10 Best Graphic Design Schools in the USA

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If you are looking for the best graphic design schools in the USA, you will most likely encounter a long list of colleges that claim to be the number one. The good part about learning graphic design in the USA is that there are many quality schools to choose from. The challenging part is finding the right one for you. 

Graphic design has a wide range of applications in both the public and private sectors. Typical uses of graphic design include: 

  • Advertising 
  • Branding 
  • Editorial design 
  • Information design 
  • Packaging design 
  • Point of sale materials 
  • Digital Marketing

The future of graphic design is rapidly changing. As new technologies emerge, the way that graphic designers work and create will change as well. Learning graphic design from a design school means keeping up with these changes and being able to adapt to them. This can be a challenge, but it also means that there are always new opportunities for those willing to learn.

One thing that is likely to continue is the trend toward more personalization and customization. With technology making it easier to create custom designs, more people will be looking for ways to make their mark. As a result, graphic designers who can offer this kind of service will be in high demand. But for this, you will need to have a strong foundation of design education which graphic design schools can offer.

Why choose a graphic design school in the USA?

The advent of technology has led to the globalization of education. Today, you can learn almost anything using the internet. There are excellent graphic design courses from reputed universities available online. In addition, some successful designers are offering short courses to harness your design skills. But these courses are suitable for designers who already have foundational knowledge. 

Graphic design is a constantly evolving field, with new technologies and trends emerging all the time. Learning graphic design in a school in the USA can give you the skills and knowledge you need to stay ahead of the curve and be a successful designer.

Some of the benefits of learning graphic design in a school in the USA include:

  • Access to the latest software and technology: Graphic design schools in the USA have access to the latest software and technology, which means you will be able to learn about and use the latest tools and techniques.
  • Learn from experienced professionals: Graphic design schools in the USA typically employ experienced professionals as instructors so that you can learn from some of the best in the business.
  • Get a well-rounded education: Design schools offer a well-rounded education covering all aspects of graphic design, from theory to practice and creative personality development.
  • Network with other designers: Graphic design schools in the USA provide opportunities to network with other designers, which can be beneficial for your career.
  • Job opportunities: If you have completed a course from a well-reputed graphic design school in the USA, you are more likely to land a high-paying job at a premier design studio.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in graphic design, studying at a school in the USA can be a great way to get started. With the advantages mentioned above, you will get a quality education that will help you succeed in this competitive field. To help you in this quest, we have shortlisted some of the best graphic design schools in the USA.

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1. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Degree Offered: BFA in Graphic Design

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is a renowned private art and design college founded in 1877. RISD has been ranked consistently as one of the country’s best art and design schools. It offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in various creative disciplines, including painting, sculpture, architecture, industrial design, and graphic design.

The graphic design program at RISD focuses on providing students with a solid foundation in design principles and techniques. Students learn to think creatively and critically about visual problems and use various tools and software to create innovative solutions. The curriculum includes design for publishing, package designing, and knowledge of motion, sound, and vision. In addition to coursework, students also have the opportunity to participate in internships and other real-world learning experiences.

RISD is known for its rigorous academic program and demanding workload. Students are expected to complete a substantial amount of work outside of class, including studio time and critiques. As a result, RISD graduates are highly sought-after by employers in the creative industries.

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2. Parsons School of Design

Location: Manhattan, New York

Degree Offered: BFA in Communication Design

Parsons School of Design is one of the leading institutions for graphic design education in the United States. Located in New York City, Parsons offers bachelor’s and master’s programs in graphic design, with a curriculum that emphasizes both creative and technical skills. Parsons has a long history of producing successful graduates who have gone on to careers in graphic design. 

Its graphic design course trains students in the latest software and design techniques and teaches them to think creatively and develop innovative solutions to problems. Students learn about design history and practice, visual cultures, interaction design, typography, and many fine streams of designing. The coursework is both rigorous and inspiring, and 

The school’s location in New York City gives students access to a wealth of resources and opportunities, and the curriculum is designed to give students the skills they need to succeed in the field. Notable alumni include Paul Rand, Gilbert Adrian, Van Day Truex, and many more.

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3. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)

Location: Valencia, Santa Clarita, California

Degree Offered: BFA in Graphic Design

The California Institute of the Arts is a world-renowned learning institution for graphic design. Based in the United States, it offers students from all over the globe the chance to study under some of the most respected and talented designers in the industry. The school has produced alumni who have become leaders in their field, and its faculty are constantly innovating and pushing the boundaries of design education. 

The school’s curriculum is divided into liberal arts and graphic design. In the liberal arts portion of the program, you’ll take courses in history, literature, and other subjects that will help you develop a well-rounded understanding of the world around you. You’ll also learn to think critically and express yourself clearly through writing and oral presentations. The graphic design portion covers all aspects of the design process, from concept development to final execution. In addition, you’ll learn about typography, layout, color theory, and more. 

When you graduate from the California Institute of the Arts, you’ll be prepared for a successful career in graphic design. And you’ll have the opportunity to work with real clients on real projects so that you can put your skills to the test in the real world. This will help you garner the skills and knowledge you need to succeed, and you’ll have the portfolio to prove it. 

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4. The Pratt Institute

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Degree Offered: BFA in Communication Design

Pratt Institute is a private, nonprofit art and design school offering programs leading to certificates, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in various creative fields, including graphic design. Pratt’s graphic design program is one of the oldest and most respected. Students benefit from small class sizes, individualized attention from faculty, and ample opportunities to gain real-world experience through internships and other hands-on learning opportunities.

