Creating Meaningful Messages With Visual Mediums: Visual Communications Degree

Do you have a knack for visual composition? Does using graphics to communicate ideas come naturally to you? If so and you would like to work in a creative industry then a degree in visual communications offers the best way to get your foot in the door. Visual communications cover everything from graphic design to business and multimedia design and the purpose is to convey information in a visually engaging manner. By studying in this field you will be able to learn how to convey complex ideas in simple manners using your creativity while working in a dynamic environment. Although competitive, it is also a very exciting field as well as very rewarding.

Visual Communications Degree Information

Visual communications degree programs are available at associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degree levels.

Associate of Arts: Visual Communications Degree

Completing an associate’s level course in visual communications can help to prepare you for career options in the fields of web, print and digital media design. Core requirements for a course at this level can include typography, layout and publication design, vector illustration, video production for the web and web content management systems. Electives for this course can include 2D animation, computer art, painting, mixed media, and more. This type of degree typically takes about two years to complete

Bachelor of Visual Communication Design Degree

The curriculum of a Bachelor of Visual Communication Design course tend to be structured around a certain number of core as well as elective courses. Thanks to the core courses you will be able to learn the fundamentals of the discipline, while the electives are designed for the areas in which you would like to specialize. These can range from subjects such as animation to photography. While earning your degree you will be taught about the entire design process, from the concept stages of an idea towards the steps required to turn it into a reality. Topics can include advertising, illustration, web design, transmedia and information design. This type of course can take up to three years to complete.

Master of Visual Communication

Completing a Master of Visual Communication degree can take between two and four years and is designed to provide you with the core technical as well as research skills required for the challenges found in this field. To enroll for this type of course you must have completed an undergraduate degree in either visual communication or visual art while a digital portfolio or work experience might also be required. A master’s degree in this field is generally aimed at those who are interested in education, research or management careers related to visual communication. While the course material might vary by program you will typically encounter topics such as conceptual and graphic design, color theory and design methods as well as visual communication problem solving and technology.

Visual Communications Degree FAQ

Is It Possible To Obtain This Degree Online?

Although most of the programs related to visual communications are traditionally only available on-campus, there are a few, especially at the certificate level that can be done fully online. The theory courses in particular, which can provide you with a more in-depth understanding of the functions of design within a social context are ideally suited for online study. Fully online programs that are self-paced are also available for people who already have experience in the industry, but would like to enhance their skills with a degree. To study online you will need a laptop or a computer with a reliable internet connection, as well as the required software commonly used in this field, such as the Adobe Creative Suite.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate To Study In This Field?

Because it is such a visual field, studying visual communications is ideal for creative people who love to solve problems and have a knack for thinking outside the box. Multi-tasking is essential as you might need to juggle different projects at the same time. Conceptual aptitude is just as important along with communication skills and the ability to work efficiently as part of a team.

What Are My Career Options After Studying Visual Communications?

Visual communications is a broad field with a lot of areas in which you can specialize. The career opportunities available to you will depend on which areas you are interested in, what your skills are and the level of your continued education. Some of the jobs in this field include animator, illustrator, web developer, graphic designer, web designer and advertising artist. It is common for people who are interested in this field to also take computer science courses in order to learn programming skills. The ability to program, combined with your visual communication skills, can open up even more opportunities in the industry. Visual communication isn’t just restricted to digital mediums either, but can include areas as diverse as interior design and fashion. Potential employers range from advertising agencies and design firms to publishers or even movie production companies. Depending on the area in which you specialize you might also be able to work as a freelancer.

What Might My Potential Income Be When Working In Visual Communications Positions?

The type of salary you can expect will be directly influenced by what your specialty within the visual communications field is. There are a number of jobs that fall under the visual communications umbrella and salaries can vary significantly. For example, the 2015 median pay for graphic designers was $46,900 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They also indicate that multimedia artists and animators earned about $63,970 during the same time period. Those who use their master’s degrees to pursue careers as managers in advertising, promotions and marketing can potentially earn up to $124,850 year.

What Are The Other Advantages To Studying In This Field?

Most degrees provide you with a very limited field of opportunities, but visual communications can prepare you for careers in everything from design to marketing and advertising. In addition, the knowledge and skills that you can acquire while studying in this field are not just job specific, but can come in useful in any type of career. With an associate degree there are already numerous entry-level career positions available, and earning higher degrees expands your options even further.

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