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Top 10 Graphic Design Scools & Colleges in 2012

Graphic designers combine creative skills and commercial ideals to produce enjoyable, communicative visual products. Top graphic design schools & colleges teach their students techniques and methods that help them create high-quality professional work. Discover the numerous types of graphic design programs to study before choosing your dream school.

Both small arts colleges and large universities may have a top graphic design program. These 10 top graphic design schools, ranked according to data from U.S. News and World Report, can help young graphic designers find a place in the competitive field of visual design.

  1. Rhode Island School of Design ranks No. 2 in fine arts and offers a number of specialities, including ceramics, industrial design, and multimedia/visual communications.
  2. Yale University School of Art instructs graduate students in graphic design, offers other art programs for undergraduates, and takes the top spot for its Master of Fine Arts program. Its specialities include graphic design/ painting/drawing, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.
  3. Maryland Institute College of Art garners high ranks for its graphic design, painting/drawing, and sculpture programs and ranks No. 7 in fine arts.
  4. Carnegie Mellon University's College of Fine Arts is home to a top-ranked multimedia/visual communications program and an industrial design program ranked in the top 3.
  5. Virginia Commonwealth University ranks No. 1 for its sculpture program and No. 4 in fine arts and also receives kudos for its graphic design and painting/drawing programs.
  6. Cranbrook Academy of Art bases its program on interpretive design methodology and devotes the majority of its students' schedules to in-studio time. Its ceramics and industrial design programs rank in the top 5.
  7. Art Center College of Design emphasizes Web design and motion graphics alongside traditional graphic design and ranks No. 2 for its industrial design program.
  8. California Institute of the Arts teaches graphic design through small, intimate classes based on debate and discussion and ranks No. 2 in multimedia/visual communications and No. 4 for its photography program.
  9. School of Visual Arts in New York focuses on problem solving in visual communication to help students be better prepared for the professional world. Its photography, industrial design, graphic design, and multimedia/visual communications programs all rank in the top 10.
  10. Parsons The New School For Design is a comprehensive design college that offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in graphic design. Its graphic design program ranks No. 10 in the list.

Of course, no research or ranking of top graphic design schools can be considered definitive above all others. These numbers represent the top graphic design colleges based U.S. News and World Report 2012 grad school rankings and do not reflect the personal opinions of Graphicdesignbasics.com or its contributors.


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Design & Technical Graphics (BS)
  • Online and Bachelor's programs include B.S. in Advertising, B.S. in Web Design, B.A. in Interior Design, and more
  • Curriculum focus on preparing students for a creative career by teaching them the fundamentals of advertising and design
  • Students can choose from courses that cover areas such as advertising concepts, art direction, experience design, and online marketing
  • Over 50 locations nationwide, with a student support team dedicated to helping students grow
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
  • Campus-based and online degrees include Computer Animation (BS), Digital Arts and Design (BS), Graphic Design (BS), and more
  • Students take ongoing portfolio courses that allow them to build and refine their design portfolio
  • Courses teach skills such as advertising, branding, visual messaging, and concept design
  • Curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement
  • Online Courses
Associate Degree-Computer Graphics and Design
  • Features a public spa where massage students can get real-world experience.
  • Honored by the PennSuburban Chamber of Commerce as Business of the Century in 2013.
  • New terms start every 10 weeks.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
  • Main campus is located in North Wales, Pennsylvania, with satellite campuses in Phoenixville and Warminster.
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  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
Graphic Arts (AAS)
  • Gives students a new laptop they can keep as a gift upon graduation.
  • Provides students the opportunity to save up to $5,000 on their degree with Fresh Start Scholarships.
  • Offers monthly start dates so students can choose when their program begins.
  • Students can earn an Associate's degree in as few as 15 months or Bachelor's degree in as few as 30 months.
  • A private, nonprofit college founded in Ogden-West Haven, Utah, in September 1891.

Our family of non-profit colleges admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

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Graphic Design/Desktop Publishing
ABCO Technology , Los Angeles
  • An accredited computer training academy preparing students to enter the IT industry as Network Engineers, Software Engineers, Web Apps Developer, Website Designers, Programmers, Database Administrators since 2000.
  • Holds A+ certification from CompTIA.
  • Located in Los Angeles, approximately 10 minutes away from LAX.
  • Flexible class schedules offered during day times, evenings and weekends.
  • Helping students start a career in technology within 3 - 9 months.
  • Educates with the mission to serve the needs of the local community and graduates by matching opportunities to skills.
  • Military friendly school.
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