Graphic Design Major Requirements with Course Information

Art schools and liberal arts colleges typically offer graphic design programs that lead to bachelor's degrees. Graphic design majors learn to communicate visually through the use of type, color, photography and graphics, which are applied to print, web or multimedia formats.

Essential Information

Graphic designers create visual images to be used in advertisements, packaging, print publications, logos and websites. Graduates of such programs can seek a variety of careers, including layout artist, website designer, publication designer, art director, illustrator and animator.

  • Program Levels: Bachelor's
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent, visual arts experience, some require 2 years of art and design and a portfolio
  • Other Requirements: Portfolio project, internship

Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design

The curriculum in a graphic design bachelor's degree program teaches students basic and advanced design concepts, in addition to the latest design software. For example, coursework might include two-dimensional design, computer graphics, animation and typography. Graphic design majors take general art classes in addition to courses that are specific to their field of study. The following coursework is typical in a bachelor's degree program in graphic design.

  • Principles of design and color
  • Desktop publishing
  • Two-dimensional and three-dimensional design
  • Graphics for the web
  • Digital photography
  • Multimedia and animation

Career Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, predicts job growth of 1% in the graphic design field between 2014 and 2024. Designers with web design and animation skills will be most in demand; graphic designers who work with print will have more competition for jobs. Graphic designers earned a median annual salary of $46,900 in 2015, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education

Professional graphic designers who want to advance their careers may pursue a graduate degree, such as a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Graphic Design, a master's in visual communication or a related degree. Additionally, many colleges and universities offer continuing education classes in graphic design that can help designers keep their skills updated or learn new design software. Designers can also take advantage of career development resources offered by professional organizations, such as the AIGA.

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