What are the top Kentucky graphic design schools for 2023?

Top 5 Kentucky Graphic Design School Programs - 2023 College Rankings
1Murray State UniversityMurray
2University of LouisvilleLouisville
3Northern Kentucky UniversityHighland Heights
4Western Kentucky UniversityBowling Green
5Eastern Kentucky UniversityRichmond

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

1. Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky
Murray State University

The College of Humanities and Fine Arts at Murray State University houses the Department of Art and Design, which has several paths to study Graphic Design. Students in the Department may Major in Graphic Design or Studio Art and Design with an Emphasis in Graphic Design. The Graphic Design Major leads to a BFA, and the Studio Art and Design Major leads to a BA, BS, or BFA. The BFA Programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and a Graphic Design Minor is available for students in other majors. 

All programs explore packaging design, branding, signage, bookbinding, exhibit design, advertising and marketing, and . Students will also learn about digital technologies such as app design and web design, as well as film and television, video, and computer-related imagery. Course examples include Introduction to Graphic Design I: Digital Art, Moving Image: Screen, Graphic Design II: Type and Image, Introduction to Bookbinding and Artist Books, Graphic Design III: Layout and Introduction to Design Systems, Motion Graphics, Illustration, Graphic Design IV: System Design, User Interface Design, Introduction to Advertising, and Graphic Design V: Senior Portfolio.

Across programs, students will develop a professional portfolio and participate in a final exhibition. Graduates of the Studio Art and Design and Graphic Design Programs at Murray State University are prepared for careers in Advertising, Entertainment, Publishing Architecture, Web Design, Public Relations, and Marketing, among others.

Founded in 1922, Murray State University serves approximately 9,455 students from 48 states and 45 countries. More than 120 programs are provided across five regional campuses, six colleges and schools, and the Online Learning Division. Murray State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky
University of Louisville

The College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) at University of Louisville (UofL) is the school’s largest academic unit. The College houses more than 30 departments and programs in the Arts and Humanities, Natural and Physical Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Within the College of A&S is the Department of Art + Design, endowed as the Hite Institute of Art + Design. Students here have access to a BFA Program with Graphic Design, Studio Art, and Interior Design Tracks.

The Graphic Design Track is a professional, preparatory program that focuses on technical skills, conceptual development, and persuasive composition. Admission is selective, with just 20-22 students accepted into the program each year.

Students will begin their studies with the Foundations Program, which consists of Art courses, Studio requirements, and Art History coursework. At the end of the Foundation Desig Methods course in the spring of Freshmen year, students will apply to the Graphic Design BFA Program. Once admitted, students will begin taking required Design curriculum and Graphic Design Elective courses.

Course examples include History and Issues of Graphic Design, Type I-II, Web Design, Book Forms, Foundation Design Methods, Identity Systems, and Design for Public Issues. Elective examples include Lettering and Font Design, Design for interaction, Wayfinding & Environmental Graphic Design, Adventures in Design: Methods + Process, Packaging, Design & Meaning (Semiotics), and Data Visualization.

In addition to the Electives already mentioned, the Graphic Design BFA Program provides opportunities to enhance the degree through the Social Science Elective—Creativity in Advertising Elective—where students work on teams with Communication majors. Directed Studies is another option, where Design students collaborate with Engineering students in their Engineering + Entrepreneurship Capstone course.

Although it is not a requirement, most Graphic Design students at University of Louisville will complete an internship over one or more semesters. Internships during the semester total approximately 120 hours. Summer internships are available and allow for more work hours. Students have interned with 22squared, KFC, JUMP Agency, Humana Innovation, Zimmer Design, Brown-Forman, and Volunteers of America.

The Graphic Design BFA Program at University of Louisville is a professional preparatory program, so graduates are prepared for leadership positions in the Graphic Design industry, among others. Around 85% of past program graduates found jobs as Designers or in a Design-related or Visual Art profession. Program alumni have also gone on to graduate study at Carnegie Mellon, Pratt Institute, Auburn University, Canfield University (UK), and University of Georgia, among others.

Examples of companies that have hired UofL Graphic Design BFA Program graduates include ESPN, PepsiCo, Yum! Brands, Churchill Downs, Sanger & Eby, VIA Studio, McFadden Marketing, Kentucky Derby Museum, Power Agency, Kaleidescope, Griffin Technology, Texas Roadhouse, MODE, InGrid Design, Doe-Anderson, and TMP Worldwide.

Established in 1798 as Jefferson Seminary, University of Louisville is a public research university that serves approximately 23,045 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs across 12 colleges and schools. University of Louisville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

3. Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Kentucky
Northern Kentucky University

The College of Arts and Sciences at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) houses the School of the Arts (SOTA), home to the Visual Communication Design (VCD) Track. Leading to a BA or BFA, the Program features a variety of cooperative education experiences; access to state-of-the-art labs and studios in the NKU Fine Arts Center; workshops and seminars; career development resources; and a required Design Internship.

