Graphic Design

The Graphic Design program at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design begins with a strong foundation in design principles and technical skills, and learning both about design history and contemporary practices. By learning through making and using tactile practices and professional analog skills in tangible products, the students develop the required sensibility and sensitivity that also expands into creating professional interactive and screen-based projects. 


We work on projects and assignments that build upon the traditional approaches, abstract principles, and established methodologies, while anticipating the next generation of graphic design practices within a broader, interdisciplinary context. Throughout the program the students gain a thorough knowledge of various research methods and design processes, visual communication practices, critical thinking and ethical exploration of content and the contexts within which their projects will exist, culminating in a two-semester thesis project in their senior year.

What can I expect to learn in the Graphic Design program at GW?

Upon graduation from the Graphic Design program, students are expected to have developed a critical mind and ethical perspective, which combined with iterative design processes, and technical skills prepares them to join a broad range of design studios, or start their own practice. They will respond to problems with humility and are able to clearly articulate their process and ideas through oral, written and visual communication methods.

What is the Graphic Design community like at GW?

The students work and learn together in intimate studio settings taught by faculties and professional designers. They not only work on defined projects and briefs, but also reflect on methods of working and learning as collaborative and individual practices. We embrace making and experimenting both through curricular and extracurricular programs in studios as well as various short-term workshops facilitated by practicing designers and artists offered in addition to the regular studios.


Graphic Design students often work on their individual projects about social and civic concerns and current affairs mentored by faculties in the program in addition to their core design studios. Several series of projects and student groups use graphic design, typography, illustration and publication design to address issues in mental health, race, equity and diversity.

What is the Graphic Design learning community like at GW?

Projects that students work on during their 4-year of study are structured as progressing from simple to complex, and short-term to semester-long. By the end of sophomore year, instead of encouraging a culture of solely providing design services to other industries, the students will be able to critically identify problems and address them by offering ethical solutions or interventions, and examining social, cultural, and technological contexts. Advanced Studios cover specialized practices such as publication, environmental, packaging, branding, and product design in different media.

What can I do in the Graphic Design field?

Graduates of our Graphic Design program either start their own studios or go on to secure positions in fields ranging from exhibition design and interior graphics at museums and galleries, to creative firms specializing in branding and identity design; publication and editorial design; UX and interface design; as well as product design and print and digital marketing. 


Utilizing the academic, technical and real-world design skills they garner while at the Corcoran, Graphic Design graduates have pursued various career paths at established companies including Apple, Harper’s Bazaar, National Geographic, the Smithsonian Institution, Weber Shandwick, Discovery Communications, and Politico, as well as creative studios such as Studio A, Kinetik, Purpose, and January Third.