What are the top Indiana graphic design schools for 2023?

Top 5 Indiana Graphic Design School Programs - 2023 College Rankings
1Purdue UniversityWest Lafayette
2Indiana UniversityBloomington
3Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis Indianapolis
4Ball State UniversityMuncie
5University of Notre DameNotre Dame

Our 2023 ranking of the top 5 graphic design school programs in Indiana. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Purdue University

Purdue University houses the College of Liberal Arts, home to Patti & Rusty Rueff School of Dance, Art, and Performance. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Patti School is home to the Department of Design, which has a Visual Communications Design (VCD) Program with both undergraduate and graduate options.

The VCD BFA is a 126 credit hour program with 78 credits in the major. The program focuses on projects that explore Packaging Design, Typography, Information Design, Poster Design, Multimedia Design, Web Design, and Professional Practice. Course examples include Visual Communication Computing I-II, Interactive Design Studies, Visual Communication Design I-IV, Advanced Typography, Professional Practice for Visual Communication Design, Studio in Visual Communication Design, Physical Computing, Advertising Media Strategy, and New Product Development.

VCD BFA students have the opportunity to complete the Internship in Art and Design. This experiential opportunity is worth 1-8 credit hours and it provides intensive exposure to professional experience through supervised internship at an art-and-design-related firm, department, or studio.

Graduates of the VCD BFA Program at Purdue University are prepared to pursue positions such as Graphic Designer, Package Designer, Advertising Artist, Design Consultant, UX Designer, Brand Manager, Creative Director, and Web Designer.

The VCD MFA at Purdue University is an interdisciplinary program that consists of a 60 and 66 credit hour programs completed over three years. Students in both programs will complete the first-year curriculum, consisting to 18-21 credit hours and a qualifying review, before advancing to the upper-level curriculum.

The Purdue VCD MFA Program explores information design, typography, critical theory, poster design, web communications, advanced color design, design methodology, research methods, and design history. The program also consists of immersive studios, elective coursework, and interdisciplinary seminars. During the final year of the VCD MFA, students will work on their MFA Thesis and Exhibition, where they will present a public gallery talk about their final projects.

Graduates of the Purdue University VCD MFA Program are prepared for advanced roles in art and design such as Brand Manager, Design Educator, Graphic Artist, Senior Graphic Design, Graphic Design Consultant, Senior Packaging Designer, Web Designer, Multimedia Designer, and Creative Director.

Established in 1869, Purdue University is a public research university that opened with six instructors and 39 students on September 16, 1874. Today, Purdue employs more than 10,000 full-time faculty members and employees that serve approximately 50,885 students from all 50 states and 130 countries. Purdue University offers more than 400 programs in 11 colleges and schools. Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

2. Indiana University, Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana
Indiana University, Bloomington

The College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington (IU Bloomington) is home to Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design (SOAAD), which houses a Studio Art Program with three degree paths including the BA, BFA, and MFA. All pathways allow students to concentrate in Graphic Design. Program benefits include access to state-of-the-art facilities such as The Letterpress Studio, Student Technology Centers (STCs), and Digital Printing Labs.

Part of SOAAD since the 1960s and housed in the Fine Arts Building, The Letterpress Studio is equipped with Vandercook presses, a bookbinding press, foil stamper, guillotine paper cutter, and wood and metal fonts. Both BFA and MFA students also have access to individual workspaces, with separate shared studio spaces.

Across programs, Graphic Design students will explore imagery, typography, systems, and grids while creating logos, packaging, posters, apps, and other digital media. Course examples across programs include Graphic Design, Graphic Design Problem Solving, Interactive Multimedia, Computer Graphical Environments, Printmaking Advanced Studio, Typography, Graphic Design Seminar, Digital Art Survey and Practice, 3D Computer Graphics, Video Art, Graduate Graphic Design, Visual Studies, and Relief Printmaking Media.

