- Design Foundations
- Type & Technology
- Image & Technology
- Type & Visual Interfaces
- Visual Communication
- Interactivity & Development
- Principles of Experience Design
- Producing Design Systems
- Interaction Design Development
- Branding Experience Design
- Internship or International Experience
- Design Project Center
- Design Professionalism & Entrepreneurship
- Portfolio Preparation
- Big Rapids
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Graphic designers in all kinds of organizations apply creative and conceptual skills to inform, educate, and persuade audiences. Graduates from this program have entered the workforce as print or web designers and become art directors, interaction designers, user experience or interface designers, creative directors, and production managers. The program has a consistently excellent placement rate for graduates in leading design firms, corporations, and agencies across the country. The demand for graphic designers continues to rise with the proliferation of traditional and new media outlets.
The Graphic Design program is very hands-on in a collaborative environment including both student colleagues and clients. Real-world projects and clients teach how creative, coordinated design can accomplish organizational objectives, as well as building experience in professional communications, presentation, and relationship management.
Students use current software to learn technology skills to design for print and screen. Studio tours and conferences provide a solid connection to the world of professional graphic design. The Graphic Design program is business-based with a market-driven curriculum, because designers need to perform well in business as well as in design.
New & Noteworthy
Graphic Design Program Hosts AKQA Creative Director Sarah Lockwood
October 5, 2020
Sarah Lockwood, AKQA Creative Director with more than 11 years of industry experience, shares 12 things she learned along her journey from an FSU student to the creative director of a Fortune 100 client at AKQA. AKQAs Creative Director with… Read more »
Ferris State University Graphic Design Students Attend Midwest UX Conference
December 11, 2019
Ferris State Graphic Design students recently had the opportunity to attend Midwest UX in Grand Rapids. This year’s theme was Reframing Reality, where designers should be challenged to look at problems and society from a different perspective. Focused around User… Read more »
Graphic Design Class of 2020 Kickoff Their Senior Year In The Design Project Center
October 24, 2019
AlexOosterhouse (left) and Adam Pederson (right) researching the Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities to prepare for their upcoming project. It’s the start of a new school year, and the seniors are working hard on their DPC projects. As a way…Read more »
Graphic Design Class of 2019 Shares Portfolios
May 3, 2019
Seniors in the Graphic Design program shared their portfolios with industry professionals, friends, and family on April 25, 2019. The event, held at the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids, allowed the soon-to-be graduates to show off what they built during… Read more »
Eight Ferris Graphic Design Students at Travel to AIGA National Design Conference in Pasadena
May 1, 2019
For the third consecutive year, students in the Graphic Design program at Ferris State University traveled to one of the biggest annual events in design: the AIGA National Design Conference. Throughout the three-day conference, the students learned from and networked… Read more »
Ferris Design Project Center Alumni Earn ADDY Awards
April 5, 2019
Two teams of Ferris State University Graphic Design (DSGN) alumni were recently presented with 2019 Student Silver ADDY Awards for work they created during their time at the Ferris Design Project Center (DPC). The ADDY Awards, created by the American… Read more »
Shoe Savant Jeff Lewis Speaks to Ferris College of Business Students
February 1, 2019
Industry leader and shoe savant Jeff Lewis recently visited Ferris State University’s College of Business to share the insight he gained from his years as the VP of Marketing for the iconic brand Hush Puppies. Lewis has perfected the formula… Read more »
Graphic Design Class of 2019 Kicks Off Senior Year in the Design Project Center
October 29, 2018
Eddie Johnson and Alex Crittendon collaborate on concepts for the DSGN Program Events while Lydia Huisken prototypes a pamphlet for her client Hope House, a free medical clinic that provides medical care to adults who lack insurance. The seniors of… Read more »
Graphic Design Seniors Re-Brand Hope House, A Free Medical Clinic
April 12, 2018
Hope House, a free medical clinic in Big Rapids, received a makeover from Rachel VanAken and Carlie Vanklompenberg, two seniors in the Graphic Design program at Ferris State University. Hope House focuses on helping uninsured community members get free medical… Read more »
Ferris Graphic Design Students Travel to AIGA National Design Conference in Minneapolis
December 12, 2017
