Top Graphic Design Schools in Nebraska: Your Guide to the Best Programs

Searching for the best graphic design schools in Nebraska? This guide highlights top programs across the state, detailing what each school offers. From top-notch universities to flexible online degrees, discover where you can get the education you need to succeed in the graphic design industry.

  • The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers both BA and BFA degrees in Graphic Design, emphasizing a comprehensive foundation in arts and design principles, cross-disciplinary courses, and practical experiences such as internships and participation in the student-run advertising agency.
  • Bellevue University provides a 100% online Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, focusing on both print and web design methods. Students build a professional portfolio using Adobe Creative Suite, preparing them for a wide range of roles in the graphic design industry.
  • Creighton University integrates fine arts with contemporary design practices in its graphic design program, offering courses in art history and visual communication, as well as incorporating the latest in design technology, such as VR and 3D printing, to prepare students for modern design challenges.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Leading the Way in Graphic Design Education

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) offers students the option to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic Design. The BA program offers a solid foundation in art and design principles, complemented by coursework in other disciplines, while the BFA degree provides a more intensive focus on graphic design with 70% of courses held within the major.

The curriculum at UNL is designed to help graphic design students establish a comprehensive foundation in the arts, communication, design theory, and history. The program emphasizes critical investigation, conscientious engagement in change, and designing impactful communication systems. Students gain skills in drawing, color theory, 2-D and 3-D design, and use state-of-the-art computer hardware and software to create their projects.

Admission Requirements

Admission into UNL’s graphic design program requires students to meet the university’s general admission standards, which include a high school diploma or equivalent. Freshmen must achieve a minimum ACT score of 20, a minimum SAT score of 950, or rank in the top half of their high school graduating class.

Transfer students need to have completed 12 or more semester credits from a post-secondary institution with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.

Program Highlights

Students in UNL’s graphic design program are encouraged to take part in cross-disciplinary courses from the Hixson-Lied College of Fine & Performing Arts, which promotes collaboration within and beyond the design discipline. Students are taught to develop intellectual skills and synthesize knowledge across various fields, including journalism and mass communications, through the liberal arts.

The program also offers unique hands-on experiences, including:

  • Participating in the student run advertising agency, Jacht Ad Lab, gaining practical experience in a real advertising agency setting
  • Internships at companies like Nelnet and Swanson Russell, allowing students to apply their skills in professional environments
  • Guest lecturers from the industry providing insights into current design practices
  • Encouragement to join the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) for networking and professional development opportunities.

Bellevue University: Flexible Online Graphic Design Degree

Offering a 100% online Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, Bellevue University is an excellent choice for students seeking schedule flexibility. The program is designed to accommodate busy lifestyles, allowing students to balance their studies with other commitments.

In this program, students learn both print and web design production methods, mastering visual communication and industry-standard tools. The curriculum is broad, offering a variety of electives so students can tailor their education to their interests. Graduates of this program are well-prepared for various roles in the graphic design industry.

Building a Professional Portfolio

Students construct a professional portfolio using Adobe Creative Suite throughout the program – a crucial element for job interviews and career progression. The portfolio includes projects created with:

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • InDesign
  • Photoshop
  • XD

This showcases students’ abilities to potential employers.

Student Work Showcase

Bellevue University showcases student projects to illustrate the quality of work produced in the program. Examples include:

  • Projects in print typography
  • Branding
  • Identity design
  • Publication design

These projects demonstrate students’ skills and creativity.

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Bellevue University’s financial aid counselors provide assistance to students in securing appropriate financial aid plans for their education. Additionally, active duty military members and their spouses benefit from a preferred tuition rate of $250 per credit hour, making higher education more affordable for military families.

Creighton University: Integrating Fine Arts with Graphic Design

The graphic design program at Creighton University uniquely integrates fine arts with contemporary design practices. Students can pursue Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in studio art, providing a broad-based understanding of visual arts and combining art with service in line with Jesuit education traditions.

The program focuses on delivering a holistic education encompassing art history, studio art, and various other disciplines. This approach ensures that students are well-versed in both the theoretical and practical aspects of graphic design, preparing them for diverse careers in the graphic design industry.

Art History and Visual Communication

Creighton’s art history curriculum covers a wide range of periods, cultures, and media, providing students with a broad understanding of visual and material cultural objects. This diverse education enables students to appreciate the historical context of their work and enhances their visual communication skills.

