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Statement of Purpose for Graphic Design: How to Write SOP for BFA/BA/MFA/MA in Graphic Design?

Yocket Editorial Team

Students with a background in graphics, visual arts design, user-experience design, and other design-related majors aspire to go for MFA/MA in Graphic Design abroad. Here, a statement of purpose for graphic design plays a crucial role in application to some of the top design schools like Yale University, ACCD, RISD, and others. 

This is because these schools assess capabilities like critical thinking and creativity through writing samples along with graphic design skills evident from your portfolios. Similarly, other key capabilities can be highlighted and substantiated through your SOP for graphic design.

But how can one write an effective graphic design SOP for graduate/undergraduate program? Let’s discuss that at length and understand the intricate facets of a good sample SOP for graphic design. 

Decoding your Sample SOP for Graphic Design

What is the accepted word count for an BFA/BA or MA/MFA in Graphic Design SOP?

Ans. Keep the length of the statement of purpose for graphic design within 800-1000 words. However, universities abroad have word counts defined as part of the online applications. 

For example, the Arts Center, CA, BFA program, requires a short video essay. 

What can lead an SOP for graphic design to be rejected right away?

Ans. Plagiarism and poor syntax can get your graphic design SOP rejected.

What is the best writing style for a Graphic Design SOP?

Ans. Conversational writing keeps the narrative engaging. So, write your SOP effectively maintaining a positive tone. 

Creative and critical writing abilities are a plus!

How many SOPs to write for Graphic Design?

Ans. Each university requires a separate and original SOP. Hence, you need to write a different statement of purpose for graphic design for every university you’re applying to. Along with SOP, universities require program-specific writing samples as part of applications.

How to save and submit your SOP for graphic design?

Ans. SOPs have to be uploaded in PDF as part of the applications. This makes your SOP look professional and eliminates the possibility of any formatting inconsistencies. Universities may also provide forms to paste contents of SOP as part of applications with or without the option to upload it.

How to Draft a Graphic Design SOP? 

To start writing your sample SOP for graphic design, brainstorm, free-write, and collect your thoughts. Your SOP should be a dive into relevant life experiences, academic and professional background (if applicable), career goals, co-curricular activities, volunteering/community involvement, and more. 

So, refer to the effective guidelines given below to draft a stellar SOP for graphic designer.

How to Draft a Graphic Design SOP

  • Introduction

What motivated you to choose visual arts or graphic design as your interest? What is the strongest experience that led you to choose this field? For example, how during a local football match your friends reached out to you for help with posters and you decided to try upscaling previous years’ posters with graphic alterations. Consequently, how this formative experience eventually translated into your passion for graphic design.

  • Begin your introduction with an attention-grabbing experience that is evocative of your journey into the field. 
  • Alternatively, you can also begin with a research problem statement that you consider exploring in your future BFA/BA/MA/MFA program. 
  • This is because some programs directly seek an SOP that is more of a research proposal than it is otherwise.

For example, The Rhode Island School of Design, for their BFA and MFA programs, clearly instructs applicants to discuss pertinent communication and UI challenges in the industry as the key ingredient in the recipe of your graphic design SOP! 

  • Second Paragraph

Building on the onset of interest in graphic design/user experience, discuss relevant academic and life experiences that have augmented this interest. How has each of these experiences pivoted your thought process, streamlined it, or transformed it?

  • Here, you can discuss relevant personal/school/undergraduate experiences or courses in which you developed a particular interest and why. For example, you must have developed an interest in graphic design or colour psychology. 
  • Touch upon a few course specifics and how these led you to develop your portfolio and inspired you to work on projects relevant to these interests. 
  • You can discuss interesting projects you worked on or relevant co-curricular experiences worth sharing. Make sure that your experiences align with your interest in the Graphic Design program you’re applying for. 

For instance, if you are applying for an MFA in Graphic Design for Sustainability Campaigns, your project on designing the user experience interface for a certain app intended for people suffering from speech disability will be a relevant experience to illustrate.

  • Third Paragraph

Have you faced any setbacks in your academics? If you just made the cut or have lesser scores, you can mention that here. 

  • Have you faced any other unique challenges or setbacks that have redefined your perspectives or interests? 
  • How did you overcome these challenges and what is/are the positive outcomes of these experiences? 
  • It’s essential to reflect on the lessons from these experiences to underscore your resilience.
  • Fourth Paragraph

You can discuss extracurriculars in this paragraph. Remember that universities are interested to know more than just academics. So, go ahead and speak about your hobbies, social work, volunteering, etc, here. You can also discuss workshops or certifications which you have taken to upgrade your skills. 

However, it’s very important to not make your SOP graphic design an embellished version of a resume.

