Top Graphic Design Schools in Kentucky: An In-Depth Guide

Looking for the best graphic design schools in Kentucky? This guide breaks down top programs to help you find the perfect fit. From bachelor’s degrees to specialized certificates, discover the best options for aspiring graphic designers in Kentucky.

  • Western Kentucky University (WKU) offers a comprehensive BFA in Visual Arts with a graphic design concentration, alongside a shorter certificate program, providing hands-on experience and access to extensive facilities.
  • Murray State University’s graphic design program is NASAD-accredited, requiring 120 credit hours, and offers a variety of specialized electives, emphasizing professional preparation and maintaining high academic standards.
  • University of Kentucky’s AB Major in Visual Studies allows students to focus on areas like commercial photography and web design, complemented by state-of-the-art facilities and capstone courses that prepare students for real-world challenges.

Western Kentucky University Graphic Design Program

Western Kentucky University (WKU) offers a robust BFA Major in Visual Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design. This program requires 79 credit hours and is designed to blend traditional design practices with contemporary digital techniques, ensuring students receive a well-rounded education. For those looking for a shorter commitment, WKU also provides a graphic design certificate requiring 18 credit hours, with courses such as ART 130 Design, ART 243 Digital Media, and ART 231 Graphic Design.

The curriculum at WKU emphasizes both foundational and advanced design skills. Students begin with a 24-credit Foundation Program that focuses on Design Thinking and Digital Media. As they progress, students take additional courses at the Junior and Senior levels, including an Internship, Professional Seminar, and Senior Thesis. Restricted electives like ART 430 Graphic Design and ART 436 Electronic Illustration allow students to tailor their education to specific interests.

Moreover, WKU’s facilities play a significant role in enhancing the learning experience. Students have access to a 24-hour computer lab, which is essential for completing projects and honing their skills. Additionally, the hands-on experience with real materials equips students with practical design skills that are crucial in the professional world.

Murray State University Art & Design Department

Murray State University’s graphic design program stands out with its accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), ensuring a high standard of education. The BFA in Graphic Design requires 120 credit hours, providing a comprehensive curriculum that includes core courses like ‘Graphic Design II: Type and Image’ and ‘Graphic Design IV: System Design’.

Students at Murray State have the opportunity to explore a variety of electives, including ‘Web Design,’ ‘Illustration,’ and ‘Motion Graphics’. These courses allow students to diversify their skills and tailor their education to their career interests. The program also emphasizes the importance of professional preparation through courses like the ‘Senior Portfolio’ and a final BFA Practicum Exhibition.

Maintaining a 3.00 GPA in the area of Graphic Design is essential for students to progress in the program. This rigorous standard ensures that students are consistently performing at a high level. Additionally, the ‘History of Modern Design’ course provides valuable context and knowledge, helping students understand the evolution of their field.

University of Kentucky Visual Studies

The University of Kentucky offers an AB Major in Visual Studies, which requires 49 credit hours and includes essential graphic design courses. Students can choose to emphasize areas such as:

  • commercial photography
  • graphic design
  • web design and development
  • professional printmaking
  • animation and fabrication

This flexibility allows students to tailor their education to their specific interests and career goals.

The program emphasizes hands-on training in various disciplines including:

  • photography
  • video
  • digital fabrication
  • web programming

The state-of-the-art facilities, which include seven digital media labs, a fabrication lab, and a variety of professional-grade equipment for digital imaging, provide students with the tools they need to succeed as graphic designers. These resources ensure that students are well-prepared for the demands of the modern graphic design industry.

Capstone courses at the University of Kentucky allow students to interface with their professional choices while enrolled in the degree. These innovative courses provide an invaluable opportunity for students to apply their skills in real-world scenarios, preparing them for a seamless transition into their careers.

Eastern Kentucky University Digital Design Concentration

Eastern Kentucky University’s graphic design concentration is a part of their broader graphic design program, offering students specialized knowledge in areas like digital photography, animation, and screen printing. This graphic design concentration requires students to complete a minimum of nine art studio courses at the 300-level or above, with at least six being digital-based courses.

