Problems of graphic arts were undertaken as early as at the start of the Academy within Kraków University. In 1819 the first lithography studio was organized. In 1832 the programme of teaching engraving and lithography was introduced and conducted. During the reform of the Academy carried out by Julian Fałat in 1859 a separate Studio of Graphic Arts was created with Józef Pankiewicz as its head. It was Józef Mehoffer, Jan Stanisławski and Leon Wyczółkowski who made significant contribution into the development of this discipline. Their understanding of the essence of graphic art and its creative and not just "reproductive" potential became the distinctive feature of the Kraków graphic art.
In the period between the two World Wars that standpoint was even strengthened especially by one of its fervent advocates Prof. Jan Wojnarski. After 1945, despite a number of changes in its organisational structure (the Faculty was created for a short period in 1950 after the Academy of Fine Arts merged with State Higher School of Fine Arts, and, in the period 1955-1968 it functioned as Study of Graphic Arts to become independent only in 1968) in the artistic programmes carried out by successive generations of professors what dominated were artistic goals and it was also true about graphic design. It was possible to create the Faculty owing to outstanding individualities of such professors as Ludwik Gradowski, Konrad Srzednicki and Mieczysław Wejman and their colleagues and successors who continued their fundamental concepts of teaching.
What has become the tradition of the Faculty of Graphic Arts in Kraków, is a typical feature, present at all Polish art academies, namely that of combining graphic arts and graphic design into one curriculum, which is based on artistic conviction referring to the unity of art. With the development of specialization and the emergence of new media one can doubt whether such model of instruction can be efficient in the long run. Yet it remains our conviction that in view of increasing problems in our civilisation it is humanist artistic training that has a new mission to realize and should be the basis for thorough artistic education regardless of means and tools at the artist's (designer's or graphic artist's) disposal. We continue to stress this mission as well as the significance of universal basic education with its creational ethical and social values open to contemporary challenges. The curriculum as it is formed gives a student after a successful completion of the basic and introductory stages of education freedom to choose specialization, studio, subjects of study as well as the amount of time they intend to devote to studying.
Such freedom to create one's individual course of studies, which manifests itself in responsible choice making is, in our view, an indispensable element of artistic education.
The teachers and students of the Faculty have created a particularly distinct artistic environment in Kraków, which has become the leading centre of graphic arts both in Poland and abroad. It was the professors of the Faculty, including Prof. Witold Skulicz, who initiated one of the best known exhibitions of graphic arts, that is International Biennial of Graphic Arts (now Triennial). The latter has been involved in organising the Biennial for great many years and has had particularly contributed into the event. Also other graduates of the Faculty have been involved in the organisation of other important exhibitions and competitions.
One of the proofs that the Faculty is really concerned about successful career making of its youngest graduates is the "Engraving of the Year" competition organised owing to the funds obtained from the Ministry of Culture and Art. The competition enables the participants to continue using the studios of the Academy in cases when they have not got their own studios.
The Faculty is widely known in many countries, where its graduates are commonly recognized in many areas of graphic arts. Among them are, for instance, Czesław Słania, one of the most distinguished European engravers, and the late Roman Cieślewicz, a distinguished designer, as well as a galaxy of extremely skillful engravers who live in Poland and who win awards at numerous international competitions and exhibitions. The graduates of the Faculty, including members of its teaching staff, are frequently jurors in Polish and foreign festivals of graphic art, posters or animated films. Professors of the Faculty also confer academic degrees to teachers in all artistic universities in Poland.