December 7, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 45°F

Life & Culture

Art department hires full-time professor for new graphic design minor

The art department will see a fusion of art, strategic communication and computer science in the new graphic design minor.

Officially approved during the Spring 2015 semester, Ithaca College will begin offering classes for the minor to students this fall.

Patti Capaldi, a new full-time, tenure-track professor for the program, will set up and oversee the minor. Capaldi’s professional background includes working for Marie Claire magazine, Random House and The New Yorker. For this fall, Capaldi will be teaching the two introductory classes for the minor: Two-Dimensional Design and Principles of Graphic Design. All sections for both classes are full, reflecting the student interest with this field. With her prior experience in graphic design, Capaldi said she hopes to bring a fresh perspective to the art department.

“I think a lot of people will be curious about what happens in that department because I don’t think anybody there currently has a background in graphic design,” she said. “I think it will be interesting for them to see how it develops as well and cross the line between art and design, and that’s really my goal.”

Capaldi said she wants to offer more graphic design classes as the program develops and said she would like to see classes focusing on publication design and special typography. She said she also wants to offer independent studies for serious students in different disciplines of graphic design and to bring attention to social design and issue advocacy.

“There are so many other areas to focus on,” Capaldi said. “I think I’ll be doing some independent studies, so students that are serious and are moving towards their senior year after taking advanced classes that we offer can work with me one-on-one.”

JoAnn Castillo, a sophomore integrated marketing communications major, said she intends to pursue the graphic design minor to strengthen her IMC background.

“[Graphic design] is good to have in your back pocket because it’s really useful for what I’m going to do, whether it be advertising or brand management or whatever it is,” she said. “With this and IMC, I have a lot of things I can do, and I like that.”

Capaldi said her goal is to expand students’ definition of the field to include much more than basic graphic design.
“I think a lot of people think of it as just making posters or menu design,” she said. “Yes it is, but there’s much more to it, and social change is a huge part of that. It’s not just making better business cards. It’s really theory-based and changing people’s perceptions of the world. That’s what art is about. Design is all around us.”

Celisa Calacal can be reached at or via Twitter: @celisa_mia