Aspiring Graphic Designer? Take a Look at Schools with the Best Programs

5 of 2022’s Best Colleges for Graphic Design!

When we think of graphic design, some examples may include the creation of logos, advertisements, website graphics, and even magazine/newspaper design and setup. According to the American Institute of Graphic Arts, graphic design is defined as “the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content.” Basically, graphic design communicates ideas and messages with us in a visual form. 

Elements that make up graphic design:

  • Color
  • Form
  • Line
  • Shape
  • Size
  • Space
  • Texture

Principles that make up graphic design:

  • Balance
  • Contrast
  • Emphasis
  • Movement
  • Proportion
  • Rhythm

Graphic design consists of a number of different fields, not just one as mentioned previously. There are three main types of graphic design that include:

  • Website design: Creating an engaging webpage that includes color, layout, and navigation scheme. 
  • UX design: UX design, or user experience design, involves making sure a website or application is easy enough for users to navigate through.
  • Motion graphics design: Visual elements are brought to life through animation. This can be done through special effects, TV shows, video games, and movies. 

Graphic Design Jobs

There has been an emergence of graphic design jobs in recent years, and employment of graphic designers in computer systems design services is expected to grow 24% through 2028. This is due largely in part to many businesses' need for digital graphics and imagery. The most common job titles for graphic designers include a standard graphic designer, user experience graphic designer, web designer, art director, and creative director. 

Colleges Best for Graphic Design

Check out the following colleges that have the best programs within graphic design!

California College of the Arts

Currently ranked as the 14th best school in the nation for graphic design, the California College of the Arts, or CCA will provide you with some great opportunities and experience to prepare you for a career someday in one of the graphic design fields. CCA is located in the Bay area, which is known as one of the world’s most innovative technology and design hubs. Students can choose from a variety of places to intern for, which include technology companies, design studios, and cultural institutions. Students will get the chance to constantly get feedback and share ideas with peers, faculty, and experts who visit the school. 

Check out CCA’s graphic design school rankings for the year of 2022. Factors that have helped determine these rankings include academic reputation, admission selectivity, program depth/breadth, and overall value:

Parsons School of Design

The graphic design program at Parsons School of Design is one of the oldest undergraduate programs in the entire country! The program is technically called the Communication Design Program, where you learn the theory and craft needed to combine words, images, and ideas to transmit information visually. You began your studies with typography, then expand your expertise in brand and editorial design, digital products, design type, motion and spatial graphics. Graduates of the Parsons School of Design have been known to commonly take on roles at creative agencies, tech giants, start-ups, and cultural institutions.

Major highlights of the program:

  • Foundations in typography: Investigate the visual shape of language and the way words appear in relation to one another and to their meaning.
  • Interaction Design and Coding: Explore the relationships between people and digital experiences, and learn the coding fundamentals you need to create projects that live online and influence our digital life.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Study and work with students in the liberal arts, social sciences, and technology to explore the relationship between design and broader social, technological, and cultural issues.
  • Real-World Insights: Attend design events and conferences hosted by AIGA NY and the Type Directors Club, and interact with design professionals through our program lecture series.

According to Animation Career Review, the Parsons School of Design is ranked at #4 on the Top 50 Graphic Design Schools and Colleges in the U.S. as of 2022. 

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

The “Visual Communication Design” department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago wants to help students develop critical and analytical skills, personal voice, and voice language. A large faculty of recognized practicing designers, writers, and theorists teach a broad offering of courses in:

  •  Design principles
  •  Issues
  • Theory
  • Methodologies
  • Processes
  • Technology
  • Practice

Students develop their role as designers, authors, critics, and citizens, while expanding their conceptual, critical, and organizational abilities during the process. The school’s extensive technical, advising, and administrative staff further the creation and assessment of each student’s unique piece of work. Students at the school are represented in national design competitions, while the school’s alumni are out and about designing, exhibiting, and teaching at studios and institutions throughout the entire country. 

Some course offerings include:

  • Artists’ book design
  • Book design
  • Environmental graphics
  • Exhibition design 
  • Information design
  • Illustration design 

Every year the department holds a lecture series where leading designers all over the world will get a chance to come and speak with students. Notable names include:

  • Henk Van Assen
  • Andrea Marks
  • Katherine Mccoy
  • Stuart Mckee
  • Sol Sender
  • Lorraine Wild

According to Animation Career Review, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is ranked at #18 on the Top 50 Graphic Design Schools and Colleges in the U.S. as of 2022.

University of Florida

For over 50 years, The graphic design program at the University of Florida has prepared students for a range of practices and careers in graphic design, design & visual communications, interaction design, and more. In addition to particular design companies, the school values shared learning experiences with a community to prepare students for collaborative work in the future. 

The program is situated within a top-tier research university, and both undergraduate and graduate programs emphasize the integration of research, process, and making to inform a range of responses to challenges we see in the world. Design interventions and engagements created within the school are always responsible, sustainable, and innovative. Because of this, the program focuses on addressing the issues and challenges that matter to people.

The program offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees, along with a graphic design certificate. You may be wondering, how is a graphic design certificate different from the other programs? The graphic design certificate at UF offers students a better understanding of how design thinking and graphic design processes, methods, and practices, in order to create effective graphic and communication design. This certificate is not a substitute for major courses, but instead designed to engage students who have a wide range of interests within design culture.

You’ll recognize some of the popular companies where notable alumni have worked over the years: 

  • Apple
  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • Viacom
  • JetBlue
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kate Spade
  • Verizon
  • Gensler

According to Animation Career Review, the University of Florida is ranked at #37 on the Top 50 Graphic Design Schools and Colleges in the U.S. as of 2022.

Temple University

The Tyler School of Art and Architecture’s Graphic and Interactive Design at Temple University encourages their students to become leaders in the field of graphic design. Students will learn to create many memorable experiences, communicate effectively, and solve problems using their voices and minds. Mentored by a passionate, award-winning faculty, Tyler School of Art students experiment and create original, human-centered and research-driven concepts across all areas of visual design, including branding, typography, packaging, illustration, digital media, virtual reality and experiential design. 

Students and faculty have been featured in many national and international design competitions and publications, and many have also won various awards and honors. Graduates over the years have found employment in studios and agencies around the country as well as abroad in areas that include:

  • Design studios
  • User-experience (UX) and user-interface (UI) design firms
  • Publishing companies
  • Streaming platforms and network television
  • Music industry and digital services
  • Motion and experiential design studios
  • Packaging design
  • Fortune 500 technology companies 
  • Advertising agencies
  • Illustration entrepreneurs and start-up design businesses

Here are some of the various resources students will have access to according the school’s website:

  • Access to Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • Support will be there to help you with emerging technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, blended reality, and video game design.
  • Access to the Tyler digital fabrication and additional printing facilities.
  • Access to all of Temple University’s resources, which is one of

According to Animation Career Review, Temple University is ranked at #18 on the Top 50 Graphic Design Schools and Colleges in the U.S. as of 2022.

Where Will You End Up?

Which one of these colleges might you consider touring? Good luck!

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