Rochester Institute of Technology

Academic Program Overviews

Student Skills & Capabilities, Salary Data, Career Information 

Graphic Design BFA

Program Overview

Graphic design at RIT is the study and practice of communicating ideas and information through printed, environmental and digital presentations. Typography and images are integrated to express messages that interest, inform and persuade intended audiences. With the addition of visual movement, navigation and sound, digital presentations are also developed. Using research, critical thinking, creativity, and a range of problem-solving principles, graphic designer students solve complex visual communication problems within the constraints of time, space, budget, and technology. Areas of study include publication design, signage and environmental design, corporate identity, web and interactive media, packaging design, and information design.

Degrees Awarded

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts


  • Approximately 220 undergraduate graphic design program.

Cooperative Education & Experiential Education Component

  • Cooperative education is an option for students in the graphic design program after their sophomore year. Because of course sequencing, most students are primarily available in the summer.
  • Internship for credit experience is also available to seniors in the program.

Salary Information

Co-op:   $17.70                   $10.00 - $30.00
BFA:      $47,638                 $38,000 - $70,000

Student Skills & Capabilities

  • Focus areas: typography, information design, branding and identity systems, wayfinding and signage, interactive media, web design, packaging, advertising, and editorial design.
  • Design process and ideation, critical thinking and problem solving, research methods, and production workflow
  • Public speaking, presentation methods, and client relations
  • Collaborative and team projects Mac OSX and Windows platforms.
  • Digital skills: InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, After Effects, HTML, CSS, and others



National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD)

Equipment & Facilities

The College’s specialized laboratories, studios, advanced computer facilities and wide range of equipment make it one of the most complete of any degree-granting institutions in the field.
Students have access to extraordinary resources like the RIT Graphic Design Archives, Cary Graphic Arts Collection and the Vignelli Center for Design Studies.

Training / Qualifications

A bachelor’s degree is required for most entry-level and advanced graphic design positions; a strong portfolio is required.

Job Titles

Solo Designer-A freelance or self-employed design professional works independently of a company and has no employees.

Print Production Artist-Has a working understanding of layout, type and color, and is able to take instructions from a designer and create a complete layout, working proficiently in InDesign, Quark, Photoshop and Illustrator. Responsibilities include producing final files that image properly to printer specifications.

Entry-level Designer-An entry-level designer is one to two years out of school and requires mentoring in all aspects of design conception and implementation.

Designer-A designer is responsible for conceptualization and design of graphic applications such as collateral material, environmental graphics, books and magazines, corporate identity, film titling, and multimedia interfaces, from concept to completion.

Senior Designer-The senior designer is responsible for conceptualization and design of solutions from concept to completion. In some firms, a senior designer directs the work of one or more junior designers who generate comps and create layouts and final art. In some cases, senior designers do not manage staff but are designated "senior" because of their authority in design decision-making.

Assistant Art Director or Art Director-The art director establishes the conceptual and stylistic direction for design staff and orchestrates their work, as well as the work of production artists, photographers, illustrators, prepress technicians, printers, and anyone else who is involved in the development of a project. The art director generally selects vendors and, if there isn't a creative director on staff, has final creative authority.

Creative/Design Director-A creative director or design director is the creative head of a design firm, advertising agency, or an in-house corporate design department. In all of these areas, key responsibilities can include the development of graphic design, advertising, communications, and industrial design publications.

Web Designer-Determines and develops the look and feel for sites, and is responsible for site navigation design and visual execution.
(Source: The American Institute of Graphic Arts|Aquent Survey of Design Salaries)

Significant Points

  • Named by Business Week as one of the top 10 design schools in the country and one of the top 40 in the world.
  • RIT's Design School is also highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report and Design Intelligence.

Selected Employer Hiring Partners

Anvil + Gear, BBDO, Bergeron Companies, BrandDNA, Brownstein Group, BurtonSnowboards, C. Garbin and Associates, Carrot Creative, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ChaseDesign, Citi, Clever Method, CM Productions, Coburn Design, Consumer Reports Magazine, Corning Inc, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Eric Mower & Associates, Estee Lauder Companies, Family Circle Magazine, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Fisher-Price, GQ Magazine, Gupta Media, Hearst Magazines, Huge, IBM, Intuit, Jay Advertising, L2 Think Tank, Landor, Madewell, Magnani Caruso Dutton, Martino Flynn, MME: Manhattan Marketing Ensemble, MODCo Creative, Moxie Sozo, Mashable, Nickelodeon Digital, Nurun SF, Ogilvy, Partners + Napier, Phu Concepts, Proctor & Gamble, Roberts Communications, Sesame Street, Siteworx, LLC, Skinny Skis, SmashBrand, Sports Illustrated, Stag and Hare, Sterling-Rice Group, The Daily Dot, The Martin Group, Time Magazine, Upclose Advertising, Vermont Teddy Bear Co., Vineyard Vines, Walt Disney World, Xerox, Y&R

Contact Us

We appreciate your interest in your career and we will make every effort to help you succeed. Feel free to contact Gretchen Burruto, the career services coordinator who works with the Graphic Design program. Access information about services through our site at
Gretchen E. Burruto, Associate Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 585-475-5462
Rochester Institute of Technology . Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education
Bausch & Lomb Center
57 Lomb Memorial Drive . Rochester NY  14623-5603