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Online Education (visual Communications Degree Jobs)

By Expert Author: John Srob

We all know the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and this translates well to the importance of visual communications as an educational pursuit and career. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), visuals are important because they can provide relevant meaning to a message, are often easier to remember than words, stimulate the imagination and provide for a shared experience between audience members. Intrigued? Then a visual communications degree may be right up your alley. Check out our list of communications and journalism schools for examples of campus and online programs.

What is Visual Communications?

Visual communications is the transmission of information to key audiences via visual media, including pictures and other forms of visual art, television broadcasts, billboards, videos/films, animation and live performances. With continual advancements in the technological world, various forms of new media are a source for visual communications, such as website design, slideshow presentations, online advertisements, uploaded videos, designs created using software such as Illustrator or Dreamweaver, and more. As a visual communications major, you will learn about the various forms of media and how to use them effectively to convey intended messages.

Technology is only one tool involved in what visual communications professionals do. The mind is far more important than any computer or program that will ever exist. The initial idea a visual communications professional has is the key to a successful end-product and what they get paid for; technology is secondary in this profession. The ideas are typically sketched out initially, and then a computer is used to bring them to fruition.
Visual Communication is an exciting career field that involves using creativity to convey a message to an audience.

This field, in a nutshell, involves communicating a message using visuals. These messages can inform, or persuade, a group of people to feel a certain way or do a certain thing. Visual communication products also use a visual "call to action" which provides the purpose of selling a product or service. For example, the call to action may be at the bottom of a flier or email blast and indicate “to learn more, call the number below”.

Visual communication careers fall into a large umbrella that includes graphic design, art, multimedia, and commercial/advertising photography. Graphic designers use computer software to create images, logos, banners, and other designs in order to convey a message. Commercial or advertising photographers take pictures in a way that conveys a message. If you are a creative individual, who pays close attention to detail, a career in visual communication may be for you.

A degree in visual communications design can lead to a career in Web and multimedia design, graphic design or advertising. Potential employers include publishers, advertising firms, education institutions, corporations and design firms. Potential job titles include communications specialist, graphic designer, multimedia director and Web designer.

Regardless of job title, individuals working as visual communications designers use their knowledge of computer software and hardware, project management skills and aesthetic judgment to create a visual design. These designs are aimed at reaching a target audience and relaying information about a company's product or service.

Graphic designers use typography, photography and animation techniques to create an image that visually portrays the employer's intentions. At least a bachelor's degree is required to work in the field.

Multimedia artists and animators use special effects, animation and visual images to relay the company's meaning or provide information about the company's product. Most employers usually require that multimedia artists and animators have a bachelor's degree.
Degree Options
Associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees in visual communications design are available. An associate's degree program curriculum covers topics such as illustration, digital imaging, publication design and interactive media design. Some programs may permit students to specialize in Web and interactive media design or graphic design.

Bachelor's degree programs include instruction in subjects such as design drawing, visualization, interactive design, topography and communications software programs. A senior project and portfolio are usually required. Some programs offer internships with local design studios or other businesses.
Master's degree programs require two years of study. These programs include studio courses and lectures. Classes cover design and society, design methods and design research. A thesis is usually required.

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