When you read a magazine or newspaper or while surfing the Internet, you usually stop to view an occasional advertisement or message. Why? Something caught your eye about the design, graphics, photography, or images of the ad. You also read the accompanying text. This, in a nutshell, is what visual communication is all about; the connection of engaging images with supporting text. While each form is powerful in its own right, the combination of the two is a strong one-two punch to get ideas across.
Businesses, marketing agencies, advertisers, and organizations need graphic designers who can effectively communicate, inform, and persuade audiences with strong visual communication techniques. One method to effectively prepare for a career in visual communications is to enroll in a degree program at a university or design college.
Visual Communications: Programs, Degrees, and Classes
While you can obtain a two-year associate's degree at a junior college, a four-year bachelor's degree is fast becoming a minimum requirement for jobs in this area. A graphic design program in visual communications degree encompasses many media disciplines, with courses in image analysis techniques, design, visual and color theory, graphic design, photography, television, computer graphics, visual persuasion, copy writing, Web design, media layout, animation, and other related classes.
Students can also become skilled in computer illustration, Web site design, package design, advertising, layout design in traditional and computer generated content plus proficiency in other visual communication areas. Universities and colleges have curriculums that emphasize different aspects of visual communications. If you do your homework and research what universities or design centers have to offer in their curriculums, it can help you better match the courses to your particular interests.
Online Degrees in Visual Communications
Online degrees in visual communications can also prepare graphic designers to create compelling visual content for today's fast-moving marketplace in business, advertising, electronic media, and the print industry. Online degree colleges or long distance learning institutions offer students the option to attend classes when their schedules permit. Working individuals or those wishing more flexibility in taking classes can choose online learning to fit their needs.
Coursework for online colleges are usually indistinguishable from their brick and mortar cousins. Depending on your course load and how quickly you want to finish your degree, you can complete an online program and receive your degree in two years or more. If you attended junior college, some of your credits may be transferable. Obtaining a BS or BA generally requires 120 credits.
Visual Communications: The Job Forecast
Competition for jobs in visual communications within the graphic design industry is high. Those who have a strong liberal arts education, a good understanding of marketing and business management have the best opportunities for these positions. Entry level designers can expect to make a medium annual income of approximately $45,340. You can generally expect salaries in metropolitan areas to be higher, but the higher pay is usually offset by increased living costs.