Visual and graphic design involves communicating messages through artistic representations. If you have a talent for creating art and are able to transform verbal ideas into visual messages, a career in the visual and graphic design field may be right for you.
Graphic designers use creativity and problem-solving skills to develop visual messages. Professionals in this field typically use software programs, like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, to create graphics and layouts for clients. As a graphic designer, you might work for marketing and advertising companies, as well as book, magazine and newspaper publishing companies. Related job titles include layout artist, typographic designer, corporate logo designer, animator or illustrator. You'll need excellent communication skills and strong artistic abilities in order to work in this field. Most employers prefer aspiring designers who hold a bachelor's degree in graphic design or fine arts.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median income for graphic designers was $44,830 as of May 2013 (www.bls.gov). Employment was projected to grow slower than the average in this highly competitive field between 2012 and 2022. Designers who have experience creating Web-based media may find the best job opportunities.
Graphic designers generally need to earn a bachelor's degree before securing employment. In a 4-year Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design program, you'll study typography, media communication techniques, color theory, photography, drawing and digital imagery. Most of these programs culminate in a professional portfolio seminar, where you'll learn how to prepare a collection of your work for employers.
In some cases, an associate's degree in graphic design may help you secure an entry-level position, such as assistant designer. These 2-year programs often cover many of the same topics as bachelor's programs. However, if you'd like to enroll in a graphic design master's program, you'll need to earn a bachelor's degree beforehand. 2-year master's programs are typically for incoming students who hold graphic design bachelor's degrees. Some schools offer 3-year master's programs for students without undergraduate experience in the field.