The graphic design course at Pratt Institute covers a broad range of topics, from the history and theory of graphic design to the latest trends and technologies. Students learn about color, typography, layout, branding, and more. They also get to put their skills to the test by collaborating with clients and other designers.

Graduates of Pratt’s graphic design program are prepared for careers as creative directors, art directors, designers, and more. They go on to work for some of the world’s top companies, including advertising agencies, publishers, and design firms.

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5. Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Degree Offered: BFA in Graphic Design

The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is a private art and design college in Baltimore, Maryland. It was founded in 1826 as the Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts, making it one of the oldest art colleges in the United States. MICA offers undergraduate and graduates degrees in fine arts, graphic design, photography, interior design, creative writing, etc.

MICA is nationally renowned for its programs in graphic design and visual communications. The course includes a wide range of design principles, color theory, printmaking, and web design. Students learn how to conceptualize and create visual solutions to communication challenges. They also develop strong problem-solving skills and an understanding of the latest technology and software used in the graphic design industry.

The school’s Graphic Design Department is one of the oldest and most respected. Its faculty comprises experienced professionals passionate about teaching and helping students reach their full potential. As a result, MICA’s graduates have successful careers at top advertising agencies, design firms, and corporations worldwide. 

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6. Carnegie Mellon School of Design

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Design (BDes)

Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design offers students the chance to learn graphic design from some of the top professionals in the field at its faculty, including some of the world’s leading graphic designers, such as John Maeda, Massimo Vignelli, and Milton Glaser. The school was founded in 1974 and has been consistently ranked among the top design schools in the world.

The school’s curriculum emphasizes both theoretical and practical aspects of graphic design. As a result, the course covers a broad range of topics, from the basics of design theory to more advanced concepts such as illustrations, typography, visual communication, and more. Students also can learn about different software programs used in graphic design, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator

In addition to coursework, students must complete a final project to graduate. This helps them create a portfolio that they can use to showcase their talent to potential employers. As a result, students at Carnegie Mellon benefit from a unique blend of academic rigor and real-world experience.

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7. Yale University School of Art

Location: New Haven, Connecticut

Degree Offered: BA in Art specializing in graphic design

The Yale School of Art is one of the oldest and most prestigious art schools in the United States. Founded in 1869, the school offers programs in graphic design, painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Yale has produced many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents, 19 Supreme Court Justices, and numerous Nobel laureates. 

The school’s Graphic Design program is ranked among the best in the country. The graphic design course at Yale University School of Art teaches students to create visual compositions to communicate messages. Students’ exclusive learnings at Yale are letterform design, communicating with time, motion and sound, and typography.

Students receive a comprehensive education in design theory and practice, emphasizing critical thinking and problem-solving. The faculty includes leading practitioners and scholars committed to teaching and mentoring students.

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8. School of Visual Arts

Location: Manhattan, New York

Degree Offered: BFA in Graphic Design

School of Visual Arts (SVA) is an art and design college founded in 1947. The school offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts, computer art, graphic design, illustration, and photography. SVA has a strong reputation in the graphic design community. Its alumni include many well-known designers, such as Milton Glaser, Paula Scher, and Chip Kidd. 

Its graphic design course includes typography, layout and composition, image-making, print production, and contemporary issues in graphic design. Students also can take classes in web design, motion graphics, and branding. 

The School of Visual Arts faculty is made up of experienced professionals who are actively working in the graphic design industry. As a result, they can provide students with insights into the latest trends and technologies. 

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9. ArtCenter College of Design

Location: Pasadena, California

Degree Offered: BFA in Graphic Design

ArtCenter College of Design is a world-renowned private institution founded in 1930. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in various creative fields, including graphic design, illustration, advertising, photography, automotive design, etc. 

The graphic design course at ArtCenter College of Design covers various topics, from the basics of design principles to more advanced concepts like web design, branding, and marketing. The coursework is challenging and hands-on, allowing students to learn by doing.

The faculty at ArtCenter is made up of working professionals who are leaders in their respective fields. ArtCenter College of Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Located in the heart of Southern California, ArtCenter’s location allows students to take advantage of opportunities to intern and work with some of the biggest names in the industry. 

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10. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

Location: Savannah, Georgia

Degrees Offered: BA in Visual Communication, BFA in Graphic Design

Savannah College of Art and Design is a private nonprofit institution that offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in various areas. Graphic design is one of the programs offered at this school. The college was founded in 1978 and had since then built a reputation for being one of the best schools for graphic design. 

Savannah College of Art and Design is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The graphic design course at Savannah College of Art and Design includes instruction in design, layout, color theory, computer graphics, typography, printing processes, and web design. Students receive both classroom and studio instruction. 

The college also offers a study abroad program for students who wish to experience another culture and learn about graphic design in a different country. The faculty is composed of working professionals who are experts in their field. The curriculum is rigorous and prepares students for a career in graphic design.

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Conclusion

Graphic design is a process of visual communication and problem-solving through typography, photography, and illustration. Its importance is gradually increasing, and with it, the need for well-educated professionals in this field is also increasing. Opting for a full-fledge graphic design course in a reputed school is a wise choice if you want to pursue a steady career in graphic design.

However, with over a hundred schools offering major or minor courses on graphic design, finding out the best one may get challenging. Here’s a recap of the best graphic design schools in the USA:

  1. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
  2. Parsons School of Design
  3. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
  4. The Pratt Institute
  5. Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
  6. Carnegie Mellon School of Design
  7. Yale University School of Art
  8. School of Visual Arts
  9. ArtCenter College of Design
  10. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

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