Best Graphic Design Schools In The US

Graphic Design Schools In The US

The best graphic design schools will provide you with the best visual design training. Graphic design is a career that has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. It’s an exciting field that combines creativity and technology, allowing you to work with some amazing people while being challenged every day. 

Graphic design is also a field with plenty of opportunities for advancement and growth within many industries. If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a graphic designer, now is a perfect time to do so. In this article, we’ll look at what graphic design entails and what it takes to get started on your path toward becoming one of these talented individuals. This post will discuss the best graphic design schools in the US. 

Graphic design is a communication process that uses words and images to create a compelling message. Graphic designers plan, conceptualize and execute the visual elements of communications to transmit information.

Graphic design is the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual elements. It includes identity development, branding, packaging, publications (print & digital), advertisements, websites, and multimedia presentations. The core skills required for graphic design include:

  • Creativity: coming up with original ideas that are visually appealing
  • Conceptualization: developing ideas into actionable goals
  • Communication: translating these goals into a language that others can understand

Graphic design is a field of visual communication and problem-solving where the designer uses typography, photography, and illustration to create and combine words, symbols, or images to create a visual representation of ideas or messages. The goal of this process is to communicate meaning through the organization using information design: in other words, how it looks on paper or screen as opposed to its content alone. 

Best Graphic Design Schools Ranked

A graphic design school provides education in visual communication and problem-solving. Students learn about typography, photography, and illustration to create and combine words, symbols, and images to represent ideas and messages visually.

There are several best graphic design schools in the U.S. where you can study the best graphic design. Some of them include: 

  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Yale University
  • Art Center College of Design
  • California College of the Arts
  • Maryland Institute College of Art
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • University of the Arts
  • Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
  • Otis College of Art and Design
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design
  • Savannah College of Art & Design

1. Rhode Island School of Design

The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has been a leader in art, design, and architecture since its inception in 1877. The school is located in Providence, RI, and currently enrolls more than 2,000 undergraduate students.

RISD offers Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Master of Fine Arts (MFA), and Master of Science (MS) degrees in Graphic Design and Illustration as well as a graduate-level Certificate Program that focuses on digital media production. The Rhodes Island design school emphasizes the experimentation with new materials and technologies while encouraging critical thinking through research-based projects. 

Students are encouraged to explore material culture through historical analysis or to use current societal issues as inspiration for their work rather than relying solely on personal experiences for inspiration.

Students interested in this program should note that 80% receive financial assistance from RISD when applying to cover tuition costs. However, the average price per semester can vary depending upon how long you plan on being enrolled, so you must check out their website before making any decisions about attending this university.

  • Acceptance Rate: 20%
  • Degree Offered: BFA in Graphic Design

2. Yale University

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. It is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Established in 1701 as the “Collegiate School,” the university is governed by Yale Corporation’s 16 presidents (including a Yale President Emeritus), each serving as chairperson of one of its 12 residential colleges, which are separate and distinct entities that oversee their self-governing affairs but share facilities such as libraries and dining halls.

Yale offers undergraduate instruction in more than 50 major fields across various disciplines, from graphic design to economics to English literature to computer science. All have been ranked among the best programs at universities across America for over two decades straight. Yale University is ranked second in graphic design.  

  • Acceptance Rate: 6.3% (whole university)
  • Degree Offered: B.A. in Art specializing in graphic design

3. Art Center College of Design

Art Center College of Design is a private college in Pasadena, California, which offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. The school was established in 1930 by philanthropist Alfred Taubman and artist Rufus C. Burleson; the school was originally named Art Center School. It later changed its name to Art Center College of Design after being purchased by Lillian Disney in 1965, whose husband Walt had founded it with Burleson before his death. 

The school offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs on its campus and online courses for those who wish to pursue a career in design without having to relocate from home or work full-time elsewhere during their studies. Students at all levels typically have no prior experience in graphic design when applying for admission.

Still, they may take advantage of internships offered through the school’s Career Services department once they have been accepted into one of the programs provided by the school. An important factor worth considering is how competitive applications can be due to low acceptance rates (28%).

  • Acceptance Rate: 60%
  • Degree Offered: BFA in Graphic Design

4. California College of the Arts

California College of the Arts (CCA) is a private San Francisco. It was founded in 1907 as the California School of Arts and Crafts, becoming one of the first schools to offer degrees in fine art and several others. The school changed its name again in 1965 to become San Francisco Art Institute before finally settling on its current title, California College of the Arts.

The college offers undergraduate degree programs, graduate degrees, and certificate programs across seven departments: graphic design, architecture, art & design, digital media, music & sound, theatre & dance, writing, and visual arts. It is one of the best graphic design schools and ranked fourth in graphic design. 

  • Acceptance Rate: 25%
  • Degree Offered: BFA in Graphic Design

5. Maryland Institute College of Art

The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is an art school in Baltimore, Maryland. It was founded in 1826 as a private academy and became a public college in 1968. The school has a diverse student body, with just under 2,000 undergraduates and about 1,500 graduate students.

The school offers one of the best graphic design training and sound education in other related courses and unrelated courses. MICA’s reputation extends far beyond its campus; its alums are found worldwide in various industries. 

