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Graphic Design

Graphic Design classroom scene
Graphic Design students develop all the animations for the annual Runway event.
Graphic Design students develop all the animations for the annual Runway event.
Students at a colleague's BFA Exhibition
Students at a colleague's BFA Exhibition
Works from a student's BFA exhibition
Works from a student's BFA exhibition
Students working in one of the graphic design studios
Students working in one of the graphic design studios
Students reviewing work during a critique
Graphic Design students at one of their colleague's BFA Exhibitions
Graphic Design students at one of their colleague's BFA Exhibitions

Are you interested in a career in which you will be continuously challenged to adapt and learn new technology while solving creative problems? Graphic Design is visual communication through such visual forms as animation, web design, printed design, game design, motion graphics, way-finding, branding, and other forms that aren’t yet invented. We cover all this and more in the Graphic Design program at Buffalo State!

Technology is changing at a frenetic pace. People have more options to access information, interact with the world, and be entertained than ever before. BUT we are still human and the message needs to impact us on a personal and emotional level. 

Graphic Design at Buffalo State provides you with cutting edge instruction in new media, industry-current software, and traditional tools in this lively and rapidly expanding field.


Typical Graphic Design students are motivated, curious, disciplined, and passionate.

By the time you graduate you will know how to:

  • utilize 3D software for illustration, animation, and visualization
  • create objects and environments for use in games
  • create virtual packaging and product visualizations
  • create motion graphics that animate branding systems, and communicate a message
  • design for the web; create intuitive, interesting and informative websites
  • design for print; magazines, books, packaging
  • create way-finding systems and environmental graphics
  • design conceptually creative and persuasive advertising campaigns
  • create logos and coordinated branding systems
  • illustrate with a variety of media from hands-on to digital
  • mount an individual exhibition in a local gallery
  • design and create an individual portfolio, both digital and traditional
  • have the poise, demeanor, and professional acumen to begin a satisfying and meaningful career in design

The Graphic Design program includes an extensive internship requirement with which our students obtain critical professional experience. Most students do their internships locally, but some have been more adventurous and landed internships in London, Los Angeles, New York City, and other metropolitan areas.

The Graphic Design BFA program is designed to prepare you for successful employment in an industry with a rapid influx of new technologies. Due to the heavy technical requirements the industry demands from our graduates, we continually evaluate our course offerings and update them accordingly.

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Skills Assessment Exam

As of January 7, 2017, any student wishing to be a Graphic Design major may enroll in the major directly. At the end of the student's first year in the program, they must take and pass the Skills Assessment Exam to continue in the major.

Advisement - It's Essential

Every Graphic Design student must be advised every semester—it's that simple!

Bring a printed copy of your Degree Works page. Note: (Save as PDF then print.)

You must meet with your academic adviser!

Exclamation pointsPlease do not put off registering for classes! If they don't fill, they may not run.

You are not billed immediately upon registering for the following semester—payment of tuition is not due until several weeks after classes begin—so don't procrastinate— sign up for your classes as soon as possible!

The Buffalo State Financial Aid Office may also make special arrangements if you are having financial difficulty.

Important Information

Ultimately the student is responsible for fulfilling all courses and requirements for graduation.

Advisement is mandatory. Students must sign up for advisement each semester they are at Buffalo State to facilitate timely graduation. Changing majors or entering the college as a transfer may lengthen the amount of time to graduation.

The department reserves the right to retain students’ work for official purposes, such as exhibitions, catalogs, teaching aids, or permanent collections and to use images of the students and their work for publicity and recruitment. Students are expected to assume the costs of materials used in courses. Some studio courses may have an additional charge for materials used in class.

Job Possibilities

The Buffalo State Graphic Design B.F.A. program has an excellent reputation. Graduates from the program are employed by many design studios, advertising firms, marketing agencies, web, non-profit organizations, the music industry, news and print companies in the Western New York area and across the country. 

Our graduates are employed at NBC Universal, Verizon Wireless, Fisher Price, Yahoo, Xerox, Uniland Development, The Mechanism, Fuel Interactive, Hilton Worldwide, Buffalo Sabres, Block Club, Quinlan & Co., Clever Method, Buffalo Spree, Blue Cross Blue Shield, NOCO Energy, Local Edge, P22 Type Foundry, CGI Communications, The Martin Group, Eric Mower & Associates, The Buffalo News, and Art Voice.

Opportunities continue to exist in the more traditional fields of newspaper, magazines, advertising specialties, or sign companies. In addition, many businesses that employ more than a dozen employees often have an in-house design dept. Or, with the skills gained, some of our more enterprising graduates have begun their own companies!

Buffalo State has employment and job resources available for students - free of charge to students and the local community:

Career Services

Small Business Development Center

AAF Buffalo


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Art & Design Department

1300 Elmwood Ave  •  Upton Hall 402 •  Buffalo, NY 14222
Phone: (716) 878-6032 •  Fax: (716) 878-4231