Graphic Design

a collective display of Graphic Design student work at the annual Graduate Thesis Exhibition

Graphic Design at RISD provides a comprehensive education that pushes on the boundaries of the discipline. Students learn how to communicate ideas visually, play with the tools of the field, frame points of view and messages, build community and embrace a fluid, networked culture. Faculty support these explorations and encourage ambitious ideas along with a mastery of traditional practices.

Degree programs

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

The communications principles and problem-solving strategies you acquire in the Graphic Design BFA provide you the foundation to build an informed, versatile and impactful design practice.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

By encouraging you to respond nimbly and creatively to a wide range of communications challenges, the Graphic Design MFA program prepares you to thrive in a constantly changing field.

In the studio

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.

Featured stories

Black Joy Matters

A SPUR-funded project by grad student Zoë Pulley presents positive images of Black people to counteract the negative imagery flooding the media.

Five Questions: Shiraz Abdullahi Gallab

A brief interview with one of RISD’s Schiller Family Assistant Professors in Race in Art and Design.

2022 GDUSA Students to Watch

RISD Graphic Design students Forough Abadian and Jada Akoto included in the trade publication’s annual list.

Student work

a composite of Graphic Design work

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

Nicholas Felton BFA 99 | info designer

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 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 teaches in the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and writes design-focused articles for a wide range of publications. A RISD trustee, Rock is a past recipient of the Rome Prize in Design from the American Academy in Rome, where he now serves on the academy’s board.

Jessica Walsh BFA 08 | studio principal

After graduation Jessica Walsh worked at Pentagram and Printmagazine, while freelancing for AIGA, I.D. magazineTechnology 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. After designer Stefan Sagmeister invited her in 2012 to become a partner in his firm—which became known as Sagmeister & Walsh—she founded her own firm in 2019, known simply as & Walsh.

a variety of typesetter's blocks on a table