  • Fifth Paragraph

If you have work experience, add it here. If you do not have work experience, you can also discuss your internship experiences, reflecting on your specific learnings and take-aways. Identify a knowledge gap and the need for you to go for MFA/MA in graphic design as a discipline.

  • How has the work experience/s influenced your career goals? Why do you wish to go for MFA/MA now? 
  • Define your short-term and long-term goals. 
  • How will the MFA/MA program from a specific design school help you achieve these goals? 
  • How does the program align with your areas of interest?

Design schools like to assess your conviction in applying to their programs. Justify your reasons for the choice of the school and the program. Make an effort to understand the values of the school and devise this paragraph accordingly.

  • Conclusion

Your sample SOP for graphic design conclusion needs to be equally engaging as the introduction.

  • What capabilities equip you to contribute to the university?
  • How can you be an asset to the university?
  • What activities, clubs, sports, student associations, groups, etc, piqued your interests?
  • What diverse experiences do you bring to your graduate community? 

Sign off with your expectations from the program and how you look forward to receiving, assimilating, and contributing to new knowledge at the university.

How to Write a Good SOP? 

Do’s and Don'ts of an SOP for Graphic Designer

Your SOP graphic design should be truthful, concise, engaging, and well-written. Remember that every experience that you present should be coherent and well connected. This leaves no space for grey areas. Follow these Do’s and Don’ts in your sample SOP for graphic design. 

Maintain a positive tone throughout the SOP?

Should you include your name in your Design SOP?

Can you write your SOP at the last minute?

Is it imperative to stick to the word limit?

Can you opt for a friendly tone while writing SOP for MFA/MA in Design?

Should you strictly adhere to the given SOP format?

Should you include your work experience in your SOP?

Should you be honest about your strengths and weaknesses?

Can you be extremely direct or casual?

Common mistakes in Writing SOPs and Application Essay

Skills to Include in Your SOP for Graphic Design

Your SOP for MFA/MA in Design should be in-depth and research-intensive. Graphic Design is a creative and fascinating field of study. From UX/UI design, motion graphics, digital entrepreneurship, animation, to museum art curating, advertising, filmmaking, and gaming, the career opportunities are diverse.

Therefore, your SOP should portray these skills to make it unique and appealing than other students. 

  • Creativity
  • Research Aptitude
  • Active Listening
  • Clear and Consise Communication
  • Time Management
  • Storytelling Ability
  • Academic/Research Writing Skills
  • Knowledge of Design Specialisation (applying for)
  • Relevant Technologies/Software (CAD, Adobe Illustrator, etc.)
  • Experiential Mindset
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem-solving

Remove Your SOP Writing Fever!

SOP Requirements of Top Universities for Design

Most universities have similar SOP for graphic designer requirements as part of their respective applications. However, we’ve shortlisted a few top universities for MFA/MA in design with their SOP requirements below. 

1. Art Center College of Design 

If you are applying for BFA/MFA in Graphic Design at the Art Center, follow these guidelines. Also, note that the SOP requirements of other universities in USA is same for the graphic design courses. 

  • What are your reasons for applying to the course?
  • How will you contribute to your future class and beyond?
  • A succinct narrative of your background with emphasis on clearly defined academic and career goals.
  • The SOP should focus on ideas rather than extensive background and personal information and should be forward-thinking in vision.
  • Evidence of motivation for the proposed area of study.
  • Applications to specialisations within Graphic Design have specific prompts which need to be addressed in the SOP.

2. The School of Art, Yale University

The School of Art, Yale University requires a personal statement as part of MFA in Graphic Design.

  • The SOP should be 800-1200 words.
  • Elucidate your reasons for applying to the program and the university.
  • What is your current creative practice or your design career and how will this help you in future career goals? How has the current creative practice inspired your future career goals?
  • If you cannot substantiate formal educational background or qualifications to apply to the program, describe relevant academic and professional experiences underscoring motivation to apply to the chosen design program.

3. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

RISD requires an SOP of 500-750 words in length. This statement should demonstrate the following aspects.

  • Your interest in applying to the chosen program.
  • Clearly defined goals (in the program and after the program.)
  • What are expected outcomes of the program and how do these align with or help achieve your career aspirations?

Apart from these general instructions, every program specialisation in Design has unique requirements for SOP. Besides, program-specific SOPs have different word limits.

How to Design an SOP for Masters? 

However, the SOP writing style for most countries remains the same. But in the case of program-specific statement of purpose for graphic designing, you can re-engineer the original draft to suit the university/program requirements.

We understand writing an SOP can be daunting. But don’t worry, Yocket is here to help you comprehend the nuances of an actionable SOP in terms of the format and guidelines. Therefore, choose Yocket premium and bring your educational dream to life. Our councellors are transparent with the rules, cooperative, and provide unique services. So choose them and make your study abroad journey a hassle free ride!

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