Department of Industrial and Graphic Design Becomes the School of Industrial and Graphic Design

The Department of Industrial and Graphic Design (DIGD) will now be the School of Industrial and Graphic Design (SIGD) in its current home, the College of Architecture, Design and Construction at Auburn University. The Auburn University Board of Trustees approved this status change at their meeting on Friday, June 21.
“The reclassification to the School of Industrial and Graphic Design (SIGD) acknowledges the long standing distinction of the Industrial and Graphic Design programs while positioning them for brighter and bolder futures,” says Vini Nathan, Dean and McWhorter Chair in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction.

DIGD met or exceeded all the university’s criteria for school status in all categories, which includes the number of degrees offered (currently two baccalaureate and one graduate first professional degree programs), number of majors (425) and faculty at the rank of assistant professor or higher (currently 20), and a minimum of 5,000 student credit hours (currently 6,240 during the 2012 academic year, 7,595 including summer. The new designation will increase the potential for the industrial and graphic design programs to grow through increased visibility and will enhance extramural funding opportunities and the recruitment of prospective students and faculty.

As Clark Lundell, head of the SIGD, explains, “The industrial design undergraduate program is currently ranked sixth in the country, while its graduate program is ranked fourth. The graphic design program is the only Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree offered in Alabama and is consistently represented on HOW magazine’s list of design programs in the country. The elevation of department to school status acknowledges this level of achievement and allows the School of Industrial and Graphic Design to be more competitive with other like programs nationally.”

Auburn Industrial Design graduate and undergraduate programs have been ranked within the top 12 nationwide for the past seven years. Three Industrial Design faculty members have been ranked as “Most Admired Educators” by DesignIntelligence.  One of the premier and most respected graphic design publications in the industry, HOW magazine, included SIGD’s Graphic Design program in its list of top design education programs in the country. It is one of only four public graphic design programs on HOW’s list.

The School of Industrial and Graphic Design houses the only NASAD accredited Industrial Design and Graphic Design BFA program within the state of Alabama. Award-winning faculty members collaborate regularly with industry to bring applied projects into the classroom. Such industry projects are an integral part of the student experience. The programs have over 20 years of successes with more than 50 industry collaborators including: 3M, Emerson, Doc Marten, IBM, Frigidaire, NASA, US Dept of Energy, Emerson, Eastman, Vanity Fair, and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

International study opportunities are also an important part of industrial and graphic design curriculums. Industrial and graphic design students travel in the spring and summer semesters and share studios and workshops at colleges and universities in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, and in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

SIGD’s graduates reflect the success of its curriculum.  Industrial  and graphic design graduates can be found at Emerson (Craftsman Tool),  Dell, IBM, Boeing, NASA, Black and Decker, Herman Miller, Publix, Banana Republic,  Coca-Cola, Disney, Delta, MOMA, the Holocaust Museum,  Southern Progress, Conde Nast,  and Rolling Stone Magazine  among others .

Industrial Design was established at Auburn University in the Department of Art in 1945, making it one of the oldest programs in country. In fall 2007, the Graphic Design Program was incorporated into the Department of Industrial Design to create the Department of Industrial and Graphic Design (DIGD).

Related people:
Vini Nathan, Clark Lundell