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Visual Communication and Design

If you're artistic and open-minded, as well as a resourceful and a strong communicator, a program 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.

Is Visual Communication and Design for Me?

Career Overview

The goal of visual communication and design is to convey 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 work alongside clients, art directors and other design professionals to come up with the ideal layout for a given project.

As a professional in visual communication and design, you should have an instinctive knowledge of what is pleasing to the eye and effectively communicates a client's message. 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.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for both artists and graphic designers is expected to grow by a slower-than-average rate between 2012 and 2022. Keen competition is projected for both salaried and freelance positions. The BLS also reports that graphic designers and multimedia artists and animators earned mean annual wages of $49,610 and $72,500 respectively in May 2013 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Visual Communication and Design?

Overview of Educational Programs

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 in a wide range of concepts, including 3-D modeling, print layouts and website design.

Undergraduate Programs

A bachelor's degree in graphic design is the usual minimum requirement for most entry-level and advanced positions in the field. Throughout this type of program, you may take courses in design and color, drawing, art history and painting. Topics in advertising, contemporary art and geometry may also be covered.

Graduate Programs

A master's degree program can include in-depth instruction on how to build effective visual solutions for maximum audience impact. Graduate-level courses typically include additional hands-on experiences intended to strengthen your technical and creative capabilities. Through this type of program, you may take courses in manual and digital typography, logo or editorial design, corporate branding and writing. 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.