Website media cards arranged on a table

Strategic Design, M.A.

The Master of Arts in Strategic Design, held in collaboration with the Miami Ad School at Portfolio Center of Atlanta, provides students with an advanced understanding of art and communication theory and their application through a portfolio school model. This model will replicate a creative professional environment allowing graduates to enter the job market with hands-on, professional experience and a portfolio, as well as an established network of industry contacts, ready to begin their creative careers.

Are you intrigued? Are you ready to learn from the best of the best? You know you are! The instructors in the Masters of Art in Strategic Design are not only research faculty from prestigious Furman University they also include industry professionals from the Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center who teach you what they do every day at their jobs at the top agencies in Atlanta.

Are you ready to learn by doing? All of your courses are a balance of theory and practical application. A heavy emphasis is placed on strategic marketing concepts like consumer behavior, segmentation, distribution and integrated communications as they relate to creative outcomes. This approach translates into a robust premier portfolio to position you for premier agencies/firms in the creative industry in the world.

Now, the question is, which track fits you?!

Request Information

Apply Now

Art Direction Track

Art directors think in images and text to come up with visual solutions. You’ll be partnered with a copywriter and together you’ll create magazine ads, videos, TV commercials, and social media campaigns. You’ll create work that sells products, promotes services, supports charities, rights wrongs and even saves lives. You’ll collaborate with photographers, designers, illustrators and filmmakers to make your ideas come to life. Not a bad way to make a living.

Potential Course Topics:

Type Journey:  An introduction to the art of typography. You’ll get a solid foundation in the techniques of type design as well as the fashions, movements and figures behind the history of typefaces and the times that created them.

Rhetoric In Action:  Explore the development of how to build a critical and analytical vocabulary, as well as rational methods for image generation in visual communications. Consider the composition of a message and how meaning is created through word, image and design with a focus on powerful visual narratives. Communication is the constant navigation of complex intersections of people, resources, and contexts — timelessly spanning all disciplines, industries, and areas or stratifications of life — in order to achieve specific goals and progress. A strong emphasis on the humanities, creativity and technology, examine creative problem solving — or Design Thinking — and how common design and composition practices can be applied to a variety of frameworks.

Ideas First:  Great work starts with a great idea. It’s not about just creating a print ad, tv spot or Facebook page. Solve the communication problem first then find the appropriate media to give the idea maximum impact.

Video Storytelling:  Learn how to shoot and edit video and sound. Use special effects to tell a story with motion and sound.

Thinking Strategically:  In the real world, it’s not a creative free-for-all. There’s a strategy brief the creatives work from. Gain insight into consumers, learn the critical role of account planning and develop brilliant ideas from a creative brief.

Copywriting Track

Copywriters are painstaking wordsmiths, choosing words for precise meaning and connotation. You’ll be teamed with an art director and you’ll create work for print, radio, TV and the entire gamut of digital media. Along the way you’ll pitch products, advocate causes, and raise awareness. You’ll work with talented professionals: actors, voice talents, directors, engineers and more. You’ll be the one everyone looks to as guardian of the message. With great power comes great… well, you know.

Potential Course Topics:

Type Journey:  An introduction to the art of typography. You’ll get a solid foundation in the techniques of type design as well as the fashions, movements and figures behind the history of typefaces and the times that created them.

Rhetoric In Action:  Explore the development of how to build a critical and analytical vocabulary, as well as rational methods for image generation in visual communications. Consider the composition of a message and how meaning is created through word, image and design with a focus on powerful visual narratives. Communication is the constant navigation of complex intersections of people, resources, and contexts — timelessly spanning all disciplines, industries, and areas or stratifications of life — in order to achieve specific goals and progress. A strong emphasis on the humanities, creativity and technology, examine creative problem solving — or Design Thinking — and how common design and composition practices can be applied to a variety of frameworks.

Story Writing: The art of storytelling is a crucial skill. Learn about plot development, story and character arcs, telling stories not only in multiple installments, but in multiple mediums (blogs, point of view, transitions, voice, persuasion). Storytelling is an integral part of our lives – how we tell stories about ourselves, the people around us, the activities in which we take part have a positive impact on issues our society is facing.

Short & Sweet: Headlines, web banners, outdoor boards, tag lines, and Twitter posts all require precision and a certain turn of phrase. You’ll learn to be a writer of few words that carry a big message and prove print is not dead.

Pop Culture Engineering: This course will center on all the flotsam and jetsam of pop culture: t-shirts, costume, graphic novels, matchbooks, packages, posters, pimping cars, sports paraphernalia, and all the other ephemera imaginable.

