Triangle Copy careerplus-badges careerplus-degree Created with Sketch. careerplus-employers Created with Sketch. careerplus-faq Created with Sketch. careerplus-individuals Created with Sketch. careerplus-local-experts Created with Sketch. careerplus-pricing careerplus-registration Created with Sketch. careerplus-responsive Created with Sketch. careerplus-self-paced Created with Sketch. careerplus-stackable Created with Sketch. + Facebook LinkedIn PinterestRSS Instagram Twitter Vine

Graphic Design

Bachelor of Arts

Look around. You live in an ever-increasingly visual world. Graduates with art and graphic design degrees are poised to succeed in the 21st-century creative market. Today’s world is overloaded with more communication than ever. Everywhere you turn, there are print ads, billboards, web graphics, and display advertising. That’s why now, more than ever, it’s important that visual elements of business and advertising converge to be as strong as possible. This is the main focus of Clarke’s graphic design program.

Our Graphic design program offers a career-oriented program in which you’ll develop skills and knowledge of studio art along with graphic design. The ability to create an original concept through your technical abilities in drawing, sculpture, printmaking, and design will provide you with adaptive skills to solve complex visual communication problems. You’ll graduate from our degree in graphic design program professionally equipped as a 21st-century design thinker, maker, and entrepreneur. Does this sound like the path for you? Visit Dubuque, Iowa, and experience first-hand a day in the life of a Clarke graphic design major.

Clarke University Graphic Design Major student working on a project.

Clarke University Graphic Design Majors receiving instruction from professor.

Professional Training You’ll Acquire with a Graphic Design Degree

You’ll explore traditional studio techniques and media, digital production and editing software, and a strong contextual and art historical framework within the graphic design programs. As a graphic design degree student, you will study animation, typography, digital media illustration, drawing, and photography to round out your education. The graphic design degree program prepares Clarke students through progressive skill development and design experiences. Designers combine traditional and digital media to convey meaning through the organization of text and image, and to visually communicate their ideas for a variety of service-related and social-design challenges.

If you’re looking for a career that’s always in demand, pursuing a degree through our graphic design program is an ideal fit for you. Graphic designers are needed for all types of companies to produce marketing materials, everything from logos and web design to brochures and packaging materials.

While preparing for a variety of careers available in the graphic design and digital media fields, you’ll create a digital portfolio to skyrocket your odds of excellent job placement after graduation.

Program Details

In the digital media and graphic design degree programs, you’ll gain progressive skill development and design experiences so you can impart meaning through the organization of text and image. Coursework employs industry-standard digital software and tools which combined with expert faculty guidance, will empower you with design-thinking research skills and a nimble, creative aptitude to visually communicate ideas for a variety of service-related, social-design and corporate-inspired challenges.

At some point, you might have wondered how to become a graphic designer. Graphic designers reside at the juncture of art and business. They translate conceptual ideas into tangible visuals and are often lauded for their ability to elevate the status of a company or organization. The goal of our unique Graphic Design school is to provide an inclusive understanding of the field of design – from print publishing to interface design and more. You’ll sharpen your eye for aesthetics through projects, critiques, and the study of popular culture. In addition to technical proficiency and creative development, your education will help you hone real-world skills such as media assimilation, marketing, and branding.

Real-world experiences start from the first year of studies. Students serve as designers and partners locally in Iowa and beyond in larger cities. Students have worked within the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce YEA (Young Entrepreneurs Academy), joined with area professionals in the Design Hack-a-thon at Creative Adventure Lab, traveled to Des Moines for AIGA conferences as well as Art Expo Chicago, took van trips to the artist book collection in Madison, WI, and learned type history the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers, WI. In addition, each year, Clarke University graphic design students win recognition at the American

Advertising Federation (AAF) Dubuque ADDY Awards. Many move on to win at regional and national level ADDYs as well.

Cool Classes within the Graphic Design Degree Program

BRAND IDENTITY SYSTEMS — Develop brand elements such as logos, corporate identities, packaging, and advertisements.

INTERACTIVE DESIGN — Interactive Design is centered on human/user interaction, web design, media development, and visual coding.

ART + DESIGN METHODS — You learn creative problem-solving processes as well as art and design methods through digital media and analog media.

