Colleges

Getting a Graphic Design Degree

If you are looking for a degree that can help you into a career that can showcase your creativity and artistic talent, then a degree in graphic design might be for you. You’ll find graphic designers in many different careers. Some may help with web design. Others may create signs or other advertising. Still others might be responsible for the layout of a variety of different media, such as online articles, print magazines, and books. In short, everyone wants to get their message to a consumer. A graphic designer’s job is to make that message attractive and artful, so that it adds value to the product or attracts a consumer.

Types of classes you will take as part of your degree:

  • A variety of communications classes including public speaking and visual communication. While this is an artistic field, the goal of your artform is to communicate information in a pleasing way.
  • Two-dimensional design, web design, graphic design classes. These classes will teach you about your artform and various ways to create it. This may include drawing as well as electronic mediums such as CAD and web design utilities.
  • History of graphic design. This class helps you understand how graphic design has evolved over the years.

While the classes above pertain directly to your degree, it’s likely that you will also take other elective and general education courses. It is highly recommended that you take some business and marketing courses if they are offered. Many students go into graphic design because they are talented and artistic. However, success in graphic design depends on your business acumen and your ability to market yourself. Many graphic designers own their own businesses or do contract work, and so have to understand the ins and outs of the business world. All graphic designers need to understand marketing, both to help them with their vocation and to help them market themselves to prospective employers.

Levels of graphic design degrees offered:

You can get all levels of a graphic design degree from an associate degree to graduate level degrees. It’s highly recommended that you get at least a bachelor degree. Most employers are looking for that level of education.

Graduate programs, such as the MFA (master of fine arts) in Graphic design or a master’s in visual communication give you a much higher and more focused level of education. Typically, this higher level of education can open a student up to higher paying positions with more responsibility.

What to look for in a degree program:

When looking for the right degree program, you’ll have many things to consider. Choosing a school can be difficult and time-consuming. Here are some tips:

  • Look for accredited schools. It is important that the school you attend is nationally accredited. Accreditation shows that the school meets certain education requirements. This helps you in a couple of ways. If you school is accredited, you’ll know that your credits will transfer, should you choose to change schools. Most graduate programs will only consider undergraduate degrees from accredited schools.
  • Make sure the school has classes pertaining to your focus. For example, if you want to focus on print media, make sure that the school has a degree program with that focus. If you know you want to do graphic design, but don’t know what your focus will be, then be sure to pick a school that has a wide variety of options.
  • Consider cost. There are many art schools out there that specialize in degrees such as graphic design. There are also universities and private colleges that offer graphic design programs – many of which are just as good as a small art school. Look at the cost of attendance for all of your choices.
  • Visit! Before you decide on a school, it’s important to visit the school and tour the campus. Visiting helps you get a more substantial idea of what it would really be like to attend the school. It helps you see if you can picture yourself attending there for the next several years.
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