What are the top Ohio graphic design schools for 2022?

Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs in Ohio - 2022 College Rankings
1University of CincinnatiCincinnati
2The Ohio State UniversityColumbus
3Kent State UniversityKent
4Cleveland Institute of ArtCleveland
5Bowling Green State UniversityBowling Green
6Columbus College of Art and DesignColumbus
7University of AkronAkron
8Ohio UniversityAthens
9Miami UniversityOxford
10University of DaytonDayton

Our 2022 ranking of the top 10 graphic design school programs in Ohio. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
University of Cincinnati

The College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) at the University of Cincinnati (UC) houses the Myron E. Ullman Jr. School of Design, which offers a BS in Communication Design and a Master of Design (MDes). The five-year Communication Design BS provides opportunities to develop solid, marketable skills through several required co-op experiences. Three concentrations are available including Graphic Design, Interaction Design, and Motion Design.

Consisting of 120 credit hours, the Communication Design BS requires courses such as Welcome to Design, Collaborative Studio, Graphic Design 1-2, Advanced Typography, Design Aesthetics, Interaction Design, Photo Design, Design & Meaning, Motion Design, and Applied Professional Practice – DAAP.

The University of Cincinnati MDes is a multidisciplinary program that encompasses Communication Design, Fashion Design, and Industrial Design. The program focuses on strategy, systems thinking, evidence, methods, and designing for social impact. Course examples for this 60 credit hour program include Design Strategy, Translational Research, Design Communication, and Professional Development Seminar. A co-op experience is required as well as independent study and a thesis., which will be exhibited at the Annual UC DAAPworks Show.

Graduates of the DAAP Programs at University of Cincinnati are freelancers or they work for design firms and internal design teams. Careers include advertising, package design, interface design, user experience design, motion graphics, branding and corporate identity, web design, post-production design, digital product design, and exhibit design.

The University of Cincinnati is an urban research university that has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1919. Accreditation includes all regional campuses. In addition, as an Ohio Public Institution, every program at UC is approved by the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). Founded in 1819, UC serves nearly 46,710 students enrolled in more than 400 academic programs across 14 colleges and a graduate school.

2. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio State University

Established in 1968, the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University (OSU) houses the Department of Design, which offers a Bachelor of Science in Design (BSD) in Visual Communication Design and a Design Thinking Minor. At the graduate level, the Department of Art, also housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, offers an MFA in Visual Art.

The OSU Visual Communication Design BSD Program begins with the Interdisciplinary Foundation Year consisting of 18 credit hours of coursework. During this time, students will focus on developing drawing skills, mastering design software tools, and typography. Course examples for the sophomore, junior and senior years include Intermediate Vis Com Design, Materials + Processes for Visual Communication Design, Collaborative Design, Professional Practices, Advanced Vis Com Design, Design Seminar for Visual Communication Design, and Design Research.

Graduates of the OSU Visual Communication Design BSD have been hired at places such as Microsoft, Walt Disney Company, IBM iX, The Digest, JP Morgan Chase, Binance, Walt Disney Imagineering, McGraw-Hill Education, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ring, Interbrand, and SafeAuto Insurance.

The Design Thinking Minor is a 15 credit hour program that covers the basics of design. Courses include Introduction to Design Practice, Design History, Exploring Design Thinking, Visualization as Thinking, and Presentation as Thinking. Students in all departments may add the Design Thinking Minor to their degree program.

The Ohio State University MFA in Visual Art is a three-year, 66 credit hour interdisciplinary program that explores Art and Technology, Painting and Drawing, Printmaking, Photography, Film/Video, Glass, and Sculpture. Students in this full-time program may specialize in a variety of design disciplines through electives and other coursework. Additional program benefits include visiting artists, critics, and curators,  24/7 access to private and semi-private studio spaces, internship opportunities, and access to state-of-the-art facilities, exhibition spaces, the Wexner Center for the Arts, and the Fine Arts and Cartoon Libraries.

The OSU Visual Art MFA Program culminates with the MFA Thesis Exhibition, which demonstrates the student’s expertise in their area of specialization. Exhibitions are displayed at the OSU-run, Urban Arts Space, located in downtown Columbus.

