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DESIGN Program


The first big brand in Atlanta was Coke. Now, perhaps the biggest consumer brand in the world. But Atlanta with the world’s biggest airport has attracted many other national and international brands. All with a need for graphic designers. Graphic design was always big–– but these days graphic design is humongous! Somebody has got to design all that content that is being created for the internet. Ad agencies now look for designers the way they looked for art directors in the old days (a couple of years back). And now art directors must be good graphic designers. Brands are hiring designers directly. Design firms are nearly desperate for talent.

student work

The design program at Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center is one of the top graphic design programs with a great history. Thousands of graduates are in high level design positions all over the world. The graphic design program has a strong emphasis on craft which has returned with increased importance due to the enormous need for content creation on the web. There is a Maker’s Studio at the school for design students to build their 3D models. And, students often have real projects from outside clients, ranging from retail product packaging to experiential space design. Also, the school is an important part of the design community. MODA (museum of design} is partnered with our school. AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) is also closely involved and holds many exhibits at the school. GRAPHIS (The renowned international magazine of Graphic Design) recently held their 100 Top Graphis Posters Exhibit at the school in cooperation with MODA and AIGA.

Application Deadlines and Program Schedule

The design program starts four times a year: January, April, July and October. The program lasts for 8 quarters. Each quarter lasts 10 weeks with a break between each quarter. In the second year students can study and intern in other cities. To graduate students must complete 2400 clock hours/96 credit hours and have at least a 2.5 GPA.

The application deadline is six weeks prior to the start of classes. Please see our FAQs for application deadlines and the school calendar.

Each quarter of the first year, students have four classes that meet once a week for three hours with four additional hours for lab. Class times are::

9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Classes are held Monday through Saturday with a weekly guest speaker on Monday at 5 p.m. that the whole school attends. Periodically, students will have weekend classes in the late morning. Schedules are set by the registrar and have limited ability to be modified.

Intern & Study Abroad

After spending at least one year (4 quarters) in Atlanta, students can apply to our Quarter Away Program. This program gives students the opportunity to study and intern in up to four more cities around the world. You can even opt to take classes inside an agency or intern in New York, Tokyo, Berlin, Atlanta and other cities around the world. At last count 96% of the students had participated in our Quarter Away Program for at least one quarter. Over 80% of the students spent two or more quarters getting real-world experience.  

Intern and get real-world experience before you graduate. Students can opt to spend part of their two year program studying and interning in up to four other cities where we have programs. Through partnerships the school has with agencies all over the world, students can get hands-on experience and build their network of industry contacts. Students can build a network of over 200 industry contacts. This is one of the reasons Miami Ad School’s graduate placement rate is so high.

Tuition & Materials

Tuition of $4,850 is due quarterly. It takes eight quarters which is 2 years to complete the design program.Total tuition cost for the program is $38,800. Financial aid is available for US Citizens.

All students must have:

Apple Macintosh MacBook Pro with external hard drive storage (2 TB) with maximum RAM Airport-equipped computer (approximately $1,299 to $3,000)

Adobe Creative Cloud membership ($19.99/month, requires annual commitment)

Printer accepting 11”x 17″ (approximately $200 to $300)

Smart Phone with video

Smart phone accessories: grip ($160); external lenses ($160), tripod for smartphone $25); 3 LED smartphone lights ($60 to $100); GoPro ($350)

Zoom H5N recorder $300

Diploma & Job Placement Assistance

This is a two year diploma program with the primary purpose of developing a professional portfolio through classes and real-world experience to gain the skills needed for an entry level position in advertising.

Graduates have the opportunity to attend portfolio reviews and interview with multiple agencies. Miami Ad School also supplies graduates with job leads throughout their career. Our institutional graduate placement rate is well over 90%.

Have A Question? Just Ask.

I can walk you through the admissions process

Kristin Tidwell



125 Bennett St. Atlanta, GA 30309


Apply By May 27th


Graphic Design Courses

Experiments in Digital Photography

Sculpt light. Re-color the world. Magnify. Reduce. Blur. Sharpen. Capture. Release. Record a decisive moment or make one. This class explores techniques in using the digital camera as a tool in visual experimentation.

Video Storytelling

The ubiquity of the video and the global stage of online hosting sites give the power of the moving image to the masses. Learn cinematic styles, how to edit audio and video, and use special effects to tell a story with motion and sound.

Motion Graphics

In this course you will develop a broad understanding of motion graphics, production concepts, design tools and the enabling techniques while acquiring a working vocabulary through a series of structured problem-solving activities.

Portfolio Development

Classes and internships have lead you to a final body of work that represents your skills, execution and personality. Finalize your website, physical portfolios and prepare to keep your portfolio up-to-date for the rest of your career.

Introduction to Photoshop

An introduction to the tools that’ll bring your ideas to life: the digital SLR camera and Adobe Photoshop. You’ll learn how to put this tag team to work for you, how to process RAW Images and organization with Adobe Bridge.