Students in all SOAAD programs benefit from interdisciplinary collaborations and cross-disciplinary workshops; internship opportunities at places such as Amazon, PwC, Universal Studios, BlueLine Creative Agency, Macy’s, Interbrand, Mediaworks Advertising, Urban Outfitters, and Morningstar, Inc.; the McKinney Visiting Artist Series, where artists lead workshops, critiques, lectures and gallery talks; and access to overseas study programs in Barcelona, Florence, Japan, Italy and Guatemala. Students also have opportunities to work with independent artists through the apprenticeship program, with departments on campus, or at local businesses.

Studio Art BA students will complete a final portfolio of their best work, and the BFA Program culminates with a BFA Thesis Exhibition in Grunwald Gallery of Art at IU Bloomington. During the final semester of the SOADD MFA Program, students will complete a Thesis to be displayed in the Grunwald Gallery. This graduate event opens with a reception that allows students to present a summary of their work to the public.

Indiana University Bloomington is the flagship campus of Indiana University’s seven campus system. Serving 47,005 students, IU Bloomington is also one of the largest universities in the Midwest.  Established in 1820, the school offers more than 550 academic programs across 16 degree-granting colleges and schools. Indiana University Bloomington is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

3. Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, Indiana
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPUI) is home to Herron School of Art and Design (Herron), which houses the Visual Communication Design (VCD) Program. As part of the Herron School, students in this program have access to eight visual communication design studios, the Think It Make It Lab, and research and studio spaces such as the book arts studio, woodshops, photo lighting studios, and the Herron Art Library. BFA students have access to dedicated individual spaces within larger studios. MFA students are assigned private studios, with access to a separate conference room for seminars.

The IUPUI VCD BFA requires 125 credit hours of study to graduate. Course examples include Design Methodology, Book Arts, Production for Print Design Outcomes, Emerging Technologies, Typography, Making Meaning, Type & Image, Designing People Centered Experiences, Photography, Design in Context, Introduction to Illustration, and Production for Digital Design Outcomes. Students in this professional degree program will complete six design labs, including two advanced labs, and a Professional Practice Internship. To enhance the VCD BFA degree, students can add a Book Arts, Studio Art & Technology or Art History Minor.

The graduate VCD Program at IUPUI was established in 2007 and is being redesigned. Currently, this intensive MFA Program consists of collaborative external projects with the City of Indianapolis and other entities, and on-campus research projects in collaboration with professors and peers. During the course of the program, which takes two years to complete, students will take Collaborative Action Research in Design 1-6 (two courses each semester).

Other course examples include Design Methods for Prototyping, Design Methods for Framing Problems, Design Thinking for Tackling Wicked Problems and Sensemaking, Design for Ideating, Leadership in Design Practice, Human Factors in Design, and Collaborative Action Research Design. In addition, VCD MFA students have the opportunity to complete several interdisciplinary electives.

In the final year of the IUPUI VCD MFA Program, students will complete four courses leading to a final project/thesis. These include Thesis Writing 1-2 and Thesis Studio 1-2.

Graduates of the Visual Communication Design Programs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis are Graphic Designers, Brand Managers, Interactive Designers, Exhibit Designers, Package Designers, Creative Directors, User Experience Designers, and Mobile App Designers, among others. Program alumni have launched careers at companies such as Amazon Web Services, ExxonMobil, Google, Facebook, Chase Bank, Humana, Mayo Clinic, Salesforce, Airbnb, Callabo Creative, Texas Tech University, Riverview Health, and Meituan-Dianping.

Indiana University (est. 1820) and Purdue University (est. 1869) merged in 1969 to create what is known today as Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). The school houses the only School of Dentistry in Indiana, the First School of Philanthropy in the world, and the nation’s only bachelor’s degree in Motorsports Engineering. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), IUPUI serves 27,690 students enrolled in more than 550 degree programs and majors across 17 degree-granting schools.

4. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
Ball State University

The College of Fine Arts at Ball State University (BSU) is home to the School of Art, which houses the Art BFA Program. Consisting of 145 total credit hours, the program has a Visual Communication (Graphic Design) Concentration, which requires 60 credits. Program features include courses taught in a studio environment by instructors who are professionals in the field, portfolio development, and the opportunity to gain experience through the student design firm Studio 165+, which attracts regional, national, and international clients.

