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Visual Communications School Courses: Visual Communication Degree Classes

The field of visual communications includes the fields of graphic design and multimedia. Students interested in working in the design industry can complete a visual communications degree program at an accredited visual communications school or training center. Professionals in this field use computer applications to solve design problems and develop design concepts for a variety of industries. Individuals who have strong creative and design skills, basic computer knowledge and strong technical skills may be good candidates for a career in the field of visual communications.

What Is a Visual Communications Degree?

Visual communications degree programs prepare students for a career such as a designer, illustrator, production art manager and website editor. Visual communications degree programs prepare students for a rewarding career by providing classroom and hands-on instruction in subjects such as design theory, web design, print design, multimedia courses and imaging. Students must also learn critical thinking, logic and communications skills to solve problems and develop solutions for different design applications. The field of visual communications encompasses several different career paths and occupations, including desktop publishing, multimedia, graphic design, web design and teaching.

What to Expect at Visual Communications School

Visual communications schools offer both classroom and hands-on training so that students can develop the critical skills they need to be successful in the field. Students may work with advanced computer programs and applications to develop innovative design concepts, 2D and 3D models, as well as paper drawings and sketches to communicate a concept or idea.

A visual communications school provides training in the following areas:

  • Using technology to create typographic designs
  • Using computers to create digital layouts
  • Using Adobe Photoshop to handle organizational, conceptual and image editing
  • Developing corporate presentations
  • Designing and creating marketing collateral
  • Using advanced computer applications including Adobe InDesign CS4, Dreamweaver CS4 and Illustrator CS4
  • Applying graphic design principles to create images and typography

Types of Visual Communications Degrees

Both online and offline visual communications schools offer a range of visual communications classes and specialized courses in the field of digital drawing, computer-aided design and digital effects. Visual communications classes may include:

  • Digital Illustration
  • Advanced Illustration
  • Graphic Design Principles
  • Advertising Campaign Concepts
  • Advanced Image Editing
  • 3D Design Concepts
  • Presentation Graphics
  • Audio-Video Graphics
  • Advanced Digital Effects

Students who decide to complete a visual communications certificate instead of a degree program may be required to complete courses such as desktop publishing, graphics, image editing, web page design, copywriting and communications. Certificate programs typically prepare students for entry-level fields in the field of communications and graphic design.

Completing a Visual Communications Degree Program

Visual communications degree programs combine technical, creative and design courses to give students the advanced skills, knowledge and training they need to excel in their careers. Students enrolled in a visual communications degree program work on hands-on projects, such as creating animated images for software programs, designing cartoon layouts, creating logos and web pages, and designing multimedia presentations for mock companies.

Students who successfully complete visual communications degrees can explore careers as a:

  • Communications Manager
  • Design Artists
  • Design Illustrator
  • Graphic Design Manager
  • Graphic Designer
  • Web Designer
  • Creative Services Director
  • Commercial Artist
  • Communication Designer
  • Art Director

Visual Communications Career Information

Many visual communications professionals work for design studios, commercial art studios and design firms that offer web and graphic design services to their clients. Others may work on a freelance basis or in private studios. Individuals that wish to teach visual communications at the college level must complete a teaching certificate in addition to a bachelor's degree.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for artists and creative multimedia professionals is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations. Demand for multimedia artists and animators is expected to increase significantly over the next decade, as more firms hire professionals and specialists to develop and design games, TV special effects and 3D animated movies.

As of May 2008, median annual wages of salaried art directors were $76,980, and wages of salaried multimedia artists and animators were $56,330. Earnings for those that were self-employed varied significantly depending on the artist or illustrator's experience and skills.


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