BFA Graphic Design
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design program begins with a strong foundation in design principles and digital technologies, then progressing to more specialized courses in graphic design. Students are taught current design industry practices and will engage in a dialogue about the role of design in contemporary society, culture, and business, culminating in a two-semester thesis project in the senior year. View our Motion Design reel.
Graphic design students focus on developing skills to communicate visual messages and brand strategies in diverse media formats, which include print, web, motion, and mobile devices. Faculty members are professional graphic and interactive designers who instruct students in topics that include branding/identity programs, mobile apps, web design, interaction design, systems design, information design, environmental design, motion graphics, typography, and publication design.
Graphic design students learn concept ideation, design processes and methods, visual communication strategies, messaging, wireframing, design development, and production workflow. By the end of the program, students develop professional presentation skills and a refined portfolio. Intimate classroom settings and detailed, critical feedback provide graphic design students with the conceptual, technological, and communication tools to excel as working professionals in the fast-paced and competitive design industry. Furthermore, students have the opportunity to participate in real-world projects such as World Studio’s Design Ignites Change and Design Lab.
The Graphic Design and Digital Media Design programs host annual professional practices exhibitions: OPEN, NEXT, and BY DESIGN.
OPEN is an annual design exhibition hosted by the Graphic Design and Digital Media Design programs showcasing graphic design, motion design, and interior design student work. In the fall semester, this exhibition is open to the entire GW Corcoran community—current students, design alumni, faculty, staff, and students’ families. This exhibition features work by freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior students, showcasing the progress design students are making in their respective areas of study. Professional designers from the Washington, D.C. design community attend this event to connect with design students in regards to potential internships and job opportunities.
NEXT is the annual student thesis exhibition in GW's Corcoran campus, located in the heart of Washington DC. Undergraduate Bachelor of Fine Arts seniors from all departments participate and exhibit their senior thesis projects alongside graduate Master of Arts students. This event showcases undergraduate and graduate thesis projects in the grand Beaux-Arts space of the GW Corcoran's Flagg Building.
BY DESIGN is an annual professional practices exhibition for undergraduate Graphic Design and Digital Media Design students. Held at the end of the spring semester, BY DESIGN invites numerous Washington, D.C. design professionals to connect with design students for internships and job opportunities. And Current Bachelor of Fine Arts design students, design alumni, faculty, and student families attend this spring semester event. The exhibition is a showcases of the portfolios of current design seniors and it provides a is a valuable professional networking opportunity as students prepare to graduate. The BY DESIGN exhibition is hosted at the Fathom Gallery, which is located in the heart of D.C.’s arts district.
Design students have the opportunity to meet well-known and established designers through the Visiting Designers Series, a curriculum-integrated lecture series where professional designers and animators visit our programs. Visiting designers and animators discuss their design studio projects, practices, and methods. In addition to lectures, visiting designers may serve as senior thesis critics, providing individual portfolio critique sessions and professional advice to design students working toward graduation. Recent visiting designers and animators include:
• Jens Gehlhaar
• Matthew Carter
• Brian Buirge and Jason Bacher of GFDA
• Gail Anderson
• Nancy Skolos and Tom Wedell
• Justin Cone of PSY/OPS
• Jeremy Mende
• Lucille Tenazas
• Rick Valicenti of THIRST
• Seymour Chwast
• Marian Bantjes
• Chris Pullman
• Mike Jakab of Agency Collective
• Kenya Hara
• Tracie Ching
The field of graphic design offers a wide range of professional opportunities, allowing for truly unique career paths. Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design students gain real-world experience through internships and job opportunities at established companies such as Apple, Harper's Bazaar, Architectural Digest - Condé Nast, NBC, PBS, Newsweek, National Geographic, Chronicle Books, Discovery Communications, Fathom Creative, Landor, Hirshorn Zuckerman Design Group, Graphik, Fleismann Hillard, AOL, Fuzion, iStrategyLabs, Catalone Design Co., KINETIK, Studio A, O2 Collaborative, Carousel 30, AKQA, The Daily Beast, Gallagher & Associates, and Ready Set Rocket Design Agency. Professional job opportunities and experiences have taken the Corcoran’s graphic design students nationally and internationally to companies in London, Hong Kong, China, New York City, Seattle, California, the Philippines, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Washington D.C.
Careers in graphic design include:
- Interactive Web Designer
- Mobile APPS Designer
- User Interface Designer
- Branding/Identity Designer
- Interaction Designer
- Motion Designer
- Publication Designer
- Package Designer
- Environmental Designer
- Exhibition Designer