Bachelor of Fine Arts Graphic Design

The BFA in Graphic Design curriculum prepares students to communicate to diverse audiences through a wide range of interdisciplinary design practices. The program integrates contemporary media and technologies, including web and interaction design, branding, illustration, motion graphics, typography, package design, and programming. Students learn both history and theory, acquiring skills to research, develop concepts and prototypes, and develop professional portfolios. CDM encourages collaboration and provides internships and research opportunities with the range of studios and non-profits in Chicago.

Common careers for graduates of this degree include visual, production, and interactive design; art direction; book, publication, and web design; advertising; motion graphics; photography; and title design (for film/TV, and games).

DePaul was ranked a 2020 Top Graphic Design School by GDUSA.

Maggie Acker

Maggie Acker (BFA '12) | Designer @ Sandbox Agency

Upon graduating, Maggie began her career as an Advertising and Production Designer in a small publication house. Now a Designer at an ad agency, she’s held positions as a Presentation Designer, Digital Image Editor, and Marketing Coordinator.

"The wide range of curriculum from traditional design courses to web design, animation, motion graphics, and user experience helped me build and develop a versatile skill set and gave me an advantage in my career path. Learning about motion graphics and video editing helped develop a passion to use both skills in my design work."

Jules Simplicio

Jules Simplicio (BFA '14) | Product Designer @ dscout

Jules (pronouns they/them) is a Product and Front-End Designer with a graphic design background. Jules is currently based in Chicago, but was raised in São Paulo, Brazil. They started their product career at Basecamp and continued it at Threadless. Today, they are shaping the research field through their work at dscout, a leading mobile research platform.

  • Dolores Wilber

    Dolores’s multidisciplinary approach embraces print, installation, video, performance and radio. Her work has been exhibited widely in Chicago, Cleveland, Ann Arbor, London, Estonia, Portugal, Germany, and China.

  • Shiro Akiyoshi

    Shiro has worked on various design projects for international corporations, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, art galleries, and artists. His current research projects involve digital imaging, illustration, and montage, combining digital and traditional Japanese image making processes.

  • Nate Matteson

    Nathan’s current areas of interest include computational methods of typeface generation and letterform modification. He is on the Advisory Committee of Studio χ, a DePaul Center that fosters and supports faculty research and student learning at the interface between humanities and computing.

  • Lee Zelenak

    Lee’s interests and background include typography and branding. Before coming to DePaul, he was an Associate Creative Director at VSA Partners in Chicago, working on the branding team for IBM. In 2012, he was a Senior Designer for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

DePaul AIGA  


The American Institute for Graphic Arts (AIGA) is the largest and oldest professional organization for graphic design in the country. The DePaul chapter of AIGA, a pre-professional club, helps plan speaking engagements, studio tours (at local agencies like VSA Partners, Ogilvy, Digital Kitchen, Gravitytank, and more), social mixers, and workshops to promote education and involvement among both the student body and Chicago design community.

International Design Awards winner for aluminum bass guitar design  

Faculty Creative Activity

CDM treats research and creative activity as integral to its delivery of first-class instruction to students. Above, Assistant Professor Nathan Matteson and his design company, Obstructures, recently received a Gold Medal First Place Award in product design at the International Design Awards (“Other Products” category) for their new all-aluminum bass guitar.

bike leaned up against a rustic brick residence  

Study Abroad

Unique opportunities to study abroad, from exploring designers’ relationships to society and the natural world in Scandinavia to touring cultural sites and game and animation companies in Japan.


Scholarship Opportunities

In September, youth in grades 5-8 participated in the workshop: “You Wear It Well! – Build Your Brand and Self Confidence Through Design!” Led by CDM senior Graphic Design student Gabrielle Fitzpatrick, students learned about logos and branding. They created their own design briefs, logos, and learned how to add their designs to drink cups with their branded identity. This project was designed by Gabrielle, who is a recipient of the 2018 Brother Mike Hawkins Fellowship program, a competitive grant program to support CDM students in projects involving innovative technology-based service project that will engage Chicago youth. Advisor: Denise Nacu.

exhibit space  


Internships are an invaluable part of a graphic design education, preparing students for the rigors of the “real world” industry. Students are encouraged to pursue multiple internships, and work closely with the university's Career Center and dedicated internship advisors to ensure quality opportunities. They have the opportunity to receive credit for up to three internships in order to gain the experience to land the best job possible.


School of Design Talks

The School of Design invites diverse speakers from across the globe — who have created innovative responses to the personal, local, and global challenges of the 21st century — to lead workshops and discussions.

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