Visual communications combines marketing techniques and visual design. Undergraduate programs in visual communications are offered via distance learning at the associate and bachelor's degree levels. Some courses in these programs require a Mac laptop; access to an external hard drive and printer may be helpful as well. In-person requirements depend on the program, and some courses require the use of certain equipment or software offered on campus. As such, programs in this field are typically a blend of online and on-campus coursework.
Alternatively, some schools offer a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communication with a concentration in advertising. These programs are available entirely online.
Associate Degree in Visual Communications
Associate degree programs in visual communications train students in design fundamentals and theories, as well as basic oral and written communication skills. Though distance-learning programs at this level are rarely offered solely online, learners can find hybrid programs that combine online and campus-based learning. Courses that require specialized computer software or equipment are usually hosted on campus.
Courses for this online program broach such topics as research and design solutions, visual literacy, business skills and art appreciation. The curriculum also incorporates general education. Core distance-learning classes teach:
- Instructional design
- Fundamentals of color
- Design principles
- Broadcast communications
- Video techniques
- Visual design
Bachelor's Degree in Visual Communications
Online bachelor's degree programs in visual communication incorporate a variety of fine arts and multimedia lessons. Students learn the techniques needed to manage visual communications and theories, create designs, address conceptual problems and use graphic software.
Online visual communications bachelor's degree programs combine imaging, design and multimedia courses. Students are also presented with analysis, communications and problem solving skills through general education courses. Business practices in visual communications are also introduced. Courses may cover:
- Multimedia arts
- Design concepts
- Digital effects
- Computer imaging
- Portfolio development
About Online Learning
Distance-learning coursework typically follows the same curriculum as a campus-based program for visual communications; however, the information is presented through an online course management system, such as Blackboard or Moodle. Professor-student interaction is completed via e-mail, instant messenger and online chat forums. Lectures and portfolios are presented through Web-based multimedia and presentation tools. Students submit assignments online.
Visual communication students may need to have a Mac laptop computer to complete their assignments. They will also likely need access to industry software, such as Adobe Creative Suite, which includes Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Dreamweaver, among others. Additionally, students may find it beneficial to buy an external drive or upgrade their computer's hard drive. Students may also find it helpful to have a printer.
Graduates of an online bachelor's degree program may qualify for positions as website designers, art managers or graphic design managers.
Studies in visual communication teach students design techniques as well as communications concepts, combining the two disciplines for work in design and advertising. While many programs in the field are available online, most require some on-campus presence as well.