The BA is a general studies degree that requires a Minor or Concentration in a Non-Visual Arts area. The BFA is a Professional Degree recognized by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD) as the entry-level degree. Students in this program will complete advanced, focused coursework, portfolio development courses, and the Senior Capstone and Exhibition.

Course examples across paths include Building Meaning in Visual Art, Visual Communication Design I-III, Motion Design, Printmaking, Interaction Design for Vis Com Design I-II, Screen Printing, Information Design, Typography I-III, Painting, Creating Visual Order, and Techniques in Visual Communication Design.

Graduates of the Visual Communication Design Program at Northern Kentucky University are prepared to pursue positions in Brand and Identity Design, Advertising, Corporate Design, Font Design, User Interface Design, Arts Management, Urban Graphics Design, Digital Production Design, Package Design, Environmental Graphic Design, Information Design, Experience Design, Visual Design, Illustration, Design Strategy, Exhibition Design, Interaction Design, Book Design, Web Design, App Design, and Entertainment Design.

Founded in 1968, Northern Kentucky University is a four-year, public university that serves approximately 15,825 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across eight colleges and schools. Northern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

4. Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky
Western Kentucky University

Potter College of Arts and Letters (PCAL) at Western Kentucky University (WKU) houses the Department of Art & Design, home to the Graphic Design Program. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the program features 24-hour access to computer labs, internship opportunities, guest lectures, and portfolio reviews.

The Graphic Design Program has BFA, Certificate, and Minor options. The Certificate requires 18 credit hours and the Minor consists of 24 credit hours. While both options are open to all students with an interest in Graphic Design, these non-degree programs are an ideal complement to Majors such as Advertising, Studio Art, Marketing, Journalism, Film, Professional Writing, Broadcasting, and Entrepreneurship.

Course examples across programs include Digital Media, Advanced Computer Graphics, Package Design, 2D Design, Visual Thinking, Graphic Design, Software Studio, and Electronic Illustration. Students in both of these non-degree programs will have the opportunity to complete a professional portfolio.

The Graphic Design BFA Program at Western Kentucky University is a Concentration within the Visual Arts Major. The program explores traditional, digital, and emerging practices in design, with opportunities to develop skills in other areas through 12 required Elective credit hours. Examples include Package Design, Digital Illustration, Time-Based Media, Programing, Design to Prototype, Visual Thinking, and Drawing.

Examples of required courses include 2D Design, Digital Media, Graphic Design I-III, User Interface Design, Strategy and Content Creation, 3D Design, and Advanced Media Design. In the final year of the Graphic Design BFA Program at Western Kentucky University, students will compete the Portfolio course and Capstone Seminar.

Graduates of the Graphic Design Programs at Western Kentucky University go on to establish careers as Graphic Designers, Corporate Branding Designers, User Experience Designers, Publication Designers, Book Designers, Package Designers, Print Designers, Web Designers, and Illustrators.

Founded in 1906 as Western Kentucky State Normal School, Western Kentucky University serves approximately 16,495 students enrolled in more than 200 academic programs across five colleges and schools. Western Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

5. Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky
Eastern Kentucky University

The College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) houses the School of Art & Design, home to Department of Art and Design. Within the Department is an Art/Design Studio BFA with a Graphic Design Concentration. Program features include courses taught by professionals in the field; projects and design workshops; access to state-of-the-art studios and labs; participation in the Graphic Design Association (GDA), Art Student Association (ASA), and Art Education Student Association (AESA); and the opportunity to complete a Design Internship.

Consisting of 120 credit hours, with 30 in the Concentration, the EKU Graphic Design Program requires courses such as Digital Media, Printmaking I-II, Production for Graphic Design, New Media I-II, Typography, Image Making, History of Graphic Arts, and Professional Practices in Graphic Design.

The Graphic Design Program at Eastern Kentucky University culminates with the Graphic Design Senior Exhibition. Graduates are prepared to seek careers in all areas of Graphic and Visual Design, Studio Art, Education, and more.

EKU graduates are Graphic Designers, Brand Managers, Layout Artists, UX/UI Designers, Logo Designers, Multimedia Artists, Studio Artists, Design Professors, Multimedia Designers, Web Designers, Creative Directors, Visual Designers, Typeface Designers, Illustrators, and Arts Administrators.

Eastern Kentucky University was established in 1906 as Eastern Kentucky State Normal School. EKU serves around 14,000 students enrolled in more than 100 degree programs across six academic colleges. Eastern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).