Graphic Design at AIC

AIC College of Design prepares students for a successful careers in print, packaging and interactive media by focusing on the design foundations.  AIC’s philosophy is to teach the fundamentals first. At AIC College of Design, our focus is on “real life” assignments that empower students with a strong foundation of design as well as the latest technologies. From the start, AIC’s program is designed to give you the skills and experience you need to achieve your goals. The focused program at AIC is designed to prepare our students for life after graduation. Real-world projects start from the first day of classes and continue on to right up to graduation through externships.

AIC Catalog



What Is A Graphic Designer?

A designer will develop strategic solutions to a variety of industry needs that balance technical, commercial, environmental, human and aesthetic requirements. Designers bring human and cultural values to business problems, values that sell products and services, educate, entertain and create demand and inspire customer confidence and loyalty. More…



Career Opportunities Include:

  • Graphic Designer
  • Art Director
  • Package Designer
  • Digital Publisher
  • Creative Director
  • Web Designer
  • Freelance Designer
  • Client Services
  • Brand Strategist
  • User Experience Designer


  • Digital Designer
  • Entrepreneur
  • Corporate Designer
  • Exhibit Designer
  • Brand Designer


Our Alumni

AIC Alumni work around the town and around the world.


The Associate Degree of Applied Science in Graphic Design focuses on the wide range of design fundamentals a Junior Designer is expected to have mastered before entering the profession. These include strong drawing skills, photography, basic typography, page layout, packaging, and digitally design.

The Bachelor Degree in Graphic Design builds on the knowledge and skills learned in the Associates Degree, and adds to it a deeper exploration of they why and history of design. By the time you graduate with a Bachelor’s from AIC, you will have explored Information Design and ran usability testing studies, designed books and websites, worked with real clients, and culminated your studies with a Senior Practicum and intensive Senior Thesis spanning two semesters.

first year

  • DD101 Digital Design I
  • DR101 Drawing I
  • DD120 Digital Design II
  • DE101 Graphic Design Foundations
  • DF101 Design Foundations I
  • TP101 Typography I
  • TP102 Typography II
  • ID101 Interactive Design I
  • MKT101 Marketing
  • MKT201 Branding

second year

  • DE201 Design I
  • DE202 Design II
  • DE203 Design III
  • ID201 Interactive Design II
  • ID301 Interactive Design II
  • DM201 Design Methodology I
  • DM202 Design Methodology III

third year

  • DE301 Design IV
  • DE302 Design IV
  • DE402 Holistic Design
  • DE470 Design Professional
  • DM203 Design Methodology III
  • DM301 Design Methodology IV
  • DM495 Advanced Archetype
  • SP409 Senior Practicum
  • DL201 Digital Lab

Our Administration

AIC is independently owned and operated by professional designers. We offer only one degree, Graphic Design. The curriculum is practical and designed by professional graphic designers known locally, nationally, and internationally. At AIC you can expect a small and caring atmosphere where students receive individual attention. AIC instructors, are continually participating in new and exciting design projects and provide valuable industry connections. They are here to share their expertise with you, during your years of study and throughout your career.

Marion K. Allman

CEO & Co-founder

Marion studied at the Layton Art School in Milwaukee, the University of Cincinnati and is a graduate of Gable Art School. She was active in the Cincinnati Art Directors’ Club as Scholarship Chairperson and in 1999 received their “Lifetime Achievement Award.” Marion is a Charter member of ICDS (International Council of Design Schools) and served as President of that organization. She is listed in Who’s Who of American Women and was recipient of the coveted “Athena Award” presented by Cincy Magazine in 2006 for her role in helping women achieve their goals.

Sean M. Mendell


Sean holds a Master of Science in Executive Leadership and Organizational Change from Northern Kentucky University. He has a background in marketing and advertising in the aviation industry. Sean is also the founder and owner of The Children’s Art Academy in Ft. Thomas, Ky.

Our Faculty

Instructors who know you

Cyndi A. Mendell

VP Admissions / Instructor & Co-founder

The Mendell family lineage goes back to great uncle and Master Artist, Frank Duveneck. Co-founder of AIC, Ms. Mendell is also a graduate of Gable Art School. As Director of Admissions, her vitality, energy and positive nature inspire students in planning their future. Ms. Mendell was also an active member in Art Directors’ Club of Cincinnati as well as many other civic organizations in Northern Kentucky, among them the YWCA and the Foreign Exchange. She is listed in Who’s Who Among American Teachers.

