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Bachelor of Graphic Design: Degree Overview

In graphic design bachelor's degree programs, students learn to balance words, icons, colors and perspectives to create aesthetically pleasing images or promotional publications.

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Essential Information

A bachelor's degree program in graphic design includes both lecture-based sessions and hands-on practice to help students learn to use graphic design software and other essential technologies, including cameras, sound machines and industrial printers. Bachelor's degree programs are available as a Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Bachelor of Graphic Design (B.G.D.) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Graphic Design. Most programs require students to create professional portfolios to highlight their skills to potential employers or include a senior project.

B.F.A. and B.G.D. programs are 4-year professional degree programs that devote more than 90% of the curriculum to design-related and graphic design coursework. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) recognize the B.F.A. and B.G.D. as preparation for a career in graphic design. Admission into these bachelor's degree programs usually requires a high school diploma or equivalent and a portfolio.


Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design

Graphic design is an interdisciplinary field that may explore a wide range of topics, including marketing, visual arts, communications and computer sciences. Common courses within these programs may include:

  • Drawing
  • Advertising design
  • Computer graphics
  • 2-D and 3-D design
  • Typography

Popular Career Options

Graduates are prepared to create publications, websites, branding systems and posters for in a variety of industries, including advertising, publishing and public relations. Popular job titles include:

  • Computer artist
  • Publications designer
  • Art director
  • Graphic designer
  • Web designer

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of graphic designers is expected to increase 1% over the 2014-2024 decade. Graphic designers earned a median wage of $46,900 in May 2015, according to BLS figures. Employment growth is expected to be slower than the national average, at 2%, for art directors and much faster than average, at 27%, for web developers over the 2014-2024 decade. The May 2015 median wage for art directors was $89,760, and web developers earned a median wage of $64,970.

Continuing Education Information

The BLS noted that due to the technical field of graphic design, professionals in this industry would require continual training to stay up-to-date on new trends in design software. Some employers may provide training on new software programs or technology, but many graphic designers may have to enroll independently in continued education training courses or certification programs. Additionally, students seeking career advancement or postsecondary teaching pursuits may choose to continue their education through a Master of Graphic Design program.

Bachelor's degree programs in graphic design include coursework in computer graphics, typography, drawing, and more in order to prepare students fro a career in this field. Many graphic designers need to participate in continual training to stay up to date with current software.

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