Art – Graphic Design, B.F.A.

Graphic designers shape our visual environment, combining words and images into messages that inform, persuade, sell, and entertain. It's a field that combines art and technology with business and culture. Designers create work that is useful and responds directly to the needs of others. The limitations of an assignment, defined by purpose, audience, and budget, are seen as challenges rather than barriers to the imagination.

Our faculty and students are enthusiastic about the role graphic designers play in our increasingly visual environment. The graphic design curriculum covers key aspects of design and visual communication for both the print and digital environment. Instruction in the fundamental concepts of visual communication, current graphic computer applications, methods of developing creative solutions which give meaningful form to ideas and information, and business practices, develop the skills and knowledge necessary for practical application. At the same time questions about the nature of visual communication are asked.

Why do we notice and interpret the things we see in a particular way?

How does our culture affect our perception?

How does graphic design fit into the social and economic world?

Who are the innovators in the field? What is creativity?

What are a designer's responsibilities to self, to the client, to the community?

Students learn to create visually intriguing answers to intellectually challenging problems, guided by faculty experienced in both design education and professional practice, who have a diversity of interests, styles, and specializations within the field. Faculty are interested in helping students define an individual direction, and offer not only instruction, but also guidance, encouragement, and the benefit of their personal experience. The Department of Art has excellent computer labs with complete image generation, typography, and multimedia capabilities, using current industry standards in software and hardware, scanners, and printers.

Change is a constant in graphic design, as technology and modes of communication evolve. The curriculum at The University of Memphis is constantly evolving as well to keep abreast of these changes and to prepare students to enter the profession with current knowledge and skills.


The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in graphic design requires a minimum of 120 semester hours. All applicants seeking admission to the graphic design concentration must complete the Incoming Evaluation for Graphic Design before enrolling in any graphic design course. In the sophomore year of study, students submit portfolios for entrance to the Graphic Design Concentration. Enrollment in 3000 and 4000 level graphic design courses is based upon this review.