Visual Communications Design

We live in a world mediated by images. The Purdue University Visual Communications Design (VCD) program develops students as problem seekers and solvers with the capability to plan communication strategies and form effective visual products. The curriculum is structured to prepare students for a profession that is evolving rapidly and influenced by computer technology advances.

Students are prepared to master the technical and conceptual skills involved in typography, image generation, visual structure, color design and composition, as well as to conduct research, think conceptually, work collaboratively in teams, articulate and present ideas, and critically evaluate the form-making process. Our program provides students with a broad background and thorough understanding of both medium and message, so that they can combine words, ideas, and images in original ways to convey information and promote ideas to targeted audiences.

Note: An art portfolio is not required to apply to VCD. Students are required to pass a selective portfolio review in their sophomore year to advance in the program. Selection is based on their development as a designer, as shown by their art and design work at Purdue. Those not passing review work closely with an academic advisor to plan other majors and career paths. Current acceptance rates are available from advisors.  

Points of Pride

  • VCD is one of the majors housed in a state-of-the-art facility built specifically for Visual and Performing Arts. The building includes computer labs designed specifically for the VCD program.
  • Purdue University offers several opportunities for Visual Communications Design students to engage in co-curricular opportunities to develop their leadership and design potential. For a full list of student organizations visit Purdue University Boiler Link and Student Organizations & Involvement offices.
  • VCD has an active chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) which provides students with networking while making life-long friendships
  • Instructor to student ratio is small. Most VCD studio classes have a maximum of 16 students.
  • The faculty of the Visual Communications Design program is composed of active members of the design community with an international exhibition record and awards.


Visual Communications Design program graduates pursue an eclectic line of work in the communication/graphic design industry. The program creates opportunities to pursue various creative positions. Alumni hold positions in several branches of design, including Graphic Design, Graphic Art, Web and Multimedia Design, Packaging Design, Marketing Communications, Art Direction, Branding Design, Design Education, and also Independent Graphic Design Consulting and Operations. Purdue graduates of Visual Communications Design often find themselves in various Junior and Senior roles, as well as, Director, Associate, Coordinator, Manager, and Specialist positions. The design career horizons are ever expanding and our curriculum prepares students to earn opportunities in several design facets.

VCD Website

Visit this site to learn more about the program and see examples of student works:  
Visual Communications Design

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Plan of Study

2018-19 Plan of Study - BFA

2017-18 Plan of Study - BFA

2016-17 Plan of Study - BFA

2015-16 Plan of Study - BA

2014-15 Plan of Study - BA

Visual Communications Design

Patti & Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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