Bachelor's Degree Programs in Design

Design is a broad discipline that includes the creation of original products, images or items. Bachelor's degree programs are available in graphic, industrial or interior design. Learn more here.

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Essential Information

The most common relevant bachelor's degree programs are in graphic, industrial or interior design. While these programs have many differences, all combine classroom courses with hands-on experience. Students study design theory and gain practice in traditional and digital design methods, in addition to completing general education courses in topics such as mathematics and social studies.

Prerequisites include a strong artistic and/or math and science background depending on study program.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) programs in graphic design teach students to communicate through still visual media. Programs emphasize traditional and digital illustration techniques used to create drawings, posters and websites. Students complete hands-on activities where they use technology to create a portfolio of their work. BFA programs in graphic design cover the theoretical basis and practical skills used in designing, drawing, printing and coloring pictures, logos and websites. Course topics include those listed below:

  • Drawing
  • Color theory
  • Webpage layout
  • Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) software
  • Printmaking

Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Design

Industrial design undergraduate programs typically award either a BFA or a Bachelor of Industrial Design (BID) degree. Programs teach students to design all types of consumer products, including tools, clothing, furniture and home fixtures. Programs cover the entire product design process, from brainstorming concepts to creating models and revising final drafts of products. Students also learn about environmentally-friendly design and construction methods. Industrial design programs teach students to use artistic techniques to create functional products within aesthetic design parameters. Students often create collaborative projects where they simulate the product design cycle. Class topics for an industrial design bachelor's degree include those noted below:

  • Manufacturing processes
  • Design history
  • Conceptual drawing
  • Design materials
  • 3-dimensional graphics

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design

Interior design BFA programs introduce students to a 3-dimensional, architecture-based approach to creating environments for living, working and recreation. Some interior design programs offer specialty electives in topics such as historic preservation, surface pattern design and design management. During their studies, students often complete hands-on projects that they can use to build a portfolio of their work. Traditional courses in sketching and drawing are combined with instruction in modern digital design methods, such as CAD software. Students learn about the theory of designing interior spaces, taking into account both aesthetic and practical concerns. Students learn about the subjects included in the following list:

  • Residential interior design
  • Interior design for offices
  • Interior design theory
  • History of interior design
  • Interior design software

Popular Career Options in Graphic Design

BFA programs in graphic design give students a broad knowledge base applicable to many creative and visually-oriented careers. Graduates can work as freelance artists or they can work for graphic design or advertising firms. The following careers are popular options:

  • Illustrator
  • Multimedia artist
  • Art director

People who earn a bachelor's degree in industrial design are qualified for several careers in manufacturing, consulting and product design. Some popular career options are mentioned below:

  • Appliance designer
  • Green design consultant
  • Manufacturing specialist

People who earn a BFA in interior design qualify for a number of careers. They can collaborate with architects to design the rooms inside buildings or they can work independently. The following careers are common options:

  • Interior design consultant
  • Interior design materials salesperson
  • Independent interior designer

An individual interested in one of the many careers in the fields of interior, graphic or industrial design can pursue a bachelor's degree program in their chosen area. In these programs, common curriculum will be mixed with specialized courses and hands-on work.

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