5 best places to study graphic design in the US

Deciding whether or not to pursue a college degree is a big decision, and one that graphic design hopefuls must carefully consider. After all, a degree isn’t required to become a successful designer—plenty of professionals have taught themselves or gone the associate route. However, there are several benefits that come with getting a BA or BFA in graphic design or communications design. For one, you’ll graduate with a strong portfolio of work that will impress potential employers. You’ll also get the chance to network with other designers and build relationships with professors who can act as mentors down the line. And finally, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the latest trends and technologies in the field, giving you a leg up on the competition. So if you’re serious about becoming a professional graphic designer, a college degree may be the best way to go.

Before delving into the 5 best places to study graphics design in the U.S., let’s cover what graphic design is and also go over whether or not someone should pursue a college degree to become a graphic artist, or graphic designer.
First, graphic design, or communication design, is the use of image, text, and media to convey information or ideas. Graphic designers are strategic communicators who design advertisements, book jackets, posters, websites, app interfaces, publishing layouts, album art, logos, and so on. If you’re creative and innovative, particularly if you’re also interested in technology, graphic design may be a good option for you. In order to be a successful graphic designer, it is important to have strong communication skills and be able to work collaboratively with clients and team members. Additionally, because the field is constantly evolving, it is important to be proactive in keeping up with new trends and technologies. But if you’re up for the challenge and have a passion for visual communication, then a career in graphic design may be right for you.

Before listing the top 5 schools and colleges for graphic designers, or graphic artists, let’s go over how this list was compiled. To rank the schools, we developed a rubric with eight factors: program reputation, accreditation, freshman retention rate, job placement rate, student satisfaction, alumni satisfaction, affordability, and average debt upon graduation. We weighted each factor according to importance and applied them to each school on my list. These rankings should be taken as a starting point for your research into graphic design programs. Every student’s situation is different, and what might be the best fit for one person might not be the best fit for another. That’s why it’s important to look at a variety of factors when making your decision. In order to compile the list, all of the rankings were preliminarily averaged. Schools were then ranked based on average score, how many lists they appeared in (so a school that appeared in spots 5 and 6 on two lists but appeared on no others didn’t necessarily beat a school that appeared in spots 7, 8, 7, and 8 on four lists). Freshman retention rates were used to break ties in close calls. This methodology ensured that the final list was as accurate and comprehensive as possible. Schools that made the final cut can be proud to know that they are among the best in the country. Our hope is that this ranking will help you narrow down your choices and make the decision-making process a little bit easier.

Here is our list of the 5 best places to study graphic design in the U.S.A from number 5 to the top ranking school:

5. Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) - Baltimore, Maryland

MICA has a modern, urban campus in Baltimore and offers a craft-focused BFA in Graphic Design that aims to develop both your creativity and your skill with technology. MICA also offers liberal arts minors like Gender Studies and Critical Theory. The Gender Studies minor introduces students to feminist, queer, and anti-racist theories and practices through coursework in literature, art history, studio art, film, new media, and writing. The Critical Theory minor explores the ways that power operates in society through the study of ideas like capitalism, postcolonialism, and patriarchy. By offering these minors, MICA provides students with the opportunity to engage with some of the most pressing issues of our time. As a result, MICA graduates are well-prepared to enter a variety of careers in the ever-changing landscape of the 21st century.

4. ArtCenter College of Design - Pasadena, California

The ArtCenter’s undergraduate program in graphic design is comprehensive and covers both old and new media. Students receive extensive training in all aspects of graphic design, including print, web, motion graphics, and more. The ArtCenter encourages an experimental and socially conscious approach, teaching students to push the boundaries of what is possible with graphic design. As a result, graduates of the program are well-rounded practitioners with skills that span all areas of the discipline. In addition to receiving an excellent education, students also have the opportunity to network with professionals and build a portfolio that will help them succeed in their careers. The school also offers a great return-on-investment, with alumni making higher salaries than graduates from peer institutions. Graduates end up in a variety of industries and fields; alumni currently work for many diverse companies, such as Nike and NASA. Not only is the average starting salary for alumni significantly higher than the national average, but alumni report high levels of satisfaction with their careers. In addition, the school has an extensive network of alumni who are willing to help students with career advice and networking. As a result, the school provides a great opportunity for students to launch successful careers.

