Parkland College presented the local premiere of a new historical documentary about the rapid changes in design from the mid-century modern era of Mad Men to the introduction of the Macintosh computer. Using rare archival footage and interviews, this groundbreaking film uncovers the hidden history of the graphic design industry's "cold type" era. The film features interviews with Steven Heller, April Greiman, Art Chantry, Ellen Lupton, Tobias Frere-Jones, Ken Garland, and more. Filmmaker Briar Levit and distinguished internationally renowned designer April Greiman joined us via Skype for a lively panel discussion immediately following the film (see pictures from the premiere).
- MEET THE PROS Lecture Series
Between 2011 and 2014, Fine & Applied Arts at Parkland College produced a continuing lecture series where students met local graphic designers, imteractive designers, graphic artists, illustrators, photographers, animators, application developers, programmers and other professionals in the marketing communications industry. Presentations were scheduled during lunch time and everyone was encouraged to bring their lunch (see schedules and pictures from these events). This series was co-sponsored by 40 North and CUDO.
- Sign Painters: The Movie Premiere
In September 2013, Graphic Design at Parkland College and CUDO presented the Illinois premiere of a new documentary about the almost-lost art of traditional sign painting. In 2010, filmmakers Faythe Levine and Sam Macon began documenting these dedicated practitioners, their time-honored methods, and their appreciation for quality and craftsmanship. Local sign painters from Champaign-Urbana, Pontiac and Mt. Pulaski were invited to participate in a panel discussion immediately after the screening (see pictures from the premiere).
- Linotype: The Film Premiere
In April 2012, Graphic Design at Parkland College and CUDO presented the Illinois premiere of a new documentary about the amazing Linotype machine. Director Doug Wilson introduced the film and then joined a panel discussion immediately following the screening (see pictures from the premiere).
- Hamilton Wood Type Museum Wayzgoose Field Trip
In November 2011, nine students and several community members attended the annual Wayzgoose Type Conference in Two Rivers WI. Students attended a variety of hands-on seminars with letterpress and typography aficionados including Brad Vetter, author/curator Jim Sherraden from Hatch Show Print and award-winning type designer Matthew Carter (see pictures from the field trip).
- Typeface Movie Premiere
In Spring 2010, Graphic Design at Parkland College and CUDO collaborated on presenting the Champaign-Urbana premiere of a new documentary about the revival of wood type and letterpress printing. Over 100 people attended the screening in the Parkland Theatre with filmmaker Justin Nagan attending the event (see pictures from the event). There was a post-screening discussion that included the filmmaker, Eric Benson (Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, University of Illinois), Maya Bruck (Co-founder and Executive Director, CUDO), John Havlik (Graphic Design Instructor, Parkland College), John Jennings (Associate Professor of Graphic Design, University of Illinois), Julie Johnson (Associate Professor of Graphic Design, Illinois State University).
- SEEK Design Conference Field Trip
In November 2009, eight students and community members attended the annual SEEK Design Conference at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb IL. Students attended a variety of breakout sessions and seminars in the morning, but the highlight of the conference was afternoon keynote presentations by influential designers Massimo Vignelli and Jakob Trollbäck (see pictures from the field trip.)
- Art Chantry at Parkland Art Gallery
In November 2008, influential designer Art Chantry was invited to showcase his work in a solo exhibition at the Parkland Art Gallery. Art Chantry was flown in from Seattle WA to attend the opening reception. While in town, he gave two additional presentations and thoroughly enjoyed his stay in Champaign-Urbana (see video and pictures from the event). Also read about Art's farewell dinner in Champaign.
- Tribune Showprint Field Trip
In the fall of 2008, Parkland graphic design students traveled back in time to visit the oldest continuously operating letterpress print shop in the USA. Open since 1878, Tribune is actually one year older than the world-famous Hatch Show Print in Nashville. Tribune's owner invited our students into their wood type composition area and we were able to get a hands-on lesson in this traditional craft. On the way to Tribune, we also stopped by Twin Rocker Handmade Paper in Brookston IN to see a demonstration of traditional paper making (see pictures from the field trip).
- Helvetica Movie Premiere
In October 2007, Graphic Design at Parkland College hosted the Champaign-Urbana premiere of Gary Hustwit's new documentary Helvetica. Over 150 people attended the premiere which was followed by a panel discussion with local designers and design professors.
- Illustration Exhibition
In 2005, Parkland Art Gallery hosted "Personal Visions/Commercial Illustrations," an exhibition that surveyed some of the top contemporary illustrators working in the USA. Chris Sickels from Red Nose Studios attended the opening reception and gave a well-attended gallery talk. Other participating illustrators included Brian Cronin, Hugh Kretschmer, Luba Lukova and Jean Tuttle (view the Exhibition Catalog).
- April Greiman Visits Champaign
In February 2004, Parkland College collaborated with the Champaign-Urbana Ad Club to bring influential designer and new media pioneer April Greiman to town for a luncheon, panel discussion and book signing. All three events were well attended and students had an opportunity to meet and talk with one of the most honored designers in the world (see pictures from the event).
- Studio Tours
Graphic design and interactive design students at Parkland College have numerous opportunities to visit design studios, advertising agencies and in-house art departments to interact with industry professionals and to ask them questions about the design profession. Locally, we make annual visits to Surface 51, McKenzie Wagner, Thunderstruck, Horizon Hobby, Human Kinetics, and other places where designers work. We have also taken students to Chicago and St Louis to experience the cultural diversity available in a larger city. In addition to attending AIGA meetings, art museums exhibitions and art gallery openings, students also visited internationally renowned ad agencies and design firms like DDB, Segura Inc, VSA Partners, Kuhlmann Leavitt, and Kiku Obata (see itinerary and pictures from past Chicago and St Louis field trips).