A look at the Graphic Design course now offered in the Art Department 


Maggie Huang

Students share their thoughts on the new Graphic Design course that is offered for all grades.

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At Townsend Harris High School, students weigh their career prospects in a wide variety of disciplines, and the elective course offerings are often their guides to success. For many, the graphic design course, which debuted last year, allows artistically minded students to explore their options in an increasingly digital world. The class is held in the art room, room 511, and fosters opportunities for digital creativity.

Art teacher Melissa Nakos said, “[Graphic design] is a beginner course for freshmen, but there are other grades in there. We cover the elements of art and the principles of design; units consist of working with color, working with value, and incorporating that with physical artwork, but then translating it to digital.” In her opinion, the class enriches the art program offerings at THHS because “it gives students an opportunity to see how to work with materials that are not the traditional materials […]. It lets them use their skills in technology to put their ideas into a digital format.”

Junior Tiffany Agbonwaneten said that she was “excited about learning the ins and outs of digital art materials and how to use them to their full capacity. I decided to choose this class because I practice mostly digital art so it was an opportunity to further my skill set in that area.”

Senior Blessing Ogunsola looks forward to mastering the Adobe programs, saying “I hope aspects of Photoshop will be covered.” Other students also agree that navigating the quintessential digital arts platform is something they hope to learn.

Part of the work that comes with taking this class does involve learning how to use various platforms popular in the graphic design industry, such as Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Using these platforms is not only beneficial for prospective art and design students, said Ms. Nakos, but for any student entering into a digital world.

“Unless you’re planning on going straight to surgery,” Ms. Nakos says, “these skills are helpful.”

Bringing the subject to the world outside the classroom, Ms. Nakos discussed the practical and more tangible manifestations of graphic design. “Everything is graphic design. Graphic design is problem solving. When you think about the speed bump, it was a solution to a problem. People were speeding, so they put a speed bump which forced people to slow down. The idea of a speed bump was created as a graphic design element and then submitted to a government agency,” she said. “It’s not just photoshopping something funny in the back of a picture. It’s also a lot about problem solving.”

Junior Sandra Sandoval agrees that there are a myriad of different applications of graphic design and the skills that come with it that exist outside the borders of the “field of art.” She stated, “I want to go into marketing/advertising and an important aspect of that is graphic design and being able to create campaigns online. Therefore, I felt that graphic design was more beneficial for my resume and career.”

Tiffany said, “I think this class does enrich my experience as an artist. Art is like any other skill: it requires practice and this class offers a great opportunity for practicing digital art.