Visual communication (graphic design) is the art of communicating information and ideas through the strategic use of type, image, and color. Its purpose is to clarify information, interpret abstract concepts, and communicate ideas to the public. In addition to having an in-depth knowledge of typography, digital, web, and print design, practitioners must also understand human behavior and cross-cultural communication. It is a collaborative profession and brings designers together as teams to craft innovative solutions to a wide range of traditional and contemporary formats.

The art major (BFA) concentration in Visual Communication integrates academic, fine art, digital, and social skills to prepare students for this demanding and exciting profession. Our curriculum is designed to develop students’ skills and problem-solving abilities through theoretical exercises, pre-professional, and professional projects. Throughout their three years of study, students learn to take responsibility for their performance and achieve ownership of their ideas and abilities. Professors work closely with students to develop their strengths and to help them graduate with a professional-quality portfolio. In addition, our award-winning Studio 165+ student design firm supplements our core courses and allows students to gain professional experience by working on projects for regional, national, and international clients.

Ball State University Visual Communication program is proud to be ranked among the country’s top public graphic design programs. The 2022 “Top 50 Public Graphic Design Schools and Colleges in the U.S.” ranking by Animation Career Review placed us in the top 10% nationally. In addition, we are ranked in the top 7% of the “Top 25 Graphic Design Schools and Colleges in the Midwest.” Since 2019, Graphic Design USA magazine has featured two of our Vis Com students in their annual Students to Watch roundup and included our program in a list of 50 of their favorite institutions that prepare students to work in the professional graphic design industry.

Ball State radiates a positive, creative energy. I’m grateful for the variety of academic, cultural, and community experiences that contribute to my well-rounded education.

Samantha Robbins
art major with a concentration in visual communication

What You Will Study

Our curriculum develops your visual communication skills, critical design competencies, and problem-solving abilities using traditional and digital media. In addition, it prepares you to practice these skills in a competitive and ever-evolving global creative industry. You will receive hands-on design instruction and feedback in a studio environment and work with professors to develop research-based, conceptual, process-driven, creative, and craft-oriented projects and be artistic and technically sophisticated.

Visual Communication is a professional degree that emphasizes typography, branding, publication design, motion graphics, illustration, packaging design, digital design, wayfinding systems, user interface design, user experience design, web design, and app design.

Our studios are shared learning spaces that provide students with a strong sense of community. Such experiences, in turn, prepare you for the collaborative work that is fundamental to design practice after graduation.

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What Can You Do with a Degree in Visual Communication?

Our alumni have worked in different areas of the design industry, such as advertising agencies, corporations, non-profits, higher education, broadcast media, printing companies, small firms, startups, and personal freelance design studios. Some corporations and non-profits include Accutech, Google, Herron School of Art + Design, Indiana University, NASA, Optum, Seattle Seahawks, Seismic, Star Tribune, UPS, USA Today, The Ohio

State University, and Walt Disney World. Some other alums have enjoyed working at agencies and design studios such as Bradley and Montgomery, High Alpha Studio, Hirons Advertising, Hook Studios, LPK, Studio Science, and VMware. Many graduates have also established successful freelance careers, some providing their services and others making their products.

After majoring in Visual Communication, our students hold various creative and managerial roles within the creative industry. Some of the roles include working as:

  • Graphic Designer
  • Publication Designer
  • Branding and Identity Designer
  • Art Director
  • Creative Director
  • Interaction Designer
  • Product Designer
  • User Interface Designer
  • User Experience Designer
  • Digital Media Designer
  • Illustrator
  • Motion Graphics Designer
  • Environmental and Wayfinding Designer
  • Web Designer
  • App Designer

Paying for Your Education

School of Art Scholarships

Scholarships are a terrific way to help with costs. On top of the University’s scholarships available to you, the School of Art has several programs of its own. Begin searching.

Ready to Apply?

Have you decided our program is right for you? Then it’s time to begin the admission process. The program maintains a policy of selective enrollment. Admission requires a review at the end of the Spring semester.  Read our portfolio requirements.

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