Online Graphic Design Schools

Top Online Graphic Design Schools for 2024

Are you searching for the best online graphic design schools? This comprehensive guide for 2024 explores top programs, their curriculums, costs, flexibility, and career outcomes. Whether you’re aspiring to become a graphic designer or advance your skills, you’ll find all the necessary information here.

  • Leading online graphic design programs for 2024 include institutions such as Southern New Hampshire University, Arizona State University, Liberty University, Bellevue University, and Lesley University, all offering comprehensive curricula that cover various design disciplines and software proficiencies.
  • Graduates from these programs can pursue diverse career paths in graphic design, web design, UX design, creative direction, and marketing, with job growth projected particularly in web development and digital design sectors.
  • Online graphic design programs provide significant advantages such as convenience, flexibility, the ability to study at your own pace, and access to diverse digital resources, making them an appealing option for students balancing other commitments.

Businesses and organizations are increasingly seeking skilled graphic designers to bring their visions to life, leading to a steady demand. Recognizing this trend, many universities now offer comprehensive online graphic design degrees, providing students with a rich educational experience that mirrors the dynamism of the industry itself.

These programs aim to transform your creative potential into a successful career, whether your interests lie in the intricate dance of typography or the strategic challenges of UX design.

Overview of Online Graphic Design Schools

Modern communication heavily relies on graphic design, a shift brought on by the digital age from being a specialized craft. Online graphic design degrees cover a wide range of disciplines, including the subtle art of color theory and the striking domain of digital design. Universities have curated graphic design programs that not only teach graphic design history and theory of the art form but also provide rigorous training in design software, ensuring graduates emerge as well-rounded digital designers ready to take on the challenges of the graphic arts industry.

Best Online Graphic Design Degree Programs for 2024

Several online graphic design programs have emerged as leaders in the field as we begin 2024. These institutions are not just teaching students; they are grooming the next generation of graphic artists and digital designers. Programs at schools like:

  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • Arizona State University
  • Liberty University
  • Bellevue University
  • Lesley University

have earned their reputation by providing quality education that equips students with the skills necessary to excel in various design strategies and visual designs.

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers a BA in Graphic Design and Media Arts that stands out for its affordability and comprehensive curriculum. Full-time students can complete the program in less than four years, diving into concentrations such as user experience design and web design that are pivotal in today’s digital landscape.

SNHU’s commitment to providing tools, feedback, and support helps students to master the craft, making it a practical choice for aspiring designers.

Arizona State University (ASU)

At Arizona State University, the BS in Design in Graphic Design program is a beacon of excellence within the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, one of the nation’s top fine arts schools. The program’s curriculum not only delves into fundamental design principles but also cultivates visual communication skills through engaging web and print projects.

This focus on visual storytelling equips students with the arsenals to solve problems and develop narratives through responsible design stewardship.

Liberty University

Liberty University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design is a bastion of hands-on learning. Guided by experienced faculty who bring a wealth of industry knowledge, students engage in real-world projects that hone practical skills essential for a successful career in graphic design.

This program’s emphasis on experiential learning ensures that graduates are well-prepared to meet the demands of the fast-paced graphic arts sector.

Bellevue University

Bellevue University’s online graphic design degree is a testament to the power of a well-rounded education in the digital arts. With a curriculum that covers typography, the history of graphic design, and JavaScript, students are equipped to tackle a range of design challenges in both print and digital publishing.

The program’s focus on page layout and visual communication prepares students to create compelling visual narratives that resonate with audiences across various mediums.

Lesley University

Lesley University offers an interdisciplinary online UX design BS degree program that bridges the gap between technical proficiency and creative exploration. Core classes in design language, typography, and visual communication lay the foundation for students to work on wireframes, websites, and product interfaces, fostering an environment where interdisciplinary skills flourish.

The requirement to present a portfolio as part of their capstone project ensures that students graduate with a body of work that showcases their skills and readiness for the professional world.