3. The Pratt Institute - Brooklyn, New York

The Pratt Institute is a world-renowned art school located in Brooklyn, NY. Founded in 1887, the Pratt Institute has a long history of producing some of the world’s most talented artists and designers. Today, the Pratt Institute is still committed to its founding philosophy of “poetic pragmatism,” which stresses the importance of both artistic vision and practical skills. As a result, students at the Pratt Institute benefit from the expertise of working professionals who teach part-time. In addition to its rigorous academic program, the Pratt Institute also offers a wide range of extracurricular activities and resources, making it one of the most comprehensive art schools in the country. The Pratt Institute’s BFA in Communications Design is an interdisciplinary program that prepares students for careers in advertising, illustration, and graphic design. Alumni praise the program for its innovative and boundary-pushing focus. The program emphasizes both creativity and technical skills, and provides students with a solid foundation in the principles of design. The faculty is composed of leading professionals in the field, and the curriculum is constantly updated to reflect the latest industry trends. As a result, graduates of the program are highly sought-after by employers. The program also offers a unique opportunity to study abroad, allowing students to gain first-hand experience in the international market.

2. Parsons School of Design (The School) - Manhattan, New York

Parsons is one of the most prestigious design schools in the world, consistently ranked among the best programs by leading university rankings organizations. In 2022, it was named the best design school in the United States by QS World University Rankings and the third-best in the world, largely in recognition of its interdisciplinary focus on both the technical aspects of design and the functional aspects of design. The school’s faculty are some of the most experienced and respected names in the industry, and they provide students with a wealth of knowledge and expertise. The school’s rigorous curriculum ensures that students graduate with the skills and abilities they need to succeed in today’s competitive design industry. Whether you’re looking to start your own design firm or land a top position at a major company, Parsons is an excellent choice for your educational needs. The school’s four-year BFA program in Communication Design (a graphic design equivalent) has an impressive track record when it comes to placement of alumni. Many have gone on to work for major companies such as Google and Facebook, while others have found success as freelancers or entrepreneurs. New York Magazine is also among the list of companies that have hired graduates of the program. The program provides students with a well-rounded education in graphic design, giving them the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in the field. With such a strong track record, it’s no wonder that the program is so popular among students looking to enter the graphic design field.

1. The best graphic design school is… Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) - Providence, Rhode Island

RISD is a world-renowned art school with a long list of famous alumni. The school offers well-funded programs and top-notch faculty, making it an excellent choice for aspiring artists. RISD alumni have gone on to found companies like Airbnb, animate hit TV shows like Family Guy, and direct films like Good Will Hunting. In addition, many RISD graduates have been awarded MacArthur “genius” grants. With so many success stories, it’s no wonder that RISD is often considered the Harvard of art schools. Founded in 1877, the Rhode Island School of Design is one of the oldest and most prestigious art and design schools in the United States. Located in Providence, RISD has an excellent reputation for its programs in fine arts, architecture, and industrial design. However, it is perhaps best known for its graphic design program, which consistently ranks among the top five in the nation. The school’s location in Providence, a city with a rich history and vibrant creative scene, also makes it an ideal place to study graphic design. In addition to its strong academic program, RISD also has an impressive array of resources for students, including a world-class museum and library. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder that RISD is consistently at the top of school rankings for graphic design. Whether you’re interested in painting, sculpture, or fashion design, RISD is sure to provide you with an excellent education.

These graphic art, graphic design, schools and programs were selected through a very tough methodology. We hope this helps you in making your decision on which one to attend. Once again, there’s no question that a college degree can open doors. In the field of graphic design, a degree from a respected program can give you a major advantage when it comes to finding a job. Employers know that graduates of top programs have the skills and training they need to hit the ground running. They also know that these programs attract the best and brightest students, so hiring a graduate from one of these programs is a way to ensure that they’re getting a top-notch designer. In addition, a degree gives you the opportunity to build a strong portfolio of work, which is essential for landing a good job. And finally, it gives you access to the latest trends and technologies in the field, keeping you ahead of the competition. So if you’re serious about becoming a professional graphic designer, getting a college degree may be the best way to go.