Graphic designers are vital to today’s digital world. They create beautiful designs and images that are seen on product packing, billboards, social media posts, Internet advertisements, print advertisements, and more. Many enter the workforce with a bachelor of graphic design.
Without these graphic designers, most media you see would be boring. Their expertise and knowledge allow them to create stunning designs that attract the attention of an audience.
Getting a higher education to become a graphic designer is a great idea. You’ll learn how to create engaging pieces of art step-by-step and grow your skills. In school, you’ll begin building your portfolio, looking for internships, and making connections that can help advance your career.
If you are keen to be a graphic designer, then read on to learn more about earning your Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design, where you can find the best programs and what careers you can land upon graduation.
What Is a Bachelor of Graphic Design?
A Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design program helps students learn the ins and outs of graphic design. You will learn how to use computer software to create engaging visuals and animations using different colors and designs. While in school, you will determine what graphic design field you want to pursue as a career.
While some schools may not require it, others may have students complete an internship. Even if your school does not require it, it is a good idea to do an internship to gain experience in a professional setting, build your portfolio, and network with professionals in the graphic design industry.
What Can I Expect to Learn in School?
In school, you will learn a variety of skills to help you become a successful graphic designer. Some of these skills will include:
- Adobe Creative Suite Apps. This includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc.
- Knowing the Design Principles
- Color Theory
Essential Graphic Designer Skills
Along with learning skills in school, there are a few skills that graphic designers should have before going into school. These include:
- Time management
- Understanding the latest trends
- While you will learn this in school, it is a good idea to know the basic foundations of Adobe Creative Suites so you are not lost when starting your classes
- Be creative and innovative
Best Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design Schools
In school, you will take your general education classes as well as your major-related classes. Pick a school based on its program and which one may fit your future career goals.
Most schools and universities offer a graphic design degree either in a traditional classroom or online. Let’s take a look at some of the best regionally accredited colleges and universities that offer a great Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design.
Full Sail University is a private university based in Winter Park, Florida. This university offers a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design in many areas. Depending on what you are interested in, you have the option to choose from the following concentrations:
- Computer Animation
- Game Art
- Graphic Design
- Digital Arts & Design
Each of these degrees revolves around arts and design. You will take classes to help you prepare for the real world and what your job may entail. Those courses will include:
- Typography and Page Layout
- Creating Brand Experiences
- Graphic Web Design
- Character Animation
- Color Theory
Pratt Institute is a private institute in Brooklyn, New York. While you may not see Pam Beesly from The Office there, you’ll earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications Design from an accredited university. While this degree is called communications design, it has an emphasis on graphic design. While studying, you will take studio classes based on graphic design and also complete the following courses:
- Light Color Design Lab
- Motion graphics
- Dynamic Imagery
- Digital Prototyping
Pratt Institute also gives students a chance to specialize in certain fields. They can specialize in graphic design, UX design, data visualization, and more.
Rhode Island School of Design is a public university located in Providence, Rhode Island. Its program is set up for students to gain real-world design experience through different classes and teachings. They will learn what effective visual communication is and how to utilize it.
Some of the classes you will take include:
- Color + Surface
- Spatial Dynamics
- Theory and History of Art and Design
- Design Studios: 1,2,3,4
Mercyhurst University is a private university based in Erie, Pennsylvania. It offers a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, which was ranked number four in the country. Its program is designed to give graphic design students a chance to work with real companies in the Erie area to give them real-world experience and build their portfolio.
There are many opportunities to get involved in the field through this program. Mercyhurst also offers a student club called AdPro, which is the student chapter of a professional club called the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Joining this club, you can enter professional competitions and network with professionals who are in the field.
Some of the courses that you will be taking are:
- Basic Computer Design
- Digital Video Editing
- Computer Illustration Techniques
- Intro to Website Design
- Portfolio Development
ArtCenter College of Design is a small, private college based in Pasadena, California. As part of its application process, you must submit a portfolio that includes examples of typography, brochures, posters, etc. This program focuses on mixing all aspects of design to create a well-rounded student.