Ferris State Students at the National AIGA Design Conference in Minneapolis, MN. Students from the Graphic Design program at Ferris State University attended the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) National Design Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota from October 12–14, 2017.… Read more »
Resilience and Confidence: Graphic Design Alumna Bethany Sonefeld Chases Her Dreams at IBM
November 27, 2017
Resilience and confidence. That’s what it took for Ferris State University Graphic Design alumna Bethany Sonefeld to find her role at International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) Design.Read more »
Graphic Design Class of 2018 Kicks Off Senior Year in the Design Project Center
November 10, 2017
From left to right: Jen Bancino (DPC Student), Cindy Conkle (GRSAF Annual Fund Director), Meghan Bowlby (GRSAF Development Coordinator), Salina Bishop (Manager of Communications and Grants), Michele Suchovsky (GRSAF Executive Director), Alison Popp (DSGN Faculty), Peter Zakrzewski (DSGN Faculty), Connor… Read more »
AIGA Fellow Award Honoring Pioneers of the Graphic Design Program
February 6, 2017
Pioneers of the graphic design program and previous College of Business professors, Barbara Loveland and Linda Powell were the 2017 recipients of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Fellow Award. The Fellow Award is the chapter’s highest honor recognizing… Read more »
Graphic Design Student wins Student Gold Award in 2016 West Michigan Addys
August 26, 2016
College of Business Graphic Design student, Brittaney Headings, has recently won a Student Gold award in the 2016 West Michigan Addys. It was for her “Modern Craft” project in the Integrated Brand Identity Campaign category. The West Michigan Addys, or… Read more »
First Annual Graphic Design Studio Excellence Awardees: Amanda Barnes and McKenna McIntyre
May 19, 2016
Amanda Barnes (‘17) and McKenna McIntyre (‘18) were recently recognized for Studio Excellence during the 2015–16 school year. This award is the first of an ongoing initiative by the Graphic Design program at the College of Business to congratulate outstanding… Read more »
Universal Mind Visits Graphic Design at Ferris State
May 9, 2016
This semester, the Graphic Design program at Ferris State was fortunate enough to get a visit from Grand Rapids based Digital Agency, Universal Mind. Universal Mind is an agency of inventors, designers, and strategists that work to create digital experiences… Read more »
Graphic Design at Ferris State Visits Chicago
May 9, 2016
This April, the Graphic Design program at Ferris State took a two-day trip to the Windy City to tour VSA Partners and to experience Chicago. VSA Partners is a design firm that was founded nearly 30 years ago that specializes… Read more »
Graphic Design Seniors Share Portfolios with Industry Professionals
May 5, 2016
On Thursday, April 22nd, this year’s graduating class from the Graphic Design Program presented their portfolios at the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids, MI. The twelve students were given the opportunity to share their collection of projects one-on-one with design… Read more »
Graphic Design Students Travel to 2015 DesignThinkers Conference
December 2, 2015
The Graphic Design program at Ferris State University recently traveled to the 16th annual DesignThinkers Conference in Toronto, Ontario. The conference was held by the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD), and is Canada’s largest conference for visual communicators. The purpose of the conference is… Read more »
Graphic Design Students Prepare for Senior Projects
September 28, 2015
The final year of the Graphic Design program moves into the Design Project Center (DPC), which fosters a real work-life environment for design students. The DPC experience is both an internship and first-hand experience in the design field. Students work with actual clients…Read more »
Internship Shows Spectrum of Graphic Media Management
July 2, 2015
Graphic Media Management student Samantha Hillock will begin her final year at Ferris this fall. Hillock originally came to Ferris to study Graphic Design, which she has always been passionate about. Studying Graphic Design led her to her job at the…Read more »
Portfolio Review Highlights User Experience Design Skills
May 11, 2015
Ferris Graphic Design seniors presented their work to nearly 50 design professionals at the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids on April 23. This event connects Ferris students with professionals for critical insight, feedback, and critique of their work. Each student can review with… Read more »
Design Students Get View of the “Other Side”
April 10, 2015
Ferris Graphic Design seniors heard from Mike Carnevale, principal of Carnevale Interactive Design, on March 24, 2015. Just a few months before their graduation, the students were eager to hear about what employers are looking for from young designers. Carnevale… Read more »
Carnevale Design Studio Hosts Graphic Design Students
April 9, 2015
On March 18, juniors in Graphic Design traveled to Grand Rapids to tour Carnevale Interactive Design Studio and learn more about what it’s like to work in their future field. Aided by milk and cookies, they attentively listened to the… Read more »
Alison Popp and Lisa Eshbach Earn Faculty Excellence Awards
