Wyoming is one of the most aesthetically-pleasing states in the country, an ideal place to live, study, and launch a career centered in graphic design. Although Wyoming is the 10th largest state in the US., it’s one of the least populated. Despite the low number of residents, it’s ranked 3rd in the nation for higher education.
One of the main reasons why a career in graphic design is lucrative in this state is because of tourists. With a steady stream of people coming to the state, the graphic design industry is thriving. This is because marketing, product design and web design play an essential role in tourist-supported states.
What You Need to Become a Graphic Designer in Wyoming?
When you think “graphic design,” you might not immediately think of “art.” But most graphic design programs fall under an art college or division, and the main difference is that software and technology are inextricably linked to the career.
Like most fine art, graphic design can be a self-taught career path. But to succeed in the workforce, it’s a good idea to get into a program. Degrees in graphic design give graduates the knowledge and confidence to use the most up-to-date tech and software and a strong foundation in business tools to interact with both employers and clients.
Wyoming has a handful of colleges that prepare those interested in graphic design for an innovative, interactive and creative future.
Career Outlook for Graphic Design
Graphic Design is an industry that will undoubtedly be around for generations to come. With social media and tech ever-growing, advertisement and visual communications are a staple of our society.
There is currently a 3% growth outlook for the graphic design industry. That’s lower than average. However, keep in mind that in states where tourist activity supports much of the economy, graphic design is an essential skill to have.
The Best Graphic Design Schools in Wyoming
Wyoming is a unique place to get a degree in graphic design. Although one of the least populous states in the country, towns like Jackson Hole house streets of art galleries with sculptures, paintings and more inspired by the natural landscape and the day-to-day life of Wyoming’s communities.
Located roughly in the center of Wyoming, Casper is one of the larger cities in the state, with a population of just under 60,000 people. Casper has a strong attachment to the history of the area and readily displays information and art related to the journey of the original pioneers in the 1800s.
Casper College is a community college, one of the largest in the area. The campus is situated on over 200 acres of land and includes 28 buildings. Around 4,500 students enroll at Casper each year, with a 13:1 student to teacher ratio. Collectively, Casper awards around 1 billion dollars combined in scholarships and financial aid a year for their students.
Despite being a community college, Casper College offers a variety of student living quarters. Depending on their needs, students can choose from traditional residential halls or independent apartment living – all at an affordable price, with dining halls as well. The college cites high student satisfaction as a reason to live on campus, with higher G.P.A.s and access to support services as well.
The Graphic Design program at Casper is pretty cut and dry, in a good way. The degree available is an A.F.A – Associates of Fine Arts, generally a two-year program that easily transfers to bachelor programs at other colleges or universities.
For students looking to keep it simple, make sure they’re actually decided on this career choice or looking for an easier financial path, this A.F.A program could be the best choice. There are no special admission requirements. The coursebook includes options such as Drawing I, Foundation: Color Theory, Typography, Digital Photography and more.
Located in Riverton, Wyoming, Central Wyoming College serves some of the most scenic counties – Hot Springs, Teton and Fremont. C.W.C. is also a designative Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institution, meaning they serve about 45% of Wyoming’s American Indian community.
C.W.C. has a relatively small student body ranging from just over 1500 to 2000 a year. Students have the option of living in a private (one student per bedroom) hall, a traditional residence hall or apartment complexes.
The college also has outreach posts in three locations other than Riverton; Jackson, Dubois and Lander. They are rooted in community and provide recreation and entertainment to the public with student involvement.
Like Casper College, C.W.C. offers an Associate’s degree in Art. This path sets up many of their students for graphic design, as courses include Illustration, Digital Imaging, Printmaking, Photography and a variety of fine arts classes.
When it comes to the certificates themselves, students can choose between the Two-Dimensional Art Certificate, Three-Dimensional Art Certificate, or Artist Certificate. No matter which path you choose, the program requires a basic foundational year in art history, color theory, drawing and more.
Once you’re sure that graphic design has caught your interest, C.W.C. makes it easy to transfer to an institution with B.A. or M.A. degrees available if you want to up your game in the industry.
Located in the southeast corner of Wyoming, the University of Wyoming makes its home in Laramie – the third-largest city in the state. With a population of just over 30,000, there’s a decent workforce here as well as a community where students can get engaged in. Laramie has been lauded as a great city for its landscape, educational opportunities and low taxes for those who choose to remain there.
Founded in 1886, U.W. has small classes and both local and state support. They promise lifelong connections for their alumni; “Once a cowboy, always a cowboy.” U.W. students also have the opportunity to study abroad in just under 50 countries, with a scholarship endowment available for the program.
Students looking to lead an active social life during their academic career will love U.W. Aside from on-campus housing, U.W. also offers ski, snowmobile, and mountain biking trails, plus the perfect area for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing and exploring national forests. U.W. has six halls on campus and four apartment complexes available for student housing.
The University offers a B.F.A. in Visual Communication Design (VCD), a great path for students looking for careers in graphic design. The courses explore not only graphic design but visual communication design, motion graphics, digital media and more. This is a four-year program with a Foundation Core required for freshmen as well as a Studio Core in sophomore year.
Students participating in the VCD program will be taught to look at problems from the perspective of a designer. Work will be both digital and hands-on, with access to the latest tools and tech in the Visual Arts Building. This building houses a computer classroom, studios, production space, design and fabrication facilities and more.
To place and remain in this program, applicants must have a C or better in all major classes, a 3.00 GPA or above in all U.W. courses, a 3.25 in all major courses, and complete a portfolio review. While this might seem like high standards, keep in mind that U.W. is looking for the best when it comes to visual design and passion.
On the other side of the state, Western Wyoming Community College is located in Rock Springs. Rock Springs is the smallest city on this list, with a population of just over 20,000. Despite the seemingly low amount of residents, it’s still considered the fifth most populous city in Wyoming.
Their motto is “Enter with Passion, leave with Purpose.” WWCC is a public two-year institution that offers transfer degrees for students who plan on pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the future. WWCC also provides on-campus housing for students, which can be rare when it comes to community colleges. There are currently seven different residence halls on campus with unique styles and spaces.
If you’re looking for affordability, WWCC has a number of scholarships available for prospective students – some only require applying for admissions and will be automatically awarded. The student-to-teacher ratio is satisfyingly low at 8:1, lower even than the state community college average. The college also has a wide variety of outdoor rec courses (like whitewater rafting or fly fishing), student life activities, a game room and a fitness center.
Students interested in setting a foundation in graphic design and transferring to a four-year college at some point can apply for the Associates of Arts in Art Foundation. This program sets students up with a background in graphic design, painting, photography, drawing, ceramics and more.
Western Wyoming Community College might not seem like the most direct path to a career in graphic design. Still, it’s a great first step for students concerned with affordability, quality higher education, exploration of new places and ensuring you’re on the path you want to be before you get thousands of dollars deep into a degree.