BFA in Graphic Design

Back to Prospective Students


link to BFA in graphic design curriculum

Trinity's Bachelor of Fine Arts concentrating in Graphic Design is a professional program in design that connects personal instruction — the advantage of a small program— to Chicago's vibrant professional arts and design scenes, an advantage many schools much larger than Trinity don't have. BFA students develop professional level skills and connections to Chicago's world class design and advertising industry in order to operate successfully in a contemporary environment.

Entrance to the BFA programs are based on a portfolio review midway through the sophomore year, or before the start of the year for junior transfer students.

The BFA program with a concentration in graphic design is a program that gives students planning to enter the design and advertising fields professional level skills. The program consists of 75 credits in art studio with more than a year of course work in graphic design of specialization in addition to work in art history and related disciplines.

Trinty design students regularly attend American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA) events to keep up with emerging trends in design and advertising; they also take advantage of AIGA portfolio reviews where students get feedback from working professionals. They also attend networking events sponsored by AIGA.

Because our students study with faculty members who are professionally successful themselves, they not only get knowledge that is current, but also get a hand up into professional networks for both internships and jobs. In addition, professionally active faculty provide roles models for how Christians think and work in the art world.

Art studio majors in graphic design spend at least 25 of 40 courses required for graduation in art. Those 25 courses are divided in this way: 11 courses build a students' area of specialization in design. Five courses are devoted to foundation skills in drawing, painting, sculpture print or photography; creative thinking and technical skills in these courses amplify what designers need to know and do. A sculpture course, for example, is necessary so that students who intend need to build unique display for Senior Show or an exhibition in the student gallery can succeed on their own. Further, the interaction our students have with fine artists sharpens their creativity and keeps their design fresh. Five courses cover art history and theory. Art studio students in design typically graduate with a minor in art history. The program also requires students to take a two course module in discipines that support design. Options include business, communication theory, video production, computer science or philosophy.

Students begin by taking courses that build a range of basic skills. Upperclass students from all artistic disicplines meet together in advanced studio courses. The interdisciplnary nature of advanced studio classes —where designers mix it up with painters, sculptors, photographers— mirrors the blurring of the lines between fine art and design world in a way that has given Trinity design graduates a creative edge. You can see examples of work by designers in the 2013 Senior Show.

During junior or senior year, students do an internship with a design firm to see how the ideas and skills they learned in class operate in the real world. Some students take advantage of off campus programs like Chicago Semester affiliated with or approved by Trinity.

The art studio program in graphic design culminates in an exhibition in the Seerveld Gallery as part of Senior Seminar. Our graduates have gone on to freelance on their own as well as work for a wide range of positions with companies of all sizes —from small suburban shops to corporate in-house design offices to top tier firms like Leo Burnett. Eighty percent of our design graduates in 2011 are working in their field.

The broad background of a liberal arts degree gives students a flexible approach to creative problem solving and careers in and beyond the art world. You can see what just some of our alumni are up to here.