What Is Visual Communications?

Any image that is used to communicate an idea, whether it's a sign, poster, drawing, photograph, or television advertisement, can be included in the field of visual communications. If you have a creative flare for visual media, you may be interested in pursuing an education and career in visual communications. Read below to find out about the educational and career possibilities. Schools offering Communication Design & Interactive Media degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Field Defined

At its core, visual communications effectively uses images to persuade, entertain, inform, and enlighten an observing audience of products, ideas, and messages. Graphic designers, advertising designers, art directors, and visual artists all utilize various forms of visual media to communicate their ideas to their desired audiences. Modern visual communicators know how to use various types of visual technology to create artistic images that communicate with the public.

Important Facts About This Field of Study

Degrees/Certificates Visual communications programs are available at levels ranging from certificates to masters degrees
Prerequisites Undergraduate programs typically require a high school diploma or equivalent education, while higher levels may require letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose and a portfolio
Online Availability Some visual communications programs can be completed entirely online
Continuing Education Professionals can be certified in design programs or other skills to get a leg up in the industry


Degree programs in visual communications often offer core classes that illustrate the fundamentals of the field, which may include study in business, conceptual development, and communication theory. Additionally, you may concentrate on technology-specific courses that teach you the technical skills involved with creating visual media, such as digital imaging and Web design. Degree programs can give you a well-rounded education through classroom instruction, hands-on studio work, and field internships. You may also work to develop a professional portfolio that exemplifies your creative style and technical prowess.

Career Opportunities

Visual communication is prominent in advertising through various visual media, including websites, television, and print publishing. Depending on your area of interest and educational concentration, you may decide to pursue a career as an art director, graphic designer, typographer, visual artist, photographer, illustrator, or Web designer. As a visual communication professional, you may work for large and small media firms or freelance your work to clients.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), employment for the graphic design profession is expected to grow 7% between 2014 and 2024. In comparison, a two percent growth in employment is expected for art directors during the same decade. The BLS also noted that competition for these types of occupations is high due to a large number of people pursuing these careers.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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