The Ohio State University was established in 1870 as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The school serves more than 61,000 students at campuses across Ohio in Columbus (main), Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Newark, and OSU’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster. More than 200 majors, minors, and specializations are offered in 18 colleges and schools. The Ohio State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

3. Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Kent State University

The Visual Communication Design (VCD) Program at Kent State University (Kent State or KSU) requires students to complete an internship. Many internships are paid and provide the opportunity to work at companies and design studios in Cleveland, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. Housed in the College of Communication and Information’s School of Visual Communication Design, the program has BA, BFA, MA, and MFA options. Minors include Design and Information Design.

Students in all undergraduate programs will complete the Kent State University Core. Consisting of 36-37 credit hours, the Core covers six areas: Composition, Mathematics and Critical Reasoning, Humanities and Fine Arts, Social Sciences, Basic Sciences, and Additional Options. All undergraduate options explore illustration and design, 2D and 3D forms, print, interactive design, motion, exhibition design, package design, video, and environmental design. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the BA and BFA Programs also require a minor or secondary area of study. Examples include Advertising, Marketing, Health Communication, Visual Journalism, Public Relations, and Management or Entrepreneurship for Non-Business Majors. International study experiences, portfolio development, and an exhibition are also part of the programs.

The Graduate VCD Program at Kent State is one of only three programs in Ohio to offer an MA in Visual Communication Design. The graduate program was also the first to offer the terminal degree in the field, the MFA. The MA is a 32 credit hour program that consists of just three semesters of study. Course examples include Graphic Design Advanced, Concept Development and Implementation, Typographic Structures and Systems, User Experience Design Principles and Concepts, and Design Research Methods. Master of Arts students will complete the MA Project in Graphic Design and Illustration and a portfolio.

The Kent State VCD MFA is a 60 credit hour, five semester program that combines design, research, and theory coursework with hands-on teaching experiences at the freshman and sophomore level. MFA graduates are prepared for leadership roles in design and design education. MA graduates can pursue careers in Branding, User Experience Design, Social Media, and Digital Media, among others.

Kent State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1910 as a teacher-training school, KSU consists of an eight-campus system that serves around 35,000 students from across the U.S. and 116 countries. Kent State University offers more than 300 programs in more than 40 colleges, departments, and schools.

4. Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland Institute of Art

The Graphic Design BFA Program at Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) explores print, marketing, and advertising design, editorial and publication design, event and exhibition design, interactive and motion graphics, web design, packaging design, signage, and production. Students will also explore print and conventional and experimental media forms.

Course examples include Graphic Design: Advanced Studio, Contemporary Marketing + Art Direction, and Design for Communication. The CIA Graphic Design Program culminates with the Graphic Design BFA Thesis and Graphic Design: BFA Statement + Exhibition.

Potential job titles for graduates of the Graphic Design Program at Cleveland Institute of include, but are not limited to Book Designer, Art Advertising Designer, Magazine Designer, Art Director, Designer + Founder, Film Director + Writer, and Associate Partner.

Cleveland Institute of Art is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Chartered as the Western Reserve School of Design for Women in 1882, this independent, not-for-profit college serves around 600 students enrolled in 15 programs of study.

5. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
Bowling Green State University

The College of Arts and Sciences at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) is home to one of the largest and oldest state art schools in Ohio. In existence for more than 75 years, the School of Art houses five Divisions: Graphic Design, Digital Arts, Studio, Art History, and Art Education. Students across Divisions have access to the BGSU Graphic Design facilities. Housed in the Fine Arts center and Wolfe Center for the Arts, facilities include the CAVE (Center for Advanced Visualization and Education) Lab, 20 state-of-the-art workstations, and an additional lab with access to the Digital Arts classroom.

School of Art students have the opportunity to intern with companies and studios such as American Greetings, Pixar, Cincinnati Magazine, Procter + Gamble, Disney, and WBGU PBS TV. Study abroad experiences in Austria, China, Cuba, France, Italy, Japan, and Spain are also open to School of Art students.

Program options for Graphic Designers include a BA in Graphic Design and MDes in Integrative Design. Course examples for the Graphic Design BFA include Information Design, Time-Based Graphic Design, User Experience and Interface Design (UX/UI), Graphic Design Thinking, and System-Based Graphic Design. BFA students will complete the Collaborative & Community Engagement Practicum, Senior Studio in Graphic Design, and the Graphic Design Senior Thesis course.

The BGSU MDes is a low-residency, hybrid program with just three campus visits each semester and a one-week visit during the summer. Consisting of 60 credit hours, the MDes has two-year, three-year, and four-year options. Examples of required courses and studios include Graphic Design History and Integrative Models, Design Studio, Design + Research Methods, and Collaborative Design Studio. The program culminates with the Design Thesis Exhibition Project.

