Rich, multifaceted and encompassing a broad range of media, Graphic Design at RISD respects the foundations of formal, aesthetic and analytical knowledge and skills while exploring the ever-changing context and function of visual communication.

Degree programs

BFA
4-year undergraduate program
MFA
2- and 3-year graduate programs

In the studio students learn the fundamental value of typography, imagery, grids, systems and more in the course of creating everything from traditional books, posters, logos and websites to apps, interactive texts and other digital media.

Olivia Park | senior

“Graphic design gives you a great deal of choice in how you communicate, and that informs how you develop a visual language and vernacular. It's really fun and allows for a lot of creativity and experimentation outside the traditional classroom. It's a very community-oriented department and the faculty does a great job of showing us what’s out there in the field.”

Lucinda Hitchcock | department head

“We situate design as the primary language and method in which to make sense of and communicate experience. The faculty continue to educate the complete human being, with interests and expertise that access the full breadth of the profession.”

Graphic Design graduates leave RISD prepared to work in almost any field imaginable — from education to film, television, publishing, retail and more. Alumni follow a wide range of individual paths, including running their own design studios, working for large corporations, specializing in web and interactive media, and creating everything from package design to title sequences for film and television.

Alumni at work

Jessica Walsh BFA 08 | studio co-principal

After graduation Jessica Walsh worked at Pentagram and Print magazine, while freelancing for AIGA, I.D. magazine, Technology Review and The New York Times, among others. Her work has won recognition in leading competitions, with Computer Arts citing her as a Top Rising Star in Design and the Art Directors Club naming her a Young Gun in its annual round-up of promising new talent. To top it off, in 2012 revered designer Stefan Sagmeister invited her to become a partner in his firm, which is now known as Sagmeister & Walsh.

Nicholas Felton BFA 99 | info designer

Recognized by Fast Company as one of the 50 most influential designers in America, Nick Felton first sparked an explosion of interest in the field of information graphics in 2005 through his groundbreaking Personal Annual Reports, which weave mundane everyday events in his own life into a complex data trove of charts, maps and statistics. In addition to being a lead designer of Facebook's timeline, Felton cofounded daytum.com and developed Reporter, an iPhone app designed to help users record and visualize subtle aspects of their lives. His work is included in the permanent collection at MoMA.

Michael Rock MFA 84 | creative director

Michael Rock is a founding partner and creative director at the leading global design consultancy 2x4, where he leads a wide range of projects for clients such as Barneys, Prada, Nike, Kanye West, Harvard and CCTV. He also directs the Graphic Architecture Project at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and writes design-focused articles for a wide range of publications. A past recipient of the Rome Prize in Design from the American Academy in Rome, Rock now serves on the academy’s board.

Departments

Apparel Design Architecture Ceramics Digital + Media Experimental and Foundation Studies Film / Animation / Video Furniture Design Glass Graduate Studies Graphic Design History of Art + Visual Culture History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences Illustration Industrial Design Interior Architecture Jewelry + Metalsmithing Landscape Architecture Literary Arts + Studies Painting Photography Printmaking Sculpture Teaching + Learning in Art + Design Textiles