Graphic Design

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  • 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 Program

    • 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.

  • Sameer Farooq | MFA candidate

    “I was drawn to RISD because of the atmosphere of the school and my department. There’s an openness to most of the people, and ultimately I make decisions based on people and relationships. I am also impressed by Providence as a city: everything is at your fingertips. There’s access to nature, an incredible cultural environment and you can be in Boston or New York in a matter of hours. As for my studies in this department, they are giving me a vocabulary to speak more clearly and precisely. Graphic design is a profoundly communicative medium and I enjoy communicating across boundaries and subject areas.”

  • John Caserta | assistant professor + 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.”

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  • 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.

    Michael Riley BFA 91 | tv/film production studio

    As creative director of Shine, the Los Angeles design and production studio he founded in 2005, Michael Riley is behind the titles and opening sequences of some of Hollywood’s biggest hits, including The Newsroom, Kung Fu Panda, Raising Hope, Modern Family and Footloose. While still at RISD, an internship got him thinking about the real possibilities of mixing design with film. Now, the five-time Emmy nominee is well known for his innovative concepts and captivating elements.

    Scott Stowell BFA 90 | design studio principal

    Ten years after founding the design studio Open, Scott Stowell was awarded a 2008 National Design Award. Open is best known for rebranding such high-profile television networks as Nick at Nite and Bravo. Before starting Open, Scott was art director of Benetton’s Colors magazine in Rome and a senior designer at M&Co. New York. He has worked extensively in print, designing distinctive covers for such publications as The Nation and Good, and teaches design at Yale University and the School of Visual Arts in New York.

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