What are the top graphic design school programs in DC for 2020?

Top Washington DC Graphic Design School Programs - 2020 College Rankings
1George Washington UniversityDC
2American UniversityDC

Our 2020 ranking of the top graphic design school programs in Washington DC. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. George Washington University, Washington, DC
George Washington University

Founded in 1821, George Washington University (GWU) serves 26,000 students through 14 schools and colleges, making it the largest higher education institution in DC. Part of the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, Corcoran School of Art & Design offers a BFA and a Minor in Graphic Design. The BFA program provides the opportunity to participate in real world projects. Just a few include World Studio’s Design Ignites Change and Design Lab.

The program trains students in “the art of persuasive, visual problem solving,” says the school. Students “develop and execute brand strategies in diverse media formats, including print, web, motion and mobile devices.” Topics include a wide range, such as Branding/Identity Programs, Environmental Design, Information Design, Interaction Design, Mobile Apps, Motion Design, Publication Design, and Web Design.

Another highlight of the program is the opportunity to work and learn both nationally and internationally at companies in London, Hong Kong, China, New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, the Philippines, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Washington, D.C. Students have worked at companies such as Apple, Architectural Digest - Condé Nast, NBC, PBS, National Geographic, Discovery Communications, and The Daily Beast.

At the end of the program students develop a refined portfolio and participate in NEXT, Corcoran’s award-winning, school-wide thesis exhibition. Graduates will leave the program with a “strong understanding of concept ideation, design processes and methods, visual communication strategies, messaging, wireframing, design development and production workflow.”

Careers options for graduates include Interactive Web Designer, Mobile APPS Designer User Interface Designer, Branding/Identity Designer, Interaction Designer, Motion Designer Publication Designer, Package Designer, Environmental Designer, and Exhibition Designer.

2. American University, Washington, DC
American University

American University (AU) was founded in 1893. The school serves more than 14,000 students enrolled in over 170 programs, through eight colleges and schools. The College of Arts & Sciences houses the Department of Art, which offers a BA and Minor in Graphic Design. The school says the AU Graphic Design Program teaches “the theory and practice of graphic communications design.” Courses cover “publication and editorial design, corporate identity, packaging, illustration, poster design, multimedia, experience and interactive design, etc.”

Sample courses for the program include Advanced Design I: Visual Branding and Design Systems, Advanced Design II: Publication Design for Print and Digital Media, Design for Print: Digital and Analog Print Production, Digital and Emerging Media Design, Experience Design: Interactive Media and Mobile Devices, Graphic Design History, Illustration, Kinetic and Sequential Graphics, Packaging Design, Typography, and Visual Communication Design.

Students will also complete Interactive Experience Design: Senior Projects, Independent Study Project, and an Internship.

Other program highlights include two fully and exclusively dedicated computer labs accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, access to a variety of additional devices and equipment, including Wacom digital pens and tablets, multiple scanners, color laser printers, and photo-quality and large format inkjet printers, and access to The Katzen Arts Center.

The 130,000 square foot space is designed to “foster interdisciplinary collaboration in the arts.” The Center also provides “state-of-the-art instructional, exhibition, and performance space for all the arts disciplines.”