Graphic Design Schools and Programs

Graphic designers shape the way we perceive the world around us. Using state-of-the-art technology, they combine images, colors, and text to create everything from logos and advertisements to our favorite video game characters. The demand for graphic designers is high, and there are plenty of job opportunities for creative individuals who have an eye for color and design.

If you are thinking about getting into a career in graphic design, there are several amazing schools to choose from. Are you ready to commit to putting in the long hours it takes to learn this ever-evolving trade? If so, here are a few of the best graphic design schools and programs in the United States.

Carnegie Mellon University

Located in the heart of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University has an average class size of less than 20 and a student to teacher ratio of 13:1. It offers a design program that allows students to primarily focus on one of three areas of concentration: Communication (Graphic) Design, Product or Industrial Design or Design of Digital and Physical Environments.

Students who enroll at Carnegie Mellon University have the ability to customize their degrees to make their dreams a reality. They offer more flexibility than many other schools, and their small class sizes make it an ideal place to learn from industry professionals in a more intimate environment than is found in many larger universities.

Ohio State University

Founded in 1870 and located in downtown Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State University boasts a student body of more than 44,000. Despite their massive size, however, the average class size ranges between just 20 and 49 students, and the student to teacher ratio is 18:1.

Students who wish to study graphic design at OSU should enroll in their Bachelor of Science in Design program, which focuses on a research-based strategy. Undergraduates are required to participate in design research classes each year. Options include classes like Design Fundamentals, Design History and Visualization Principles. In order to successfully complete the program, students are required to submit a final project that showcases their grasp of design.

Ohio State University is well-known for providing numerous internships and career opportunities to students participating in their BS in Design program. The average cost per credit is reasonable, making the school an excellent choice for anyone who wants to obtain an outstanding education at an affordable price.

California Institute of the Arts

California Institute of the Arts, or CalArts, is a private institution located in Valencia, California. With an enrollment of just 1,000 students, the school boasts a tight-knit community that fosters collaboration. The 7:1 student-teacher ratio ensures that students are able to obtain personal instruction from industry professionals in intimate classroom settings.

The Graphic Design program is based largely on critique and focuses on discussion and debate. Students work in communal studies and are encouraged to work together as they complete a number of core courses and electives. The program strives to instill students with both practical and formal knowledge that will prepare them for careers in the fast-paced world of graphic design. Students may opt to further specialize their degrees by completing interdisciplinary studies or studying a minor.

Cleveland Institute of Art

The Cleveland Institute of Art has an average class size of less than 20 students, and the student to teacher ratio is 9:1. The institution was founded in 1882 and presently has just over 550 students. Individuals who choose to enroll in their graphic design program will learn both traditional graphic design methods, including those for print applications using laser or inkjet technologies, as well as emerging technologies.

Small class sizes encourage communication and collaboration while students participate in courses like Typography and Design for Communication. Graphic Design majors are also required to work together to create a final project that must be presented in order to successfully complete the program.

Indiana University – Bloomington

Indiana University – Bloomington was founded in 1820 and currently enrolls more than 36,000 students. It has a student-teacher ratio of 17:1, and the average class size is 20 to 49 students. Unlike many of the schools on this list, Indiana University – Bloomington offers both Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees in Graphic Design.

Entrance into either of the university’s graphic design programs is extremely competitive. Students are encouraged to work together and learn to become efficient in communication without a medium. Courses you should expect to complete include Art History, Digital Communication and Studio Design.

George Mason University

Located in Fairfax, Virginia, The School of Art at George Mason University combines classroom instruction with real-world experience. The university is currently home to more than 22,000 students and was founded in 1857. It has a student to teacher ratio of 16:1, and the average class has between 20 and 49 students.

Students majoring in graphic design are encouraged to work with other creatives to fully realize the possibilities of a profession in the arts. They should expect to particulate in Design and Color, Printmaking and New Media courses as part of their required education. Graphic design majors work on theoretical projects and with real clients to become accustomed to the demands of the graphic design industry. The university allows students to personalize their education to meet their unique career goals.

Yale University

Students who wish to obtain a degree in graphic design from an Ivy League school should check out Yale University. Located in New Haven, Connecticut, the world-renowned institution was founded in 1864 and presently enrolls more than 5,400 students. The average class has fewer than 20 students, and the student to teacher ratio is 6:1.

Undergraduate students participating in the graphic design program at Yale are encouraged to work under art majors and complete a wide range of art electives. With the permission of the director of undergraduate students, students may participate in graduate level graphic design courses as well. While the cost per credit at Yale is higher than that of many other colleges and universities, it is hard to put a price on the value of an Ivy League education.