What You Will Learn in an Online Graphic Design Program

Joining an online graphic design program offers the following benefits:

  • Immersion in the world of creative development
  • Coverage of design fundamentals, visual communication, and digital advertising
  • Mastery of layout techniques, image creation, and digital design strategies
  • Preparation for a career that spans across print, web, and multimedia formats

A comprehensive education approach guarantees that graduates possess the necessary tools and the skill to convey ideas and messages through visual designs.

Visual Communication Skills

Visual communication is paramount in the field of graphic design. It is the art of translating complex information into compelling visual systems that resonate with an audience. Programs like the BA in Graphic Design and Media Arts from SNHU emphasize the importance of visual storytelling across multiple media platforms, fostering an ability to communicate messages effectively in various contexts.

Students collaborate and innovate, developing visual communication solutions that support business and social goals, a skill that is indispensable in the professional world.

Adobe Creative Suite Proficiency

Any graphic designer needs to master the Adobe Creative Suite as a fundamental step. Online graphic design courses provide hands-on experience with industry-standard software like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, tools that are the lifeblood of digital illustration and photo editing. Whether it’s web design or print media, proficiency in these software tools is essential for creating visually stunning and technically sound designs.

Schools like Maryville University of St. Louis ensure students are adept in these tools, setting the stage for their success in the industry.

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are central to graphic design. Online programs challenge students to tackle contemporary design issues that demand research, analysis, and conceptualization. Through practical experience, students learn to think outside the box, creating meaningful design solutions that resonate with their intended audiences.

Programs like the online UX design BS at Lesley University exemplify this approach, where hands-on projects foster a blend of critical and creative thinking skills.

Career Opportunities for Graphic Design Graduates

A graphic design degree paves the way for numerous career opportunities in fields including technology, advertising, and architecture. Graduates with a graphic design bachelor’s degree, especially those who have pursued online graphic design programs, can choose from roles such as production artists, art directors, or delve into freelance opportunities. With the projected job growth in web development and digital design at 16%, and for art directors at 6%, the potential for growth and earning is substantial.

The versatility of graphic design skills enables graduates to traverse a landscape of branding, environmental design, and even product development.

Graphic Designer

The role of a graphic designer is to:

  • Bring visual content to life across various media platforms
  • Create the visual identity for brands
  • Design corporate reports
  • Apply their knowledge of typography, color theory, and design principles to convey powerful messages.

Their ability to blend artistic vision with technical skills makes them integral to the communication and digital marketing efforts of any organization.

Web Designer

Web designers craft the digital spaces that users navigate daily. Their responsibility extends beyond aesthetics, as they ensure websites are not only visually appealing but also user-friendly. By developing layouts, graphics, and navigational designs that respond adaptively across devices, web designers play a crucial role in the digital user experience.

UX Designer

UX designers are the architects behind the user experience. They employ user research to gain insights into consumer behaviors and needs, crafting wireframes and prototypes that serve as blueprints for intuitive and engaging interfaces. The role demands a blend of technical skills and empathy, enabling designers to:

  • Create solutions that enhance the way consumers interact with products and services
  • Use user research to gain insights into consumer behaviors and needs
  • Craft wireframes and prototypes that serve as blueprints for intuitive and engaging interfaces

Creative Director

Creative directors:

  • Lead from the front, steering creative teams towards innovative solutions
  • Develop brand strategies
  • Manage projects
  • Liaise with clients to bring visionary campaigns to fruition

With a background in graphic design or related fields, creative directors need a mix of artistic talent and strong leadership to guide their teams through the complexities of the creative process.

Marketing Specialist

Marketing specialists are the strategists behind successful campaigns. They analyze data to identify trends, drive marketing strategies, and measure the impact of their efforts. Their role is critical in shaping a brand’s digital presence and ensuring that marketing campaigns resonate with target audiences.

Choosing the Right Online Graphic Design School

Choosing the right online graphic design school is a crucial decision that influences your career path. Factors such as accreditation, cost, and flexibility are essential considerations that influence the quality of your education and future opportunities.