Graduates from EKU’s digital design program are equipped with a wide range of creative skills, preparing them for various career paths including multimedia artist, animator, and graphic designer. The program emphasizes practical skills and hands-on experience, ensuring that students are well-prepared for the professional world.

The curriculum is designed to provide students with both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. This combination ensures that graduates are not only creative but also proficient in the technical aspects of graphic design, making them highly competitive in the job market.

Northern Kentucky University School of the Arts

Northern Kentucky University’s visual communication design program is part of their School of the Arts, offering both computer labs and traditional studio spaces equipped with Apple Macintosh computers. Students can earn degrees in diverse areas, including:

  • Graphic design
  • Animation
  • Art production
  • Illustration

This diversity allows students to explore different facets of visual arts, including art history, and find their niche.

The BFA degree in visual communication design at NKU requires:

  • Advanced, specialized coursework
  • In-depth portfolio development
  • A senior capstone project
  • A design internship

These requirements ensure that students graduate with a strong portfolio and practical experience, making them attractive to potential employers.

Additionally, NKU offers facilities like the McGrath Gallery, which provides 1200 square feet of exhibit space for regional, national, and student artists. These exhibition opportunities are invaluable for students looking to showcase their work and gain recognition in the art community.

Bellarmine University Fine Arts Program

Bellarmine University’s Fine Arts Program offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art, providing students with:

  • aesthetic training
  • technical knowledge
  • critical thinking skills
  • problem-solving strategies

The program is designed to foster creativity and experimentation, with faculty members serving as mentors and advisors.

The program includes small classes, internships, and study abroad courses, allowing students to gain diverse experiences and insights. Art majors at Bellarmine can focus on various areas like painting, photography, and digital art, ensuring a well-rounded education that prepares them for various career paths in the fine arts.

Transylvania University Art Department

The Art Department at Transylvania University offers a comprehensive curriculum that integrates visual arts and public relations, providing a unique blend of skills for graphic design majors. Hands-on learning experiences are integral to the program, ensuring that students gain practical skills alongside their theoretical knowledge.

Transylvania University also facilitates study abroad opportunities for graphic design majors, offering broader educational experiences and exposure to international art and design practices. These opportunities help students develop a global perspective, which is increasingly valuable in the interconnected world of graphic design.

Asbury University Media Communication Program

Asbury University’s Bachelor of Arts in Media Communication includes specialized courses like graphic design, digital media technology, and social media marketing, providing a well-rounded education in different media. The program integrates practical skills in Adobe Photoshop and package design within its broader digital media and branding courses.

Students in the multimedia concentration work on real-world projects, including special event production for actual clients. This hands-on experience is crucial for developing practical skills and building a professional portfolio.

Spalding University Creative Arts Program

Spalding University’s Creative Arts program focuses on both traditional and cutting-edge media, equipping students with competencies in problem-solving, creative thinking, and the use of digital tools and media. The program offers a Bachelor of Fine Art in Studio Art, which requires 120 credits. Students can choose from concentrations like Digital Media, Graphic Design, and Interdisciplinary Sculpture.

The program also allows for interdisciplinary exploration through the General Fine Arts concentration, which includes two areas of focus. A Minor in Creative Entrepreneurship is available, exposing students to entrepreneurial thinking skills that are valuable in the creative industry.

Graduate school options in fields such as studio art, animation, art therapy, and museum studies are available, providing further opportunities for professional and academic growth, including an animation career review.

Campbellsville University Art & Design

Campbellsville University’s Art & Design program aims to be competitive with regional colleges and meets the standards of arts accrediting organizations, offering B.A., B.S., or B.F.A degrees. The program emphasizes visual literacy, communication, and expression, training students in necessary skills and technologies.

Opportunities for professional development and real-world projects are integral to the program, preparing students for various artistic fields. This combination of theoretical knowledge and practical experience ensures that graduates are well-prepared for their careers in graphic design and visual arts.