Education

Best Online Digital Design Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Digital Design programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Digital design is the process of creating designs for digital products, such as websites, apps, and software. Digital designers use a variety of tools to create their designs, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

Digital design is a growing field, as more and more companies are looking for designers who can create user-friendly and visually appealing digital products. Digital designers are in demand in a wide variety of industries, including technology, advertising, and publishing.

Digital design degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in digital design, including web design, app design, and software design. Students in digital design degree programs learn about the different aspects of digital design, and how to create designs that are user-friendly and visually appealing.

How to Choose the Right Digital Design Program

When it comes to choosing the right digital design degree program, there are many factors to consider. Cost, location, and time to degree are all important, but prospective students should also research the curriculum and available specializations.

Many digital design programs offer a variety of specializations, such as web design, graphic design, or animation. Students should research the specializations offered at each program to find the one that best fits their interests and career goals. In addition to specializations, students should also research the curriculum to see how many general art and design classes they must take versus the specialized courses in their track.

The cost of a digital design degree varies depending on the institution. When considering costs, students need to research tuition, fees, and associated expenses such as housing, commuting, and parking. Public schools offer a lower tuition rate for in-state residents. Location can also affect the ability to gain internship opportunities and network for jobs after graduation. Finally, the time to degree may make an expensive program less costly if students can transfer in college credits.

Prospective digital design students should also research the graduation requirements of each program. Some programs require internships or a final project, and students should make sure they are able to complete these requirements before applying. By considering all of these factors, prospective students can find the digital design program that best fits their needs.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Digital Design Programs

The best online programs for Digital Design ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

The Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts and Sciences (BADAS) degree from University of Florida is a cross-disciplinary program that covers production, animation, and game design. The program is designed for students who are interested in exploring the digital edge of these fields. BADAS students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in every aspect of the new and developing digital landscape – from design and production to animation, from programming to game design.

Rank 2
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA

The Bachelor of Design in Digital Multimedia Design degree from Pennsylvania State University is an interdisciplinary program that helps prepare students for a career in a variety of creative industries including technology, media, product design, and marketing. The program integrates courses in visual arts and design, information sciences and technology, communications, and General Education electives. Students in the program will create projects using leading multimedia applications and programming languages in this dynamic, project-based curriculum.

Rank 3
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

The graphic design major at Arizona State University is focused on teaching students how to visually communicate messages and ideas. Lower-division courses focus on design principles such as typography, layout, and color. In advanced courses, students apply their knowledge of design principles to professional computer-based projects in publication design, motion graphics, web design, animation, and interface design. The graphic design bachelor’s degree online is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Rank 4
Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Millersville, PA

The Bachelor of Arts in Interactive and Graphic Design from Millersville University of Pennsylvania is a cutting-edge degree that offers both breadth and depth of study in the field of design. The program provides students with opportunities to learn best practices and design with new technology. By keeping current with technological demands placed on the discipline, graduates can work in different environments that contribute to local, regional, and global economic vitality. The online program is typically completed part-time and courses are offered year-round to allow students to complete their degree faster.

Rank 5
California Baptist University
Riverside, CA

The online Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Digital Media degree program at California Baptist University is designed to prepare students for a career in graphic design or to help them advance their career by improving their skillset and knowledge in the field. The program is based around hands-on projects and portfolio building, and covers a wide range of topics in design and digital media.

Rank 6
Maryville University of Saint Louis
Saint Louis, MO

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Media degree from Maryville University of Saint Louis is a flexible program is 100% online with no campus visits required, and students can choose from six start dates. The curriculum is designed to give students the knowledge and skills they need to become highly valued visual communicators, which can open doors to a number of different career paths in the dynamic field of digital media.

Rank 7
Berkeley College
New York, NY

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Berkeley College is a great choice for students looking to pursue a career in graphic design. The curriculum provides students with a strong foundation in art and design principles, as well as exposure to a broad range of traditional, digital, and emerging media. Courses are taught in modern studio/lab environments, encouraging entrepreneurial teamwork and collaboration.

Rank 8
Arkansas State University
Jonesboro, AR

The Bachelor of Science in Digital Technology & Design from Arkansas State University is a dynamic online program that combines creativity and digital technology. The program focuses on design and digital technology, giving students the skills they need to create market-ready applications. The program includes coursework in graphic design, web development, digital prepress, and more.

Rank 9
Boise State University
Boise, ID

The Boise State Bachelor of Arts in Digital Innovation + Design is a 120-credit program that prepares students for careers in digital design and related fields. The program is delivered entirely online and features three certificates that students can choose from to customize their degree. These certificates are in content production, user experience design, and data analysis. The program also includes a student success curriculum that helps students develop the skills they need to thrive in the modern workplace.

Rank 10
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

The Bachelor of Arts in Design Arts & Practices from University of Arizona provides students with a foundation in design history, theory and practice from an interdisciplinary perspective. The degree is project-based, with courses that focus on innovation with new technology and the development of creative strategies to address contemporary issues. Students will take courses in art, design, information studies and technology, progressing from core skills into larger theories and issues. The degree culminates in a final capstone project.

What to Expect From an Online Bachelor’s in Digital Design Program

Students in a bachelor’s in digital design program learn how to create visual communications using computer software. The coursework emphasizes the use of industry-standard tools and software, such as Adobe Creative Suite, to create digital graphics, illustrations, web pages, and animation.