Graduates of the Design Programs at Bowling Green State University work at advertising agencies, creative firms, design studios, major corporations, networks, universities, and museums across the U.S. Examples include Nike, Abercrombie & Fitch, JP Morgan Chase, The X-Factor, Cooper-Smith Advertising, University of Miami, Progressive, Root Inc., J. Crew, University of Findlay, F+W, Toledo Museum of Art, Landor Associates, Cleveland Institute of Art, and FormATECH Exhibits.

Bowling Green State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The BGSU School of Art has been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) since 1984. Established in 1910, Bowling Green State University serves around 19,600 students enrolled in more than 200 programs in six colleges and at BGSU Firelands (Huron, Ohio).

6. Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio
Columbus College of Art and Design

Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) has an Advertising & Graphic Design Program with BFA and Minor options. Program features include co-op and internship opportunities, participation in the American Advertising Federation sponsored event The Pitch, projects with local companies such as Airstream and Red, White & BOOM!, visiting artists, and participation in the CCAD-based AdGraph Collective.

The Advertising & Graphic Design Minor consists of 15 credit hours and the BFA consists of 120 credit hours, with 60 hours in the major. Course examples across programs include Typographic Communication, Motion Graphics, Web Strategy & Design, Advanced Branding Concepts, Digital Design Lab, Content Marketing Strategy, Applied Design, Conceptual Copywriting and AD, and UX Strategy & Interaction.

Graduates of the Columbus College of Art & Design Advertising & Graphic Design Program are prepared to pursue positions such as Interactive Media Director, Graphic Designer, Digital Designer, Web Designer/Developer, Brand Manager, Environmental Designer, Art Director, Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Production Designer, Design Consultant, and Social Media Manager.

CCAD BFA graduates have been hired at BBDO Worldwide, Apple, Saatchi & Saatchi, IBM iX, A&E Networks, JPMorgan Chase, American Greetings, Young & Rubicam, Arc Worldwide/Leo Burnett, and Ogilvy & Mather, among others.

Columbus College of Art & Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). CCAD is also affiliated with the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD). Established in 1879, Columbus College of Art & Design is one of the nation’s oldest private, nonprofit art and design schools. Serving more than 1,000 students, CCAD offers 11 BFA programs, one MFA degree, and one MPS degree.

7. University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
University of Akron

Butchel College of Arts and Science at University of Akron (UA) houses the Mary Schiller Myers School of Art, home to the Graphic Design Program. Students in the program have access to state-of-the art graphic design studios, co-op programs and internship opportunities, and 70,000 square feet of learning space. Students have interned or participated in a co-op opportunity with Disney World, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the New York Stock Exchange, and numerous advertising agencies and design studios.

Leading to a BFA, the UA Graphic Design Program also provides access to Emily Davis Art Gallery, juried student and scholarship exhibitions, the visiting artists and lecture series and participation in student organizations such as Design x Nine, and the Student Art League. Graphic Design students also benefit from frequent travel experiences to New York, Chicago, Miami, and other areas of the U.S. and Europe.

The Graphic Design Program at University of Akron is the largest program within Myers School of Art. Consisting of 120 credit hours of study, the program requires 54 credit hours in Graphic Design. Course examples include Motion Design, Typography I-IV, UI/UX Design, Advanced Graphic Design, Corporate Identity & Graphic Systems, Packaging Design, Advanced Illustration, Web and Devices I-II, Production and Digital Media.

The Graphic Design BFA has a Photography requirement and at least five credits of electives. Course examples in these areas include Digital Photography, Advanced Photography, Product Photography, Intaglio/Lithography, Installation Art, and Printmaking.

In the third year of the program, students will complete Graphic Design Junior Review and Professional Design Practices. In the last year of the program BFA students will complete a final project and exhibition. Graduates of the University of Akron BFA in Graphic Design are prepared for careers in all areas of visual arts and design.

University of Akron is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1870 as Buchtel College, the school serves nearly 16,200 students enrolled in more than 400 programs and tracks in eight colleges and schools.

8. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
Ohio University

Ohio University (OU) houses the College of Fine Arts, home to the School of Art and Design, which has a Graphic Design Program that leads to a BFA. Students seeking a BFA degree will enter the School of Art and Design as BA Majors. Upon acceptance, students begin the Foundations Program. They will; take several 2000-level studio graphic design courses, plus two studios outside of graphic design, and submit a portfolio of studio work for review at the end of the sophomore year.

