Top-ranked communications design schools

college campus image by Nick Alexander from

For its combination of artistic sensibility with commercial appeal and a competitive job market, the field of communications design or visual design is an attractive field for many prospective students.

The need for skilful web designers versed in the latest digital imaging and illustration software increases all the time. To get the best preparation for a career in this field, seek out the top-ranking colleges that offer communications design program.

Carnegie Mellon University

Founded in 1900, Carnegie Mellon University is voted as the top communications design school by the ranking website College Crunch, in addition to high accolades as one of the Top 200 World Universities as ranked by Times Higher Education, and its MFA Design program was ranked number one by the U.S. News and World Report's 2008 list. Students in the communication design program produce a culminating interdisciplinary project their senior year to encompass all that the program has taught them.

Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University also receives a high ranking on College Crunch's list of top Communication Design schools. VCU offers a rigorous arts program, and its degree in Graphic Design prepares students for the field of communications and graphic design. The program trains students in communication, ethics, technology and adaptability. At VCU, students gain an understanding of the history of visual communication and design in addition to cutting-edge technologies, as well as a full range of design techniques.

Pratt Institute

Brooklyn's Pratt Institute, a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design, claims to offer the only program in the country that fully integrates the principles of illustration, advertising and graphic design into its communications design program. The faculty is populated by design professionals able to prepare students for the reality of the industry. With over 40 electives, students have plenty of opportunities to equip themselves with the skills they need.

Kent State University

Ohio's Kent State University happens to be home to a school of Visual Communications Design with national recognition. The visual communications design major is the college's fourth most popular, and graduates go on to take graphic design jobs in every state. The program offers a comprehensive preparation for a professional career in graphic design, and covers conceptual and aesthetic skills as well as design history and theory.