Whether you aspire to climb the ladder in a design firm or start your own studio, the choice of school should align with your career and education goals, ensuring that you have access to the resources and support needed to thrive in the industry.


Accreditation is the hallmark of a quality educational institution. Recognized accreditation bodies, such as the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), ensure that programs meet rigorous academic standards. This seal of approval is crucial for transferring credits, applying for federal financial aid, and gaining acceptance into graduate programs.

Prospective students can verify a school’s accreditation status through official databases to ensure they’re making a sound investment in their future.

Cost and Financial Aid

The financial aspect of pursuing an online graphic design degree is a significant consideration for many students. Tuition can vary widely, with the total cost for a bachelor’s degree ranging from $38,400 to $74,520. Understanding the per-credit cost, potential for financial aid, and how state residency might affect tuition fees is crucial for budgeting and planning for your education.

Flexibility and Scheduling

With its exceptional flexibility, online education allows you to:

  • Earn an online bachelor degree while juggling other responsibilities
  • Take asynchronous courses and enroll part-time, ideal for working students or those with family obligations
  • Benefit from multiple start dates throughout the year
  • Choose online graphic design programs that cater to diverse schedules and lifestyles, providing a practical pathway to achieving educational goals.

Application Process for Online Graphic Design Programs

The path to becoming a graphic designer starts with the process of application. While some programs may require a portfolio showcasing your visual arts proficiency, standardized test scores are often not a barrier to admission. Understanding the steps and requirements involved in applying to an online graphic design program is essential for a smooth admission experience.

Admission Requirements

The gateway to an online graphic design program typically requires a high school diploma or equivalent, along with proof of English proficiency for non-native speakers. Meeting these basic requirements sets the stage for your application, ensuring you’re ready to embark on your educational journey.

How to Apply

As part of the application process, crafting a portfolio that reflects your style and skills is often encouraged. This visual resume is your opportunity to showcase your creativity and potential as a designer.

The absence of application fees for many online programs makes it easier to apply to multiple schools, increasing your chances of finding the perfect fit.

Earned Admission Pathways

Some institutions, like ASU, offer earned admission pathways that allow prospective students to demonstrate their capability through online courses. Achieving a GPA of 2.75 or higher in these courses can secure admission, providing an alternative route for those looking to prove their academic readiness.

Advantages of Studying Graphic Design Online

The digital revolution has rendered online graphic design studies an appealing and feasible choice. With benefits including convenience, flexibility, and the opportunity to learn at your own pace, online programs are designed to fit into your life, not the other way around.

The accessibility of online education opens up a world of possibilities for aspiring graphic designers, regardless of their location or circumstances.

Convenience and Flexibility

The convenience and flexibility offered by online graphic design programs are among their strongest advantages. With the ability to tailor your study schedule around personal and professional commitments, you’re in control of your education. Asynchronous classes mean you can engage with course materials at any time, from the comfort of your home, eliminating the need for commuting and allowing you to save on associated costs. This convenience is a game-changer for those who require the flexibility to manage various aspects of their life while pursuing their studies.

Learning at Your Own Pace

Respecting the individuality of each student, online graphic design programs offer the following benefits:

  • Learn at a pace that suits you
  • Asynchronous courses provide the freedom to digest complex concepts and refine skills without the pressure of a rigid class schedule
  • Self-directed approach allows you to delve deep into your studies when it suits you best
  • Structured mentorship from practicing graphic designers ensures that you fully grasp the material before moving on

These benefits make online graphic design programs a flexible and effective option for learning.

Access to Diverse Resources

Online study doesn’t equate to solitary learning. You’ll have access to an array of digital resources, such as software tutorials, virtual libraries, and professional networks that enrich your educational experience. By connecting with a global community of peers and industry professionals, you benefit from diverse perspectives and opportunities to collaborate, fostering a more holistic learning experience.

Additionally, associations such as AIGA and the Graphic Artists Guild offer valuable resources and networking opportunities that can be pivotal in your professional development.