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Foundations unites first-year KCAD students in a shared experience that strengthens their core creative skills and fosters community on campus.


The KCAD Foundations Program propels all first-year students toward a deeper understanding of how their individual creativity relates to the world-at-large, helping connect their passion for making to career opportunities from the moment they arrive on campus. Within this shared learning experience, students freely blend traditional, current, and experimental approaches to art and design, giving them agency to build skills and knowledge that are personally and professionally meaningful

At the same time, they interrogate accepted standards and link history to contemporary practice, exploring how creativity has continually shaped the human experience and imagining what possibilities lie ahead. Students emerge from the program with an enlarged field of vision, a thirst for critical thinking, and a versatile set of tools and experiences to design their future with agility.

Foundations Courses


Learn to see color as communication through the following courses:

Color: Appy introduces students to both analog and digital color theory and application. Course work will concentrate on the interactions of color and its resulting perceptual effect on form and value. The application of color combinations in relation to a variety of different color schemes and applied color will be used throughout the semester.


Learn to create with intent through the following courses:

Design: Text introduces students to images, text, color, layout and hierarchy of information to develop visual communication techniques. Fundamentals of typeface, letterforms, and spacing are introduced and practiced. Design work is documented through journaling and photography with an introduction to manually adjustable digital (DSLR) camera use and lighting.

Design: Image introduces the concept of design, problem statements, problem-solving, and multiple iterations of design solutions using a variety of hand and digital tools. Design work is documented through journaling and photography with an introduction to manually adjustable digital (DSLR) camera use and lighting.


Learn hands-on creative skils through the following courses:

Making: Objects leads students to explore elements, principles, and aesthetic concepts integral to three-dimensional design and object making. Relationships between concept, process, materials, tools, and technical skills will be addressed in this studio-based inquiry.

Making: Products is an introduction to materials, tools, and techniques used to fabricate physical representations of product concepts often seen in the industrial, furniture, product, and lifestyle design profession. Students will create models to scale and practice fabrication and finishing techniques.


Learn to oberve carefully and render accurately through the following courses:

Drawing: Learn is an introduction to sketching, drawing as observation, and conceptualization through eye-hand coordination. Methods include freehand drawing using fundamental perspective principles and quick-sketch techniques. An emphasis will be placed on linear construction with concern for accurate proportion in addition to accurate use of value, light, and shadow. This course will employ the use of live models (clothed and/or nude) to study scale, proportion, and composition.

Drawing: Practice focuses on the further refinement of the concepts, processes, and techniques introduced in Drawing: Learn. An emphasis will be placed on spatial studies of objects and the figure (clothed and/or nude). The course includes the exploration of freehand perspective, color investigation, sequential study, and idea development.