Overview of Informational Design Degree Programs
Those interested in pursuing a career as a graphic designer for corporate communications may wish to earn a degree in informational design. Degree programs in this area prepare individuals for their future careers by teaching them crucial design skills and how to use computer programs necessary for continued success in their field. Candidates must be exceptionally creative, adaptive, and have great communication skills. While most graduates go on to become graphic designers, there are many career paths those obtaining a degree in informational design can pursue.
Candidates looking to enter a program in informational design will only need to hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent. In addition, program participants will need to submit a formal application, applicable fees, a letter of recommendation, and a college essay for consideration. Some programs may require incoming candidates to present a design portfolio as well in order to be considered for the program. All aspiring designers should check the admissions requirements specific to the institution to which they wish to apply prior to submitting an application to ensure all required materials are present.
Common Course Descriptions
Degree programs may vary in their course offerings; however, many candidates pursuing a degree in informational design will find commonalities across their different curricula. The following coursework is most commonly seen in informational design degree programs:
Digital Photography & Imaging
Learning how to take digital photographs is an essential skill for aspiring graphic artists. Not only will candidates learn how to operate a digital camera, but they will also learn how best to edit and manipulate these images through digital photo editing tools. In so doing, candidates will learn how to create effective designs from concept through to production.
Graphic designers pursuing a degree in information design may be exposed to coursework in digital animation. This class is designed to teach candidates how to take their digital creations from flat figures to animated imagery for a more interactive user experience. With these skills, candidates will be able to develop more engaging materials for marketing, corporate communications, advertising, and more.
The ability to create engaging, user-centric websites can be very beneficial for someone entering the graphic design field. Especially in the current digital age, graduates must be able to create interactive, informative websites and webpages in order to provide the most value to future employers. During these studies, candidates will learn how to build custom websites and pages using HTML and CSS coding as well as their skills in digital design platforms, such as Photoshop.
Information designers must be able to build effective content strategies that align with organizational goals and messaging. Coursework in content strategy enables candidates to identify the best opportunities for how content should be disseminated to its target audience. Additionally, aspiring designers will learn how to effectively manage content calendars, conduct qualitative content audits, develop messaging documents and materials, and select the best medium for further development.
Since most graduates will go on to work in corporate communications, advertising, and marketing, marketing communication is an essential skill for designers to develop during their studies. Through this class, candidates will learn how to effectively communicate their ideas not only in design form, but through written communication as well. By synthesizing these two media, designers will gain a more well-rounded knowledge of how their designs operate both in terms of aesthetics and communications.
How to Choose an Informational Design Program
As candidates research specific programs for their degrees, they should look out for institutions that are teaching candidates the most up-to-date computer programs and industry best practices as learning antiquated techniques can be hugely detrimental to their overall career success. Additionally, candidates should select programs that explore multiple design themes, including text-based communication and art history, as these will provide further context for their work. Program participants should have easy access to art studio time and instructional resources either through mentorship, tutoring, or library services. Participants should also select programs that have a comprehensive network of professional development opportunities, including internships and volunteer opportunities.
Many graduates will go on to become graphic designers within the corporate world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in graphic design is expected to grow 3% between 2018 and 2028. Additionally, the BLS reports that graphic designers in America earn an average $50,370 annually. While graphic design work may seem to be the most logical path after earning a degree in informational design, graduates can pursue a number of different career, including: