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Does Notre Dame even have a design major?

| Tuesday, April 17, 2018

“Does Notre Dame even have a Design major?”

My friends and I were at a social gathering, when a slightly inebriated individual replied with such incredulity to my introduction as a visual communication design and political science double major.

I can’t remember if he was joking and if other people had laughed. I just remember being significantly annoyed. If I’ve introduced myself as a design major, I would say it’s safe to say such a major does exist.

Thankfully, this kind of response to my being a design major hasn’t been the only kind of response I’ve ever heard of. Many usually comment on how “interesting” or “cool” the major sounds, especially when I share how I plan to connect this information to my double major in political science. This is certainly encouraging, but there are quite a few members of our student body who find it difficult to understand how spending hours visualizing and executing ways of unconventional communication, or doing “art,” could be a challenging major and career path.

I think I find this kind of reaction to the design major especially offensive and strange because I come from a background in which art is so valued. I attended an arts high school in arts-embedded Southern California, where one’s musical abilities, dance skills and other talents in the arts are looked upon as highly as one’s knowledge in any other major would be here at Notre Dame.

As I’m interested in both political science and design, I see how the two seemingly-unrelated majors are connected through data visualization, political campaigns and even arts education policies. And I’m determined to use my interests in these interdisciplinary areas to approach my academic career in this field through a unique lens.

I will not deny that majoring in design is inherently different from majoring in another field. Of course, different majors have different requirements and different expectations. But the amount of time, conceptualization, problem-solving, innovation, interpretation and even physical skill that a design major at Notre Dame invests into their degree is undeserving of ever being mistaken for nonexistent.

Though we’re small in number, our design presence is ever-growing. With the continuous development of the world around and the need for visionary innovation in all kinds of fields, Notre Dame’s design major will continue to collaborate with other equally-impressive majors to supply this demand for creative change.

So in short, yes, I’d say Notre Dame has quite a design major.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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