Once admitted to the BFA Program students will begin advanced coursework in Typography, Design, Visual Systems, Interaction Design, Printmaking, Motion, Photography, Painting, Sculpture, and Ceramics. In the final year of the program, students will complete the Graphic Design Practicum and Graphic Design BFA Exhibition. An optional internship is also part of the program.

Graduates of the Ohio University BFA in Graphic Design Program secure positions at advertising agencies design firms, newspapers and magazines, publishing companies, and museums, among others. They work in Signage and Environmental Design, Package and Collateral Design, Corporate, Brand, and Identity Design, Publication and Book Design, Information and Interactive Design, and Type Design.

Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication-School of Visual Communication (VisCom) has several additional programs for students interested in a BS or MA. Scripps College of Communication has a BS in Visual Communication with sequences in Information Graphics: Publication Design and Multimedia. A major component of this program is the advisor-approved internship, which consists of 400 hours of paid and supervised work in the student’s area of interest.

The MA is an interdisciplinary program that has a Specialization in Information Graphics & Interactive Design (IG & ID), and Visual Communication Management. The IG & ID Specialization explores infographics design, web design, and user experience design. Because the program is interdisciplinary, students will have opportunities to customize coursework to suit their interests. Potential areas of explore include Interactive, Design, Picture Editing, Audi/Video Storytelling, Management, and Photography.

Graduates Ohio University VisCom programs are Designers, Creative Directors, Production Managers, Graphic Designers, Multimedia Producers, Photojournalists, Photo Editors, Photojournalists, and Pulitzer Prize winners.

Ohio University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1804, the school is the oldest post-secondary institution in the state. Ohio University opened in with one building, three students and one professor. Today Ohio University has 1,700 faculty members that serve 28,000 students across more than 10 campuses and centers, and OHIO Online. Ohio University offers more than 250 academic programs in 11 colleges.

9. Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
Miami University

Miami University (Miami U or Miami) houses the College of Creative Arts (CCA), home to the Department of Art, which has a Communication Design Program with BFA and Minor pathways. Students in both pathways benefit from small class sizes (around 20 students per class), visiting artist lectures, workshops, the opportunity to work on real world projects through interdisciplinary studios, and the option to co-major, minor, or double-major Interactive Media Studies. BFA students may also choose between Miami’s other minor and double-major options.  

Communication Design students will explore letterpress printing, bookbinding, and combining hand media and digital approaches. To enhance the degree, the program allows students to choose 16 elective credit hours from the following areas: Studio Art, Environmental Design, Communication, Craft, Cultural Studies, Experience Design, Language, Perception & Cognition, Business, Human-Centered Design, Business, Interactive Design, and Art and Architectural History.

Communication Design BFA students have access to paid internship opportunities with local and national design firms, and through Miami University’s Dolibois European Center in Luxembourg, students have the opportunity to study abroad, earn Miami credits, and live in Western Europe.

Miami University Communication Design graduates will leave the program with a portfolio of their best work. Potential careers include advertising, web design, book publishing, magazine and newspaper publishing, public relations, user-experience design, exhibit design, branding, packaging design, entertainment, multimedia design, and environmental design, among others.

Miami University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1809, Miami U is an original Public Ivy that serves more than 23,000 students across campuses in Oxford (main), Hamilton, Middletown and West Chester, Ohio, and Luxembourg (Western Europe). The Miami main campus offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 120 areas of study and over 70 master’s and doctoral degree programs. Regional campuses also offer associate degree programs.

10. University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio
University of Dayton

The College of Arts and Sciences at University of Dayton (UD) houses the Art and Design Department, which has a Graphic Design Program that is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). This Professional BFA Program also boasts an 86% employment rate within one year after graduation. Other program features include experiential learning opportunities such as internships and co-ops, career workshops and seminars, and access to the newly renovated innovation space—The Hub Powered by PNC Bank.

Course examples for the Graphic Design BFA Program include Graphic Design I-III, Typography, Graphic Design for Three Dimensions, Computer Illustration, Motion Design, Visual Communication Design, Design Processes, Form & Concept, and Drawing for Graphic Design. The program culminates with the Senior Capstone Project and Portfolio.

The University of Dayton has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1928. Founded in 1850 by the Society of Mary (Marianists), UD is a Catholic research university that serves more than 12,000 students enrolled in over 130 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. Degree programs at UD are housed in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Schools of Education and Health Sciences, Business Administration, Law, and Engineering.