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Graphic Design

Graphic designers are visual storytellers. They engage and communicate through logos and brand identities, apps and websites, publications and product packaging, wayfinding and signage, ads and commercials.

Well-designed graphics can stand in for a thousand words, sharing meaning and emotion with just a glance. At Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, you’ll not only learn to be an effective designer, but also a bold, innovative creator, thinker, and problem solver. By the time you graduate, you’ll feel empowered to take ownership of your ideas and your creations as you share them with the world.

our program

Why Graphic Design at PCA&D?

One-on-one instruction is our hallmark. With faculty guidance and inspiration, you’ll tackle real-world projects with immediate impact, building your portfolio to launch your career. You’ll learn in the best small city to live in the U.S., in a vibrant arts-rich environment with more than 125 galleries and creative spaces.

Our students are regularly named GD Students to Watch and win national GDUSA design competitions. All coursework incorporates some form of portfolio review and/or critique with a faculty of professional, working designers to prepare you for receiving feedback in career settings and learning how to implement suggested improvements. Each year your faculty assesses the curriculum to make sure you’ll learn only the most relevant skills and software you’ll need to succeed after graduation.

Customize your program

PCA&D students have the opportunity to explore multiple interests by incorporating a minor or certificate into their major studies. Expanding your skill sets to cross disciplines will make you more appealing to future employers and broaden your potential career path.

PCAD | GDUSA-Buds
PCAD | GDUSA-Buds
PCAD | GDUSA-Buds
PCAD | GDUSA-Buds

Tyler Handa ’23

PCA&D really pushed me to get out of my comfort zone a bit more than I wanted. It really is all about being introduced to as many things as possible. We latch on to certain things that we might learn we are good at and then take them even further."

Build Your Network

Join our student chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the oldest professional association in design. Meet monthly for student-led critiques, portfolio review preparation, and brown bag lunch speakers. Club members have access to studio tours, national speakers, and portfolio reviews in association with the Philadelphia professional chapter.

Design in a Day

Hosted by AIGA, this beloved annual event benefits our local non-profit community as students devote a day offering free design services for these organizations. Strengthen community relationships by stepping into the role of design professional alongside clients, faculty, and alumni to create impactful campaigns, logos, posters, motion graphics, and more. Previous participants include: the Friendship Gallery, YWCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Lancaster Public Library.

Immersive Learning

Field trips like the New York City Pub Crawl to visit the city’s major publishing houses, local studio visits, and tours of regional advertising companies all offer networking opportunities that have resulted in job offers for our graduates.

Meet the Experts

Previous nationally renowned guest speakers include Gail Anderson, Mary Kate McDevitt, Tom Whelan, Zipeng Zhu, and Jeff DeSantis. Through partnerships with the Central PA AIGA chapter and Society of Design, we’ve also hosted speakers like Aaron Draplin and Timothy Goodman, Stefan Sagmeister, Jessica Hische, Pentagram partners Chip Kidd and Paula Scher, and Design Army. 

Build Your Portfolio

Most class assignments are real-world projects for regional clients, like greeting cards for the Mayor’s Office, merchandise for the Lancaster Barnstormers, book covers for Sunbury Press, and marketing materials for Caron Treatment Centers. Explore communicating information about topics like organ donation, pet adoption, emergency preparedness, and racial injustice, and watch the impact your work can make.

Step Into Your Career

Each senior gets their own personal studio space to develop and create their thesis: a passion project that could involve branding a cafe, product design, public awareness or social justice campaigns, gaming exhibitions – anything you could dream of. Your thesis will debut to the public at our annual Senior Show during commencement celebrations in May. Seniors also have the unique opportunity to brand the Senior Show by developing campaign images and pitching them to a panel of professional designers in the fall. 
What will your thesis teach you?

  • Time Management
  • Organization
  • Project Management
  • Design Development (from concept to published piece)
  • Pitching a Concept
  • Taking Critique
  • Visual Communication 
  • Adaptability

internships & careers

Where could your creative life take you?

Emily Phillips ’19

Internships are a required element of the Graphic Design program, often completed during the summer before the senior year. Leave your internship with connections to lifelong mentors or even a pre-graduation job offer. To name a few recent placements: Patagonia, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, and Armstrong World Industries. 

As an intern, you could create interactive (web, digital, social) and mixed reality (Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, etc.) experiences for clients such as National Geographic, Oxygen, CBS, Disney Nickelodeon, FX, and History Channel. Students of any level have the opportunity to complete a paid internship on campus with The Agency. Take on projects for the College as well as those for community non-profit organizations and local start-up businesses with small budgets.

These real-world experiences in and out of the classroom will build skill sets allowing you to land positions in:

  • Packaging and product design
  • Government agencies
  • Multimedia companies
  • Healthcare institutions
  • Publishers
  • Film studios
  • Industrial design firms
  • Marketing and public relations departments
  • Advertising agencies
  • Printing companies
  • Architectural firms
  • And many, MANY more…

Your adaptability will also prepare you for emerging fields and jobs that don’t exist yet as user experience and interface design continues to evolve.

where are Alumni now?

Graphic Design graduates pursue careers in a variety of fields. Click below to explore recent stories from the program.

headshot of Kevin Foss, '20 Graphic Design. Man smiliing at camera, with hand covering mouth, wearing brown shirt and wristwatch, drink on the table in front of him.