MICA also has strong ties with the business world through its strong relationship with Under Armour founder Kevin Plank a third-generation alum who graduated from MICA back when it was still called Maryland Institute College of Art & Design, as well as numerous other prominent alums, such as Ken Friedman of Whitehall Resources Group in New York City, Erika Kinetz from ESPN, Joanie Maggio from Time Inc, Roberto de Anda from Google, and Kristin Cashore from Facebook. 

  • Acceptance Rate: 64%
  • Degree Offered: BFA in Graphic Design

6. Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University, or VCU, is a public research university in Richmond, Virginia. It was established in 1838 in Hampden-Sydney College and later became an independent institution within Virginia’s public higher education system.

Today it serves more than 31,000 students through nine colleges: Arts & Sciences; Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities & Social Sciences, Justice Studies, Business & Economics, and the School of Medicine.

VCU has nine colleges and schools offering more than 180 undergraduate degrees and dozens of graduate programs across arts and sciences, business and economics, engineering, social work, and health sciences. With graphic design offered at the highest levels in this school, the school is one of the best design schools to attend. 

  • Acceptance Rate: 82%
  • Degree Offered: BFA in Graphic Design

7. University of the Arts

The University of the Arts, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program for aspiring graphic designers. The school also offers a Bachelor of Arts degree focusing on graphic design as one area of study, among many others. Students can explore various design aspects, including illustration and photography while earning their degrees.

Students interested in attending this school must complete an application and submit it with official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other documents requested by the admissions office. Applicants should also be prepared to take an entrance examination such as the SAT or ACT before being considered for admission into classes at this institution.

  • Acceptance Rate: 73%
  • Degree Offered: BFA in Graphic Design

8. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is a private, non-profit college in New York City. It has been recognized as one of the premier art colleges in the country since its establishment in 1859 and continues to be one today. The school is well known for its arts programs, especially graphic design, architecture, and fine arts.

The college also has a high graduation rate compared to other colleges in the United States. The small class sizes at Cooper Union make it easier for students to get individualized attention from their professors without worrying about overcrowding. This allows students to gain more knowledge out of each class they attend while still being able to interact with their peers who may have different viewpoints than them on specific topics.

  • Acceptance rate: 17.5%
  • Degree Offered: Bachelor of design with a focus on graphic design

9. Otis College of Art and Design

Otis College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian, coeducational college of art and design in the Westchester, Los Angeles, California neighborhood. It was founded in 1918 by visionary philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps. The school offers BFA degrees in Fine Arts (BFA) and BFA degrees in Fashion/Textile (BFA).

The student body consists primarily of post-baccalaureate candidates; it also has a small number of undergraduate students who have completed their first two years at Otis. The school enrolls approximately 1,280 students per academic year.

Otis College of Art is one of the best design schools in the U.S. and maintains two campuses: one in the Westchester district on Wilshire Boulevard near Beverly Hills; the other on Vermont Avenue near downtown Los Angeles. 

  • Acceptance Rate: 78%
  • Degree Offered: BFA in Communication Design, graphic design focus

10. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University is a private research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1900 by Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Scott, among the wealthiest Americans. CMU has become one of North America’s top universities, ranked by USNWR and Times Higher Education.

CMU is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and houses seven schools: Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Mellon College of Science, College of Engineering, Tepper School of Business, Heinz College-School for Architecture, School for Computing, and the Information Systems. Carnegie Mellon offers some of the best graphic design courses and programs in the U.S. 

  • Acceptance Rate: 17%
  • Degree Offered: Bachelor of Design (BDes)

11. Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) is a private, nonprofit institution founded in 1873. The college offers undergraduate and graduates degrees in fine arts and design, architecture, art education, and art history.

MassArt has a student body of 2,500 students from 41 states and 40 countries. MassArt’s main campus is 621 Huntington Avenue in Boston’s Fenway Cultural District. The college also has campuses in Salem, Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Washington. This school is one of the best graphic design schools in the U.S.

  • Acceptance Rate: 70.3%
  • Degree Offered: Bachelor of Design (Bees) and Master of Design  (MDes)

12. Savannah College of Art & Design

Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited university in Savannah, Georgia. SCAD was founded in 1978 by Paula S. Wallace. The college has more than 11,000 students from all 50 states and one hundred countries worldwide.

SCAD’s campus consists of four adjacent buildings: the Main Building (home to classrooms on its first two floors), the Center for Academic Resources (CAR), Lamar Dodd School of Art building (home to studios and galleries used for exhibitions), and the Sandifer Center for Ceramics Research & Education building.

The college offers undergraduate degrees in more than 30 disciplines through its five academic divisions: Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Film/Video, Interactive Digital Media, New Media Arts, Architecture, Interior Design & Merchandising, Music Industry Studies Program (MISP), and Photography Program.

Courses also Offered in this school Include Animation, Visual Effects, Game Development, Graphic Design & Industrial Design, Three-Dimensional Media Motion Picture Production, Music For Film & Television, Music Technology, and Performing Arts Theatre. 

  • Acceptance Rate: 96%
  • Degrees Offered: B.A. in Visual Communication, BFA in Graphic Design

Graphic design is a great field to get into, but it’s not for everyone. If you want to be one of the best graphic designers, then these schools will help you achieve that goal. They offer an excellent education in this area that will give you the skills needed to succeed in any industry or career path as long as your passion remains strong.

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