Are you artistic and open-minded? Are you resourceful and a strong communicator? If you answered yes to these questions, studies in visual communication and design may be right for you. Read on to learn more about this field of study, including career options and education programs.
The goal of visual communication and design is to communicate ideas through graphic art. As a visual communication and design professional, you'll use your artistic abilities to develop visually pleasing messages in the form of brochures, flyers, logos or packaging intended to sell ideas, services or products to consumers. You may use computer-aided design (CAD) programs to create your designs, as well as working alongside clients, art directors and other design professionals to come up with the ideal layout for any given project. As a professional in visual communication and design, you should have an instinctive knowledge of what is pleasing to the eye and what works together to communicate a client's message effectively. Visual communication and design professionals can find work in a wide range of establishments, including publishing houses, advertising and public relations firms, private design studios and other multimedia companies.
If you're interested in entering the field of visual communication and design, you should expect a challenging job market over the next several years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for both artists and graphic designers is expected to grow about as fast as average over the 2008-2018 decade (www.bls.gov). Keen competition is projected for both salaried and freelance positions. The BLS also reports that multimedia artists and animators earned a mean annual wage of $63,440 in May 2010.
Educational programs in visual communication and design are usually available at both the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. As a visual design student, you'll receive instruction on a wide range of concepts, including 3-D modeling, print layouts and website design.
A bachelor's degree in graphic design is typically the minimum requirement for most entry-level and advanced positions in the field. Throughout this type of program, you may take courses such as drawing, art history, painting, design and color, advertising, contemporary art and geometry.
Programs at the master's degree level may provide students with more in-depth instruction on how to build effective visual solutions that will impact audiences. Graduate-level courses typically include additional hands-on experience intended to strengthen your technical and creative capabilities. Through this type of program, you may take courses on such subjects as manual and digital typography, logo design, editorial design, corporate branding and writing in design. Completing a master's degree in graphic design may be beneficial if you're interested in pursuing executive-level positions in large advertising or design firms, as well as positions in academia.