School of Graphic Design

Learn to use the visual currency that defines our contemporary world. As a student in the School of Graphic Design, you’ll be mentored by faculty members with years of graphic design experience working with brand-name companies and strong ties to the overall industry (AIGA). Using the latest technologies, you will create a well-rounded portfolio that includes branding, experience design, motion design, packaging, and print. You’ll also experience being part of a real design agency, learn to cultivate strong problem-solving skills, and gain an appreciation for how sustainability affects design.

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Shape The World

Graphic design plays a large role in how we see the world. When you stop and look, you’ll find the works of graphic designers are all around you every day. From product packaging, to logos and branding, and more – these visual concepts influence consumers and shape your daily experiences.

What We Teach

Simultaneously pervasive and elusive, design’s boundaries are porous and defy categorization. But while design can take virtually any form, it can often be described as existing within one—or more—of these eight forms.

Communication Design
How do companies and organizations get ideas across to their customers, audiences, readers, and users? Much of design is about communications—whether printed or online—and making sure people hear what you have to say.
Editorial Design
How do we find out about the world around us? Newspapers, magazines, textbooks and publications—both printed and online—provide us with the information critical to our knowledge and understanding.
Environmental Design
Design is often used in architectural settings and other physical environments. Museums, galleries, retail environments, exhibits, installations, conference rooms, themed environments all use design for wayfinding and brand reinforcement.
The gut feeling you have about a company, product or service is due to its brand—which makes it an incredibly valuable asset. Much design activity is devoted to building and articulating a brand personality through the creation of logotypes, brand standards, identity systems, and myriad applications in marketing, retail, online, and mobile settings.
One of the most tangible aspects of branding is how companies and products position themselves in the retail environment with packaging—the part of a brand that you actually touch. The three-dimensional and structural requirements of packaging make this a highly-specialized design undertaking.
Typography is the means by which words take visual form. It comprises a core component within design—combining many of the aesthetic and technical attributes of the discipline. A highly specialized skill, typography is a distinct practice—and business—in and of itself.
Experience Design
Often viewed through the lens of interactivity—ie user experience (UX) and user interfaces (UI), experience design is actually a much larger interdisciplinary endeavor that also includes digital product design (left) and motion design. The ongoing proliferation of mobile devices and computers makes this one of the fastest-growing areas of graphic design.
In today’s world, innovative thinking drives economic growth and defines new possibilities. Design—and design thinking—is asked to address challenges like social progress, service design models, sustainable futures, transition design, generative art (right), and design education to name but a few. Design is limited only by our imaginations.

Communicating Ideas

As a student in the School of Graphic Design, our professional instructors help you develop your innovation, critical thinking, visual literacy, conceptual problem solving, and technical skills to create a competitive portfolio to help you secure the job that you want.

Start Your Career Now

Your dream is within reach. Follow your heart and get started on the career of your dreams.

Facilities & Technology

The latest in software and equipment is essential to preparing you to enter the graphic design work force, which is why we keep up with current advancements in technology and design industry practices. Whatever the pros are doing and whatever the pros are using is what you will find in our classrooms and studios.


Our faculty makes the difference. They are graphic design industry veterans who help bridge the needs of the industry with the curriculum and experience our students get.

Student Success

Five Keys Logo Re-Branding

Non-profit organization Five Keys gives transitional-aged youth and adults a chance at a fresh start through their accredited charter schools. In turn, Graphic Design students from the Academy gave them a fresh start by re-branding their logo. Student Celina Oh even took on an internship to help Five Keys with their brand integration efforts.

Alumni Success

Featured Alumni

Industry Partnership

Adobe Systems

In a collaborative effort between Adobe Systems and Academy of Art University, students Julia Lemke and Michael Taylor were asked to develop the concept and visuals for the Adobe Creative Cloud educational campaign with the guidance of Tolleson Design Creative Director (and Academy alum) Jamie Calderon.

Careers in Graphic Design

As one of the top art and design schools in the country, Academy of Art University graphic design graduates have a range of opportunities to choose from. Our facilities, faculty, and hands-on learning approach are designed to provide you with the tools you need to succeed in this exciting industry.


Your career starts here.
Take the first step.
Or call 415-274-2222 to request more information about this program.
Creative/Art Director
As a creative director, you'll work with copywriters, designers, and creative directors to produce creative solutions which meet branding objectives, while setting a high bar for creativity within your organization. You'll be responsible for setting and presenting high-level vision for projects and managing teams to achieve brand and client success.
Graphic Designer
Graphic designers work within companies and institutions of all kinds, as well as in advertising and design studios, large and small. Graphic designers work on a wide range of projects which includes branding, editorial, interactive, environmental, advertising, and information design. Although the designer’s role will vary by organization it will always be tasked with producing creative, effective, and elegant graphic solutions, both print and digital.
Product Designer
Product designers use UX design tools and methods along with type, color, layout and motion, design and iconography systems to create interactive experiences that resonate with users. Product designers integrate and cross between the role of UX and Visual designer depending on their role in an organization. They work with front-end developers and are responsible for all (or part) of the usability, functionality and visual design of a digital product such as an app, website or social media platform.
User Experience (UX) Designer
UX designers work with product designers and visual designers as well as front-end developers, and clients to create interactive experiences that resonate with users. They document and present UX ideas and solutions to team members and clients. UX designers utilize research methods and user testing to architect the structure and navigation flow of digital products such as apps and websites and other interactive experiences.
Company logo of Apple
Company logo of Nike
Company logo of R/GA
Company logo of Square
Company logo of The Clorox Company


Learn Online

Our revolutionary online courses provide the same rigorous education that we offer on campus with greater flexibility. Our online programs are purpose-built to deliver art and design courses. Study on your own time, at your own pace. Combine online and on-site classes.

Find Out More

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