Online Visual Communication Degree

What is Visual Communication?
Visual communications involves the creative and effective use of images to entertain, inform, and persuade a specific audience or the general population about ideas, products, and services. The imagery should be powerful enough to capture attention and bring about the desired change in mood and behavior. Visual communication professionals, or graphic designers, work in collaboration with art directors and clients to determine the objectives of the project, and the most appropriate design strategies to meet the set objectives. They are responsible for creating images and designing graphics for product illustrations, websites, advertisements, brochures, logos, and corporate reports.

Degree Programs
Visual communication degrees
may be pursued at an undergraduate level as well as a graduate level. Some schools may offer certificate programs for students who are not seeking a degree, but would like to gain knowledge about visual communications to help them in their careers.

Program Curriculum
Visual communication degrees
are usually pursued by students who want a career in graphic design and illustration and related professions. The curriculum is designed in such a way that students are able to develop a technical knowledge base, aesthetic skills, and design expertise. They learn about the organization of imagery and typography, so that they are able to communicate information in two-dimensional (2D) as well as three-dimensional (3D) forms. Mediums used for communication in 2D include print, video, and interactive electronic multimedia; whereas, packaging, exhibition, and environmental graphics are examples of 3D mediums. In order to provide hands-on knowledge and training, students are typically required to take a combination of theory and studio classes. Some degrees also require students to take part in an internship program as a part of the degree.

Although the names and types of courses will differ at each institute, below is a list of examples of courses that you may  be required to take:

  • Digital Drawing
  • Introduction to Illustration
  • Introduction to Graphics Design
  • Digital Animation for Artists

Online Education
A large number of colleges and universities are now offering distance learning education in addition to their traditional on-campus programs. Students have the opportunity to pursue an online degree in visual communications. Online programs offer more flexibility and enable you to study within the comfort and convenience of your home. They are a good option for professionals who want to enroll in a degree program while keeping their job. The quality of online programs is equally as good when it comes to the curriculum and course content. Taking into account the hands-on training requirement, many institutes offer hybrid programs which are basically a blend of online instruction and some on-campus studio classes. When choosing a program, whether on-campus or online, you should choose an institute that has been accredited by National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Employment Outlook
According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2012, graphic designers earned $44,150 on an annual basis. Data compiled by BLS suggests that, in 2012, graphic designers were mostly employed by industries like manufacturing, specialized design services, newspapers and periodical publishers, advertising, public relations, wholesale trade, and some work as freelance designers.


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