CSU Art Department gains experienced graphic designer for new program

Columbus State University is now offering a bachelor’s of fine arts with a focus in graphic design for the first time. Nicholas McMillan, a professor of art who specializes in graphic design, was hired at CSU in the fall of 2017 to help launch the program.

“My goal is for my students to walk off the stage, get a job, and keep them in Columbus,” he said. “There’s so much wealth of opportunity in this community. That’s what excites me … the more artists and designers we have stay, the more it will improve the city.”

Interest in McMillan’s courses is strong. This semester, his fundamentals of typography and graphic design course is fully enrolled with 18 students. In the fall of 2018, the department will offer classes in graphic design 1, 2 and 3.

McMillan says that one of the keys to having a strong graphic design program is finding opportunities for students to work with local design companies. To foster those partnerships, McMillan has plans to work with local creatives to develop a Columbus chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

“The goal is to make sure the community knows about us and our students working with the creative community outside of the fine arts,” he said. “We’re doing big things in the South … it’s an opportunity to say we have a creative voice in this part of the country.”

McMillan holds bachelor of fine arts from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., and a master of fine arts in graphic design from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Prior to moving to Columbus, he was a visiting assistant professor of graphic design at the University of Central Oklahoma between 2016-2017.