Bachelor of Arts (BA): Visual Communications Degree Overview

A Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Visual Communications is a general studies program that explores principles in drawing, computer graphic design, visual communication techniques, and interaction design. Students in these programs learn traditional design principles, digital tools, and visual communication.

Essential Information

BA in Visual Communications degree programs teach students to become proficient in the use of digital tools, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and school them in all forms of visual communication, such as web, packaging, book, and magazine design.

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma; design portfolio
  • Other Requirements: Capstone project

Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications

A high school diploma is the minimum prerequisite for admission, and some visual communications programs ask to see evidence of a student's art and design abilities in a portfolio. This degree program provides traditional classroom and hands-on studio experiences; portfolio development and a capstone project are often required. In addition, some schools mandate that students minor in business, marketing, or the humanities. Within the BA in Visual Communications program, students delve into design fundamentals, drawing techniques, visual literacy, technical communication, and digital media design. In addition to general education courses, students take classes in:

  • Design history
  • Color management
  • Web design
  • Typography
  • 3-D design

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

As trained visual communicators in both print and electronic media, graduates have opportunities to work for advertising agencies, design studios, publishers, and in-house art departments. Entry-level positions open to recent graduates include:

  • Graphic designer
  • Web designer
  • Assistant art director
  • Illustrator
  • Multimedia artist and animator

Employment opportunities for graphic designers are expected to increase by 7% from 2012-2022, which is slower than average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that graphic designers earned a median annual salary of $45,900 as of May 2014. Employment of multimedia artists and animators is expected to increase at a slower-than-average rate of 6% between 2012 and 2022, and these workers earned a median of $63,630 in 2014.

Continuing Education

Professional work experience is one way for recent graduates to receive additional training in new and updated software programs. Formal instruction is also available at colleges and design schools. Students who are interested in advancing their design education could pursue a Master of Arts or a Master of Science in Communications.

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