Students have the opportunity to work with 3-D printers, print advertising, interactive design, such as apps and other motion graphics, and letterpresses. This allows students to broaden their portfolio and skills.
Some of the courses you will be taking are:
- Narrative imaging
- Visual Interaction Design
- Narrative sketching
- Package Design
- Motion Design
The University of Florida is a public university based in Gainesville, Florida. Its Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design program focuses on concept development. Students learn systems of thought, design genres, different principles and practices, and much more. They also learn different communication methods, critical thinking concepts, and about visual organization, computer program design tools and when to use them, and the construction of images.
Some of the courses you will take are:
- Visual Methods and Processes
- Perceptual Drawing
- Visual Literacy
- Graphic Design: Visual Systems in Design
- Visualization and Creativity
What Can You Do With a Degree in Graphic Design?
The graphic design industry is a competitive field. Most employers look for prospects with a bachelor’s degree. Throughout college, you must build your portfolio, possibly complete an internship, and learn the necessary skills for you to pursue your career.
Once you’re ready to enter the job market, the jobs listed below are some of the best available to graduates of a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design program.
- Median Pay: $52,110 per year
- Entry-level Education: Bachelor’s Degree
- Number of Jobs in 2019: 281,500
- Job Growth: Decline of -4%
- Highest Paying States: Washington DC, Washington, Massachusetts, New York
- Highest Employment Level: California, New York, Texas
Graphic designers create logos, visualizations, packaging, advertisements, and more using computer software. Graphic designers are able to freelance, work for a marketing agency, graphic design company, or a corporation that needs graphic designers for products, newsletters, advertisements, banners, etc.
- Median Pay: $94,220 per year
- Entry-level Education: Bachelor’s Degree
- Number of Jobs in 2019: 99,100
- Job Growth: Decline of -2%
- Highest Paying States: California, New York, Oregon, Minnesota
- Highest Employment Level: California, New York, Texas, Illinois
Art directors oversee and create the overall visual design for other developers to follow. They are responsible for developing visuals for advertisements, magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and visuals that are used in television and video games. To become an art director, you must have five years of experience in graphic design or any art occupation and a strong portfolio.
- Median Pay: $73,730 per year
- Entry-level Education: Associates Degree
- Number of Jobs in 2019: 174,300
- Job Growth: 8%
- Highest Paying States: California, Washington, Georgia, Virginia
- Highest Employment Level: California, New York, Texas, Washington
Web developers are responsible for creating and designing websites. They also test servers and connection speeds for websites, and troubleshoot technical issues with a website. They are able to create websites for their own clients if they freelance, work for a marketing agency, or work for a corporation that needs constant updating of their website. Along with web development, you are also able to become a user interface (UI) designer or a user experience (UX) designer.
Is a Bachelor of Graphic Design in Your Future?
If you are interested in graphic design and want to learn more, earning your bachelor’s degree is the best decision you can make. The work opportunities after you receive your degree are endless and you are able to get a job anywhere you please. With the world becoming digitized more and more each year, the need for beautiful visuals is increasing.
The road ahead of you is yours to figure out. Reading this article again will ensure you have a great overview of bachelor’s degree programs in graphic design, specifically the best graphic design schools in the United States. Are you ready to start learning and start your graphic design career?
Bachelor of Graphic Design FAQ
What is the difference between a graphic designer and a UX designer?
As a graphic designer, you work with your own framework and creativity to create wonderful pieces of art. As a UX designer, you must work within a certain framework and think like a user to create user-engaging web designs. Here is an article explaining more about what the differences are.
Is getting a bachelor’s in graphic design a good idea?
It is a good idea to get a bachelor’s in graphic design because many employers require a degree to work for them.
Can I freelance as a graphic designer?
Yes, you absolutely can. As a graphic designer, you have the opportunity to freelance and work on your own. With a bachelor’s degree, your clients will feel confident that you have the knowledge and experience needed to trust you with their projects.
Should I do an internship while in school?
It is always a great idea to complete an internship while you are in school. This allows you to gain real-world experience, build your portfolio, and network with professionals in your industry.