March 10, 2015
The College of Business recently recognized two outstanding professors with the Sytsma Award for Faculty Excellence. Designed to “promote, encourage, recognize and reward faculty performance, excellence, and improvement,” this award comes with a $500 grant made possible by a gift from… Read more »
Graphic Design Success Spotlight: Ryan VanDyke, UX Designer at Amazon
February 10, 2015
Ryan VanDyke, a 2007 graduate of the Graphic Design program, moved to Seattle in Sept. to begin a career as a UX Designer at Amazon.com. Ryan has completed design work for some of the largest companies in the world, including…Read more »
Capstone Graphic Design Portfolios Have Professionals “Blown Away”
May 6, 2014
Graphic Design seniors work tirelessly all year in preparation for their capstone portfolio review. This year, the evening was hosted at a new location, the Downtown Market of Grand Rapids, on April 24th. Thirteen seniors presented their senior projects to… Read more »
Graphic Design Alumnus, Craig Cockerill, Finds Success After Graduation
April 4, 2014
Craig Cockerill has found success as a Ferris alumnus at Piazza, a virtual classroom for students and instructors to come together and enhance the learning experience. Cockerill graduated from the graphic design program in May 2012. He found his position…Read more »
Ferris Inspires Sixth Graders to Pursue Higher Ed
April 1, 2014
Sixty sixth grade students from Reeths-Puffer Intermediate School visited the College of Business for their first look at a college campus. This visit to Ferris was part of a long-term effort to inspire the students to pursue higher education after high school.… Read more »
Students Inspired by Graphic Design Leaders at Conference
February 25, 2014
Senior Graphic Design students travelled to the University of Illinois to attend the annual SEEK Design Conference, now in its twelfth year. At the one-day event, students participated in hands-on workshops, spoke with Ferris alumni, and gained exposure to the… Read more »
Ferris State Graphic Design Alumna Brings Value To The Industry
November 25, 2013
Graphic design isn’t only a career for Taylor Kasony; it’s her passion. Kasony graduated from Ferris’s graphic design program last spring. Today, she is a designer at AGP and Associates, Inc. in Midland. Her technical and conceptual skills as well as…Read more »
AIGA Takes On the Big Apple
October 28, 2013
On October 17, graphic design upperclassmen ventured 14 hours by bus to visit one of the largest hubs of design in the world: New York City. On this jam-packed three day trip, students had the chance to tour some well-known… Read more »
Victory at Brand X Competition for Graphic Design Students
October 7, 2013
This past spring, Ferris Graphic Design students Haley Hawes, Ashley Kasul, Brandon Knap, and Alex Papin took second place in the national Brand X Experience Design Student Competition. While winning the $2,000 prize was a bonus, the most important thing… Read more »
Graphic Design Summer Interns Prove They’ve Got What It Takes
September 11, 2013
Bethany Sonefeld Company: ESPN Location: Bristol, Connecticut Description: “This summer I worked as a Digital Media Intern within ESPN.com’s editorial design team. There were day to day responsibilities like creating graphics that help maintain ESPN.com’s website or updating their content…Read more »
Students Compete to Learn about Experience Design
May 1, 2013
A team of Graphic Design program students competed in the Brand X Experience Design Students Competition, a national competition for undergraduate design students. Captain Ashley Kasul led the team, including Haley Hawes, Brandon Knap, and Alex Papin, all juniors in the Graphic… Read more »
Students Win at 2013 ADDY Awards
February 25, 2013
Ferris Graphic Design program participants enjoyed a successful night at the 2013 West Michigan ADDY Awards. The event was held at the Grand Rapids Art Museum on Thursday, February 21. The ADDY Awards are the advertising industry’s largest and most… Read more »
Ferris Students Make Good Choices
January 23, 2013
Good Choices is a Ferris State University campaign that has been in existence since 2000. It promotes responsible behaviors and informed decisions to reduce unsafe activities. The perception is that Ferris students don’t make good choices but the truth is,…Read more »
Graphic Design: An Alum Success Story
December 13, 2012
Imagine graduating college and then finding a career where you have the opportunity to design something that will be used by thousands of people. Sarah Lockwood, a 2009 graduate of Ferris State University’s Graphic Design Program, works today for a…Read more »
Graphic Design Students Bring a Vision to Life
December 7, 2012
Graphic design students helped a vision become a reality for the new Small Town Studio program at Ferris State University. Small Town Studio is a program for senior architecture students, which involves working with real life clients and the ability…Read more »
New first year applicants must meet College of Business admission criteria. Students must maintain a minimum 2.7 GPA in their major to continue in the Graphic Design Bachelor’s Degree.
