Best Colleges for Graphic Design

Top Graphic Design SchoolsBy: Susanna Cerasuolo, M.Ed. and Mia Myklebust
Graphic design is a fun major that is more feasible than many people may think. If you have an interest in combining words and visuals in a creative way that sends a message, this could be the major for you.
Many graphic design majors have a passion for drawing, but it’s not a requirement. In the age of computers, more and more graphic design is being done online, so if you are a computer type with imagination, consider design.
The field of graphic design as a whole is also often referred to as Visual Communication or Communication Design. If you choose this as a profession you could create logos and branding, design for publications such as magazines, newspapers, and books, or make advertisements and even product packaging. The median salary for a graphic designer is around $48,000.
If any of this sounds like you, consider one of these awesome colleges to further your interest in graphic design!
Rhode Island School of Design: RISD is the school for you if you’re looking for an unmatched reputation and a variety of different programs to choose from. With 19 majors in architecture, design, fine arts and art education, there is a niche for almost everyone at RISD. Located in vibrant Providence, RI this school is a hub of creativity and innovation.
Carnegie Mellon University- School of Design: This could be a great fit for you if you care about serving a greater good in your career. CMU’s Pittsburgh program focuses on creating high-quality products that help serve the community and individual needs.
Art Center College of Design:
Art Center is focused on a trans-disciplinary curriculum, a SCAD stellar faculty of professionals, and strong ties to industry.  They strive to teach real-world skills to artists and designers in order to prepare them for leadership roles in their future careers. With two campuses, one in San Rafael Hills and the other in downtown Pasadena, students can find the ideal setting.
California College of the Arts: This school has two campuses in California’s bay area, one in Oakland and one in San Francisco. CCA strives to provide students with a comprehensive and dynamic education by encouraging them to take courses at both campuses before selecting a “home campus” later on in their college career.
School of Visual Arts – New York City: SVA is unique because of its pioneering programs, its participation in the cultural life of its awesome hometown of New York City, and the access students have to the professional artists on the faculty. Also, SVA’s non-degree Honors Program is an appealing option for students who seek academic enrichment along with their studio practice.
Pratt Institute: If you want job experience with your education, Pratt graphic design program (AOS) is for you. A creative learning program paired with a rigorous career-focused curriculum, Pratt will you give you all of the experience you need to go confidently into the graphic design field.  Pratt is located in Brooklyn but has campuses in Manhattan and Utica.
Parsons The New School for Design: Students in the graphic design degree program at the New School explore cutting-edge tools and trends of the trade, including web design, while still getting a solid education in more traditional graphic design. Instruction is flexible and inclusive; the school allows the certificate to be completed online, on the NYC campus, or in combination
Maryland Institute College of Art: At MICA the graphic design program is built around a three-year sequence of core design courses. The school mission includes “redefining the boundaries of art and design” which they accomplish through original curriculum, a well- equipped campus, and an excellent faculty. This is one of the top MFA programs in the visual arts.
Graphic Design CollegeSCAD- The University for Creative Careers: Citing itself as the most comprehensive art and design university in the world, Savannah College of Art and Design offers more than 40 majors and more than 50 minors at 5 locations: in Savannah; Atlanta; Hong Kong;  Lacoste, France; and online through SCAD eLearning. SCAD is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with cutting-edge facilities.
California Institute of the Arts: With 904 undergraduate students, Cal Institute of the Arts is a small but active community of artists. Students come from 48 states and 44 countries, and are pretty evenly split with 52% female and 48% male. California Institute of the Arts is one of the top schools for graphic design and it aims to educate artists in a learning environment founded on artmaking excellence, creative experimentation, critical reflection and the diversity of voices.
Yale: Yale offers programs in graphic design, painting and printmaking, sculpture, photography, film and video, as well as the Masters in Fine Arts degree. Students can work in a variety of media, and the school offers an “experience in the liberal arts as part of a visual education.”  Admissions to the Yale School of Art  is highly competitive and requires a high degree of dedication and capability.
Virginia Commonwealth University: Virginia Commonwealth University has an outstanding program in the visual arts. Richmond-based VCU strives “to educate students to be capable of integrating form and information for the purposes of effective visual communication.” The graphic design program is unique in the fact that it encourages the exploration of diverse problem-solving methodologies, innovative investigations, and creative research in all forms of communication.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC): As one of the oldest accredited independent schools of art and design in the country, SAIC offers a comprehensive undergraduate education. In addition to studio courses, all students are required to take courses in liberal arts and art/design history, theory, and criticism. This is the program for you if you’re looking for a well-rounded arts education in a vibrant city.
Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD): MCAD offers two different undergraduate degree programs: a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science degree. The small size of the school makes it easy for students to cross disciplines in their studies. Still not sure if MCAD is the right fit? The school offers a pre-college summer program where students can explore multiple forms of art and experience the environment of the school.
Cranbrook Academy of Arts:
If you are looking for a tight-knit community experience for graduate school, Cranbrook could be a terrific choice. With many artists-in-residence and small classes (just eight students join each discipline every year), Cranbrook’s supportive and challenging community is what sets it apart.
Check out more great Graphic Design Schools here!


One Response

  1. Dear Susanna,
    Thanks for compiling this informative list of top design schools in US. I request your guidance on which are the best design colleges for Post Graduation (PG)in Graphics /Communication Design in US or Europe and what is the duration of their PG courses.Some additional info on their area of specialisation and links to industry will be much helpful.
    Thanks again and regards

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