Graphic Design

What to Look for in Graphic Design Schools in Virginia

by | Dec 15, 2021

Graphic design combines art and design to communicate specific messages to users through visual imagery and typography. Although it’s been around for thousands of years, the age of the internet increased its demand. Every business that has an online presence needs skilled graphic designers to help them sell their products and communicate what their brands are all about. If you think graphic design might put your God-given talents to good use, make sure to find a program and school that will help you reach your potential. Not all graphic design programs in Virginia will provide you with the training, skills, experience, and direction that will help you build a career and a life.

A Bachelor’s Degree Program in Graphic Design

Regardless of your instinctual art and design talents, there are concepts, skills, and knowledge you will need even for entry level graphic design positions. Most graphic designers have bachelor’s degrees and many go on to gain certifications in the software they will use daily. Among the subjects you’ll need to understand are:

  • Typography and Design History
  • Drawing Fundamentals
  • Printmaking
  • Design Problems
  • User Experience
  • Principles of Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Writing for the Media
  • Portfolio Development and Presentation

Graphic Design Schools with the Latest Software

As a graphic designer, you’ll need to have strong skills in a variety of different software programs that are both practical, such as the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, Skype) and creative, such as the Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator). But when you work on the web, you need to continually evolve to keep up with the tools you use and the next ones coming around the bend. Also, most designers work on Apple computers, so be sure your program prioritizes Apple hardware so you can become proficient in using them yourself.

Communication in Graphic Design

Because graphic design can be a very competitive field, it will be critical to distinguish your skillset and your ability to communicate. You will need to interpret a client’s vision and build out assets that resonate with users. Look for a program that understands the critical connection between communication and design. A graphic communication program combines the essential elements of both design and business communication. Having excellent design and communication skills can differentiate you from the competition.

Graphic Design Internships

Although what you learn in the classroom is a critical foundation, what you experience in a real-world setting can be equally valuable. Look for a university that can help you find a graphic design internship. This allows you to gain experience and also to make some connections in the region. You can add the job and experience to your resume and the connections to your LinkedIn.

A Good Setting Where You Can Learn and Create

There’s something special about studying at a small college where you learn from faculty members who know your name and want to assist you in developing your talents as a designer. Be sure to choose a program in a setting that is conducive to creativity. Whether you’re most comfortable in a bustling city or a rural setting nestled at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, choose an environment that’s right for you. That includes your classroom space. Since a lot of what you learn in graphic design comes through doing, small class sizes can be extremely beneficial. The close feedback and attention you can get from professors who teach smaller classes give you more opportunities for one-on-one learning and individualized instruction.

Bluefield University is a Christian college located in Virginia. As a Christ-centered institution of higher education, we focus on more than just coursework; we work to help develop strong servicepeople. Our Graphic Communication program combines graphic design with marketing, communications, and other complementary coursework. Apply today to discover what this program can provide for you and your future.

Do I only apply once?

  • No. Students must apply each academic year for the fall semester and submit the necessary documents.

Do I have to take the classes specified in the Associate's Degree tracks as they are listed on the information sheet?

  • No. Students may take any of the courses that are offered in a given term.

Where do I find the textbook listing, and where do I purchase the books?

  • Log in to myBU, and under the "Student" tab, you will find a list of the textbooks required (if any) for each course. Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.

How long is a semester?

  • Our semesters are divided into two 8-week terms.

Is there an orientation?

  • Yes. Students can attend an orientation session that explains how to access courses, how to register for classes, and answers other questions.

Where can I find a course description?

Does the student need to take the SAT or ACT in order to take Dual Enrollment classes?

  • No. If a student decides to study at BU full time, BU is currently test-optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

Are the classes live? Do students need to log in and participate at certain times?

  • Classes are offered online, so a student can log-on and study at their convenience and their own pace. Students have assignments due each week; you can complete your assignments at any point in time before the deadline.

Does an Early College student need to come to campus for anything?

  • No. However, we would love to have you visit our campus if you are interested in continuing with traditional on-campus study. Students who complete their associate's degree have the option to walk at our commencement ceremony.

Are Early College students able to receive Financial Aid?

  • No. However, Early College courses are very affordable compared to other options. The cost for an online Dual Enrollment course is $100 per credit hour.

How do transferring credits work?

  • Each College or University completes a transcript review in order to decide which courses transfer. Sticking to general education classes generally makes transferring credits simple. All Early College courses at Bluefield University are general education classes that should transfer to another accredited institution.

Is an Early College student considered, and treated, as a transfer student when they become a full-time college student if they have earned enough credits to be a Junior?

  • No. Since they have not graduated from high school, they are considered a first-time college student regardless of how many credits transfer. However, by transferring credits when they enroll as a full-time student, they will have to take fewer classes to receive their bachelor's degree, which shortens the length of time to earn the degree.

Can I speak to someone if I have more questions?

  • Yes. Please contact the Office of Admissions by email or you can call them at 276.326.4231