Graphic Design

The School of Graphic Design is one of the top schools in the field of graphic design, emphasizing conceptual development, strategic thinking, technique, and presentation within an environment that stimulates innovation.

Our curriculum guides students as they develop finely tuned skills in the areas of typography, print media, packaging, branding and identity, Web design, and motion graphics. Our instructors are nationally recognized working professionals who challenge students to reach industry standards. Students graduating from this program are well prepared to meet the rigorous challenges within the field of graphic design and are working in many of the world's most prestigious firms. The numerous awards bestowed on the students' work demonstrate our excellent approach to design and audience-based marketing strategies.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

The Master of Fine Arts program in Graphic Design emphasizes mastery of the profession, including narrative abilities, presentation skills, strategic thinking, problem solving, and the ability to develop innovative conceptual solutions. Areas of specialized training include typography, visual literacy, identity, and print publication. Students acquire the finely tuned design skills, self-discipline, and professional expertise necessary to become advanced practitioners.

The graduate student's final thesis project must integrate concept and content with technical prowess to make an original contribution to the field of graphic design. The thesis project is critically reviewed and approved by the Graduate Final Review committee, and then it is professionally exhibited to the industry and public.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

The Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Graphic Design embraces the entire range of visual communication. We recognize that design is a cultural force that spans the consumer, commerce, and social causes. The program provides a robust curriculum of conceptual problem solving, innovation, critical thinking, and formal design, as well as branding and marketing strategies.

The areas of study encompass typography, print and editorial design, branding and identity, information design, and packaging, as well as production and presentation skills. Green strategies and issues of sustainability are very much a part of the program. A real-world approach to design assures aesthetics, functionality, value, and meaning to all student projects. Final portfolios demonstrate the total integration of message and content as well as the highest standards of graphic design.

Associate of Arts (AA)

The Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design provides students with an introduction to the principles of graphic design. Concepts and problem-solving skills are applied through a variety assignments that emphasize typography, print and editorial design, branding and identity, as well as production and presentation skills.
Once earned, the Associate's degree can also be used as a stepping stone to the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. The Academy of Art University Associate of Arts degree is specifically designed for seamless transition into the Academy of Art University Bachelor of Arts degree and to apply for entry level positions in the design industry.

Online Award of Completion

The Online Award of Completion in Graphic Design requires completing three classes designed to improve students' skills. These classes were chosen for non-degree-seeking students who are looking to improve their knowledge and abilities.

Successful completion of these courses can also be credited towards a degree at the Academy of Art University. The Online Award of Completion requires that all courses must be taken online.

Courses must be taken in order of pre-requisites.  Upon completion, please contact the online help desk to receive your Award of Completion.  Upon confirmation, your Award of Completion will be mailed to you.

Required Courses
(3 units each unless otherwise noted)

GR 102 Digital Tools Design Applications
GR 105 Principles of Graphic Design
GR 122 Typography 1 Hierarchy and Form

Career Opportunities

  • Graphic Designer
  • Typographic Designer
  • Print Designer
  • Package Designer
  • Publication Designer
  • Branding and Identity Designer
  • Corporate Communications Designer
  • Environmental and Retail Designer
  • In-House Graphic Designer
  • Communications Director and Music Industry/Entertainment Designer
  • and more!

Firms Hiring Our GradUATEs

Addison, Apple, Arias & Associates, Inc., Addis Creson, Axion Design, Broom & Broom, Cahan & Associates, CF Napa Brand Design, The Brand Union, The Ideas Group, Interbrand, Landor Associates, marchFIRST, Michael Osborne Design, Microsoft Corporation, Oracle, Primo Angeli Inc., Sony, ATTIK, Brand Engine, The Clorox Company, Coppola Companies, Crescent Jewelers, Deutsch Design Works, Disney, DreamWorks SKG, Estee Lauder, Factor Design, Frog Design, Gap Inc., Gensler, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Harper Collins, IDEO, KODAK Gallery, Lexicon Branding, Lucasfilm, Martha Stewart Living, Method, Nike, Notre Dame University, Philippe Becker Design, Pixar Animation Studios, Primo Angeli, Raison Pure US, Restoration Hardware, Sequence, Stone Yamashita Partners, Sullivan, The Arnell Group, Tolleson Design, VSA Partners, Wells Fargo, Williams Sonoma, Wired Magazine, Young & Rubicam