Studio Art and Cutting Edge Technology

The program incorporates the latest software and design techniques, including VR, interaction design, and 3D printing. This combination of traditional studio art skills and cutting-edge technology prepares students for contemporary challenges in the graphic design industry.

Metropolitan Community College: Affordable and Accessible Graphic Design Education

Offering an affordable and accessible graphic design program, Metropolitan Community College (MCC) stands as an excellent choice for those seeking cost-effective education. The college provides multiple campus locations, ensuring that students have convenient access to their courses.

Programs at MCC aim to provide students with the essential skills for a speedy entry into the workforce. The college offers various certificates that can be completed in less time than a traditional degree, providing a quick and affordable route to gain entry-level skills in the graphic design industry.

Certificate Programs and Associate Degrees

MCC offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in Graphic Design, designed to provide students with workforce-ready skills upon graduation. The college also offers certificate programs, allowing students to quickly gain the skills needed for entry-level positions in the graphic design industry.

General Education Courses

To ensure a well-rounded education, students at MCC must complete general education courses alongside their core graphic design courses. This requirement includes 22.5 credit hours of general education, with recommended courses such as ARTS 1110 and ARTS 1120, ensuring students receive a comprehensive education.

Hastings College: Small College, Big Opportunities in Graphic Design

With small class sizes averaging 13 students, Hastings College provides a personalized educational experience in graphic design. This intimate setting ensures individualized attention and allows students to tailor their education to their unique interests and career goals.

The college’s graphic design program emphasizes a student-focused and creative academic approach. Students can choose a major and a minor, along with an Exploration and Foundation, to further customize their education. This flexibility allows students to evolve their studies and build a unique professional portfolio, making graphic design degrees from this college highly sought after.

Real World Projects and Internships

Hastings College provides students with opportunities to work on real-world projects and internships, gaining practical experience in their field. Students have interned with organizations like the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation, working on projects such as re-branding efforts, website designs, and marketing materials.

Professional Portfolio Development

The college places a strong emphasis on professional portfolio development, combining coursework and practical experiences to prepare students for the job market. This process helps students develop their creative voice and significantly enhances their competitiveness in the graphic design industry.

Doane University: Emphasizing Critical Thinking and Creative Process

The graphic design program at Doane University centers on fostering students’ critical thinking capabilities and creative processes. The curriculum encourages students to:

  • Gather and evaluate facts
  • Support conclusions with evidence
  • Engage in conceptual problem-solving
  • Collaborate interdisciplinary

Students at Doane University are taught to engage with emerging technologies to enhance the human experience. The program integrates creative process exploration with scientific methodologies, ensuring that students can address contemporary issues effectively.

Interactive Design and Web Design

In advanced graphic design courses, students work on self-directed projects in web design, interaction design, and other media. These projects help students develop practical skills and prepare them for careers as graphic designers in interactive and web design. Additionally, design research courses complement their learning experience, enhancing their understanding of design principles and methodologies, and opening doors to design research jobs. In the Graphic Design II course, students will further expand their skills and knowledge in this field, including visual communication design.

Traditional Skills and Modern Techniques

The program at Doane University integrates traditional design skills, such as art and drawing, with modern digital applications like packaging design and infographics. This blend of skills ensures that students are well-prepared for various aspects of the graphic design industry.

Accreditation and Career Support Across Nebraska’s Graphic Design Schools

Accredited graphic design schools in Nebraska offer comprehensive career services and job placement assistance, including:

  • Resume and portfolio building
  • Interview preparation
  • Networking opportunities
  • Internship placement
  • Job search assistance

These services ensure that students receive the support they need to succeed in their careers.

Institutions such as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Bellevue University, renowned for their accreditation, adhere to high educational standards, thereby assuring students of the quality of their education. These schools offer a range of career services, including internships and job placement assistance.

Accredited Institutions

Institutions such as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Bellevue University are accredited, ensuring that their graphic design programs meet rigorous educational standards. UNL’s program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), while Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Career Services and Job Placement

Institutions like UNL and Metropolitan Community College, through their career services, provide a wealth of resources and internship opportunities, aiding students in their transition to the professional realm. These services include shared workspaces, computer labs, and galleries hosting lectures and exhibitions, providing students with valuable networking and professional development opportunities.