Transfer applicants must meet College of Business transfer admission criteria and will be referred to the program coordinator for portfolio review to determine acceptance and placement with
1. New First Year or “First Time in Any College Freshmen (FTIAC)” Applicant COB Admission Criteria
Applicants are expected to meet the criteria listed below to be placed directly into a College of Business bachelor/associate degree program except Graphic Design (DSGN), Information Security & Intelligence (ISIN), PGA Golf Management (PGA), and Professional Tennis Management (PTM) which have specific admission requirements listed in Section 3. Any mitigating circumstances will be considered on an individual basis by the College of Business Dean’s Office/Student Academic Affairs (SAA).
Applicants completing the SAT after Fall, 2016, must have a 2.5 high school GPA (on a 4.0 scale) and meet two of the three criteria below:
- SAT Evidence-based Reading and Writing (ERW) score of 450 or higher.
- SAT Math score of 500 or higher. Placement in Math 109/110 will be considered (SAT MATH score 480).
- SAT Composite score of 900.
Applicants completing the ACT; or applicants completing the SAT before Fall, 2016, must have a 2.5 high school GPA (on a 4.0 scale) and meet two of the three criteria below:
- English ACT score of 16 or higher, or SAT Writing score of 370 or higher
- Math ACT score of 19 or higher, or SAT Math score of 460 or higher
- Reading ACT score of 19 or higher, or SAT Reading score of 430 or higher
ACT/SAT score requirements shall not apply to international students and non-traditional students age 23 or older. However, a placement test (specified by Ferris State University and/or COB) may be necessary for English and Math. Most students complete the Accuplacer at the FSU Testing Center or approved satellite location.
Applicants not meeting the above criteria (or criteria for direct admission into a specific COB program listed in Section 3), MAY be considered for an approved Associates Degree if:
- High School GPA of 2.35 or higher
- Math ACT score of 16/SAT Math 430 and additional high school algebra
- ACT Reading score of 16 and ACT English score of 14 or a comparable SAT ERW score to be determined.
- SAT Composite score of 860 or ACT composite score of 15.
2. Transfer Applicant COB Admission Criteria (this includes internal applicants from other FSU colleges and external applicants from other institutions)
Applicants are expected to meet the criteria listed below to be placed directly into a College of Business bachelor/associate degree program except for Accountancy/Computer Information Systems (ACIS), Computer Information Systems (CIS), Computer Information Technology (CIT), Graphic Design (DSGN), Information Security & Intelligence (ISIN), Music Industry Management (MIM), PGA Golf Management (PGA), and Professional Tennis Management (PTM) which have specific admission requirements listed in Section 3. Any mitigating circumstances will be considered on an individual basis by the College of Business Dean’s Office/SAA.
Transfer applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Combined college or university GPA of 2.35 (on a 4.0 scale) from all institutions attended. GPA is based on completion of 12 credit hours or more. Developmental courses will not be considered in computing the GPA requirement.
- Transfer equivalency for FSU English 150 or placement during the first semester at FSU which would require an ACT English score of 16 or higher; or SAT ERW score of 450; or Accuplacer English score 6 or higher.