Adding good design to live events with Kevin Foss ’20

From Cardi B to Bon Jovi, Lizzo to Nickelback, Chris Brown, and Green Day, it’s been a busy and demanding couple of years of work and clients for Class of 2020’s Kevin Foss.  Yet the magna cum laude Graphic Design graduate of Pennsylvania College of Art & Design probably wouldn’t

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Department faculty

A faculty of working designers

As experienced working professionals with strong ties to resources and opportunities in the field, your faculty assign competitive, real-world projects to enhance your portfolio with professional work well before you graduate.

Pam Barby, PCAD Chair of Graphic Design, Assistant Professor

Pam Barby, Department Chair

Pam has served as Chair of the department since 2008 and Associate Professor for the Graphic Design Department since 2005. She has also been a professional designer since 1986 maintaining her own client list, and she is nationally recognized as a “Faculty to Watch” by Graphic Design USA. Pam was the recipient of PCA&D honors and recognition in 2019 and 2020 and is a member of AIGA.

Pete Hudack
Pete Hudack
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Pete is an adjunct instructor teaching Web Studio I. He quickly assesses the needs of students and makes those adjustments in his coursework. Pete is a cross-disciplinary visual designer and front-end web developer with a passion for both technology and design. He is currently the front-end developer for the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. He has worked as a digital designer and front-end developer for Tower Marketing, Grit Marketing, Spencer Marketing, @ECORE International, @ING, and @Misco Products.
Bill Dussinger
Bill Dussingerplgraphics.com
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Bill is a part-time instructor in both Graphic Design and Illustration Departments for the past 10 years. This past year he became The Agency’s Creative Director, leading students as they created design work for the College and local non-profits. He spent 12 years in the entertainment/hospitality industry (Hershey Entertainment & Resorts) and 10 years in the newspaper publication industry (Lancaster Newspapers, Inc.) Bill is the owner of Penny Lane Graphics and is a member of AIGA and Society of Illustrators.
Maria Cummings-Miller '16
Maria Cummings-Miller '16mcmdesigns.myportfolio.com
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Maria has over 20 years dedicated to PCA&D, first as a student, then as a Continuing Education instructor, part-time instructor, and currently as a full-time instructor in the BFA program. Maria continues to bring her professional experience to the classroom. She creates print and web promotional and marketing materials for a variety of clients. She is a member of AIGA and has served as the faculty advisor to the student AIGA group.
Ellie Cochran '19
Ellie Cochran '19sintelligentdesign.com
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Ellie is a 2019 graduate of PCA&D. Xey have taught several courses in the CCE program at PCA&D, as well as Advanced Web Design, UX/UI Design, and Intro to Game Art. Xey are the Creative Director of the nonprofit Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition, and are a freelance digital artist with a focus on interaction design and technical art.
Christine Conley
Christine Conley
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Christine Conley is a creative and data-driven marketer who has a solid understanding of the customer life cycle, using data to influence behavior from the acquisition stage to close. She has a strong understanding of data architecture, CRM software, and analytics packages and uses best practices in data visualization to convey actionable information throughout the organization. Her focus is UI & UX in Web Design.
Rich Johnson
Rich Johnsonrichjohnsonarts.com
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Rich Johnson has been working professionally as a graphic designer/creative director since 1997 in various agency settings and as a freelancer. He has a technical background in image prep/manipulation and prepress focusing on output and complex composites. In addition to design and production, he is also a professional photographer and videographer. All of these perspectives are brought together in his classroom to address real-world scenarios and skills that can be applied to a plethora of roles.
Lucas Korte
Lucas Korte
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Lucas Korte is a professional illustrator, artist, and educator living in Lancaster, PA. He has taught painting and drawing, previously at the University of Notre Dame, for seven years. As an illustrator, he works primarily in the underground death metal scene. His clients are based all over the world including in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Costa Rica, Chile, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
Thomas Newmaster
Thomas Newmasterforcepkg.com
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Tom is an adjunct instructor and owner of Force Packaging. He continually attends conferences, trade shows, and speaking engagements in the packaging design industry. Tom has earned the respect of the industry locally and across the country. In the Fall of 2022, students will attend class in his studio space in the Griest Building on Queen Street. He has been interviewed and written articles for various packaging trade publications. FORCEpkg has won various GDUSA Magazine Packaging Design Awards.
Ryan Shelley
Ryan Shelley
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A Lancaster native, Ryan continues to work locally as part of the fourhead art collective and as a freelance designer. He is a full-time design Lecturer at Towson University (MD) and an adjunct at PCA&D. His research and teaching include design activism, street art, and board games. Collaboratively, he exhibits and installs work utilizing toy/instant photography and iterative drawing, and he co-created CO-LAB in 2015 (BIS).
Jeremy Friend
Jeremy Friendjeremyfriend.com
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Jeremy is a custom lettering artist and type designer who creates wordmarks, logos, and fonts for businesses and brands around the globe. He is a graduate of the graphic design program at the Minneapolis College of Art + Design (MCAD). Some of his clients include YouTube, Hershey's, Entertainment Weekly, Coach, and McCormick. Jeremy has also taught lettering and design for several years at The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Towson University, and York College of Pennsylvania.
Scott Trobaugh
Scott Trobaugh
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Scott is a multifaceted creative with over 25 years in branding and marketing. During that time, he's developed everything from Fortune 500 brands to cartoon mascots and racecars. As the creative force behind Dash 8 Creative, Scott applies his design education with practical focus, leading teams in creative problem solving for clients of all sizes.

Austin Taylor ’24

Apply now

Make your creative life, a way of life

While you’re still deciding on a school, go ahead and start an application or submit your portfolio. You can also register for admissions-related events, or how about a personal campus tour. 

Our admission counselors are your personal guides to discover if our creative college is right for you. Reach out, share your story, and have your questions answered. 

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