How to Choose a Graphic Design Program

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How to Choose a Graphic Design Program

In our previous article, UX vs. UI vs. Graphic Design: Three Different Kinds of Design, we talked about the distinction between UX, UI and graphic design — deciding the right path among these three is key in choosing the right school. No matter what your level of experience, enrolling in a graphic design program can take your career to the next level.

But finding a program that will actually provide the right mix of technology, design and real-world experience is easier said than done. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of programs out there, both online and in-person, part-time and -full.

In addition to skill training, the best graphic design programs also offer:

  • Opportunities to do great portfolio work
  • Mentorship and networking opportunities
  • Graphic design-related interview assistance
  • Portfolio prep and on-going career guidance and support

Zeroing in on a graphic design program that excels in each of these areas can be the difference in taking your design career to the next level.

Here are a few different options to consider:

Online Tutorial Sites

Lynda and Treehouse are both high quality subscription services featuring extensive libraries of video tutorials. Odds are, if you want to learn about it, it’s there. And with an extremely affordable monthly subscription rate, these sites are a great way to learn the basics without breaking the bank.

Lynda and Images

As an extreme budget option, there’s also always YouTube. While it quality of content on there varies wildly, and the organization and curation can be all over the map, you can’t argue with the price.

Bachelors and Masters level degree programs

Degree programs are numerous, and knowing exactly what you’ll learn, and the career possibilities they enable, can be difficult to determine beforehand. At Designation, we find that most folks are skipping formal degree training for the reason being that it’s both too expensive and time consuming.

However, there’s no denying that many extremely talented folks have come out of programs such as these. After all, until recently getting a design degree was the traditional career path. While this is in no way a comprehensive list, here are a few programs to look into:

Colleges with Bachelors and Masters level degree graphic design programs

Graphic Design Bootcamps

One of the most exciting recent developments in the design field is the advent of bootcamps, places to learn a wide variety of hands-on skills in a concentrated period of time. These intensive, immersive graphic design program boast very impressive placement rates for students looking to find full-time work.

If you think you could benefit from other resources that might help you narrow down your choice of the best design school, we recommend looking into sites like Quora, SwitchUp, Course Report and SkilledUp. These curated resources tools will accelerate your search for the right graphic design program and can even be valuable for learning basic code and design skills before you even enroll in a bootcamp.

Here are a few graphic design bootcamps to look into:

Graphic Design Bootcamp Companies

Right now, it’s an incredible time to be a designer. There are tons of educational opportunities to get the skills you need to kickstart your design career. Finding the right program for you that offers the right mix of skills and practical application is the first step. If you ever have any questions about which program is right for you, feel free to email Will at

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