Most programs require students to complete between 120 and 130 credits, which full-time students can typically finish in four years. In addition to general education classes, students take major-specific coursework in topics like color theory, typography, web design, and user experience design. Many programs also require students to complete an internship or capstone project.

Prospective students should have some natural artistic ability and be comfortable using computers. They should also be able to work independently and be detail-oriented. Most digital design programs require students to submit a portfolio of their work as part of the admissions process.

Common Digital Design Courses

A digital design degree program will typically include a mix of design, technology, and business courses. The list below covers five common courses found in most digital design degree programs.

Color Theory in Design

This course covers the use of color in design and how to create effective color schemes. Topics include the color wheel, color harmony, color value and intensity, and the psychological effects of color. Students will also learn about the different color models and color spaces used in digital design. Upon completion, students should be able to create color schemes using a variety of color models, and understand the different ways that color can be used to communicate meaning in design.

Layout and Composition

This course covers the concepts of layout and composition as they apply to both web and print design. Students will learn about the various types of layout, such as fixed, fluid, and responsive, as well as the different types of composition, such as symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial. In addition, students will learn about the use of whitespace, typography, and color in design, and how to use these elements to create effective and visually appealing layouts. Upon completion, students should be able to create well-designed layouts for both web and print using a variety of methods and techniques.

Web Design Fundamentals

This course covers the basic concepts and skills necessary to design and develop web sites. Topics include an introduction to web site design, web authoring tools, web graphics, web page layout, color theory, web site usability, and web site accessibility. Upon completion, students should be able to design and develop a functional and aesthetically pleasing web site that is easy to navigate and is accessible to a wide range of users.

Design History and Criticism

This course covers the history, theory, and criticism of design with an emphasis on the impact of design on culture and society. Topics include the study of design movements and practitioners, the relationship between design and art, and the social, political, and economic contexts of design. Upon completion, students should be able to analyze and interpret the work of major design movements and practitioners, and apply design history and theory to the analysis of contemporary design problems.

Digital Tools

This course covers the use of digital tools for design, including their application to typography, layout, color, and imaging. Topics include an overview of design software, an introduction to design file formats, and an exploration of design workflows. Emphasis is placed on the use of industry-standard software to create and manipulate design elements and to prepare design files for print and web production. Upon completion, students should be able to create and edit digital design elements using industry-standard software and to export design files for print and web production.

Career Options for Digital Design Graduates

Graduates of digital design programs work in a variety of industries, including web design, graphic design, and advertising. They may also work in fields such as user experience design, game design, and motion graphics.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and websites. They create the overall design of a project and direct others who develop artwork and layouts. They use a variety of design elements to achieve artistic or decorative effects. Graphic designers work with both text and images. They often select the type, font, size, color, and line length of headlines, headings, and text. Graphic designers also decide how images and text will go together on a page or screen, including how much space each will have. They may use design software to create prototypes of sites and pages.

Digital Marketing Specialist

The digital marketing specialist is responsible for planning, executing, and measuring digital marketing campaigns across a variety of digital channels. The specialist will work with the marketing team to develop and implement strategies that align with the overall marketing plan. The digital marketing specialist will be responsible for managing all aspects of digital marketing campaigns, including email, social media, and paid advertising. The specialist will also be responsible for tracking and reporting on campaign performance and providing insights and recommendations for improvement.

UX/UI Designer

UX/UI designers work on the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) of digital products, such as websites and apps. They use their skills in design, research, and technology to create products that are both useful and visually appealing to users. In order to do their job, UX/UI designers must have a strong understanding of how people interact with digital products, as well as the ability to create designs that are both functional and visually appealing.

Web Designer

Web designers are responsible for the visual design of websites. This can include anything from the layout of the site—including where different elements (text, images, videos, etc.) will go—to the colors and fonts that will be used. Web designers often work with web developers to turn their designs into functioning websites. In addition to a strong technical understanding, web designers should also have a keen eye for detail and be able to think creatively.

Game Developer

Game developers create video games. They work in a team with other developers, including designers, artists, and programmers, to plan, design, and build the game. Developers typically specialize in one area, such as programming, art, or design, but they need to be able to work together to create a cohesive product. The job can be challenging, as it often requires long hours and tight deadlines, but it can also be very rewarding to see your work come to life in a finished product.

Insights From a Digital Design Graduate

Kash Ramsey is a Graphic Designer at Viacom. He has a bachelor’s degree in digital design from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Kash has over 7 years of experience in graphic design and has won multiple awards for his work.

ClimbtheLadder: What were the biggest takeaway(s) you got from your Digital Design program that you may not have gotten otherwise?

Kash Ramsey: The biggest takeaway from my Digital Design program was the importance of understanding the user. In order to create a successful design, you need to understand who you are designing for and what their needs are. This can be done through user research, surveys, interviews, etc.

Without understanding the user, it is very easy to create a design that is not user-friendly or that does not meet the needs of the user.

ClimbtheLadder: What are the most rewarding aspects of your career? What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Kash Ramsey: The most rewarding aspect of my career is the ability to be creative and have my work seen by millions of people. The most challenging aspect of my career is the constant need to be creative and to keep up with the latest trends.

ClimbtheLadder: What was the most challenging course you took? What advice would you give to students who are about to start this course?

Kash Ramsey: The most challenging course I took was color theory. It was hard to wrap my head around at first, but once I did I was able to create some really great pieces. My advice to students who are about to start this course is to just stick with it. It’s worth it in the end.

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