MFA studio course with Yasmin Khan
MFA studio course with Yasmin Khan

The Graphic Design Program at CalArts fosters the next generation of graphic designers through rigorous inquiry, fearless exploration and innovative making within a tight-knit studio community. The students, with the support of their faculty-colleagues, endeavor to develop individual agendas and lines of exploration that challenge received structures and value systems of graphic design outcomes, criticism, theory, and practice. The program’s curriculum is based on the Institute’s critical approach of contextualizing praxis in history, theory and broad cultural literacy, and in the Graphic Design program’s inclusive pedagogy. We aim to educate the whole student through focused metier coursework, engaged mentorship, robust critique, cross-disciplinary exploration, and fearless making in a vibrant, intimate studio community.

Students are trained in print and publication design; web and interface design; motion graphics for broadcast and film; branding, identity and type design; as well as for careers in design history and education.

Classes in Graphic Design are small, intimate and critique-based, fostering debate and discussion as well as imparting formal and practical knowledge. All students work in residence in communal studios (grouped by year level) that are open 24 hours, and have access to Art School facilities and labs.

Program Gallery

Program Faculty

California Institute of the Arts

Art School Project Archive

Check out our students’ final projects on the official Project Archive website

Alumni Story

Hilary Greenbaum
Hilary Greenbaum Graphic Design MFA 06 Design Director, Whitney Museum of Art, New York

Three years after finishing my BFA at Carnegie Mellon I decided to change the trajectory of my career. I wanted to do different types of work and learn to incorporate a personal voice into what I was making. When I looked into the MFA Graphic Design Program at CalArts, I felt inspired by the work of the faculty—all of whom became my mentors. There’s a definite rigor to the Program—a level of excellence that is insisted upon. Faculty are relentless in their pursuit to get students to excel, and to do work they didn’t think possible. They’re hard on you, in the best way. I think that process of examining my own work, critically, as well as the work of the team I have here at The Whitney, is one that I use every day, and contributes to the success of everything we do.

Student Interview

Interview with Teal Gile, a BFA Graphic Design student in the School of Art

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