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Career Information for a Degree in Visual Communications Design

Visual communications design degree programs generally cover illustration, graphic design, art direction and animation. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as employment and salary statistics for some career options for graduates.

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With a degree in visual communication design it's possible to become a graphic artist or a multimedia artist and animator. Visual communications encompasses graphic design, business and multimedia design. Entry-level positions in these fields may be possible with an associate's degree, although most employers require a bachelor's degree.

Essential Information

The field of visual communications design incorporates business, graphic design and multimedia concepts. The main goal for individuals working in the field is to develop a concept and design a platform that informs a target audience about a product.

Career Titles Graphic Designers Multimedia Artists and Animators
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree in graphic design or a related discipline Bachelor's degree in computer graphics or art
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 1% 6%
Median Annual Salary (May, 2015)* $46,900 $63,970

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

A degree in visual communications design can lead to a career in web and multimedia design, graphic design or advertising. Potential employers include publishers, advertising firms, education institutions, corporations and design firms. Potential job titles include communications specialist, graphic designer, multimedia director and web designer.

Regardless of job title, individuals working as visual communications designers use their knowledge of computer software and hardware, project management skills and aesthetic judgment to create a visual design. These designs are aimed at reaching a target audience and relaying information about a company's product or service.

Graphic Designers

Graphic designers use typography, photography and animation techniques to create an image that visually portrays the client's intentions. At least a bachelor's degree is required to work in the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2014, the 261,600 graphic designers worked in the nation. As of May 2015 they collectively earned a median annual salary of $46,900 (www.bls.gov).

Multimedia Artists and Animators

Multimedia artists and animators use special effects, animation and visual images to relay the company's meaning or provide information about the company's product. Most employers usually require that multimedia artists and animators have a bachelor's degree. 64,400 multimedia artists and animators were employed in the U.S. as of 2014. The BLS reports that, in 2015, multimedia artists and animators earned a median annual wage of $63,970.

Degree Options

Associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees in visual communications design are available. An associate's degree program curriculum covers topics such as illustration, digital imaging, publication design and interactive media design. Some programs may permit students to specialize in Web and interactive media design or graphic design.

Bachelor's degree programs include instruction in subjects such as design drawing, visualization, interactive design, topography and communications software programs. A senior project and portfolio are usually required. Some programs offer internships with local design studios or other businesses.

Master's degree programs require two years of study. These programs include studio courses and lectures. Classes cover design and society, design methods and design research. A thesis is usually required.

Graphic designers and multimedia design and animation professionals may produce content for websites, advertisements or publications. Graphic designers focus on creating images, while multimedia artists and animators often work with animation and special effects. Computer skills are essential for those pursuing work in these fields.

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