Is a Visual Communications Degree for You?

This bachelor's degree focuses on basic visual organization and the process of translating information into materials for reading and viewing. The degree is designed to prepare artistic students for careers in commercial art and design. Students will learn the principles, practical applications and methods used in completing creative graphic solutions. Visual communications students must be dedicated to completing an objective carefully and thoroughly, which is why those who are patient as well as efficient thrive in the program. It is important for students to work well in groups and independently.

Because visual communications can encompass several areas of art, students should feel comfortable working in various forms, including computer-generated design and traditional media. Before choosing a program for your bachelor's degree in visual communications, decide which specific area of study you are most passionate about and which one will maximize your skill set and make for a satisfying career.

Advice for Earning Your Visual Communications Degree Online

Visual communication industries rely on employees who are creative thinkers, organized and precise. To enter the field, there are no extended accreditations required of an individual with a bachelor's degree in visual communications. Although some may seek specialized degrees at a master's or doctoral level, a bachelor's is usually sufficient to earn a job in visual communication. Those who do obtain a master's or doctoral degree in visual communication have the opportunity to find lead or management positions, or to teach on the college level.

Required Courses

Visual communication students can expect to take art courses that explore both theory and practice. Typical classes completed by a visual communication bachelor's degree student include design principles, color theory, computer graphics, typography, basic Photoshop, computer illustration, computer animation and Web design. Students in this degree program should expect to complete assignments that are group based and done independently. Also, some computer programming may be required of students obtaining a visual communication bachelor's degree, depending on their specific area of interest and degree specialization.

Common Career Paths

Here are some common career paths for those with a visual communications degree:

  • Advertising Manager: An advertising manager is responsible for organizing a company’s market research, sales, advertising and promotions. They also are responsible for marketing strategy, pricing and product development. An advertising manager will work with the members of a sales team to come up with strong ideas for a campaign, then prepare a budget and cost estimates for the campaign with the finance department. Sometimes an advertising manager will play the role of mediator between a firm requiring the advertising and an advertising agency that will develop and place an ad. The median annual salary for advertising, promotions and marketing managers was $108,260 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Animator: An animator constructs special effects, animation and other visual images with a computer program. Animators work mainly in motion picture and video industries. They are also commonly employed in advertising and computer systems design firms. An animator has the ability to put together storyboards for television commercials, movies and animated features. A storyboard presents a script in a series of drawn scenes, almost like a comic strip. A lot of animators who work with computers model objects in 3-D, then work alongside programmers to make their images come to life and move. The median annual salaries of animators and multimedia artists was $58,510 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Graphic Designer: Graphic designers (also called graphic artists) are in charge of developing visual solutions to communications problems. They use a variety of illustration and typographical tools to design the layout of magazines, newspapers and online publications. The median annual salaries of graphic designers was $43,500 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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