Technology has helped moved graphic design from the print-shops to computers, making the field more accessible to the average person. Graphic designers are increasingly required to know how to utilize computers to create art, including knowledge of digital formats and even web design. Start your path to becoming a graphic designer by visiting some of the links below and contacting schools that offer your degree of choice.

Art Institute Online BFA in Graphic Design AAS in Graphic Design Art Institute Online - Students develop an understanding of color and composition, design and typography, and drawing board skills with an emphasis on learning the skills and techniques of computer graphics, electronic imaging, and production. By graduation, Graphic Design students have acquired the training and the portfolio necessary to interview for entry-level positions in advertising agencies, design studios, publishing houses, corporate communications departments, and television studios. The Art Institute Online is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
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Full Sail University MFA - Media Design BS - Graphic Design BS - Web Design Full Sail University - Full Sail University focuses on engaging students within the many facets of the media and design industries. Full Sail also works to combine hands-on experience with curriculum that follows the latest technological advances and contemporary trends. As such, students use cutting edge software to bring their ideas to life. Full Sail offers a MFA in Media Design and a Bachelor's program for Graphic Design and Web Design.
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Graphic design is a field that gives students the freedom to turn their ideas and creativity into visually expressive designs and brands. This could mean creating logos and artwork for various websites, magazines, or books, or you could get into advertising or product packaging. Graphic designers use typography, art, images, and creative designs to depict a message or symbol for a product or company that targets a particular audience.

What Kind of Coursework Can You Expect With a Graphic Design Degree?

Depending on the school you attend and what you want your degree to focus on, the required coursework will vary. Each degree plan includes a certain number of credit hours in basic courses in math, science, history, and rhetoric. When you get further into the program, you will begin studying design and related subjects, as well as business and finance. These courses will allow you to have a broad education and understanding of all aspect of the field. Some courses that graphic design majors can expect to take might include:

  • Drawing – You learn the basics of drawing on a two-dimensional medium such as paper, canvas, or cardboard. Common materials used are pen, pencil, crayons, water colors, chalk, markers, and pastels.
  • Typography – This involves arranging type by varying the size, length, and spacing in order to make to language visual and appealing. Various designers, artists, and typesetters use this technique.
  • Digital Image Manipulation – This course involves editing and manipulating digital image in order to alter or enhance it. This is done with different types of software. One example would be airbrushing a photograph to retouch it.
  • Computer Illustration – This course will teach you how to create original images using computer software and devices that allow you to generate the art by hand.
  • Digital Art – You will see this term referring to contemporary art created by using digital technology. Other names for this are computer art and multimedia art.
  • Color and Design – This class will teach you basic color theory and how to incorporate color in a logical and useful way in your designs.
  • Web Design – This course offers the fundamentals of designing and creating a website. This includes a combination of text and images, as well as the basics of web language such as HTML, CSS, or JavaScript.
  • Editorial Design – This class covers book design, newspaper publication, magazine design, and more and goes over different layouts are applied to these different mediums.

What Kind of Graphic Design Degrees Are There and How Long Do They Take?

The type of degree that you should pursue will depend on the length of time you are willing to commit to a program, as well as what kind of career you are interested in. Researching different colleges and universities will tell you what your options are as far as cost, duration, requirements, and online versus on-campus instruction. Many professionals will tell you that earning a degree is important, but experience is also essential. Getting real-world experience and building up your portfolio will play a crucial role when it comes to landing a job or advancing your career. Finding internships in the field is a great way to build up your resume and gain great experience.

  • Certificate: Schools offer certificate programs that can usually be completed in one year or less, and they focus on a specific area of study. This gives you the foundation and understanding of the field and allows you to complete it in less time than a full degree program would require. A certificate will help prepare you for a specific job, and courses can usually be completed online, on campus, or a combination of the two. For students who already hold a degree in a related subject, earning a certificate and adding to your list of skills and qualifications can make you a more marketable job candidate.
  • Associate’s Degree: Not every student has the time or money to commit to a four-year degree. This program helps provide you with the basic requirements and foundation for entry-level positions. Students learn the technical skills as well as the business skills needed to be successful in this field. The degree can usually be completed in two years, and many programs can be done online. This allows students more flexibility in their course schedule.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: Many entry-level and advanced positions require that students earn at least a bachelor’s degree. This four-year degree will provide you will a comprehensive understanding of the field itself, as well core basics in math, science, and business that will enable you to succeed in the industry. As technology advances, employment is expected to grow. If you complete your undergraduate degree and gain experience through internships, you will be a more competitive candidate in the market.
  • Master’s Degree: A graduate degree in graphic design will take students beyond the basic skills and provide them with a more extensive understanding of design history, criticism, and theory to help them shape the field in the future. Many programs consist of graduate coursework, seminars, and research. This degree also prepares students to become graphic design teachers and enables them to educate future professionals. A graduate degree can take two to three years to complete, depending on your focus of study and time that you have to commit to the program each semester. This program also offers students the chance to network with leading professionals in the industry.

What Types of Companies Hire Graphic Designers?

If you look around, you will probably see something that has the work of a graphic designer: movie covers, the label on your bottled water, a billboard, or the packaging on any household cleaner are a just a few examples. You see graphic design every day on company logos and product brands. When you think about big-name brands such as Coca-Cola, Nike, or Google, their logo probably flashes in your mind. But who is responsible for creating them?

  1. Entertainment and Publishing – When you think of the cover of your favorite books or maybe the credit roll in a movie, these are the people behind them. These companies are responsible for magazines, newspapers, books, and more. If you work in publishing, you will do a lot of work with layout, photo editing, and typesetting. On the entertainment side, companies are looking for people who are skilled in creating on-screen graphics and web-based design. For example, you might work in TV or film creating graphics and promotional images.
  2. Advertising – Advertising is a way of communicating with a targeted audience in order to encourage them to do something, whether it is to switch insurance companies or buy a certain brand of product. These types of firms are responsible for designing and marketing brands. This could encompass various outlets, including TV, radio, print, or web-based. While this can be a very fun and exciting job, it may also be very demanding as you have to meet the demands and expectations of your clients.
  3. Corporations – Some companies choose to have their own designers on staff, which for you means that you only have one client that you work with. This job might entail anything from creating company pamphlets and training materials to designing logos and letterheads. If you are looking for a job with more of a variety that allows you to create for multiple clients and products, this may not be the best fit for you.
  4. Design Studios – Working for a design studio gives you the opportunity to design and develop a variety of new products. Many of these companies tend to be smaller and focus strictly on graphic design and visual strategies. These types of studios can specialize in creating new brands, designing logos, designing printed materials such as business cards, creating websites, and promoting products. They have the flexibility to take on a variety of clients.
  5. Contract Work/Freelancing – This may not be for everyone, but if you are interested in working for yourself and deciding which projects to take on, self-employment might be what you are looking for. This gives you the freedom to set your schedule and work at your own pace. The downside to not working for a large company is that you are responsible for purchasing computers and any software needed. When you are first starting out, you may end up working longer hours, and your income could fluctuate from month to month.

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