Improv & Stand-Up Comedy: Presence, gumption and the ability to think on your feet make for an excellent presenter. Through improvisational exercises and dialogue writing you will lose your stage fright and become a stellar comedian.

Graphic Design Track

The Design Program enhances design for human ability, innovation and design thinking within workshop environments. The program fosters experimental ideation and merging medias (illustration and photography), both analog and digital, by curious students who have different dispersed talents and who want to enhance their strategic thinking and methodologies by integrating design, business and technology. At the core of the Design Program, students embrace design as a strategic tool for consumer economies and it’s a way to introduce new and exciting innovations that response to service ecologies which are important in daily lives. Here are some of the courses in the art direction program.

More than any other kind of creative, graphic designers bring beauty to the world around us. Sure, they do the usual—design logos, publications, websites—but more than anything, their role is to use the design to solve problems. A zoo signage system that makes sure everyone can find the lowland gorilla enclosure. An immersive environment for an art exhibition that transforms it from just a display to a unique, memorable experience. There’s virtually nothing that can’t be improved by a designers deft touch and refined sensibilities. You’ll get paid for making things beautiful. Not a bad deal, huh?

Potential Course Topics:

Type Journey:  An introduction to the art of typography. You’ll get a solid foundation in the techniques of type design as well as the fashions, movements and figures behind the history of typefaces and the times that created them.

Rhetoric In Action:  Explore the development of how to build a critical and analytical vocabulary, as well as rational methods for image generation in visual communications. Consider the composition of a message and how meaning is created through word, image and design with a focus on powerful visual narratives. Communication is the constant navigation of complex intersections of people, resources, and contexts — timelessly spanning all disciplines, industries, and areas or stratifications of life — in order to achieve specific goals and progress. A strong emphasis on the humanities, creativity and technology, examine creative problem solving — or Design Thinking — and how common design and composition practices can be applied to a variety of frameworks.

Experiential Design: Consider the human factors that encompass concepts and content in urban and environmental planning architecture, including scale, wayfaring systems, costs, materials, and methods of production, sustainable environments, neighborhood development, transportation, historic and sprawl. The course focuses on the study of built, natural, global, and virtual environments.

Mobile Designs & Systems: An exploration of the elements that currently make up our modern physical existence (think iPhone, apps, laptop, or GPS in a car) at its most basic level and how to use them as a point of reference to deliver a branded message that transcends both the virtual and the physical worlds to connect with consumers on a deep level.

Content Creation: The study of creative languages and strategies, from vantage points that exceed expectations of communication with clients. Study center on the access of information, the affordability of “smart” technology conjoined with an understanding of current consumer behavior and ability to articulate creative concepts and expression from digital, screen, to print-based media.

Web Design: Students design and produce their own websites using computer markup languages. This course focuses on designing websites with creative interfaces, wireframes, user interface, responsive design and mobile wireframes, strong graphic images, functional site organization, and logical navigation.

Locations

Students will spend their first summer term in Greenville, South Carolina, at Furman University. Three of the remaining four terms will be housed at the partner location, Miami Ad School at Portfolio Center of Atlanta. The final term of practicum will be held at Furman or based on practicum placement either at MAS-PC or in the industry. 22 of the proposed 42 credits in the program will be taught, directed, or supervised by Furman faculty.

Students in the MA-SDG will

  • Be able to analyze and understand a business’ (brand, service, startup or non-profit’s) communication and development needs.
  • Develop strategies and create projects that align with the desired purpose and social change dictated by the client.
  • Understand the tools used in the industry to create, message, and analyze the effectiveness of a project.
  • Participate in real-world, engaged projects to understand how to communicate and relate their ideas to an audience.
  • Develop a comprehensive portfolio that demonstrates prior learning and creative capabilities within the field.

Admission requirements

  • Competency in Digital Technology (i.e. Photoshop or like platforms) as measured by proficiency exam, or taken in a prerequisite 2 credit course provided in May Experience Term at Furman.
  • Minimum Undergraduate GPA: 2.5 (2.75 preferred) or with permission of the Program Director upon application and/or appeal.
  • Portfolio: Must demonstrate appropriate material for prospective track
  • Statement of Intent (500 words)
  • Admission Interview

Tuition: Tuition for the 2019-20 school year will be $8,250 per term for a total of $41,250 for the five-term degree program.

Scholarships are not available for the master’s program through Furman University. However, students enrolled in the program could be eligible for financial aid through graduate level Federal loan programs.

Contact Us

Have questions? Contact us.