Graphic Design

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

  • p
  • af
Students presenting printwork

About the Program

The role of the graphic designer has quickly changed from producing static visuals to collaborating on dynamic, interactive projects. The strength of design is its ability to respond to the needs of today and to speculate on forms of the future.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design program will require you to explore design methods, processes, materials and language; broaden your understanding of the diversity and scope of design practices; and customize your educational experience through an array of departmental electives aligned with active faculty research. There is a heavy emphasis on collaboration. Our students come to understand their role as shapers and interpreters within culture. You can also experiment with modes of making on-site, including letterpress facilities, an in-house publishing bureau and a well-stocked resource center.

Some classes you might take in this major:

  • Web Design
  • Design Activism
  • Typeface Design
  • Research as Practice
  • Book Arts

Our alumni are:

  • Creative directors
  • Interaction/interface designers
  • Broadcast/film designers
  • Exhibition designers
  • Environmental graphic designers
graphic design student looking at letter presses


Sophomore / first year

The Sophomore year is focused on orientation and experimentation to/within design practice. It introduces and develops processes of making and meaning building and critical engagement with ideas related to form, medium, materials and tools. Through criticality a student can build clear-thinking. Project based work allows students to craft an understanding of the implications of traditional practices and established conventions as a foundation to their own explorations and experiences. This year provides a critical framework to begin to evaluate their own practice. Through presentations and discussions students will develop a vocabulary allowing them to begin to discuss ideas around information hierarchies, meaning making as well as legibility and translation.

Junior / second year

The Junior year is focused on experimentation and construction of/with narrative structures, argument, advocacy, and rhetoric (text, text+image, sequence…) in a variety of formats and media. It emphasizes the underlying social, political and pluralistic demands of graphic design. It situates the student and their work/practice within a context and community and introduces methods to facilitate collaboration with those directly and indirectly impacted by the end results of the design process. Course content includes an emphasis on ethical and cultural impacts of distribution and exchange.

Senior / third year

The Senior year is focused on deepening, refining and situating individuated experiences; formulating and synthesizing learning by teaching others through participatory engagement; and building a situated design practice, while understand that design is inseparable from the culture at large.

art foundation

The Art Foundation program (AFO) is the required first year for all undergraduate programs in the visual art and design departments. It provides you with an intellectually rigorous, studio-based experience in the fundamental issues of art and design. AFO is designed to help you foster an enthusiasm for your work and the means to reflect analytically and critically. Completion of the Art Foundation Program is a prerequisite for entry into all visual arts and design departments: Art Education, Communication Arts, Craft/Material Studies, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Kinetic Imaging, Painting + Printmaking, Photography + Film, and Sculpture + Extended Media.

More about AFO