|1||University of Cincinnati||Top 5%|
|2||Kent State University||Top 10%|
|3||The Ohio State University||Top 10%|
|4||Miami University||Top 15%|
|5||Columbus College of Art and Design||Top 15%|
Our 2018 rankings of the top 5 graphic design school programs in Ohio. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
Founded in 1819, the University of Cincinnati (UC) is home to nearly 44,800 students enrolled in 370 degree programs across 13 colleges and a graduate school. The College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) houses the School of Design, which offers a BS in Communication Design. The program, which takes five years to complete, offers three Concentration areas including Graphic Design, Motion Design, and Interaction Design.
Students in the BS program will take a broad range of courses such as Foundational Drawing and Design, Kinetic Communication, Typography, Photodesign, and Design Ideation. Courses are supplemented with general education requirements, directed electives, design history, and interdisciplinary courses in design thinking and user-centered design. Per the school, studios “will refine and develop specific or general skills and be enhanced with further study in design history, methodology, research methods, and global studies.”
Besides the BS in Communication Design, aspiring graphic designers might consider another program offered through UC’s Blue Ash College. The Art and Visual Communication Department here offers a two-year Associate Degree in Applied Graphic Communication. The program is designed for “students seeking foundational skills appropriate for further study in the design field or for employment in areas of design support.” Classes are small, so students receive considerable personal attention and direction from faculty. Though the program is a two-year degree, students may take up to three years to complete the program.
Kent State University (KSU or Kent State) was founded in 1910 and it is home to 29,000 students enrolled in more than 300 degree programs across dozens of colleges and schools. The College of Communication and Information, School of Visual Communication Design, offers several programs for aspiring graphic designers including BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Visual Communication Design and a Design Minor.
Per the School, the BFA program consists of approximately two-thirds of the coursework in the "creation and study of the visual arts," with the remainder in general studies. Because of the greater emphasis on upper-level studio courses, the BFA allows majors the opportunity to build greater expertise in a given area of the field.
The MFA is one of only three programs in the state to offer the Master of Arts degree in Visual Communication Design and was the first to offer the terminal degree in the field, the Master of Fine Arts. The MA is a 32 credit hour program that prepares students to work in emerging markets such as social media, branding, digital media and user experience design. The MFA “serves students with a strong undergraduate and/or professional experience in design who wish to advance into leadership roles.” Graduates “typically pursue careers in design education, but also stand out in the industry for their ability to solve problems from a research-based design perspective.”
The Design Minor provides students with “grounding in the fundamental elements of graphic design, including design research and history, graphic software, industry standards and professional ethics.” All School of Visual Communication Design students must complete 300 hours of internship before graduation. Most internships are paid and students have the opportunity to work at major companies across Cleveland and in Chicago, San Francisco and New York.
The Ohio State University (OSU) was established in 1870. It is home to just over 66,000 students enrolled in more than 200 majors, specializations, and minors across 12+ colleges and schools. The College of Arts and Sciences is home to the Department of Design, which offers a Bachelor of Science in Design (BSD) in Visual Communication Design and a Design Thinking Minor.
Per the school, students in the program use digital tools, “including advanced computing technology, to visualize and present translations of complex data and ideas.” Students will “study and explore research-based approaches to the visual design of information, the development of brand identities based on present and future conditions, and the creation of way-finding systems for navigating complex environments.”
The production of printed materials such as books, brochures, packaging, and posters is also part of the program. Sample courses include Design Media 1 for Visual Communication Design, Typographic Design, Materials + Processes for Visual Communication Design, Design Research, Collaborative Design, Professional Practices, Sustainability and the Built Environment, and Design Matters. In their senior year, designers will complete a final project “that demonstrates each student's comprehensive knowledge and ability to work independently.”
The Design Thinking Minor is a 15 credit hour program introduces students to new and creative ways to solve problems. Courses include Design Practice, Design History, Exploring Design Thinking, Visualization as Thinking, and Presentation as Thinking.
Chartered in 1809, Miami University is one of the oldest public universities in the country. The school welcomed its first students in 1824, and quickly became known as the “Yale of the West.” Today, the school serves nearly 24,500 students across four campuses in Oxford, Hamilton, Middletown, and West Chester. Miami, which houses seven colleges and schools, offers bachelor's degrees in over 120 areas of study. Graduate students choose from more than 60 master's and doctoral degree programs. Several associate's degrees as well as bachelor's degrees are offered through study at the regional locations.
Programs for aspiring graphic designers are offered through the College of Creative Arts, Department of Art. Options include a BFA in Communication Design (formerly Graphic Design) with nine Focus options including Communication, Technical Communication, Interactive Design, Environmental Design, Studio Art, Cultural Studies, Business, Art and Architectural History, and Perception and Cognition.
Program highlights include small classes (20 students per class), the opportunity to work on real world projects through interdisciplinary studios, special projects and study abroad programs, and visiting artist lectures and workshops. Students will also learn letterpress printing and bookbinding, mixing hand media with new digital approaches, and they have the option to co-major, minor or double-major Interactive Media Studies or choose between Miami’s many other minor and double-major options. Paid internships within leading firms are also part of the program.
Founded in 1879 and home to nearly 1,100 students, Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) is one of the oldest private art and design colleges in the United States, offering 12 undergraduate majors and two graduate programs in art and design. Options for aspiring graphic designers include a BFA In Advertising Design & Graphic Design and an MFA In Visual Arts.
The BFA is a 120 credit hour program consisting of 42 hours of program requirements, 36 core studio requirements, and 42 core liberal arts requirements. Sample courses include Advanced Design Concepts, UX Strategy Interaction, Motion Graphics, Trends in Design, Visual Literacy, Illustration for Graphic Design, Applied Design, Web Strategy and Design, and Digital Photography. Graduates of the program have been hired by A&E Television Networks, BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi, Young and Rubicam, Arc Worldwide/Leo Burnett, American Greetings, Ogilvy & Mather, and Apple.