Heads up, aspiring graphic designers, the outlook for graphic design for the coming year is projected to be promising and fruitful. The world is bombarded with visual content every day, making it a lucrative niche to get into. So, if you have that passion for creating art, design, and storytelling, here are the best graphic design schools to prepare you for this wonderful endeavor.

1. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)

best graphic design schools

Offering a boldly experimental graphic design program, the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) tops this list. Its faculty consists of filmmakers, musicians, animators, dancers, and graphic designers, all of whom are masters of their crafts. These professionals will let you soak up their insights and experiences to guide you in developing your talent.

CalArts has been known to foster unconventional approaches to teaching. Thus, it has become a haven for non-conformists, visionaries, and artistic rebels. A few of its famous graduates and former students are Tim Burton, John Lasseter, and Brad Bird.

2. Rhode Island School of Design

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Instead of lectures and rote learning, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has immersive studios that will teach you that design is a powerful tool. This institution will make you dive into projects that defy categorization, push the boundaries of graphic design into animation, and even teach you the ropes of social activism.

RISD has a faculty with renowned design practitioners on board who will help you shape your design future with their outstanding achievements. This includes art and design luminaries such as Paula Scher, Milton Glaser, and Louise Nevelson.

3. California College of the Arts (CCA)

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Located right in the heart of San Francisco’s vibrant Bay Area, the California College of the Arts (CCA) will plunge you deep into the city’s pulsating creative scene. They will have you collaborating with artists, engaging you in public art projects, and letting you soak up its diverse cultural landscape. The CCA thrives on letting its students celebrate, pushing boundaries, and questioning the status quo. In short, it is the perfect home for artists who thrive on disruption.

At CCA, you will learn graphic design using emerging technologies, multimedia platforms, and unconventional materials. Its famous graduates and former students include Steve Purcell, Tom Franco, and Chrisann Brennan.

4. Parsons School of Design

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Another great graphic design school nestled in a city with a vibrant art scene is Parsons School of Design. It is located in Greenwich Village, home to many world-renowned galleries, the trendy Fifth Avenue, and within walking distance of a network of industry giants. It also immerses its students in international collaborations, study abroad programs, and guest lectures from experts from across the globe. 

Its extensive network of alums and industry partners, internship opportunities, and career specialists’ guidance will prepare you to design the world. Its notable alumni include Anna Sui, Donna Karan, and Rich Silverstein.

5. Carnegie Mellon University

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With a Bachelor of Design (DBes) program that breeds forward-thinkers and tech-savvy designers, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is a highly recommended graphic design school. It prepares you to thrive in the ever-evolving digital design landscape, which integrates design thinking with cutting-edge technology. You will master UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) design, coding, and AI (artificial intelligence) and VR (virtual reality) designs, among others.

CMU promises to let you rub elbows with a melting pot of brilliance with its faculty of robotics engineers, computer scientists and artists, and other art and design experts. Famous alumni include John Currin, Ted Danson, Roger Fortune, and Deborah Kass.

6. Virginia Commonwealth University

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Teaching its students creative liberation, artistic exploration, and social conscience, Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts is the ideal breeding ground for design rebels. This graphic design school will hone your critical thinking, collaboration skills, and resilience to thrive in the real world. Located in the diverse city of Richmond, you will forget about sterile campuses and instead enjoy perfecting your artistry in this uber-creative location.

Learn from the likes of Shawné Michaelain Holloway, Caitlin Cherry, and John D. Freyer. The notable alums of VCU School of the Arts include Diana al-Hadid, Trudy Benson, and James Bumgardner.

7. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

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If you want to imbibe artistic ambition, cutting-edge creativity, and southern hospitality, then Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is the best graphic design school for you. It is located in the historic city of Savannah, Georgia, but has campuses across the globe. This shows the college’s commitment to design globalization with its forward-thinking education.

SCAD’s graphic design curriculum is an excellent balance of technical mastery and real-world relevance. Its faculty has renowned personalities like Jill Bullitt, Tom Hardy, and Christopher McDonnell. Its famous alumni include Danny!, M. Alice LeGrow, and the Luna Brothers.

8. Pratt Institute

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Based in Brooklyn, New York, Pratt Institute is the graphic design school where industrial chic meets artistic passion. If you’re looking to get a design education that’s as gritty and bold as the city itself, this is the graphic design school for you. Be among the ranks of its famous alumni, including art and design notables such as Stefan Sagmeister, Daniel Clowes, and Paul Rand.

In Pratts, students learn that experimentation reigns supreme in its studios. They are immersed in various projects, workshops, and critiques that hone their artistic and design abilities to the fullest.

9. ArtCenter College of Design

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Explore your creativity, experiment without boundaries, and innovate fearlessly with ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. It has a cross-disciplinary field where its students become experts in transportation design, product development, and environmental graphics, among many others. Its graphic design curriculum teaches cutting-edge technologies using unconventional materials, such as the human body as a canvas.

ArtCenter College of Design offers robust career services and extensive industry partnerships. It gives you access to its alumni network of design luminaries to prepare you for the complex and exciting world of design. Its notable alums include Ryan Church, Neville Page, and Viktor Antonov.

10. Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

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If you’re a visionary rebel or artistic changemaker, Baltimore is the city for you. Enroll in Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) to fulfill your dreams of getting an authentic and purposeful education. Learn from the finest people in fine arts, animation, film, and other arts and design disciplines.

MICA has study abroad programs that let you gain a global perspective, understand diverse design cultures, and create work that resonates globally. Notable alumni include Jeff Koons, Frank Cho, and Ellen Lupton.

Final Thoughts

Find your artistic hub this coming 2024 with these best graphic design schools that will pave the way for your design aspirations. Launch your thriving design career by arming yourself with the knowledge and skills you need to build your niche in the fantastic world of graphic design. 

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