Top Graphic Design Schools in Utah for Aspiring Designers

Searching for the best graphic design schools in Utah? This guide covers top institutions like Brigham Young University, Weber State University, and Southern Utah University, detailing their standout programs and courses. Get the insights you need to make an informed choice about your future in graphic design.

  • Utah offers numerous reputable graphic design programs with notable institutions including Brigham Young University, Weber State University, and Southern Utah University, each providing a variety of specialized courses and practical experience opportunities to prepare students for successful careers in graphic design.
  • Prospective graphic design students in Utah should evaluate factors like degree levels, curriculum, and campus resources when selecting a school, as these elements significantly impact educational quality and career preparation.
  • Membership in professional organizations and accessing flexible learning options can greatly enhance networking opportunities and accommodate diverse student needs, while financial aid, such as talent-based scholarships at Southern Utah University, can provide essential support for aspiring designers.

Top Graphic Design Programs in Utah

Utah hosts a variety of excellent graphic design programs that appeal to a wide spectrum of student interests and career goals. Leading the pack are Brigham Young University, Weber State University, and Southern Utah University. These institutions offer robust programs that not only provide comprehensive education in graphic design but also emphasize practical experience and professional development.

Each school boasts unique strengths and specializations, simplifying the process for students to identify the ideal match for their academic and career aspirations.

Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University (BYU) stands out among Utah schools for its extensive graphic design offerings. Students can choose between a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic Design, ensuring that there is a pathway suited to both academic and professional aspirations. Besides these degrees, BYU provides minors in Design or Advertising Design, granting students the flexibility to customise their education according to their unique interests.

The graphic design curriculum at BYU is designed to be both comprehensive and innovative. Courses cover a wide range of topics including:

  • branding
  • design thinking
  • motion
  • media design
  • bookbinding
  • interaction design
  • letterpress studio

Guaranteeing that students are adequately equipped for the professional world, the program features a BFA Capstone Project and a compulsory professional internship for practical experience and industry exposure.

Weber State University

Weber State University offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Art with a graphic design emphasis, making it a strong contender among Utah schools for aspiring designers. This program is customised to furnish students with the necessary skills for both print and interactive media, guaranteeing a comprehensive education.

Courses such as:

  • Graphic design practice
  • Motion design
  • Experimental typography
  • Web design for visual art and visual communication

provide students with a diverse skill set that is highly valued in the industry.

The emphasis on practical skills and real-world applications makes Weber State’s program particularly appealing. Students engage in advanced graphic design projects that challenge their creativity and technical abilities. The curriculum is designed to foster critical thinking and innovative problem-solving, preparing graduates to excel in various professional environments.

Southern Utah University

Southern Utah University (SUU) offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic Design, making it a noteworthy option for students interested in a comprehensive education in design. The program’s curriculum is robust, covering essential areas such as:

  • digital tools
  • typography
  • web design
  • branding
  • drawing for designers
  • motion graphics
  • 3D digital illustration

This diverse range of courses ensures that students develop a strong foundation in both traditional and modern design techniques, guided by the expertise of the design department.

SUU’s graphic design program offers:

  • Technical skills, including user interface design
  • Nurturing creativity and innovation
  • Strong emphasis on practical experience
  • Preparation for the dynamic field of graphic design

In 2022, 17 graphic design students graduated from SUU, highlighting the program’s capacity to nurture and develop creative talent.

Selecting the Right Graphic Design School

Selecting an appropriate graphic design school requires the evaluation of several crucial factors that will shape your academic journey and career path. Key considerations include the degree levels offered, the program curriculum and courses, and the campus resources and facilities available. Each of these elements plays a crucial role in shaping your skills and preparing you for the professional world.

Gaining an understanding of what each school provides, can empower you to make a well-informed decision in line with your personal and professional objectives.

Degree Levels Offered

Graphic design degrees can range from associate to bachelor’s levels, with various Utah institutions offering diverse options to suit different educational goals. Some examples include:

  • Eagle Gate College: Bachelor’s degree in Visual Media & Graphic Design
  • Stevens-Henager College: BS degree in Graphic Arts
  • Dixie State College of Utah: BS and BA degrees with a graphic design emphasis

These programs allow students to choose a program that best fits their aspirations, taking into consideration specific dates that suit their schedules.

Moreover, Utah Valley University offers a BFA in Art and Visual Communications with an emphasis in Graphic Design, and Southern Utah University provides both a BFA and a minor in Graphic Design. For those looking for advanced studies, the University of Utah and Utah State University both offer BFA and MFA degrees specializing in Graphic Design. These options ensure that students can find a degree program that meets their needs, whether they are just starting their educational journey or seeking advanced training.