Admission to Clarke University

Applicants are considered on an individual basis. Apply to Clarke today to begin your journey.

Talent Awards
Art + Design offers renewable Fine Arts Talent Awards for excellence in performance. Award amounts are based on portfolio review in the bachelor of visual arts program.

Career-Ready Internships
What makes Clarke’s program one of the best graphic design schools in the Midwest? Graphic Design degree-seeking students acquire hands-on experience in a required internship, many of which lead to full-time positions in the art industry. You’ll find the experience of building a portfolio and professional practices is integrated into every design project. Internship and career preparation is infused throughout all coursework. While one is required, most students complete two internships in varied design environments. These can be completed locally here in Iowa, or beyond and nationally in a digital media, remote fashion. This past year, graphic design major students interned with McCullough Creative, Buzz Creative, Gigantic Design, Cottingham and Butler Insurance, Kendall Hunt Publishing, Cartegraph, Dubuque County Conservation Board, and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. These unique experiences combine to offer one of the best graphic design programs available.

Let’s Talk Jobs
A degree in our graphic design major can lead to many careers, including:

  • Art Director
  • Book Designer
  • Character Developer
  • Corporate Designer
  • Digital Media Designer
  • Exhibition Designer
  • Film Video Artist
  • Game Designer
  • Visual Designer
  • Illustrator
  • Industrial Toy Designer
  • Magazine Designer
  • Motion Graphics Designer
  • Newspaper Publisher
  • Photographer
  • Promotional Designer
  • Social Media/Digital Marketer
  • UI/UX Designer
  • Web Designer/Developer
  • So many more careers yet to be developed
Atrium Interior

Meet Our Faculty

When our graphic design degree graduates speak about the Clarke moments that helped shape them, there’s always a professor in the story. That’s because being a faculty member at Clarke University requires a deep passion for educating, encouraging, and empowering students. Here, your professors will know your name. Your professors will push you to develop your full potential, and then they’ll ask for more. And, they’ll be right there to congratulate you when you exceed even your own expectations. Often, it’s a relationship that lasts a lifetime.

View Our Faculty & Staff
Eric Wold, MFA

Eric Wold, MFA

Associate Professor of Graphic Design

I believe that teaching graphic design as a process-oriented activity helps students to develop life-long skills of thinking and tinkering and to develop a process that maintains creative curiosity across disciplines and technologies.

Louise Kames, MFA

Louise Kames, MFA

Chair and Professor of Art

I love to take students abroad and help them learn new things, such as how to navigate the Paris Metro or the London Tube. I encourage them to experience a sense of awe in unexpected places.

Jessie Rebik, MFA

Jessie Rebik, MFA

Associate Professor of Art

My ultimate goal is that, through developing their artist selves, students will become self-aware, empathetic, and have a clearer realization of who they aspire to become, as well as their relationship to their world.

Clarke University Graphic Design Degree Graduates Design Work
There’s more to college than going to class.

The Classroom and Beyond

But don’t take our word for it…

Our Students & Alumni

Erik Brolin

Erik Brolin

Graphic Design '17

I have two passions: baseball and art. It’s a bit of an odd combo, but Clarke helps me make it work. I also enjoy the one-on-one time with art department faculty.

Stephanie (Kronlage) Manternach

Stephanie (Kronlage) Manternach

Graphic Design '12

I currently work at a small design studio where I am responsible for everything from art direction to print production. The education I acquired at Clarke successfully prepared me for this position.

Nick Becker

Nick Becker

Graphic Design '17

I was recruited by staff at the Swiss Valley Nature Center to assist with a new graphic signature for their brochure map. This led to an internship in finding nature parks across Dubuque County. I just learned that I am one of four Clarke Art + Design majors to have drawings selected for the Iowa Public Radio Coloring Book.

Student to professor ratio

Students work one-on-one with art professors who are practicing artists, well-known in their fields.

100 %
Internship placement

Percent of our graphic design students get hands-on experience in a required internship, many of which lead to full-time positions in the art industry.


Each year, Clarke University graphic design students win recognition at the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Dubuque ADDY Awards.

Other Programs to Explore

Experience Clarke Graphic Design for Yourself

Atrium Interior