Typography 1

Typography, its history and aesthetics, type specification and font selection. This class is a power class because, without it you are powerless to communicate.

Introduction to Design

Learn to talk the talk and walk the walk of a graphic designer. This class is all about the creative process of design. Composition, organization, complexity, structure, form, line, color theory, mass, grids and scale. Wow!

Introduction to Craft

Craft is in the bones of a graphic designer. Craft can be, binding a book of your designs, silkscreening a logo on a sweatshirt, making a scale model of a chair you designed in Photoshop or Illustrator, or building a scale model of a bridge. Trust us––when you go for an interview in any graphic design studio, anywhere in the world, craftsmanship will give you the edge.


A fancy word for developing sign-based relationships which are the basis of storytelling and design thinking, combining semantics, syntactics, pragmatics and gestalt design theory design. Got that, right?

Design Thinking

Publications & Editorial Design

Earlier classes have explored typography, photography, symbols, even storytelling. Other classes have given you skills in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Now it’s time to put all these together to produce publications. Now you must take a reader from cover to cover, page to page, and surprise, inform, educate, excite, or provoke them. You will combine every skill you have learned so far.

Packaging 1

Think up, design and create innovative 3-D structures for all kinds of products and brands. Build your concepts in the school’s fully-equipped Makers Studio. Or, print your ideas with a 3-D printer. Making stuff is a designer’s dream.

Web Design

Design and produce your own website. Deal with interfaces, wireframes and navigation. Learn how to use strong graphic images to convey your message. Hopefully you will get a lot of hits. Happily we’ll give you an “A”.

Symbols, Metaphors, and Content

Start with logic. Explore with message and content. Think how you might interpret a meaning in the simplest and most immediate form. How will color, tone, texture impact a symbol? What kind of symbol would you design for yourself?

Experiential Design

This class will bust your brain. The sky is not even the limit. We’re talking outer, way-outer space here. What kind of environment can you conjure up? How many senses can you excite? Titillate? Reward? What far out technology can use use? Or what simple technology can you use in a far out way? What urban issue can you solve? What environmental activism can you provoke? Go for it.

Message & Content

How is meaning created through word and image and design? Or sound?

Packaging 2 / Advanced Packaging

Innovative innovative retail packaging systems are the goal. Structural design, physical properties of paper and corrugated boards, sustainability in packaging, emotive branding, and spatial efficiency are the challenges.


Design. Advertising. Whatever. Everything is about brands and branding and how you can use use design-thinking to express brand solutions.

Information Design & Data Visualization

Content. Message. Put these together in a meaningful visual to inform or enhance or clarify. Big data made simple.

Network Marketing, Identity & Branding

Dive into the social aspects of marketing. Develop socially responsible projects and programs that enable organizations to differentiate themselves. Use of social networking, online marketing and new media, are crucial to an organizations’ long-term viability. Utilize a number of different platforms such as print, web and screen based media, motion and experimental design.

Type and Image

Type and Image. Mother and Father. Fire and water. Put these opposities together in a way no one else ever has. Love them equally please. Each needs the other.

User Experience Design

This is one very super important class. How do you create immersive and collaborative experiences that might change the way people view and interact with the messaging in a whole new way? New concepts, ideas and media –photography, videos, surface technology and rich visualizations from application design to gaming. Oh my!

Design History, Modernism, Criticism & Theory

Beginning with the Victorian era to to the present, you will explore visual communications developments in both design and technology. And, through this exposure perhaps gain insight into your own design sensibility.

Strategic Innovation Project / Service Design

Developing the context for successful user experiences requires designers to think more holistically about the business models for the products they create. What tools should be used? What methods? What options? Above all—why?

Typography 2

Now that you have the basics of typography this class pushes you to more sophisticated and expressive type solutions. Now you can move into developing your own personal style of typographic solution.

Mobile Designs & Systems

Think iPhone app’s, AI, VR, or GPS at their most basic levels, and how to deliver a branded message that transcends both the virtual and the physical worlds to connect with consumers on a deep level. Remember ––you will be riding driverless cars very, very soon!

Typography 3

This is where you show off your type genius. Experiment with letterform design. Explore color theory as applied to typographic design. Build typographic craft. Create original letterform designs. Design word marks and logos for digital display.

Visual Storytelling

Retail branding and the understanding of a personality behind the brand within apparel and fashion. Develop a visual language to allow rapid prototyping through different mediums. Use type, shape, color, form, texture, pattern, direction, orientation, scale, angle, space and proportion, to create a visual story for a brand.

Form & Function

Design Entrepreneurship

This is where you show off your type genius. Experiment with letterform design. Explore color theory as applied to typographic design. Build typographic craft. Create original letterform designs. Design word marks and logos for digital display.

Content Creation

Systems Design Thinking