BFA Graphic Design (Professional Degree)

About SJSU Graphic Design 

San José State University’s Graphic Design Program was formalized in 1969 and remains the only program in a public university in the Silicon Valley. Because of its opportune location in the Bay Area, students are able to work with design and technology industries, as well as professional and service organizations, to connect with broader design communities. These experiences, coupled with the internship they are required to complete, will arm students with the skills and confidence that make them effective contributors of the professional graphic design world.

Our acclaimed Graphic Design faculty believes that in order to effectively mold the next generation of graphic designers, the professors themselves must be active in the field so that they can instill in their students the most updated knowledge gained through firsthand experience; as such, many of our faculty members are working as designers concurrently with their teaching.

Additionally, we emphasize the importance of user experience and interaction with visual design. Graphic design is more than simply knowing how to draw; it’s more than self-expression; it’s having the ability to understand every aspect of the world. From packaging, to branding, to everything that happens on a screen, our program strives to provide students with the fundamental toolbox that prepares them for the constantly changing needs of society.

Learning Outcomes

BFA Graphic Design

Upon completion of the program, students will:

  • apply the principles of color, composition, hierarchy, typography as they relate in the various media—digital, print, motion, 3D, etc.;
  • demonstrate the ability to create and develop original concepts, build prototypes, integrate feedback, and carry projects through the production process;
  • reach audiences by applying principles of visual communication and understanding the role of design in society;
  • identify key aspects of graphic design history, theory, and criticism from a variety of perspectives, including prominent designers, historians, contemporary writers, and thought-leaders;
  • show fluency in the breadth of disciplines that graphic design encompasses, with deep exploration into information architecture, user interface design, interactive design, motion graphics, iterative image-making, exhibition design, and typeface design;
  • demonstrate understanding of the design process, design thinking, and professional standards and practices, including real-project learning scenarios and a transition into preparing a portfolio to enter the working force.

Note: the Graphic Design Program admits every student as a BA Design Studies Major. Upon completion of DsGD 100, students are eligible to apply for pre-admission to BFA Graphic Design Program.

Final admission to the BFA Graphic Design program is by portfolio review only. Students who do not pass the review will remain in the BA-Design Studies Program with a specialization in Graphic Design.

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