Colleges For Graphic Design
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Colleges For Graphic Design
Graphic design is a field of study that takes artistically-gifted, creative students and helps to mold them into highly-marketable candidates for employment in a number of careers including: public relations, advertising, publishing, or working for a large design firm or as a self-employed contractor. The best programs in graphic design give students a solid academic foundation in art history, design, drawing, typography, animation, and photography. Practical skills are honed through studio courses, co-ops, internships, and senior projects. Our top graphic design programs list includes colleges that are exclusively dedicated to the arts/design such as Academy of Art University and Savannah College of Art and Design as well as many traditional universities that house design programs on campus.
Graphic designers are involved in nearly everything we look at, watch, or read, from the designs on books, to the way websites navigate, to halftime commercials, to logos on business cards. Graphic designers are the visual wizards who make sure every concert poster and app user interface has an impact and communicates a desired message.
If this sounds appealing to you, you might wonder how you can become a graphic designer. Well, you go to school! In this article, I'll discuss what a graphic design program is, how I created this list, the best graphic design schools, and how to choose the right program for you.
Graphic design, or communication design, is the use of image, text, and media to convey information or ideas. Graphic designers are strategic communicators who design advertisements, book jackets, posters, websites, app interfaces, publishing layouts, album art, logos, and so on and so forth. If you're creative and innovative, particularly if you're also interested in technology, graphic design may be a good option for you.
To become a professional graphic designer, you'll need a strong portfolio of work to show potential employers, which you could theoretically do on your own or by getting an associate degree. But if you want a fully fleshed-out college experience, a guaranteed strong portfolio, and ready-made industry connections, consider getting a BA or BFA in graphic design or communications design (the name and specific degree type depends on the school).
First, I gathered as many lists of the best graphic design schools as I could possibly find. I eliminated ones that seemed to come from less reliable or less reputable sources (like personal blogs) or that were already aggregated lists from other sources (since they would be redundant).
Here are the 20 top graphic design programs. Included with each entry is the school's location, information about the school, its acceptance rate, and the degrees offered. All acceptance rates are for fall 2020 unless otherwise noted.
I've linked to our admissions requirements pages for all of these schools, but these pages are mostly focused on GPA and test scores. Keep in mind that when applying to a graphic design program, a strong portfolio of your past creative work will likely be more important than grades or GPA.
RISD is essentially the Harvard of art schools in terms of name recognition and famous alumni (including, but not limited to, the founders of Airbnb, animator/comedian Seth MacFarlane, film director Gus Van Sant, and fashion designers Nicole Miller and Jill Stuart). Alumni have also received a number of MacArthur "genius" grants. If you attend RISD, you can expect well-funded programs and faculty in the very top of their disciplines.
It's unsurprising, then, that RISD was consistently at the top of school rankings for graphic design. It's one of the most competitive schools on this list and has a strongly established, well-known graphic design program.
Parsons is another school with a lot of name recognition and top-notch faculty, and they consistently appear at the top of best-program rankings. The school was named the best design school in