Graphic Design in Flux

Work thumb

Views: 254

  • Title: Graphic Design in Flux: Multiliteracy, Multimodality, and Meaning
  • Author(s): Mary Anna La Fratta
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Design Principles & Practices
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Visual Design
  • Keywords: Graphic Design Education, Multimodality, Multidisciplinary, Multiple Literacies, Non-digital Language Games, Explaining Science through Animation
  • Volume: 12
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2325-1581 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2325-159X (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: La Fratta, Mary Anna. 2018. "Graphic Design in Flux: Multiliteracy, Multimodality, and Meaning." The International Journal of Visual Design 12 (2): 57-72. doi:10.18848/2325-1581/CGP/v12i02/57-72.
  • Extent: 16 pages


Undergraduate graphic design students at Western Carolina University in North Carolina, USA, engaged in two multimodal projects on subjects outside of art and design, required technical skills using a range of media, involved partnerships with professionals, and new ways of thinking when designing learning experiences. The goals were to engage students in the larger dialog of interdisciplinary graphic design, its applications, and implications. The first project, presented in spring 2016, involved graphic design students working in teams to design and develop non-digital Cherokee word games for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians to use in their language classes. The games focused on learning, reading, and speaking Cherokee pronouns and using them in various contexts. The second project, assigned in the following fall 2016 semester, included the same students each assigned to design and build animations introducing various aspects of nanotechnology to the general public. This project was in partnership with the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, Community Idea Stations—Science Matters, National Public Radio and the National Public Broadcast Stations in central Virginia. This article considers the contexts within which graphic design education exists and situates the graphic design program at Western Carolina University within this environment.