Graphic Design


Career preparation starts your first year at Western. Visit Career Services in Library 120 and online at to discover your interests, define your goals and land your dream job.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.


For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

 ART 246 - Introduction to Photography (3 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 cred.)

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.

Faculty & Staff


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


Institutional Scholarships

Common Scholarships

Western offers approximately 70 common scholarships for which a wide variety of students are eligible (e.g., locals, veterans, transfers). Apply for any number of these common scholarships using Western’s Common Scholarship Application, which is due April 1. For more information, visit our scholarships page.

Early Action Credit

If a student is accepted to Western by Nov. 1 and qualifies for a merit scholarship, the student will receive an additional $500 for the first year. Use our Net Price Calculator to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

Western Colorado University alumni can nominate prospective students for a $500 scholarship ($250 per semester) for first year only. Application deadline is typically June 1. For more information, visit

Neighboring States Program

Students with a permanent address from one of the seven contiguous neighboring states to Colorado who have demonstrated financial need are automatically considered for a special $1,000 per year grant, totaling $4,000 over four years.

The Western Neighboring States program can be added to WUE, CP or merit scholarships. So, if you are a permanent resident of one of those seven states—and show financial need—you are eligible.

For more information about the Neighboring States program, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Presidential Promise

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Tuition Discount Programs

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Western Merit Scholarship

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship. 

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

  • Gallery Exhibits: Students have opportunities to display their work in numerous shows, exhibits, convocations and galas—on campus and in the community.
  • Pathfinder Magazine: An annual publication for student creative work.
  • Student Art League: A branch of the Council for Creative expression, the Student Art League is dedicated to providing visual arts, experiences, professional development, educational opportunities and outreach for Art students.

Through a mixture of training and experience, the Graphic Design emphasis develops students’ creative and problem-solving capabilities while expanding technical and visual skills across industry-relevant media and materials. Art faculty guide students in heightening their awareness, expanding their conceptual and organizational abilities, and improving their personal communication and presentation skills. 

Students are encouraged to take cross-disciplinary studies either as paired electives or independent projects. Independent study courses are particularly great choices for developing individual interests in print production, illustration, fonts, package or web design, and other creative or experimental directions.

Learn More

Reach out for more information about the program.

A woman with long brown hair smiles at the camera
Associate Professor of Art
Office Location: 
Quigley Hall 232

Related Programs

Business Administration

Read more

Communication Arts

Read more

Computer Science

Read more


Read more


Read more


Read more


Read more

Web Design & Development - Art

Read more

M.A. in Art: Gallery Management & Exhibits Specialization (MGES)

Read more