Digital Media Design

Digital Media Design

Learn current industry practices while cultivating design skills for the 21st century

An animated red schoolhouse on a lush green lawn

Like the Graphic Design program, the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Media Design program begins with a foundation in design principles and technologies, later advancing onto motion graphics and animation courses. Experienced, professional faculty continue to mentor students, teach current design industry practices and engage in a dialogue about the role of motion design in contemporary society, culture and business. Degree candidates conclude their studies with a two-semester thesis project in their senior year. 

Digital Media Design students focus on developing skills in motion design, including digital 2D and 3D animation, motion graphics, digital video and live-action production. Professional animation faculty teach students skills in designing and producing kinetic sequences for TV and film, which include:

  • network-identity packages
  • live-action production sequences
  • movie and TV title credits
  • commercial motion graphics
  • sound design
  • 3D modeling and animation
  • character design.

Additionally, students learn concept ideation, storyboarding, style frames, narrative structure, digital animation, rendering and production workflow.

As with their Graphic Design peers, Digital Media Design students develop professional presentation skills and a refined portfolio. Intimate learning environments and critical feedback continue to provide students with the conceptual, technological and communication tools to excel as working professionals in the constantly-developing and competitive television and film industry. Alongside the Graphic Design students, Digital Media Design students have the opportunity to participate in real-world projects such as Design Lab.

Current Curriculum

The following curriculum is for students enrolled beginning in fall 2015. 

As in other undergraduate design programs at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, the curriculum for the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Media Design program focuses on design processes, methods, communication strategies, and professional skill sets. In addition to a robust offering of academic courses, digital media design students have the opportunity to participate in real-world projects like the Corcoran's Design Lab. In the Design Lab, students work with museum professionals to brand and design NEXT, the annual senior thesis exhibition.

In addition to the University General Education Requirement and requirements for their major, undergraduate students in Columbian College must complete a further, College-specific general education curriculum. Students can learn more about the new program requirements, as well as general education requirements in the course bulletin.

Legacy Curriculum

The following curriculum is for legacy students, defined as those students who began taking classes at the Corcoran prior to the fall 2015 semester. Students enrolled beginning in fall 2015, should consult the current curriculum.

Year 1 Courses

Years 2, 3, and 4 Courses

Sample Studio Elective Courses

Department Life

The Undergraduate Design Department hosts annual professional events for all students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts programs, including those in graphic design, digital media design, and interior design. These annual exhibition events are OPEN, NEXT at the Corcoran, and BY DESIGN.

OPEN is an annual exhibit hosted by the Undergraduate Design Department showcasing graphic design and digital media design student work. This event is held in the main floor galleries of the Flagg Building at the end of the fall semester. The exhibit is open to the general public and features work by students from all years. Professional designers from the Washington, D.C. design community also attend this event to connect with design students about potential internships and job opportunities.

NEXT at the Corcoran is the annual student thesis exhibition at the Corcoran School. Undergraduate Bachelor of Fine Arts seniors from all departments participate and exhibit their senior thesis projects alongside other BFA students. This building-wide event showcases undergraduate and graduate thesis projects in the grand Beaux-Arts space of the Corcoran's historic Flagg Building. Hosting an event of this scale and detail requires collaboration between all departments.  

The BY DESIGN exhibition is an annual professional practices event for undergraduate design students in the graphic design, digital media design, and interior design fields of study. A private event held at the end of the spring semester, BY DESIGN invites numerous Washington, D.C., design professionals to connect with design students for internships and job opportunities. Current BFA design students, design alumni, faculty and student families attend. The exhibition showcases portfolios of current design seniors and is a valuable professional networking opportunity as students prepare to graduate.

Careers and Internships

The field of motion design offers a wide range of professional opportunities, allowing for truly unique career paths. Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Media Design students gain real-world experience through internships and job opportunities at established companies such as Prologue Films, Buck, Native Design, A52, Elastic.TV, iStrategy Labs, Expedia Inc., Capacity, MBC Group, Big Block, Inc., Big Machine Design, Apple, National Geographic, Harper's Bazaar, Newsweek, NBC, PBS, Capacity, Conde Nast, Chronicle Books, AKQA, Landor, and Gallagher & Associates. Professional job opportunities and experiences have taken the GW Corcoran’s motion design students nationally and internationally to companies in California, New York, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Dubai, Japan, London, and Saudi Arabia.

Careers in motion design include:

  • Animator
  • Motion Designer
  • Storyboard Artist/Designer
  • Live Action Producer
  • TV and Film Director
  • Digital Video Producer

Digital Media Design in Action

Video Game Diversity

Navy Sisomphou, Digital Media Design, BFA ’14

“This is my senior thesis project, an interpretation of all the research I compiled in my last year at the Corcoran. Most of the figures come from a 2009 study. I know that while some of these statements are no longer true, it was not that long ago that they were. And I believe that the numbers represented are still relevant in the discussion of social change.”

Learn more about Navy’s NEXT thesis
Progressive Synthesis

Grace Boyle, Digital Media Design, BFA ’16

“Progressive Synthesis conveys positivity, energy, individuality and collaboration. This revised version uses a grid system and 45 degree lines to create a seamless, upward motion. To technically convey ideas like precision, rhythm, and cohesion, I relied on the line width tool in Illustrator and optically adjusted the organic expansion points, with Futura as an underlay.”

Take a closer look at Grace’s typeface

Conner O’Brien, Digital Media Design, BFA ’14

“Getting inspiration from movies like Iron Man and Prometheus, I wanted to create this futuristic, dark and rundown science lab environment. We shot green screened footage of myself with different angles to capture the graphic movements and show depth within this space. The lab was created in Cinema 4D and all the display graphics were added in After Effects.”

See Conner’s design process for HUD