|1||Cranbrook Academy of Art||Top 5%|
|2||College for Creative Studies||Top 10%|
|3||Michigan State University||Top 15%|
|4||University of Michigan Flint||Top 20%|
|5||Eastern Michigan University||Top 25%|
Our 2018 rankings of the top 5 graphic design school programs in Michigan. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
Cranbrook Academy began “informal art education” in the late 1920s. This unique art and design school consists of 10 programs/departments including 2D Design, 3D Design, Architecture, Ceramics, Fiber, Metalsmithing, Painting, Print Media, Photography and Sculpture. Each department has an enrollment of approximately 15 students. Students are selected by full-time Artists- or Designers-in-Residence who are the sole faculty members and the heads of the departments. Programs are “free of the formal course structure typical of most art schools and universities. Instead the studio environment is the core of the curriculum with emphasis on developing an individual body of work.”
The 2D Department is the Graduate Graphic Design Department, which places emphasis on “the experimental.” Work being produced in the department “falls on a continuum from book, poster and letterform design, through installation, social practices and contemporary art,” says the Academy. “Issues systematically pursued in the department include work situated at the intersection of design and art, an exploration of the relationship between writing, criticism and production, the process of critique as a generative tool, an interdisciplinary approach to design, and objects first: theory, language, and writing all in support of the object.”
This program leads to an MFA in 2D Design (Graphic Design).
The College for Creative Studies (CCS) was established in 1906 as The Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts. The school is home to more than 1,400 students enrolled in over a dozen degree programs across 14 academic departments. With an enrollment of 114 students, the Graphic Design Department is one of the top five largest departments at CCS. Degree options for aspiring graphic designers include a BFA in Communication Design (Graphic Design), Interaction Design or Motion Graphics and MFA degrees in Interaction Design and Integrated Design. Degrees that complement Graphic Design include BFAs in Advertising: Copywriting, Advertising: Design and Fine Arts.
All students have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester or a year in places such as Italy, Austria, Germany, Mexico, Paris, Australia, and more. Graduates of the Design programs at CCS are prepared to work in Graphic Design, Editorial Design, Environmental Design, Information Design, Interactive Design, Package Design, Publication Design, Web Design, and many others.
Michigan State University (MSU) was founded in 1855. The school serves more than 50,300 students from 82 counties in Michigan, all 50 states in the United States, and 133 other countries. More than 200 programs of undergraduate, graduate, and professional study are offered through 17 degree-granting colleges. Programs for aspiring graphic designers are administered through the College of Arts and Letters, Department of Art, Art History, and Design.
Options include a BFA degree and a Minor in Graphic Design, as well as an MFA with a Focus in Graphic Design. Per the school, the BFA “is a professional degree that prepares students through intensive, immersive, upper-level study in several areas within the discipline to be successful in the field of graphic design.” Sample courses for the 120 credit hour program include Graphic Design, Printmaking, Electronic Art and Intermedia, and Photography.
The 15 credit hour Minor in Graphic Design “offers students the opportunity to have introductory exposure to concepts, vocabulary, and methods of the discipline of graphic design without requiring the intensive, immersive upper-level studies associated with concentrating in the field as a major.” The program requires completion of five classes. They include History of Graphic Design, Drawing I, Color and Design, Digital Graphic Design: Tools and Methods, and Concepts of Graphic Design.
The MFA program consists of 60 credits, at least 30 of which must be in the student’s declared Focus. In addition to studio credits, MFA students also enroll in an MFA seminar courses (nine credits) and art history courses (six credits). All MFA students will mount a solo exhibition in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design galleries located in the Kresge Art Center during the Fall semester of the second year.
University of Michigan Flint (UM Flint) was founded in 1956. The school serves nearly 7,900 students enrolled in 100 possible undergraduate majors/concentrations/specializations and more than 40 graduate degrees and certificates. Programs are offered through five schools and the Office of Graduate Programs. The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), Visual Arts and Art History Department administers several programs for aspiring graphic designers. Options include a BFA in Art and Design with a Specialization in Graphic Design and a Visual Communication Minor.
The BFA requires 124 credit hours of study, including 18 hours in the Specialization. Sample courses include Typography I & II, Web Design, Image and Type, Drawing for Design, Spatial and Temporal Design, Digital Photography, Two-Dimensional Media, Three-Dimensional Media, Interaction Design, and Image and Motion Design. BFA students may also Specialize in Media Design or Interaction Design where they will take everything from Visual Storytelling to Explorations in Interaction Design.
The Visual Communication Minor consists of 21 credit hours of study including nine hours of core courses and 12 Concentration courses. Students in this program may choose a Concentration in Graphic Design, Studio Art or Photography. Sample courses for Graphic Design include Drawing for Design, Digital Photography, Typography, Digital Design, and Web Design.
Founded in 1849, Eastern Michigan University serves more than 21,000 students enrolled in over 200 undergraduate majors and 150 graduate programs through the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Health and Human Services, and Technology, and the Graduate School and Honors College. The College of Arts and Sciences, School of Art & Design administers the BFA and MFA Programs in Graphic Design (Concentration).
Per the school, the BFA program is “designed to encourage students to develop a personal focus and direction as well as learn to function professionally as artists.” The program requires up to 126 credit hours of Foundation, Art History, Studio, Concentration and Art Studio Elective courses. Sample courses for the Graphic Design Concentration include Introduction to Graphic Design I & II, Image Making I & II, Advanced Graphic Design, Digital Media, 2D and 3D Design, and Drawing.
The MFA curriculum “fosters experimentation, intellectual risk-taking, and critical thinking through studio work, and seminar and cognate courses.” MFA work also “stresses the effects of diverse cultural influences on art, the role of the artist in society, and the relationships between studio practices and art and design history and theory.” Students in the program may choose a Concentration such as Graphic Design, Printmaking, Time-Based Media, Drawing, Interdisciplinary and many others. This full-time, 60-hour program culminates in an exhibition and an optional written thesis.