The Ball State Art BFA/Visual Communication Program explores branding, motion graphics, wayfinding systems, digital design, typography, publication design, illustration, packaging design, user interface (UI) design, user experience (UX) design, app design, and web design. Course examples include 2D, 3D and 4D Foundations Studio, Design: Advanced Practices, History of Visual Communication, Printmaking, Intermedia: Experimental Video, Motion Graphics for Visual Communication, and Web Design: Coding for Designers.

During the final year of the Ball State Art BFA Program, students have the option to complete the Design: Practicum course, the School of Art Internship or Seminar in Design. The Practicum provides the opportunity to work on group or individual projects for clients within and/or outside the university community. The internship provides paid professional work experiences that takes place during the summer for ten or more weeks. The Seminar in Design consists of group or individual investigation and experiences in the Fine Arts.

Ball State University graduates enjoy a 90% career placement rate. Examples of potential careers for VC graduates include Graphic Designer, Web Designer, User Experience Designer, Video Editor, Book Designer, Advertising Designer, Art Director, Visual Designer, and Communications Manager. 

Program alumni have worked with or been hired by Google, Walt Disney World, NASA, the Seattle Seahawks, UPS, Bradley and Montgomery, LPK, Hirons Advertising, Hook Studios, The Ohio State University, Optum, the Star Tribune, High Alpha Studio, VMware, and Herron School of Art + Design, among others.

Founded in 1918 as the Indiana State Normal School Eastern Division, Ball State University serves approximately 20,320 students enrolled in 110 majors and 12 preprofessional options across seven academic colleges. Ball State University also houses 357 student organizations and more than 150 study abroad programs. Ball State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

5. University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana
University of Notre Dame

The College of Arts and Letters at University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame) houses the Department of Art, Art History and Design. Within the Department is the Division of Design, which has BA, BFA, and MFA pathways. Undergraduate Design students may concentrate in Visual Communication Design (VCD). MFA students may concentrate in VCD or choose any area of interest offered at Notre Dame.

University of Notre Dame encourages multidisciplinary learning, so students in all Design Programs have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty and students in other departments and colleges. Examples include Keough School for Global Affairs, IDEA Center at Innovation Park, Mendoza Business School, the Colleges of Engineering or Science, and the School of Architecture. Other program features include local and campus-based projects, summer internships, and study abroad opportunities in places such as South Africa, Nepal, Haiti, and India.

Across programs and concentrations, Design students will explore packaging, UX/UI, data visualization, digital modeling and visualization, user-centered design, product automation, health care, scale-graphics, social design and social innovations, and cultural divergence. Course examples include 2D and 3D Foundations, Advanced Visualization, Design Matters, Product Development, Interaction Design, Digital Solid Modeling, Social Design: Initiatives, Challenges & Innovation, Advanced Product Design, VCOM and ID Seminar, and Professional Practices.

Undergraduates will complete a Capstone Project. MFA students will complete a Thesis and professional exhibition of visual work in studio art or design. All students will graduate with a professional portfolio of their best work.

Within six months of graduating, 93% of ND Design majors are employed full-time, participating in service programs, enrolled in graduate school, or working on independent projects. Neary 75% of students are working full-time. Companies that have hired Notre Dame Design graduates include Ogilvy & Mather, Booz Allen Hamilton, Walt Disney Imagineering, HarperCollins, IBM, JP Morgan, Southwest Airlines, The Denver Broncos, Giorgio Armani, Deloitte, Bain & Company, 2K Games, and Morningstar.

Founded in 1842 and chartered by the State of Indiana in 1844, University of Notre Dame is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Formerly a men’s university, the school became coeducational in 1972. Notre Dame serves approximately 12,810 students enrolled in 75 undergraduate majors and more than 20 graduate programs across eight colleges and schools. University of Notre Dame is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).