BA in Digital Design: A Creative Major

BA in Digital Design - A Creative Undergraduate Major

In the fall of 2008, the New Jersey School of Architecture launched a degree in digital design.  If you are a student who wants to fuse digital skills with creative energy, this degree might be right for you.

In this interview, John Cays, associate dean at the architecture school, discusses the degree program.


Why should students consider studying digital design?

Digital Design is a growing field that underlies most of today’s media, from the design of computer video games to the special effects you see in movies. Designers create visual solutions to communications problems. They decide the best way of getting a message across, may it be in print, electronic or film media. They do this by their use of color, typeface, illustration, photography, animation and various print and layout techniques. The demand for designers is increasing because of the expanding market for Web-based information and the growth of the entertainment market, which includes television, movies, video and made-for-Internet outlets. There is an even great demand for designers who have Web-site design and animation experience. There’s been an explosion of design projects for interactive media, web sites, video games, cell telephones and personal digital assistants.

Why study digital design at the School of Architecture?

The school is national leader in digital design and in computer aided design, known as CAD. For seven years in a row, our students have won the national design awards known as CADDIES. The school was also the first architecture program in the nation to give all of its students digital design studios. That means our students, starting as freshmen, do all their work digitally. They don’t use drafting. And our professors have become national leaders in digital design education.

What is a digital designer?

A good digital designer is several things at once: a creative thinker with a keen aesthetic sensibility; an artist exploring aesthetics through form and color, motion and time; and an entrepreneur who creates new design methods to address the challenges and opportunities that come with the constantly changing technological landscape.

What does a digital designer do?

The Digital Design program at NJIT is geared to students who want to fuse technical competence and creative energy.  The program will prepare students for a variety of careers such as Game Design, Web Design and Graphic Design. Other jobs include Digital Video Production, Animation and Motion Design, Virtual Set Design, Digital Special Effects, Virtual Exhibit Design, Communication Design and Advertising. This is a constantly evolving field and requires professionals with the vision and inventiveness to fully engage in its development.

What does the program cover?

Digital Design is a four year bachelor’s degree. The program’s first year will give students a broad design foundation. After their freshman year, students will be allowed to switch their concentration if they so choose. They can continue in Digital Design, or choose to study Interior Design, Industrial Design or Fine Arts. In upper level design studio classrooms, Digital Design students will work in collaborative studios with artists and designers from other disciplines. This cross pollination of ideas and working methods allow for multiple perspectives to bear on a specific design problem.  Students will also work in teams on their own designs, and will have access to state-of-the-art computer aided design (CAD) equipment and digital media laboratories. The study of digital design gives students the tools to create new virtual environments, which have become an integral part of the advertising, film and gaming industries.  It is an exciting new field that gives creativity free reign.

Bachelor of Arts in Digital Design (1.2 MB, pdf)

(By Robert Florida, University Web Services)