Graphic Design Degree

Every book, magazine, TV show, movie, product package, sign, poster, billboard, and website depends on it. It is simply the art of visualizing and communicating ideas-clearly, effectively, and if done well, memorably.

Our graphic design students learn how to solve any visual communication problem through a creative, targeted, and effective design process. They also learn that good design doesn’t always result from knowing the right answers to give, but knowing the right questions to ask.

Our graphic design studio has a full suite of Mac computers and drawing tablets. The suite layout encourages collaboration among students and the studio equipment allows for design thinking and learning.

Our instructors bring all their professional experience directly from their studios or corporate work into the classroom, providing our students with a real-world, practical insight and focus. And they encourage them to see the world differently; to challenge cultural, social, and even visual, perceptions; to reach beyond their own life experiences and freely explore their undiscovered potential.

Clubs & Organizations – Graphic Design & Digital Art

AIGA – The Professional Association for Design

As the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design, “AIGA brings design to the world, and the world to designers.” From design fans to the profession’s leading practitioners, AIGA members come from all backgrounds, all fields, and all levels of experience—from all
around the world.

Scholarships – Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design & Digital Art

Scholarship Opportunities

Program Policy – Graphic Design & Digital Art

For the ISAD cross-concentration degree, a student chooses two pre-existing concentrations and combines them to create an individualized learning experience. The cross-concentration degree is offered under the special circumstances listed below:

  • A grade point average in Art & Design classes of 3.5 or higher.
  • A letter of intent from the student to the dean explaining the desire and rationale for a cross-concentration degree.
  • The curriculum for the combination of two concentrations will be evaluated by the respective faculty members on a case-by-case basis.

Study Abroad Opportunities – Graphic Design Programs

Art & Design students considering study abroad opportunities must have a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA and apply to and make arrangements with the dean of the International School of Art & Design. Students are encouraged to study at least one year of the Finnish language (or language of destination country) prior to departure for study abroad while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and digital arts.

CCSA – Cooperative Center for Study Abroad

The Cooperative Center for Study Abroad is a consortium of U.S. colleges and universities, which jointly offers study abroad programs in English-speaking regions. A not-for-profit organization, CCSA is headquartered at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Participants can receive higher education credit (undergraduate or graduate) for successfully completing the CCSA program in which they are enrolled. Classes are taught by faculty from consortium member schools.

Today, CCSA offers programs on five continents, sending at least five hundred students and faculty abroad each year. Course offerings have also grown extensively to include subjects as different as marine biology and fashion design, watercolor painting and nursing, in addition to regular offerings in theatre, business, psychology, english, history, and political science.

International Partners

  • Kuopio Academy of Design/Savonia University of Applied Sciences
  • University of Art & Design Helsinki – UIAH
  • University of Lapland
  • HAMK – University of Applied Sciences

International Study Programs International Admissions (906) 487-7208 |

Stories & Highlights

Meet Hayley Laban

“What I love about Finlandia is that no matter what your declared major is, art students are required to take courses that really help them explore other areas of art. This was huge for me. It helped me hone my design skills when I got to apply my ideas in a hands on way, from sculpting in ceramics classes, to screen printing in textile courses. I have been able to apply that knowledge to my industry and even put it into practice.”

Learn more about Laban’s experience

Additional Links and Forms – Graphic Design Degrees

What you will learn

Graphic Design majors learn the latest industry-standard computer programs and how to use them on a professional level. But computers are only tools. A powerful concept is a designer's greatest strength, and computers don't create concepts. Generating ideas - lots of ideas - workable, effective ideas, is the foundation of good design and the backbone of the industry.

What Can I Do with a Graphic Design Degree?

Graduates will be able to:

  • Solve communication problems related to problem identification, research and information-gathering, analysis, generation of diverse solutions, prototyping and evaluating outcomes.
  • Describe and respond to the audience and context that a visual communication solution must address, including recognition of the physical, cognitive, cultural, social, and human factors that shape design decisions.
  • Create and develop form in response to communication problems using principles of visual organization and composition, information hierarchy, symbolic representation, construction of meaningful imagery, and typography.
  • Understand the use of tools and technology, including their roles in the creation, reproduction, and distribution of visual messages.
  • Understand the relevance of design history, theory, and criticism from a variety of perspectives, including those of art history, communication theory, technology, and the social and cultural application of designed objects and systems.
  • Make informed decisions about social, environmental, and ethical issues, concerning contemporary graphic design practice and practices.

Sample Courses (CORE)

  • Design Thinking
    A thorough introduction to contemporary graphic design studio practices, emphasizes the development of creative and analytical skill sets utilized to solve complex visual problems involving image-making, storytelling and design matrices. Available all semesters. Prerequisite: ARD 114.
  • Emerging Design
    Concentrated creative investigation of emergent digital delivery formats and frameworks (web, mobile). Way-finding, navigation, interface, and information architecture methodologies emphasized. Available fall semesters. Prerequisite: ARD 314.
  • Interactive Design
    An extensive overview of interactive tools, principles and concepts in screen-based delivery mechanisms. The student designer will explore and construct innovative frameworks of interaction using coding and industry standard electronic applications. Available fall semesters. Prerequisite: ARD 334.

Career Opportunities

Advertisement Designer, Art Designer, Book and Magazine Designer, Corporate Identity Designer, Entertainment Designer, Graphic Designer, Packaging Designer, Signage Designer, Television Graphics Specialist
Denise VandevilleDean, International School of Art & Design Associate Professor, Ceramic DesignFinlandia Universitydenise.vandeville@finlandia.edu906-487-7379
Tom AdolphsAssistant Professor, Graphic DesignFinlandia 487-7375

Stories & Highlights

Art & Design

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