Graphic Design

Profiles

Erin Diller

~Student~

Erin Diller
Erin Diller

Erin Diller

“In both majors I face problems every day, whether they’re design problems or literal math problems. It is fun, challenging, and rewarding to find solutions especially if it’s a problem I’ve been struggling with.” 

Erin Diller came to Western with a desire to explore the Art and Math majors offered. She found her passion in a Graphic Design emphasis after taking several art classes and meeting the professors.

Diller is from Weston, Colo.,—a small town that has a population of about 844 people.

“My town was pretty small. We had one school that was K-12, so I grew up knowing everyone in the town,” Diller said.  She was ready to head to college by the end of her senior year so she could meet new people and explore the Gunnison valley.

Diller has been studying Graphic Design and Math at Western for four years and is graduating in December 2017. She says her majors set her up well for life after college describes and that they remind her more of a profession than a major.

“I started as an Art major and I liked to draw but I realized that there’s no drawing major here. I decided on Graphic Design originally because it required me to study a lot of different things, then I fell in love with it. I have to have a variety of skills in order to be successful in my field,” Diller said.

Every day Diller confronts new challenges, and she confronts them all head on.

“In both majors I face problems every day, whether they’re design problems or literal math problems. It is fun, challenging, and rewarding to find solutions especially if it’s a problem I’ve been struggling with,” Diller said.

When these challenges emerge, Diller has help from her professors. With small classes, students at Western get a chance to get to know their professors and professors get to know the students. Professors learn the strengths of each student and know the best way to help each one.

“My professors would do anything to help aid me in my studies. They are super helpful and are always there when I need them. My advisor helps me the most with guiding my future and where my path is going to lead me,” Diller said.

When Diller graduates, she plans on pursuing a career in graphic design freelancing with a company and creating art on her own.

“I live in Quigley hall right now! I spend most of my time in the graphic design lab trying new and exciting things,” Diller said.

When Diller is not in Quigley, she is either filling her time with work-study in the studio or as a sports information student assistant or hanging out with her friends. She attends athletic events even when she is not working and enjoys hiking and exploring the valley.

“I wish that I would have started putting myself out there more as a freshman and gotten more involved. There is so much to do but I was quiet and shy,” Diller said.

Diller has enjoyed her time at Western, but she is ready to graduate and show the world what Western has taught her.

Story by Grace Flynn.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Mayela Cardenas headshot
Associate Professor of Art
Phone: 970.943.3080
Office Location: Quigley Hall 232

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 ART 246 - Introduction to Photography (3 credits)

An introduction to contemporary photographic technique incorporating traditional black-and-white analogue photography alongside digital photographic practice and procedure. Lectures introduce topic areas that the student must exercise in lab sessions. Students must supply their own "quality" 35mm or 120mm camera. Prerequisites: ART 120, ART 171, and ART 172.

 ART 257 - Introduction to Printmaking (3 credits)

An introduction to the basic techniques of printmaking including lithography, woodcut, etching, and the collagraph. Emphasis is on the traditional approaches in printmaking. Prerequisites: ART 120, ART 171, and ART 172.

 ART 270 - Introduction to Graphic Design and Illustration (3 credits)

An introductory course utilizing the basic fundamentals of art in a broad base of commercial applications. Design in the areas of corporate identity, packaging, illustration, and typography are explored. Illustration, new techniques, materials, and tools used by the designer are emphasized. Prerequisites: ART 120, ART 171, and ART 172.

 ART 271 - Calligraphy/ Typography (3 credits)

A study of individual letter forms as design elements that relate to visual communication. Prerequisites: ART 120, ART 171, and ART 172.

 ART 283 - Introduction to Airbrush (3 credits)

Introduction to the use of the airbrush as a tool for painting, drawing, and design. Multiple use of the tool within traditional and non-traditional directions, as well as tool maintenance, are stressed. Prerequisites: ART 120, ART 171, and ART 172

 ART 370 - Intermediate Graphic Design (3 credits)

A study of graphic design processes and applications. Emphasis is on the exploration of creative solutions to design problems. Topics include past and current design trends, tools, and computer related graphics. Prerequisite: ART 270.

 ART 470 - Advanced Design and Illustration I (3 credits)

An advanced exploration of the expressive possibilities of individual graphic design direction.Students collaborate with the instructor to plan a suitable and particular direction of study. Prerequisite: ART 370.

 ART 471 - Advanced Design and Illustration II (3 credits)

An advanced exploration of the expressive possibilities of individual graphic design direction. Students collaborate with the instructor to plan a suitable and particular direction of study. Prerequisite: ART 470.

The Graphic Design emphasis provides students with a thorough intellectual and hands-on understanding of visual communication, and the training to prepare for professional practice.

At Western, the Graphic Design student acquires a visual language and the means to communicate with it effectively—integrating typography, image development, and the use of design software and photography.

Through a mixture of training and experience, the program develops students’ creative and problem-solving capabilities, while expanding technical and visual skill sets across industry-relevant media and materials. Encouraging and reinforcing the development of that role, faculty guide students in heightening their awareness, expanding their conceptual and organizational abilities, and improving their personal communication and presentation skills. 

Faculty encourage cross-disciplinary studies either as paired electives or independent projects. Beyond the course listings, students find directed study courses particularly viable choices for developing individual interests in print production, illustration, type or package or web design, and other creative or experimental directions. Other naturally allied areas are printmaking, photography, drawing and painting.

Juniors and seniors often work on design projects for local and regional nonprofit organizations. Involvement on the Pathfinder Magazine production staff allows students another avenue for incorporating classroom skills into a "real world product"—the creation of both an online and a full-color glossy magazine.

Facilities include a newly equipped, extensive Macintosh computer lab with color scanners and wide format color printers. Students work with industry-standard software.

With the help of the department's network among professionals in the field, seniors and graduates have found professional internships, careers and success.