Visual Communications Design Jobs: What Are My Career Options?

You may select a different font for a job resume, a letter to a friend and a computer-generated greeting card to convey a formal, friendly or even dramatic tone. That's one example of the ubiquitous nature of visual communication design. Read on to learn about the many career fields in which you might work as a visual communications designer. Schools offering Communication Design & Interactive Media degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Visual Communications Design Overview

Visual communications designers use form and color to shape our impressions of products, publications, organizations, public figures, art galleries, buildings, businesses and digital media. This list isn't exhaustive. Most of what we see and use daily has an element of visual communications design. If you play video games, you're familiar with the work of animators, one kind of visual communications designer.

When pursuing a degree in visual communications design, you learn to work with images and words that convey specific concepts. To build a career in this field, you need knowledge and skills in the areas of design concepts, typography, color management, interactive multimedia, computer graphics and digital media design. Jobs may be available in advertising agencies, corporate in-house design departments, design firms, publishers, printers or movie production companies. More technical fields also require visual design experts. You might explore positions in engineering services and technical or scientific consulting. Another option is to work as a freelancer.

Important Facts About These Careers

Art Directors Web Designers Multimedia Artists
Median Salary (2014) $85,610 $63,490 $63,630
Key Skills Time-management, leadership, and creativity skills Concentration, customer-service, and detail orientation Computer, time-management, and artistic skills
Similar Occupations Fashion designer, photographer, industrial designer Computer programmer, computer systems specialist, database administrator Graphic designer, web developer, craft/fine artist
Work Schedule Typically full-time Typically full-time Full-time, sometimes nights and weekends and under deadline

Source: United State Bureau of Labor Statistics

Primary Job Roles

Illustration or 2-D or 3-D design opportunities might exist in a variety of media. However, in spite of the wide range of potential design jobs, the market remains highly competitive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in its 2014-2024 career projections, employment of multimedia artists and animators was expected to increase by 6% due to an increased demand for visual effects (www.bls.gov).

Design Director

Other names for design director are art or creative director. As a design director, you help develop strategic aims for your company or client and ensure they're communicated by the correct concepts and styles. In this supervisory role, you coordinate the efforts of designers and production staff. You may work as a design director in areas that include interactive media, branding, environmental design, print media, packaging and web-based media.

Designer

Designers typically begin at the entry or junior levels and may advance to become full and senior designers. As a junior designer, you're expected to receive professional mentorship in conceptualizing and executing designs for one to three years, after which you might achieve more independence. Senior designers have more decision-making power and may supervise junior staff. You may work in traditional print or web and interactive media design. Your focus may be on packaging, branding, game design and graphic design of brochures or presentations.

Web Designer

A web designer has a specific skill set. You may be part of a design team that is charged with creating and maintaining the online identity of a company or client. In addition to general visual communications design skills, knowledge of best web practices and some coding skills are essential.

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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