BFA Graphic Design
Students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design program are immersed in an educational environment that prepares them to become design professionals. They will join a community of established, progressive designers who will mentor and guide them through their studies. Design students will be introduced to media companies, non-profit organizations, design studios, and government agencies in Washington, D.C., and beyond.
The 120-credit Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design program begins with a strong foundation in design principles and digital technologies, then progresses to more specialized courses of study within the sphere realm of 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.
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 device apps. Faculty members—professional graphic and interactive designers—teach students skill sets in branding/identity programs, mobile device apps, interactive web design, interaction design, systems design, information design, environmental design, motion graphics, typography, and publication design.
Graphic design students learn technical skill sets and project workflow such as concept ideation, messaging and strategy, wire framing, design development, production, and implementation. By the end of the program, students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design program develop professional presentation skills, a strong portfolio, and a resume. 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.
The majority of design courses in this program take place on the Corcoran's campus in Georgetown, one of Washington, D.C.'s most historic neighborhoods. In addition to benefiting from a top-notch educational opportunity, Corcoran students are surrounded by Georgetown's 18th and 19th century federalist architecture, boutique design firms, galleries, shops, parks, and a wide range of historic and contemporary sites. The Corcoran's Undergraduate Design Department student body is international with students from numerous countries. Our international students are from South Korea, Japan, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Latin America, and Sweden. Our American students are from the west coast, east coast, and mid-west. This international student body learns and develops together in an intimate and collaborative studio educational environment.
As in other undergraduate design programs at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, the curriculum for the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design program focuses on design processes, methods, communication strategies, and professional skill sets.
In addition to a robust offering of academic courses, graphic design students have the opportunity to participate in real-world projects like World Studio's Design Ignites Change and the Corcoran's Design Lab. Design Ignites Change focuses on design and its role in contemporary social awareness issues. In the Corcoran's Design Lab, students work with museum professionals to brand and design NEXT, the annual senior thesis exhibition.
Year 1 Courses
• Art History I + II
• Writing I + II
• Design Fundamentals I
• Design Fundamentals II
• Foundation Studio I + II
Years 2, 3, and 4 Courses
• Sophomore Design Studios I + II
• Graphic Design Junior Design Studios III + IV
• Typography I, II, III, + IV
• Graphic Design Senior Thesis I + II
• Professional Practices for Designers
• 20th Century Modern Art
• Contemporary Culture
• Digital Media Culture
• History of Design
• Humanities I + II
Sample Studio Elective Courses
• Interactive Web Design I
• Interaction Design
• Design for Mobile Devices
• Entertainment Design: Movie Key Art
• Motion Graphics: After Effects I, II, III + IV
• Environmental Design
• Package Design
Courses subject to change.
Careers and Internships
With the quickly changing and burgeoning world of technology, the field of graphic design offers a wide range of professional opportunities and 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.
Possible 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
The Undergraduate Design Department is a cultural laboratory of critical discourse and inquiry into contemporary design issues. Students engage in topics ranging from social issues, sustainability, human factors, and theory to current market and industry trends, design as an "agent for social change," and professional practices and skill sets.
The College's studio culture provides a collaborative experience, allowing design students to become part of a community of professional designers and educators. Faculty members—professional designers, themselves—serve as mentors, teachers, and creative directors to students throughout their undergraduate studies. The studio spaces offer an immersive work environment through instruction, demonstration, discussion, critique, and visiting designers lecture series.
Students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in the Graphic Design program form constructive relationships with their peers and faculty, as class sizes remain intimate with enrollments of 18 students or less.
Students are also encouraged to join student groups in professional design organizations, which assist students in developing professional networking opportunities and industry connections.
Undergraduate Design Department Visiting Designers
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 visit the department. Visiting Designers discuss their design studio projects, practices, and methods. In addition to lectures, Visiting Designers may serve as Senior Thesis critics and provide individual portfolio critique sessions and professional advice to students working toward graduation.
Recent visiting designers include:
• 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
• Elizabeth Emerson - E/L Studio
• Lisa Adams - Adams Design
• Keith Fritz - Keith Fritz Fine Furniture
The Undergraduate Design Department hosts annual events for all students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts programs, including those in graphic design, digital media design, and interior design. These annual professional practices exhibition events are OPEN, NEXT at the Corcoran, and BY DESIGN.
OPEN is an annual design exhibition hosted by the Undergraduate Design Department showcasing graphic design, digital media design, and interior design student work. This event is held at the Georgetown campus at the end of the fall semester. The exhibition is open to the entire Corcoran community— current students, design alumni, faculty, staff, and students' families. This event features work by freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior students, and is a time to see the progress design students are making in their respective areas of study. Professional designers from the Washington, D.C. design community also attend this event to connect with design students about potential internships and job opportunities.
NEXT at the Corcoran is the annual student thesis exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. 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 graduating students' thesis projects in the Beaux-Arts galleries of the Corcoran's Gallery of Art.
The BY DESIGN exhibition is an annual professional practices event for undergraduate design students, which includes graphic design, digital media design, and interior design. Held at the end of the spring semester, this professional practices event invites numerous Washington, D.C. design professionals to connect with design students for internships and job opportunities. Current Bachelor of Fine Arts design students, design alumni, faculty, and student families attend this spring semester event. The exhibition showcases portfolios of current design seniors and is a valuable professional networking opportunity as students prepare to graduate.
Graphic Design/Digital Media Design Faculty
Visiting Assistant Professor of Digital Media
Associate Professor, Interim Chair of Undergraduate Design, Graphic Design, and Digital Media Design
Assistant Professor; Interior Design Director of Advising
Camden M. Richards