What are the top Wisconsin graphic design school programs for 2022?

Top 5 Graphic Design School Programs in Wisconsin - 2022 College Rankings
1University of Wisconsin – StoutMenomonie
2University of Wisconsin – MadisonMadison
3Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design Milwaukee
4Concordia University WisconsinMequon
5Northland CollegeAshland

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

1. University of Wisconsin – Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin – Stout

The School of Art and Design at University of Wisconsin – Stout (UW-Stout) offers a BFA in Graphic Design and Interactive Media and a Hybrid MFA in Design. The UW-Stout College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Management offers a Minor in Graphic Media and Print Management.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Graphic Design and Interactive Media BFA has two Concentrations: Communication Design (CD) and Interaction Design (ID). For both options, learning takes place in studio classrooms and design labs where students will have opportunities to work on real-world projects. Other program benefits include internships and study abroad experiences, and the opportunity to exhibit student work at two galleries housed in the School of Art and Design, and off-campus spaces throughout the year.

The BFA requires 120 credit hours with 80 credits in the concentration. Course examples across concentrations include Serigraphy Printmaking, Typography: Letterform, Graphic Design I-II, User Experience Design, and Web Design. Advertising Design, Typographic Design, Publication Design, Sign and Exhibition Design, Information Design, Interactive Media Design, Typography in Motion, Product and Packaging Graphics, and Advanced Interactive Design. Both concentrations offer the option to complete a Field Experience or Cooperative Education Experience. The Senior Project – Graphic Design course is the culminating experience for the BFA Program. 

The UW-Stout Hybrid MFA in Design is a 60 credit hour degree that prepares students for leadership positions in field. This interdisciplinary program consists of courses such as Ethics in Design, Sustainable Design Practice, Design Seminar I-II, Critical Issues in Design Education and Practice, and Research Strategies in Design. The Design MFA takes three years to complete, full-time.

The Graphic and Print Media Minor consists of 18 credit hours. Course examples include Cross-Media Campaigns, Digital Marketing Strategy and Practice, Advertising Design, Usability and Design Testing, and Web Production and Distribution.

University of Wisconsin – Stout graduates enjoy a near perfect 97.8% employment rate. School of Art and Design graduates are Art Directors, Logo and Identity Systems Designers, Package Designers, Book Designers, Graphic Designers, Interface Designers, Advertising/Marketing Designers, Brand Strategists, Creative Directors, Motion Graphics Designers, Applications Designers, and Interactive Designers. They have been hired at DreamWorks Animation, FCB (Chicago), Apple, Target Corporation, Shutterfly, National Public Radio (NPR), Innopark (India), and WorkSimple - The Social Goal Management Company, among others.

University of Wisconsin – Stout is accredited Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1891, UW-Stout is one of just 125 polytechnic universities in the U.S. and the only one in the State of Wisconsin. Serving nearly 8,000 students, University of Wisconsin-Stout offers 45 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs, many of which are unique to UW-Stout or are not offered anywhere else in the Midwest.

2. University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin – Madison

The School of Education at University of Wisconsin – Madison (UW Madison) houses the Department of Art, which offers an BFA and BS degrees in Art with a Graphic Design Option. An 18 credit hour Graphic Design Certificate is also available. Course examples for this program include Basic Graphic Design, History of Graphic Design and Typography, Introduction to Digital Forms, 2D Design, and Information Graphics.

The BFA requires 72 credits hours of studio courses and 18 in aesthetics, while the BS requires 45 studio credits and 13 in aesthetics courses. Students in both programs must complete the before entering the major.  This first-year program consists of six courses that may be completed by participating in the Contemporary Art & Artists First-Year Interest Group (FIG). Course examples include Foundations of Contemporary Art, Current Directions in Art, History of Graphic Design and Typography, and Global Arts.

Course examples for the Graphic Design Option include Typeface Design, Information Graphics, Graphic Design for Branding and Identity, Motion Typography, Graphic Design for Publications, Product Development for Graphic Design, Graphic Design for Posters, Graphic Design for Games, User Experience and Graphic Design, and Graphic Design for Packaging. In addition, the BFA and BS programs require the Graphic Design Practicum, and Design Portfolio and Professional Practice courses.