Program Curriculum and Courses

The curriculum and range of courses play a central role in moulding a student’s education and abilities in graphic design. Typical courses in these programs include typography, branding, and animation, which are fundamental to any designer’s repertoire. For example, Salt Lake Community College’s (SLCC) graphic design classes cover essential skills such as typography, layout, design, brand identity, printing, and package design, ensuring that students gain a well-rounded education.

Similarly, the Graphic Design emphasis program at Utah Tech University offers courses in typography, branding, and packaging design, allowing students to specialize in areas that interest them most. By examining the specific courses offered by each institution, prospective students can identify programs that align with their career goals and personal interests, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling educational experience.

Campus Resources and Facilities

The availability of campus resources and facilities is critical for graphic design students, as they furnish the necessary tools and conducive environment for fostering creativity and innovation. Some important resources and facilities for graphic design students include:

  • Design labs, which provide access to computers, software, and other design tools
  • Printing services, which allow students to print and showcase their design projects
  • Workshops and studios, where students can collaborate and work on their projects
  • Libraries and research centers, which provide access to design books, journals, and other reference materials

These resources enable students to experiment with different media and techniques, bringing their creative work and interactive design projects to life.

When selecting a school, it’s important to consider the quality and availability of these facilities, as they can significantly enhance the learning experience.

Career Opportunities for Graphic Design Graduates

Earning a degree from a graphic design program paves the way for a plethora of career opportunities. Graphic design graduates can pursue roles as graphic designers, illustrators, art directors, creative directors, and marketing professionals in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. The skills acquired through these programs are highly versatile, allowing graduates to work in various fields, including advertising, branding, web design, and user experience (UX) design.

Employment Rates and Alumni Success

The employment rates and alumni accomplishments serve as significant indicators of a program’s efficacy. During the 2021-2022 academic year, colleges and universities in Utah awarded 51 degrees in graphic design, highlighting the state’s commitment to fostering creative talent. Notably, alumni from Utah graphic design programs have found success at well-known companies such as Adobe, Electronic Arts, and Skullcandy, showcasing the high quality of education provided by these institutions.

For instance, SLCC graphic design program alumni have potential job opportunities in various fields, including:

  • branding
  • type design
  • package design
  • publishing
  • web design

Similarly, Brigham Young University graduated 13 graphic design students who have gone on to secure positions in prominent companies. These success stories underscore the value of a graphic design education from Utah schools.

Professional Organizations and Networking

Membership in professional bodies such as AIGA Utah can significantly amplify networking prospects for graphic design graduates. These organizations provide valuable platforms for connecting with industry professionals, attending local design events, and staying updated with the latest industry trends. Networking events and conferences hosted by design associations in Utah are excellent venues for graduates to meet potential employers and collaborators, further advancing their careers.

The benefits of networking extend beyond job opportunities. Engaging with professional organizations helps graduates gain insights into best practices, new technologies, and emerging trends in graphic design. These connections and experiences are invaluable for personal and professional growth, making it essential for graduates to actively participate in these communities.

The Role of General Education Requirements

General education requirements constitute a key element of a graphic design student’s comprehensive education. These courses help develop critical thinking skills that are essential for graphic design problem-solving and innovation. For instance, courses in communication enhance the ability to convey design concepts effectively to clients and team members, which is vital for a successful career in design.

Beyond technical skills, general education courses offer a broader educational experience that can provide new perspectives and inspiration for design projects. Topics covered in these courses can spark creativity and lead to innovative design solutions. By integrating general education into their curriculum, graphic design programs ensure that students are well-rounded and prepared to tackle complex design challenges.

Online and Flexible Learning Options

The prominence of online and flexible learning alternatives is growing for students who need to juggle their education alongside other responsibilities. In Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) offers flexible class options in graphic design, including online, hybrid, and in-class traditional settings, making it easier for students to manage their schedules. These options provide the advantage of accessibility and convenience, allowing students to learn at their own pace and in their preferred environment.

Additionally, SLCC’s Graphic Design & Communications program includes many classes that use Open Education Resources (OER), eliminating course book fees and reducing the financial burden on students. This approach not only makes education more affordable but also ensures that students have access to up-to-date and relevant learning materials. The flexibility and cost-effectiveness of these options make them an attractive choice for aspiring graphic designers.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial aid and scholarships form a vital component for a multitude of students pursuing tertiary education. Southern Utah University (SUU) offers talent-based scholarships for Art and Design majors, including graphic design students, providing financial support based on artistic merit rather than GPA. These scholarships can be awarded to new freshmen, transfer students, and continuing students upon portfolio review, making them accessible to a wide range of applicants.

To apply for these scholarships, students must submit a portfolio of 12-20 pieces, a resume, and transcripts. The application deadline for SUU talent-based scholarships is February 23, 2024. These scholarships can be stacked with academic scholarships up to the price of tuition, offering significant financial support to talented students. By providing these opportunities, SUU helps alleviate the financial burden of education and enables students to focus on their creative development.