Best Graphic Design Schools in Montana: Your Guide to Top Programs and Courses

Searching for top graphic design schools in Montana? This guide covers the best programs, courses, and resources available to help you kickstart or advance your career in graphic design. Discover what each school offers and find the program that aligns with your goals.

  • Montana offers a variety of robust graphic design programs across institutions such as Flathead Valley Community College, Great Falls College – Montana State University, and Montana State University with tailored curricula for different career aspirations.
  • Graphic design students in Montana benefit from advanced facilities including state-of-the-art computer labs, specialized art studios, and comprehensive libraries, ensuring they have the resources necessary to excel in their studies.
  • Professional development opportunities such as internships, portfolio reviews, exhibitions, and comprehensive career services are integral parts of Montana’s graphic design education, aiding students in transitioning to successful careers in the creative industries.

Learning graphic design is not just about creating visually appealing images; it is about mastering the art of conveying messages effectively and creatively. The importance of graphic design education lies in its ability to develop skills that enable impactful communication through visuals. Whether it’s in advertising, web development, or digital content creation, graphic design skills are versatile and highly sought after across multiple industries.

Montana’s graphic design programs focus on equipping students with the necessary tools and knowledge to thrive in the creative industry. The state offers a variety of programs tailored for different expertise levels and career aspirations, ensuring that each graphic design student receives comprehensive training and certification. These programs emphasize professional skills development, preparing students for employment in the competitive graphic design field.

Overview of Graphic Design Programs in Montana

Montana is home to several reputable institutions offering top-notch graphic design education. From Flathead Valley Community College to various campuses of Montana State University, there is a range of programs designed to meet the needs of aspiring designers. Each institution provides unique courses and training opportunities, ensuring students can find a program that aligns with their career goals and interests.

Let’s take a closer look at these programs.

Flathead Valley Community College

Flathead Valley Community College offers a comprehensive graphic design program that covers essential tools and techniques. Students learn to use Adobe software, including:

  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • InDesign
  • Premiere

The curriculum also includes core competencies such as photography, design, drawing, and video editing, ensuring a well-rounded education.

In the second year, students delve into web design and development, preparing them for various roles in the design industry.

Great Falls College – Montana State University

Great Falls College – Montana State University provides a 63-credit associate’s degree program in graphic design. This program is designed to offer hands-on training, allowing students to develop practical skills required in the graphic design field.

The curriculum includes core classes covering essential topics, ensuring students gain a comprehensive understanding of graphic design principles through several foundations courses, including foundational graphic design courses.

Montana State University-Northern

Montana State University-Northern offers an Associate of Applied Science program tailored for aspiring graphic designers. The program provides a well-rounded curriculum that includes both technical instruction and creative projects. A significant focus is placed on portfolio building, ensuring students graduate with a professional body of work to showcase to potential employers.

This comprehensive approach helps students grow their technical proficiency and creative abilities.

Montana State University-Bozeman

Montana State University-Bozeman offers a nationally accredited BFA program in Graphic Design, emphasizing the development of professional skills for employment in the creative industries. Students begin with core and foundation courses before advancing to specialized training in areas like Adobe CC basics and professional electives.

This program prepares students for a variety of roles in the graphic design field, ensuring they are well-equipped for their future careers.

Specialized Courses and Electives

Montana’s graphic design schools offer a range of specialized courses and electives, allowing students to tailor their education to their interests and career goals. These programs include:

  • Advanced courses in digital design
  • Web design
  • Typography
  • Illustration
  • Animation
  • Motion graphics

By providing several graphic design electives, these institutions ensure that students can explore the full scope of the profession and develop a broad skill set.

Digital Design and Web Design

Digital design and web design courses are integral parts of Montana State University’s graphic design program. Courses like ‘Interaction Design’ focus on creating engaging interactive experiences for mobile and web platforms. ‘Digital Visualization’ delves into image generation techniques using Adobe Photoshop and other digital imaging applications.

Additionally, the University of Montana offers a Digital Design certificate that includes courses such as GDSN 149 Digital Imaging I and MART 255 Photoshop Art & Design, providing students with essential skills in user interaction and digital visualization.

