← Back

Q&A - Graphic Design Degrees

Are there any books that I can read to help me decide if a graphic design degree is right for me?

There are many books available to help you figure out whether you would be interested in taking an undergraduate graphic design course or applying to graphic design graduate programs.

To help you find out more about the field of graphic design, you could look at its history. Meggs’ History of Graphic Design is a comprehensive look at graphic design, all the way from cave paintings to the digital revolution.

Paul Rand is recognized as 1 of the world’s finest graphic designers. Paul Rand: A Designer’s Art is a collection of Rand’s writings about his work and his approach to graphic design, side by side with illustrations of some of his best pieces from the 1930s to the 1980s. Gaining insight into the creative processes of 1 of the best in the industry could help you decide if you would like to follow in Rand’s footsteps or even surpass him.

Whether you are considering on-campus or online graphic design degree programs, you probably hope to build a career in graphic design when you have finished studying. To find out what life after studying might be like, you could read Adrian Shaughnessy’s How To Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul.

Shaughnessy’s book is full of practical advice for people starting out in graphic design. He talks about how to find jobs, how to come up with ideas and how to make sure you get the chance to work on projects that you find fulfilling and inspiring.

What are some online resources that will give me ideas about how to use a degree in graphic design?

AIGA, the professional association for design, offers resources for students, professionals and scholars in the field of graphic design. Its website provides many tools and resources targeted specifically at students getting a degree in graphic design online or from a traditional program.

Even the best graphic design online degree has its disadvantages: you can sometimes find it lonely working without the benefit of a supportive peer group. Distance learning students might find that participating in AIGA’s competitions, events and student groups is a good way to make connections with other graphic design students.

The Art Directors Club (ADC) hosts a National Student Portfolio Review every year for 300 highly talented students of graphic design and other related areas of study. At the event, selected students get to show their work to the foremost figures in the industry. ADC, which is a community of creative professionals, also holds career workshops and competitions for students.

Michael Huggins’ podcast, “For Graphic Designers Only”, provides practical advice on the business of graphic design. Huggins’ tips and tools on marketing and design could help you get a head start on preparing for a successful career as a freelance graphic designer.

What organizations accredit on-campus and online graphic design degree programs?

Many graphic design colleges offer programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). NASAD is the main U.S. organization for accrediting degree programs in art and design. This association of schools, colleges and universities was founded in 1944 and establishes standards for undergraduate and post-graduate degree courses.

Over 300 institutions are accredited by NASAD, providing on-campus as well as online graphic design degree programs. Accredited online graphic design degrees supported by NASAD include those offered by Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design.

The Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF) accredits post-secondary courses through its PrintEd program. GAERF was founded in 1983 and its mission is to support graphic communications programs that prepare students for the workforce. Programs certified by GAERF focus on graphic communications, but they also offer some graphic design modules.

Is a degree in graphic design recession proof?

Earning a degree or taking on-campus or online courses in graphic design is the best starting point for a successful career in graphic design. Employment in graphic design is projected to increase by 13% between 2010 and 2020.

Some industries where graphic designers have traditionally been employed, such as printing, are in decline. But this slowdown is more than made up for by the growth of the Internet and of mobile devices. Opportunities are increasing for talented graphic designers to create branding, images and designs for websites, electronic publications and mobile applications.

Graphic design is a highly competitive field, so people with qualifications and experience are likely to have the best chance of success. Completing a top graphic design degree online or from a traditional school could help you stand out from the crowd. Some programs require you to create a portfolio of work. A quality portfolio is likely the best way to impress prospective employers.