The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic Design program at University of the Arts offers a broad view of what a graphic designer can and should be in today’s world, and prepares students for employment in fields ranging from publication design to motion graphics to branding and more.
As a student of Graphic Design, you’ll learn
- well-informed design processes and problem-solving strategies for all forms of visual communication;
- to think critically, creatively and experimentally; and
- to consider broader personal experience and knowledge in pursuit of eloquent design solutions.
The program is cross-disciplinary and fosters collaboration with other programs at the University, as well as with local arts organizations, nonprofits and social agencies.
Our robust curriculum is based on critical thinking, design theory, technique and history, and balances experimental concerns with practical ones in order to equip graduates for success as professional designers. Starting with the School of Design’s first-year core courses—tailored to provide students with a solid foundation for rigorous study in their second through fourth years—the program emphasizes formal aesthetic, theoretical and analytical knowledge, with a deep exploration of today’s rapidly evolving media landscape. Each year’s studies step up in complexity and scope to allow you to build on what you’ve previous learned.
As a UArts Graphic Design graduate, you’ll know how to analyze what you see, speak about it, develop meaningful concepts, and generate compelling design narratives and solutions. You’ll also know how to promote yourself and your work, and how to land jobs that excite, challenge and nurture you throughout your career.
Angela Riechers is an award-winning writer, art director, and educator. She writes primarily about typography in her weekly column for the AIGA blog Eye on Design, as well as for numerous design-related publications including Wallpaper, Metropolis, Print, and Design Observer. Prior to her arrival at UArts, she founded the TypeLab summer residency at the School of Visual Arts in New York, taught design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Queens College, and SVA, and developed an online learning program, The Complete Typographer, for SVA. Angela is the recipient of an AOL Artists grant for Sites of Memory, a multimedia project that reattaches historical narratives to their original locations in New York City through audio guided walking tours and map-based visual archives. In her previous incarnation as an art director, she created concepts and page layouts for everything from Harper's Magazine to iPad apps for O, the Oprah Magazine, with stops at Dr. Oz the Good Life, Condé Nast Portfolio, The New York Times, and Martha Stewart Living.
She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from the School of Visual Art's Design Criticism Program.
Ana Villarreal, a first generation Mexican-American was born in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and grew up in Metepec, Mexico, and Seoul, South Korea—she is truly a world citizen. Not surprisingly, a wide range of cultural influences is present in her design work.
Though she comes from a family of engineers and business-minded individuals, she was creative from a young age and a design career felt like a natural choice for her. Ana has focused on social causes when it comes to her internships, and is passionate about the power of design and innovation in driving social progress.
Meet Graphic Design alum Mike Tyson '12, a graphic designer at Siegel + Gale in NYC.
Aubrey Fink got into graphic design by accident. She says, “I thought it was the same thing as advertising. I was wrong, so, so wrong.”
Aubrey used the skills she learned in the Graphic Design program and a financial grant from the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy to create a passion project called The Bridge, a new kind of women’s magazine. She was inspired by the intergenerational relationships among the women in her family, who meet twice a year to discuss things that women actually talk about: sex, menopause, telling your gyno you’ve been sleeping around, addiction and the latest skincare routine. Aubrey shares 25 percent of all proceeds from The Bridge with Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia, to support the organization’s mission of inspiring all girls to be smart, strong and bold.
Since age 4, I had always been drawing, painting, animating or designing something. It was only natural that I stumbled upon UArts. What I didn’t know was that I was fortunate enough to end up at a university with a Graphic Design program with a 50-year tradition of success. The program almost stretched me beyond my limits and, by the end of it all, I knew it had changed me for the better. I became more aware and respectful of my creative process. I never knew how my projects would evolve, and to me that is greatest gift of design thinking: It highlights endless possibilities while guiding you towards the truest path.
As a senior designer now at Superunion, a global branding agency, it’s patience and the willingness to be comfortable with doubt that yields some of my best creative work. These successes have resulted from a beginning where I never forecast the end, but trusted my creative process to arrive at an inventive solution.
Our Graphic Design faculty bring experience from a range of backgrounds, from corporate branding to photographics.
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Sample Courses in the Graphic Design Major
Drawing: Objects & Space
Drawing: Natural Forms & The Human Figure
Body as Form
Introduction to Design
Visual Perception and the Language of Form
Introduction to Applied Visual Communications
Visualizing Language I: Typographic Hierarchies
Visual Communication I: Design in Context
Visual Communication II: Communication Media and Strategies
Visualizing Language II: Text Strategies
Digital Interactive Techniques
Advanced Digital Interactive Techniques
Design Strategies: Nonlinear Narratives
Design Strategies: Brand Identity
Applied Design Laboratory
About the Curriculum
The Graphic Design program delivers a professional degree that develops the student’s mastery and expertise in the current marketplace for the practice of graphic design or a related communications-oriented field.
Graduates of the Graphic Design program will:
- Be experienced in both hierarchical and non-hierarchical forms of collaboration as professional preparation
- Possess a unique intellectual and visual voice
- Be able to adapt to a changing, unpredictable world and its communication needs where the methods of communication can be expected to evolve and expand.
- Demonstrate a strong work ethic driven by both logical and inventive working processes.
- Possess a high level of expertise within industry-standard technological environments and the propensity to prototype for high-level, complex technologically-based practices.
- Be strategic thinkers with the ability to explain these strategies as a fundamental aspect of their design process.
To explore the full curriculum, click here.
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Watch this profile on Mike Tyson BFA '12 below.
Our alumni work at a variety of companies and organizations internationally. Below are a few places our alums have landed.
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