This graphic design & CIT double major from Agawam, MA, translated his love of drawing into a multifaceted digital skill set.

Crunch Time

When Jude Giordano ’18 came to Elms, the last thing he expected to do was create a video game. His first year on campus he was undeclared, tentatively considering a major in psychology but unsure whether that was his true calling. When he mentioned to his academic advisor that he had a passion for drawing, she suggested exploring graphic design. Fast-forward to three years later, and Jude is time crunching to complete a retro 2D fighter game.

Photo of CIT/Graphic Design double major Jude Giordano '18“A group of my friends and I are making a video game for our final capstone project,” he said. “It’s a lot of work — so much more than I ever thought it would be. You have to make all your own graphics. You have to code every possible response. But it’s fun — I’m learning things that I never thought I would be able to learn or do.”

Now a double major in graphic design and computer information technology (CIT), Jude immediately tapped into the energy and camaraderie within his cohort. Not only is he working on his untitled video game project with just a few close friends, but he also takes advantage of events like Extra Life, a 24-hour gaming marathon that donates its proceeds to Baystate Medical Center.

'A group of my friends and I are making a video game for our final capstone project...It's fun -- I'm learning things that I never thought I would be able to learn or do.'

Dynamic Internship Experience

With an eye to building his professional portfolio, Jude decided to channel his creative energies as an intern for Goose Gosselin, Ed.D., chair of the natural sciences, mathematics, and technology division. Working as a graphic designer during summer 2017, and as a programmer during summer 2018, Jude gained valuable real-world experience working with local businesses and organizations on campus.

“The internship is very interesting. It’s a lot of different skills that you learn during the year that you get to apply in real-world situations,” he said. “It’s great portfolio building, in my mind.”

Operating as freelance artists do, students like Jude can apply their skills with the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and more) to create logos, posters, and marketing materials, or build websites using programming languages and development software (C#, JavaScript, CSS3, HTML5, and Xamarin).

Learning the fundamentals is not only eye-opening, but humbling, Jude said. In his eyes, graphic design teaches you to appreciate how much effort and planning goes into producing even the simplest of visuals.

“We take those things for granted when we see them,” he said, referring to foundational design principles like the use of color or layout. “I’ve always found it very useful to adhere to the rule of thirds: You let a negative space speak for itself, which draws the eye toward what is actually important.”

'Every semester, I come out learning more than I thought I would have. It's definitely been rewarding for me every semester so far.'

On track to graduate in fall 2018, Jude is aiming to find a job in web content management. His dream scenario, however, would be to one day land a job at a major video game developer in California. His advice to students considering graphic design, CIT, or both, is to forget the common misconception that you have to be a “computer person” in order to succeed in either field. There is definitely a learning curve, he said, but if you take things slowly and really dive into the introductory courses, it’s a smooth transition to becoming an artist or programmer.

“Every semester, I come out learning more than I thought I would have. It’s definitely been rewarding for me every semester so far.”

Is Silicon Valley calling your name? Do you dream of a career working with computer technology, whether it involves designing graphics, editing video, or creating websites? The graphic design major at Elms can set you on the right path. Contact us or schedule a campus visit to learn more.