Graphic Design BFA

Monique Marchwiany
Lauren Blackburn
Taylor Carlson
Denise Castaneda
Audrey Javier
Chris Daleen
Jordan Donnellan
Dane Georges
Vanessa Burritt

The Graphic Design BFA program negotiates challenges at the intersection of traditional craft and rapidly evolving communication technologies, preparing students to affect positive change in contemporary social and cultural systems.

The program arms students with the appropriate skills to challenge and shape the way we interact with the world around us—whether via the printed page or on mobile devices; through client-based commissions or personal projects; on virtual networks or in physical environments.


Coursework addresses graphic design fundamentals (typography, critical thinking, and image making), design history and contemporary practices, research methods, user experience, and social responsibility. Students engage with complex problems and are asked to identify opportunities where design can intervene. In addition, students have the opportunity to develop their personal interests by taking advantage of a highly interdisciplinary selection of elective courses offered by the School of Art + Design, including photography, video, traditional printmaking, sustainability, advanced interaction design, and the design of Ninth Letter, a nationally-distributed and award-winning literary arts journal.

  • Sophomore year 
    • Fall 
      • ARTD 251 Graphic Design Toolbox
      • ARTD 218 Introduction to Web Technologies 
      • ARTD 222 Typographic Practice 
    • Spring 
      • ARTD 333 Type and Image 
      • ARTD 318 Digital Interaction 
  • Junior year
    • Fall 
      • ARTD 270 Design Methods 
      • ARTD 351 Graphic Design Inquiry 
      • ARTD 418 Digital Interaction Sandbox 
    • Spring 
      • ARTD 444 Typographic Systems 
      • ARTD 451 Graphic Design Problems 
  • Senior year
    • Fall 
      • ARTD 351 Graphic Design Inquiry 
      • ARTD 371 Graphic Design Practicum 
    • Spring 
      • ARTD 471 Graphic Design Capstone


Each year, the program organizes a senior portfolio review in Chicago, in addition to a vibrant lecture series that brings regional and national designers to campus. Students have access to dedicated studio spaces, as well as updated facilities and equipment, including all necessary production and output devices such as large format printers, laser cutters, 3-D printers, CNC routers, professional audio & video equipment, and 24-hour access to computer labs.

Beyond top-of-the-line equipment and ample facilities, students also can take advantage of faculty-run resources like:


Students who graduate from the program are equipped for a broad range of practices in the design field. Our alumni have worked in areas such as interaction design, art direction, publication design, motion graphics, photography, type design, environmental design, and social/service design in a variety of settings, including small boutique design studios, multi-national advertising agencies, and start-up consultancies. Locally students can take advantage of the experiences and events put together by the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization (CUDO).

Student work

The School of Art + Design celebrates the intellectual and personal development of its graduates through the annual BFA Exhibition held at the University of Illinois' Krannert Art Museum. An exhibition catalog, documenting student achievements, is produced in both print and digital forms. Work of Graphic Design graduates is prominently featured in our archived exhibitions.

Meet Graphic Design faculty