- Transfer equivalency for FSU Math 114/115 or placement during the first semester at FSU which would require an ACT Math score of 19 or higher; or SAT Math score of 500; or Accuplacer MATH scores: Elementary Algebra score 75 or higher and College Level Math 0 – 49.
ACT/SAT score requirements shall not apply to international students and non-traditional students age 23 or older. However, a placement test (specified by Ferris State University and/or COB) may be necessary for English and Math. Most students complete the Accuplacer at the FSU Testing Center or an approved satellite location.
COB students may transfer into another COB program with a 2.0 FSU GPA unless they do not meet requirements that are program specific. A “Program Change Form” will be processed in the Dean’s Office/SAA (BUS 200).
FSU students may transfer into a COB program with a 2.35 FSU GPA unless they do not meet requirements that are program specific. A “Program Change Form” will be processed in the Dean’s Office/SAA (BUS 200).
3. COB Specific Programs’ Admission Criteria
New applicants (FTIAC)* and transfer applicants interested in Accountancy/Computer Information Systems (ACIS), Systems Computer Information Systems (CIS), Computer Information Technology (CIT), Graphic Design (DSGN), Information Security and Intelligence (ISIN), Music Industry Management (MIM), PGA Golf Management (PGA), and Professional Tennis Management (PTM) have specific admission criteria as follows:
Accountancy/Computer Information Systems (ACIS-BS-BU)
- FTIAC applicants must meet the COB FTIAC admission criteria.
- Transfer applicants must meet COB transfer admission criteria (see Section 2) and have a combined college or university 2.5 GPA.
Computer Information Systems (CIS-BS-BU)
- FTIAC applicants must meet COB FTIAC admission criteria.
- Transfer applicants must meet COB transfer admission criteria (see Section 2) and have a combined college or university 2.5 GPA.
Computer Information Technology (CIT-BS-BU)
- FTIAC applicants must meet COB FTIAC admission criteria.
- Transfer applicants must meet COB transfer admission criteria (see Section 2) and have a college or university 2.5 GPA.
Graphic Design Bachelor’s Degree (DSGN-BS-BU)
- FTIAC applicants must meet COB FTIAC admission criteria. Students must maintain a 2.7gpa in their DSGN courses.
- Transfer applicants must meet COB transfer admission criteria (see Section 2) and will be referred to the Program Coordinator for portfolio review to determine acceptance and placement within the program.
Information Security & Intelligence (ISIN-BS-BU and ISIN-AAS-BU)
- All applicants applying for admission to the ISIN programs will submit a 750 – 1,000 word essay that addresses the following: Who they are and why they desire admission in the ISIN program, description of a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution, or experience, and description of someone that influenced them and why.
- Minimum computer spec for ISIN students: Laptop; Windows or OSX/MacOS; 8 GB RAM, 16GB recommended; 500 GB HDD or SSD; CPU minimum i5 or equivalent.
- FTIAC applicants require a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) from high school and a Math ACT minimum score of 22 or Math SAT minimum score of 550.
- Transfer applicants must have a combined 3.00 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) from all institutions attended. GPA is based on completion of 24 hours or more. Students must have completed the transfer equivalent of FSU’s Math 114/115 or higher (this does not include FSU’s equivalent of Math 117) with a minimum 2.00 GPA or have a Math ACT minimum score of 22 or Math SAT minimum score of 550. (See information above regarding the required essay.)
Music and Entertainment Business (MEBM-BS-BU)
- FTIAC applicants must meet COB FTIAC admission criteria.
- Transfer applicants must meet COB transfer admission criteria and (see Section 2) have a combined college or university 2.5 GPA. Typically no more than 45 applicable credit hours should be transferred from other institutions. Exceptions will be based on approval by the MIM Program Director.
PGA Golf Management (PGA-BS-BU)
- FTIAC applicants require a 2.5 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) from high school, ACT composite score of 19 or SAT composite score of 980. The program has a Fall Semester entry only. Because of the uniqueness of the program, applicants are encouraged to visit campus and talk with an admissions counselor and/or the PGA program coordinator.