All Department of Art Programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Graduates of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Art Programs work in graphic and multi-media design, illustration, publication design, animation and film, book design, advertising and marketing, exhibit design, public relations, interactive design, community arts, user experience design, and photography.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison has been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1913. Founded in 1848, the school serves nearly 48,000 students enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate majors and certificates, and over 250 masters, doctoral, and professional programs in 13 colleges and schools.

3. Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD), Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design

Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) has a Communication Design (CD) Program that requires 120 credits to graduate. Leading to a BFA, the program consists of 78 studio credits and 42 liberal studies credits. Liberal study areas include Art History (12 credits), English & Writing (12), and Humanities & Sciences (18). Studio courses explore 2D, 3D and 4D design, packaging, typography, web design, and advertising.

Course examples for the program include Communication Design I-IV, Computer Studio I-III, Information Graphics, Advertising Design, Typography I-II, Packaging Design, and Advanced Computer Studio. Students will complete the Communication Design Thesis across two courses totaling six credit hours, and Professional Portfolio/Practice, worth three credits. This course is a culmination of study in the MIAD Communication Design Program.

MIAD Communication Design graduates are Graphic Designers, Book Designers, Art Directors, UX Designers, Advertising Designers, Publications Designers, Illustrators, Web Designers, and Package among others. Some MIAD alumni go on to pursue graduate study or launch their own ad agencies and creative studios.

Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD)—a consortium of 39 leading art schools in the United States and Canada. The school is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1974, MIAD is the only four-year, nonprofit, private college of visual art and design in the State of Wisconsin. Serving 1,750 degree-seeking, pre-college, and outreach/special programs students, the school offers 20 degree and minor programs in everything from Animation to Sustainability.

4. Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, Wisconsin
Concordia University Wisconsin

The Graphic Design Major at Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW) is housed in the Department of Art, within the College of Arts and Sciences. Leading to a BA, this STEM program requires 126 credit hours, with 58 in the major. Course examples for the program include Graphic Design I-II, 3D Modeling, History of Design, Color & Media Dynamics, Web Design I-II, 2D Composition, Drawing for Art Majors, Digital Photography, and Art History I-II.

CUW BA students have the opportunity to participate in the internship and study abroad programs, and the Graphic Outlook Program. Open to seniors and second-semester juniors who are enrolled in the Graphic Outlook course, the program provides the opportunity to work with local and national businesses, nonprofits, and startups such as Kohls, MillerCoors, Sartori Company, We Energies, Briggs and Stratton, and Victory Garden Initiative.

In the final year of the Graphic Design BA Program, students will take the advanced Senior Seminar course titled Graphic Outlook-Practicum, which focuses on layout and digital design. The program culminates with the Senior Portfolio and Exhibition Capstone course. Final projects will be displayed in the CUW Art Gallery.

Concordia University Wisconsin is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1881, this Lutheran college serves 6,334 students enrolled in more than 100 programs in six schools. Part of the Concordia University System of seven colleges and universities, CUW offers both online and campus-based programs.

5. Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin
Northland College

The Graphic Design Emphasis at Northland College (Northland) launched in 2014 as part of the Art BA Program. The emphasis explores traditional and digital design through a project-based curriculum that includes topics such as web and interactive media, publication design, advertising, and branding and identity. Students will also study printmaking, painting, photography, and ceramics.

Course examples for the BA Program include Drawing I-II, Art Collaborations with Nature, Graphic Design I-III, 3D in Clay, Web Design I-II, Typography, Printmaking: Relief and Intaglio, Independent Study, Printmaking I-III, and Digital Photography. In addition to a well-rounded curriculum, the Art BA Program provides opportunities to complete an internship, study abroad, and participate in student-led research initiatives. The Northland College Art BA Program culminates with the Senior Exhibition, where students have the opportunity to create, install, and promote an exhibition of their work.

Northland College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1892 as the North Wisconsin Academy, Northland serves more than 500 students enrolled in 40+ academic programs. With a focus on the environment and sustainability, from 2007-2021, Northland College was voted one of The Coolest Schools in America by Sierra.