Career Information for a Degree in Advertising or Commercial Design

Advertising and commercial design degrees typically cover communications, persuasive writing, and mass media technique. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for advertising and commercial design graduates.

Graphic designers, art directors and advertising managers can all prepare for their careers with a degree in advertising or commercial design. These professionals are all required to have a bachelor's degree, and once employed their skills may be utilized to create commercials or promotional materials.

Essential Information

Students interested in designing print advertisements and creating commercials for a variety of media may consider a bachelor's degree program in advertising. People who have obtained a degree with an advertising focus can become graphic designers, creative directors or advertising managers.

Career Graphic Designer Art Director Advertising Manager
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 1% 2% 9% (for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers)
Average Salary (2016)* $51,640 $101,990 $113,610 (for advertising and promotions managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Advertising careers generally require skills and knowledge in a variety of areas, such as sales, marketing, graphic design and multimedia production. Graduates can create commercials and design advertising campaigns through careers in graphic design, art, advertising or other related areas.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers may rely on their knowledge of artistic concepts to create eye-catching posters, print advertisements, billboards and other commercial media. They can utilize digital design software and freehand illustration techniques to design what the client or company wants.

Graphic designers may work for advertising agencies, marketing firms, publishing companies, Web design firms or other companies, as well as pursue freelance work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for graphic designers is predicted to grow 1% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). In 2015, the BLS reported that the average salary for graphic designers was $51,640.

Art Director

An art or creative director leads a team of graphic designers, illustrators, animators or other artists in the creation of advertisement or development campaigns. In addition to overseeing creative services staff, the director meets with clients, sets budgets and schedules, manages campaign and project progress, approves final layouts and consults with other departments to ensure there is adequate communication.

The BLS predicted that art directors would see 2% employment growth between 2014 and 2024. The average salary for art directors was $101,990 in 2015, according to the BLS.

Advertising Manager

An advertising manager communicates between the various departments in advertising agencies, media sales firms or companies with in-house advertising divisions. The advertising manager oversees the execution of advertising campaigns and acts as a liaison between the personnel involved in the creative process from start to finish.

They may oversee accounts, work with clients to develop concepts, assist with selecting the desired advertising space and time slots, create budgets and monitor the completion of work by various departments. The BLS predicted that advertising managers would see a 9% change in employment between 2014 and 2024. Managers in this area will be needed to coordinate advertising campaigns with the increasing and ongoing of websites and social media. The average salary for advertising managers was $113,610 in 2015.

Advertising Degree Information

Bachelor's degree programs in advertising are often part of mass communication, journalism, media or other academic departments. Advertising majors with a track or concentration in creative direction or art design teach fundamental concepts in communication as they apply to designing advertisements.

For example, students learn about mass media, visual communication, persuasive writing and consumer behavior in order to create advertisements targeted to specific audiences. Additionally, courses in graphic design, copywriting and advertising help students develop the technical skills used to create commercials for print, broadcast and interactive media.

Graphic designers may create billboards, posters and other advertisements that are intended to get the attention of consumers, while art directors may oversee with illustrators, graphic artists, and animators working on the production of materials for an advertising campaign. Advertising managers work for advertising agencies, companies or media sales firms to oversee advertising campaigns from conception to completion. Minimal job growth is expected for graphic artists and art directors from 2014 to 2024, while advertising managers can expect an average rate of job growth in their field during this time frame.


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