- There are two alternatives for students to demonstrate the golf playing ability required to enter the Ferris State PGA Golf Management Program. Each State Golf Association offers memberships that include score posting for rounds played to allow golfers to establish an official handicap. If a student elects to use option 1 below, the maximum permitted USGA/World Handicapping System Index is 8.0.
- In Michigan, for example, the Golf Association of Michigan offers score posting options online. The following link will take you directly to the GAM Membership page. As a GAM Member not only can you post your scores but the GAM offers discounts on greens fees and merchandise at various courses throughout Michigan. https://www.gam.org/?Membership&view=Join
- The other alternative is to demonstrate playing proficiency in a 36 hole PGA Playing Ability Test (PAT) conducted in any PGA Section in the United States. The proficiency considered acceptable by Ferris State is as follows: In at least one of the two rounds of the PAT, the student shoots a score that is within 5 strokes of the PAT Target Score.
For Example, the PAT Target Score for 36 Holes = 158 (79 + 79 = 158)
Player in PAT Shoots 84 and 86 in the two rounds. Since at least one round (the 84) is within 5 strokes of 79 that would be considered acceptable.
- Transfer applicants must meet COB transfer admission criteria (see Section 2) and demonstrate golfing ability as explained above. Transfer equivalency or placement in ENGL-150 and MATH-114 or MATH-115.
- Students must complete the program within eight years of the initial enrollment as required by the PGA.
- PGA Playing Ability Test Registration
Professional Tennis Management (PTM-BS-BU)
- FTIAC applicants require a 2.5 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) from high school, NTRP of 4.0 with USTA District ranking and one of the following two criteria: (1) ACT Math score of 19 or higher or SAT Math score of 500 OR (2) ACT Reading score of 19 or higher or SAT ERW to be determined.
- Transfer applicants must meet COB transfer admissions criteria (see Section 2) and NTRP of 4.0 or USTA District ranking.
4. Undergraduate COB Certificate Programs’ Admission Criteria
Any person admitted to a Ferris State University degree program may enroll in courses for undergraduate COB certificates. No more than 50% of the credits in a certificate may be transferred from another institution. If a student is in a FSU degree-seeking program, the certificate will not be granted if more than 50% of the certificate credits are required in the program/major. The certificate will be granted upon completion with an average GPA of 2.0 or higher in the courses designated for the certificate.
Individuals wanting to advance their career, but not admitted to an FSU degree program, may also earn undergraduate COB certificates.
Admission process for individuals seeking only a certificate:
- Applicant should show proof of high school graduation with a 2.35 GPA. If it is determined by the COB Dean’s Office/SAA that regular program admission criteria should be met in order to complete the certificate successfully and be a contributing member of the course, all college transcripts should be submitted to the Admissions Office. Once admitted, an advisor will be assigned by the College of Business in the certificate program.
- Dual enrolled/concurrent students must complete their high school degree (provide transcript) before the certificate will be granted from FSU.
- Students wishing to pursue a bachelor or associate’s degree must meet the admission criteria for the program. This criteria review is initiated when the “Program Change Form” request is processed through the COB Dean’s Office/SAA.
Any mitigating circumstances will be considered on an individual basis by the College of Business Dean’s Office/SAA
*This document is subject to change. Questions should be submitted to the COB Dean’s Office/Student Academic Affairs (BUS 200) in care of the Director of Student Academic Affairs (231-591-2420).
SLG: April 9, 2013; Spring, 2014 (PHMT and eliminate PMIM); December, 2014(editorial); August 20, 2015 (criteria change: Section 1 preprogram requirements; PGA Golf Management name change); April and May, 2016 (Certificate process updates); Reviewed by AC: March 16, 2017 and updated on April 4, 2017 (Updates with certificate, ISIN admissions criteria, SAT updates, program changes, eliminate pre-programs, editorial changes); June 13, 2107 (MIM transfer credit clarification); June 19, 2017 (CIS transfer criteria update: combined college GPA 2.5 GPA); July 27, 2017 (ISIN computer recommendations; Accountancy/Computer Information Systems transfer criteria update: combined college GPA 2.50); August 16, 2017 (Edit); Oct 6, 2017 (ISIN AAS); November 7, 2017 (PTM edit “or USTA”);