Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Art, Art History, and Design


Graphic Design is the art of visual communication. Course projects range in medium, content and collaborative opportunity, while enabling students to practice both traditional and digital ways of making. Students become knowledgeable in design thinking as a means to identify problems and create possible solutions. Graphic Design students select a variety of concentration courses all structured to address several career options within the discipline. Verbal, as well as visual communication skills are developed throughout the curriculum, to further support professional opportunities. Real-world experience is gained through internships, the client-initiated coursework of Design Center, and the AIGA (the professional association for design) student group.Inspiring lectures demonstrate the wide scope of the profession, as renowned designers are brought in as part of the annual Visiting Artist & Scholar lecture series. Recent lecturers include Massimo Vignelli, Martin Venezky, Ben Fry, Nancy Skolos & Tom Wedell, James Victore, Andrew Blauvelt, Jim Sherraden of Hatch Showprint, Stuart Bailey, Jan Wilker, Cheryl Towler Weese, Hans Allemann, and Karen Cheng. When awarded a degree in Studio Art with a concentration in Graphic Design, graduates are prepared to enter a thriving and varied career in Graphic Design.


In addition to a degree in Studio Art with a concentration in Graphic Design, MSU provides students the opportunity to gain real-world design experience by offering design services to the community. MSU's Design Center in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design works with internal and external clients to effectively communicate the client's messages in a professional manner.

From logos to packaging, and brochures to websites, Design Center has worked on a variety of projects, each specifically targeted to address the goal and personality of an individual client.

Each year, undergraduate students who exemplify creativity, dedication, and professionalism in the Graphic Design Program are selected to join the Design Center creative team. If you're interested in what Design Center can do for your business, please contact Chris Corneal at corneal@msu.edu.

To learn more, visit Design Center online.


The Graphic Design Program benefits from handmade and mixed media influences, while providing contemporary digital technologies (regularly updated to remain consistent with the standards of the design profession). The Letterpress facility, available for student use in STA 491E during the Spring semester or on an individual basis, is equipped with several presses and full sets of type. Four computer labs supported by full-time technical staff house Apple computers, equipped with the newest versions of image-making software (page layout, photo manipulation, vector illustration, video editing, motion graphics, and web authoring). The digital facilities also contain multiple flatbed and slide/negative scanners. Inkjet and laser printers provide high quality output options, capable of large-scale printing. Digital still and video cameras, as well as digital drawing tablets, are available for student checkout. The design periodicals library offers an easily accessible resource for cutting-edge design issues and discussion.

Kresge Art Center also includes a visual resource library, wood shop, Form From Thought digital fabrication lab, two exhibition galleries, and two installation project spaces.


The graduate Graphic Design Program attracts impressive candidates from all around the world. Most successful applicants to the program have a number of years of professional experience in the design field prior to returning to academia. Graduate studies are largely self-initiated and unique in their direction, as each individual works closely with the MSU faculty. The intense three years of study involves research, writing, making, and reflection. Master of Fine Arts students are provided semi-private spaces in the graduate Graphic Design Studio housed in Kresge Art Center. Each student has a designated desk, equipped with an Apple computer, as well as flat files for storage. Located near the studio spaces of the other fine arts disciplines, as well as design faculty offices, the graduate Graphic Design Studio has easy access to the numerous resources housed within Kresge Art Center including: four digital labs with inkjet and laser printing capability, visual resource library, wood shop, letterpress facility, Form From Thought lab, and two exhibition galleries. Graduate students have 24-hour access to their studios.


Graduates of the Graphic Design program have numerous career opportunities in the field of visual communication. Recent successful graduates hold positions as creative directors, art directors, graphic designers, freelancers, and video editors with design firms, advertising agencies, production companies, publishing companies, and in-house design offices. Career concentrations include identity system, environmental signage and exhibition, magazine and book, web site, software interfaces, film titles and broadcast television graphics, typeface, packaging, poster, corporate branding, and retail design, etc.