Graphic designers shape the way we conceptualize and view the world. In everything from logos and advertisements to images in a magazine, the pictures we see impact our impressions and emotions.
If you have ever wanted to work as an art director, web designer, typeface designer or as an artist for advertisers or digital media, a degree in graphic design may suit your career ambitions. Quality graphic design programs teach students fundamental and advanced design and visual art concepts, preparing graduates for a variety of careers across industries. Increasingly, these schools have started offering their degrees online, in programs that allow students to prepare for their next career without disrupting their current obligations.
Below, we’ve ranked the top online bachelor’s in graphic design programs. These schools prepare graduates for professional work in the field and help students obtain the degree they need to jumpstart their career.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
Southern New Hampshire University
|Manchester||2500 North River Road|
Manchester, NH 03106-1045
SNHU encourages students to tailor the online graphic design degree curriculum to suit their interests. Distance learners may pursue one of two tracks: general art - media design or web design. In the former, students focus on 3D sculpting workflow, learning to create stimulating visual content for video games, movies and other forms of digital art. In the latter, future web designers are taught how to create functional and visually appealing sites and interfaces. Students in both concentrations follow the same core curriculum, taking classes in typography, digital graphic design, basic color theory and more.
SNHU requires students to complete 120 credits to complete the graphic design online degree. Of those, 33 come from elective courses. Classes are taught asynchronously on the semester schedule, and distance learners can access course materials at their convenience. The school uses Blackboard to facilitate their online curriculum. On Blackboard, students can access course materials, their grades and discussion forums. Technical services are available 24/7.
|Bellevue||1000 Galvin Rd S|
Bellevue, NE 68005-3098
Students in Bellevue's online graphic design program receive a foundational overview of the field. Students learn the fundamentals of print and web design, and also take courses in branding, publication design, web development and more. Throughout the curriculum, faculty members encourage their students to pursue projects that interest them. Upon graduation, graphic design online degree students will have developed an extensive portfolio with a variety of work, highlighting the industry-applicable skills they've learned in school.
Bellevue balances a small classroom feel with the freedom of a distance program. Through BRUiN, the school's online platform, students can connect with faculty and their classmates in real time chat services and forums. Small class sizes ensure that faculty members have time to give individual attention to distance learners as they need it. Students may login to BRUiN at any time to access lectures, digital library resources and other materials. Classes for the graphic design degree online are taught asynchronously.
Stevens-Henager College - Murray
|Murray||383 W Vine St|
Murray, UT 84123-5671
Graphically inclined students will find two appealing online graphic design degree programs at Stevens-Henager: a BS in graphic arts and a BS in web design and development. Graphic arts students learn to incorporate color theory, image editing and digital animation into their portfolio. They also learn the importance of logo and identity design. The web design degree prepares graduates to create informative and visually interesting pages; as part of the curriculum, they'll develop insight into the psychology behind successful web design and user behavior.
Both degrees can be completed in as little as 30 months, though most students take three years to graduate. Courses can be taken asynchronously and, conveniently, classes have variable start dates throughout the year. Additionally, Stevens-Henager's students receive a laptop at the outset of the graphic design online degree program. As a parting gift from the school, graduates get to keep the computer after they finish their graphic design bachelor degree online.
Savannah College of Art and Design
|Savannah||342 Bull St|
Savannah, GA 31402-3146
Savannah's online graphic design degree programs introduce students to a range of applications and fundamentals. The programs cover design, product packaging, entrepreneurship, mobile technology and interface design, among other themes. Students have the option of getting a broader bachelor's in fine arts (BFA) or a bachelor's focused on graphic design. The degrees cover similar material, and the format of the BFA allows distance learners to take a few classes specifically focused on graphic design; students in the fine arts program receive a more well-rounded liberal arts education.
The college also helps students find a job after they graduate. Distance learners develop a portfolio during their time in school, and SCAD's career center helps students promote their skills on the job market. The career center provides several services, including:
Online learners obtaining their graphic design degree online follow the same quarter schedule as traditional students. While certain classes require scheduled, synchronous sessions, most classes are taught asynchronously, allowing students to view lectures and course materials as their schedule permits. SCAD uses Blackboard as their online learning management system. Here, students can check grades, view course materials and work with faculty and other students on discussion forums.
Completing a graphic design degree online prepares graduates for the field. Whether you’d like to design logos, work in the film industry or build your own schedule as a freelancer, a quality graphic design program will provide you with the requisite training for a successful career.
The BLS projects that positions in graphic design will grow by about 7% throughout 2022. In 2012, the median salary for all graphic artists was a little under $45,000 per year. Experienced designers make more, however, as the top 10% of artists in the field take home an average salary north of $70,000 per year. Additionally, many graphic designers move on from the field after a number years, often using their skills in higher paying jobs as art directors or teachers.
Graphic design is a competitive field, and students should begin thinking about their career path as soon as they enter school. Most programs require students to build a portfolio, and this is your opportunity to plan for the career you want. Regardless of the kind of art you want to make, or the industry you want to work in, you can jumpstart your professional career by focusing on skills and projects that will help you earn the kind of job you’d like after you graduate. Be sure to talk with your professors as you take classes: top programs hire well-connected faculty who can help you make contact with companies you’d like to work for.
Newly minted graduates should keep in mind that many graphic artists begin their careers as freelancers. While that may not sound appealing at first, it’s not a bad way to begin your career. If you can’t find the right fit with a company after graduation, it may be best for you to freelance, tackling projects that you enjoy doing while developing your portfolio to highlight the skills and abilities that will eventually help you earn your dream job.
Ultimately, an online bachelor’s in graphic design degree provides students with a flexible opportunity to build their skills and prepare for a rewarding career. Students in a quality graphic design online degree program build a portfolio of work directly applicable to the industry, and they can rely on school resources to find a job after they graduate. For the artistic career you’ve always wanted, consider earning your bachelor’s in graphic design online.