Typography and Illustration

Typography and illustration are crucial components of professional graphic design. Montana State University’s program includes specialized courses like ‘Typography Principles,’ which introduces typography as both a technical skill and an expressive medium.

The University of Montana’s Graphic Design Certificate program, with a focus on digital design, also emphasizes typography training, helping students develop advanced design skills that are essential for careers in advertising, print, and publishing.

Animation and Motion Graphics

Animation and motion graphics are exciting areas within the graphic design field. Montana State University’s program offers courses like ‘Motion Graphics,’ which explore contemporary time-based digital media and the development of visual narratives using motion and sound. This incorporation of animation into the curriculum allows students to pursue diverse career paths in the creative based industries.

Facilities and Resources

Montana’s graphic design schools are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and resources to support student learning. These include advanced computer labs, specialized art studios, and research libraries. Such facilities ensure that students have access to the tools and materials they need to develop their skills and create professional-quality work.

Computer Labs and Software

At Montana State University-Bozeman, graphic design students are required to purchase a MacBook Pro for their sophomore courses, ensuring they have the necessary hardware for their studies. The program also emphasizes the use of Adobe Creative Cloud software, starting in the sophomore year, to develop skills in industry-standard tools.

State-of-the-art computer labs equipped with design tools like Adobe Creative Suite provide students with the resources they need for their coursework.

Art Studios and Workshops

Art studios and workshops at Montana State University offer students the space and materials needed to explore various artistic techniques. These studios are equipped with a variety of tools to support a wide range of creative projects, from advertising to publishing and user interaction.

By providing such facilities, the university ensures that students can develop their techniques and craft in a supportive environment.

Libraries and Research Centers

Libraries and research centers at Montana State University offer additional support for graphic design students. These centers provide access to specialized databases and journals, allowing students to conduct in-depth research and stay updated with the latest trends and developments in the field. Such resources are invaluable for students looking to enhance their knowledge and skills.

Professional Development Opportunities

Professional development opportunities are a key aspect of graphic design education in Montana. Institutions like Montana State University offer the following programs to help students transition from education to professional careers:

  • Career coaching
  • Internships
  • Portfolio reviews
  • Exhibitions

These programs ensure that students are well-prepared for the demands of the creative industries.

Internships and Industry Connections

Internship programs in Montana connect graphic design students with local and national businesses, providing valuable real-world industry experience. At Montana State University-Bozeman, junior and senior students are required to participate in professional internships, with opportunities available at local, regional, and national businesses.

These professional internship opportunities help students build industry connections and gain practical skills.

Portfolio Reviews and Exhibitions

Portfolio reviews and exhibitions are critical components of graphic design programs. At Montana State University, students must pass a portfolio review at the end of their sophomore year to advance to upper-division courses. These reviews provide an opportunity for students to showcase their work and receive professional feedback.

Exhibitions also allow students to display their artwork to the public, enhancing their exposure and experience in the field of art history.

Career Services and Job Placement

Montana State University’s Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success offers extensive career services, including career coaching, resume critiques, and job interview practice. These services help ensure that over 96% of Montana State graduates are employed or continuing their education within a year of graduation. Such support is crucial for students transitioning from education to professional careers.

Achievements and Success Stories

Montana’s graphic design programs boast numerous achievements and success stories. From student awards to alumni making significant impacts in the creative industries, these programs have a proven track record of excellence.

Let’s explore some of these remarkable achievements.

Student Awards and Recognitions

Montana State University students have received prestigious awards and recognitions, such as:

  • Being semifinalists in the Adobe Design Achievement Awards
  • Jaimee Parker, an MSU graduate, had two projects honored for their social impact
  • Ghassane Moutaoukil, an MSU Graphic Design senior, was also a semifinalist for his artwork

These accolades highlight the originality, creative excellence, and effective communication objectives of the students’ work, showcasing their ability to maintain excellence.

Alumni Success Stories

Alumni of Montana’s graphic design programs have gone on to achieve great success in the creative industries. Many have founded their own firms, work in high-profile corporations, or launched successful freelance careers.

Jaimee Parker, for instance, created a smartphone app called ‘Spindego’ to simplify dating options. These success stories underscore the significant contributions and impact of Montana’s graphic design programs.