In graphic design, students often need more than a competitive GPA and a robust set of extracurriculars to distinguish themselves from the competition.
For this artistic discipline, at the end of the day, it’s one’s artistic work that will be most closely judged in the process of discerning who is the best fit for any given opportunity.
As a consequence, scholarships in the world of graphic design don’t only serve as an opportunity for tuition assistance.
In many circumstances, they are a chance to showcase that one’s work has been judged by a prestigious panel of judges as being worthy of esteem and awards.
The process of attempting to showcase one’s skills, as opposed to only submitting a resume and one’s GPA, can be both intimidating and exciting.
It is intimidating, as the process of judging one’s artwork can often feel much more subjective than looking at a GPA or a resume.
But on the other hand, each scholarship is an opportunity to think critically about one’s work and how one might make it shine most brightly to a team of judges. This skill is one many graphic designers will have to master both in the undergraduate and the professional world.
As such, the affordances of graphic design scholarships are multifaceted: they provide much-needed financial assistance, allow one to accumulate accolades for their body of work, and represent a chance to practice the vital career skill of curating one’s work for an audience.
With the multifaceted nature of graphic design scholarships’ affordances in mind, this list will break down 10 of the best scholarships for graphic design students so that they can take full advantage of such opportunities.
The list of scholarships was compiled with attention to the range of students who would be eligible to apply for each scholarship—with preference given to those scholarships with a broader range of potential winners.
But among these 10 scholarships, there is sure to be at least one opportunity that is a perfect fit for any student hoping to attain a coveted accolade and the financial support that comes with a scholarship acceptance.
Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation
Every year, the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation offers a variety of scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 in value.
These scholarships are only available to part-time or full-time students enrolled or planning to enroll in a major relevant to the art of print and graphics.
Either high school students or currently enrolled undergraduates may apply.
After being selected for a scholarship, PGSF students will then have the option to post their resume on printworks.com in order to be considered for a position working with the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation.
Students must be attending or planning to attend a US university and have a GPA of at least a 3.0 in order to apply.
FOARE Creative Arts/Design Scholarship
Although the Foundation for Outdoor Advertising Research and Education focuses on how to utilize advertisement for marketing/business purposes, they demonstrate their knowledge of the role of creativity in their field through this scholarship.
The Creative Arts/Design scholarship is available to any student attending or accepted to attend a degree program in graphic design or a related field.
The scholarship provides students with $5,000 in funding.
One does not need to submit a portfolio for this application, but does need to write a separate essay demonstrating why an applicant is eligible for the scholarship.
This scholarship is available to both undergraduate and graduate students.
Influence Print Annual Award for Excellence
Influence Print provides printing services for some of New York’s largest print buyers, artists, and marketing firms.
And each year, they give undergraduate students in a design major the chance to have their work showcased on their website—a place frequented by an array of notable artists in the industry.
One top of this, students receive upwards of $1,000 for winning the scholarship.
Both incoming freshman and current undergraduates can apply.
In order to apply, rather than writing an essay or uploading one’s academic transcripts, students are only judged by the quality of one of their graphic design pieces.
If selected as a winner, students will receive a 96 by 48 inch copy of their winning design.
Graphic Communications Scholarship Foundation
Each year, the Graphic Communications Scholarship Foundation gives out upwards of 15 different scholarships to graphic design students.
This foundation represents the best of the best in the graphic design industry, with scholarship donors including Adobe, HP, and Dow Jones.
Each scholarship is $1,000 to $5,000 in value.
High school applicants, undergraduates, and graduate students are eligible to apply.
Each group of students will have different application requirements depending on the level of schooling of each student. As such, the specific application requirements for each level of schooling can be found on their website.
Frame My Future Scholarship Contest
Church Hill Classics organizes a scholarship contest in which students must submit a piece of visual artwork in which applicants “frame their future” by artistically representing their hopes for what their future might be like.
Because graphic design is a necessary aspect of the Frame My Future contest in itself, it has long attracted students in fields related to graphic design who seek to represent their dreams for their future in a piece of visual artwork.
The grand prize winner receives a $6,000 scholarship, and various runners-up receive smaller scholarships as well.
There is no essay for this application—one merely needs to frame their future.
AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships
In order to apply for this scholarship and be counted among this cohort of fabulous young designers, one must submit a portfolio alongside two letters of recommendation.
Although the specific number of awards AIGA gives out each year will vary, in general over ten artists are chosen for a scholarship.
Most scholarships range from $1,000 to $3,000 in value, though each year one or two scholarships may even be situated in the $4,500 to $5,000 range.
NHSS Visual Arts Scholarship
Each year, the National Society of High School Scholars offers six scholarships for graduating high school seniors. Each of these six scholarships is $2,000 in value.
Three of these scholarships are awarded for a photographic art submission, and three are awarded to a painting, mixed media, drawing, or digital piece of art.
Students are only allowed to submit one art installment, but this installment can be multiple files so long as they are all part of one conducive whole.
Winners may have their award-winning pieces featured on the NHSS website as an additional prize.
Only high school seniors who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to apply.
Walt Disney Imaginations Design Competition Project Challenge
Each year, the Walt Disney Imaginations program issues a visual art challenge that teams of two to four students must work on together to complete.
Winners of this design challenge receive an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney Imagineering in California, where they will present their work to some of the world’s best design artists.
If being judged as an exceptionally talented designer by Disney was not prestigious enough, students then have the opportunity to win a variety of awards while they tour the Imagineering campus during the Imagineering conference.
Usually, about 9 teams are selected as winners each year, with all of these teams being composed of undergraduate or graduate students.
Doodle for Google
Each year, about 60 people will be selected as either the winner, a finalist, or a state-wide winner for the annual Doodle for Google prize.
For this contest, applicants create an illustration that could be featured on Google’s homepage. This illustration would represent a particular notable fact about that day in history.
Whether it is an illustration noting that a particular day is a holiday, that it is the anniversary of a famous historical figure’s birth/death, or otherwise, this scholarship represents a chance for one’s design to be seen by, quite literally, millions of people.
The grand prize winner also receives $30,000. Four runners-up receive $5,000, and 54 local winners are declared for each U.S. state and territory.
Any one of these awards are incredibly prestigious.
Adobe Design Circle Scholarships
Each year, Adobe chooses a select handful of prestigious design students to receive a scholarship totaling up to $25,000 per year—$100,000 total.
The Adobe Design Circle Scholarship is an incredibly competitive competition where winners do not only receive a generous financial award but have the chance to join the Adobe Design Circle.
The Design Circle is a network of Adobe’s and the world’s foremost designers, who all work in collaboration to better technology, business, and society through artfully crafted graphic design.
As such, students will be joining an incredibly prestigious cohort if they are selected as a winner of this scholarship—the number of opportunities this award can unlock is endless.
Any undergraduate student of any major may apply, but the application requires at least three examples of one’s design work, alongside a written essay and video submission.
But if someone is fortunate enough to be among the ten winners of this scholarship each year, the potential affordances of this prize are limitless.