Dennis Gates

Director of Placement/Instructor

Dennis graduated from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Graphic Design, and has served as President of the Art Directors’ Club of Cincinnati. His years as Account Executive and Brand Consultant for major American and international clients provide a great source for networking. He is President and Creative Director of the G8s Design Alliance, a graphic design and integrated marketing collaborative specializing in brand identity and packaging design.

Randall Zimmerman

Graphic Design Instructor

With over 40 years experience in the graphic design field, Randy’s diverse background in agency and studio work as a lead designer and Sr. Art Director has enabled him to work with several major Fortune 500 corporations such as Procter & Gamble, Macy’s, Honda, Kroger, as well as Cincinnati’s rock#1 FM  station WEBN Radio, Dr. Scholl’s, Echo Global and Verst Logistics and many more. Along with expertise in print media, he also has experience in the multimedia and packaging design fields. His several AAF (American Advertising Federation) ADDY Awards and Printing Industry of America (PIA) Awards in design are partnered well with his expertise in the technical side of graphic design software and computers.

Dave Solko


Dave has been a freelance designer and websites developer for more than 25 years. He has a Bachelor in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Design from DAAP.

Jim Effler

Illustration Instructor

Jim is a professional illustrator living in Cincinnati, Ohio. Originally known for airbrush illustration, he eventually replaced this challenging tool with digital methods. He also started working more in oils, a medium he used occasionally since attending the Art Academy of Cincinnati. Now he combines digital with painting and traditional methods. He is well known for his beer posters and labels, and was commissioned to paint the “Beer Barons” mural at the new Moerlein Lager House on Cincinnati’s riverfront. Jim also enjoys painting portraits and landscapes. His style is realistic with a touch of impressionism. Some of his favorite artists are N.C. Wyeth, Frank Duveneck, and Edward Hopper.

Jim is a member of the Cincinnati Art Club and was on its board from 2006 to 2009. He was the chair for the Cincinnati Art Club’s ViewPoint exhibit, a national, juried competition. He is also a member of the Portrait Society of America. Jim has won many awards for his artwork. He has taught illustration at the College of Mount St. Joseph, the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Miami University, and AIC College of Design.

In 2014, Jim was commissioned to paint a portrait of Robert Porco, to commemorate his 25th year of being the Director of the Cincinnati May Festival Chorus. Since 2015 he has designed 3 murals for ArtWorks.

Jane Browe

Marketing Instructor

Marketing and communications strategist. Writer; content developer.
Thirty-plus years in consumer package goods, including brand management, marketing and sales. Experience spans major corporations such as Procter & Gamble, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Hillenbrand Industries, as well as privately held firms, such as Castellini Company and entrepreneurial start-ups.
Effective business strategist, with exceptional capabilities in marketing and organizational communications. Superior writing capability for content development across multiple communication channels.


Matthew Baughan


With more than 20 years in agencies, Matthew brings his experience as a Creative Director into the classroom. He is experienced in the doing, inspiring, and sharing of attention-getting, problem-solving, business-building visual design.

Matthew’s areas of design expertise include visual identity, packaging, print, UX, and copy.

Chris Rowland


Chris is a passionate advocate for brands, clients, strategy and design — and has over fifteen years of experience in the art and science of brand management. Chris has a cross-disciplinary approach to strategic branding, able to come at a problem from all perspectives. His ability to think in 360 degrees has helped him champion countless brands, including Procter & Gamble, Intuit, WL Gore, Novartis, Bush Beans, Jack Links, Ferguson and more.

Michel Keidel


General Education Faculty

Marlene Shmalo

Speech, Motivation & Etiquette

Marlene has a Bachelor of Science Degree in education and an MA in Theatre from the University of Cincinnati. She presently is Director of Performing Arts at the Jewish Community Center of Cincinnati

Donna Wakefield


Donna is a Reference and Instruction Librarian, responsible for implementing an information literacy program and managing the libraries’ instructional services.  She holds a M.A. in Education and a School Library Certification from the University of Kentucky. She is a member of ALA (American Library Association) and SWON Libraries.

Evening Classes

AIC offers an convenient evening class for working adults. We know that yo have a busy schedule and AIC accelerated evening classes can help you earn your bachelor degree. The part-time evening classes meet twice a week for 15 weeks. Contact admissions to see whats right for you.

Summer Programs

Get a head start on your career and start building your portfolio. AIC hosts Summer Programs for High School students that are interested in Graphic Design, Illustration, Interactive Design and Photography.

Teacher CEU Credits

Teachers are eligible to receive Continuing Education Credits at AIC. If you are interested in find out about our teacher training contact us at 513.751.1206.