photo of cochairs of sva, Steve and Lita


Graphic designers are thinkers, makers, producers and entrepreneurs. MFA Design / Designer as Entrepreneur is the program that instills confidence and inspires, prepares and encourages designers to conceive, create, brand and market their own innovations.

Today a graphic designer is a thinker, maker, producer, collaborator and entrepreneur. Graphic design has never been a more inclusive discipline than it is right now and graphic designers are engaged in more creative, technological and ambitiously diverse enterprises than ever before. It is a large field with many players.

The MFA Design / Designer as Entrepreneur program is designed to both link and bridge these many approaches in a course of study that inspires students to conceive, produce, brand and market their own innovative content. Through the holistic teaching of knowledge and experience combined with contemporary best practices, MFA Design students invariably develop the confidence that enables their talent to reach the highest potential.

Nurturing creativity, encouraging instincts and teaching skills is what MFA Design accomplishes through a process of rigorous entrepreneurial goals. Most designers aspire to think for themselves, generate their own ventures and otherwise be leaders in their fields. Whether in the end the student becomes a founder of their own business, or for a company – starts a studio or joins a team – the lessons taught in MFA Design prepares designers for current and future challenges.

Typography is our basic language, technology is our continually changing tool, graphic design is an outcome, but entrepreneurship is the vision through which the MFA Design student learns to integrate creative making to business need. The four-semester accelerated program begins with creative intensive – they challenge their talents by solving a battery of self-authored projects – then continues with classes and workshops that hone in on the necessary competencies required of a new business venture – whether for profit or not-for-profit, product or campaign, analog or digital. The program triggers innovation on many levels.

Ours is not a one-size-fits all program. Individuality is essential and over the two years, each student determines what their own venture will be with the guidance of faculty, advisors and consultants, each providing customized attention suited to the unique requirements of the venture. Yet MFA Design also values collaboration, which is increasingly essential in the current design industry, and fosters a community of current students and alumni as an ever-growing network of mentors, employers and contacts.

Our Mission is to raise the level of design while making ideas come to life. This is not an easy goal but the rewards are immeasurable.

Steven Heller, co-chair
Lita Talarico, co-chair

SVA Icon