Graphic Design Major Requirements with Course Information
Graphic designers create visual images to be used in advertisements, packaging, print publications, logos and websites. Art schools, as well as liberal arts colleges, typically offer a graphic design major leading to a bachelor's degree. Graduates of bachelor's degree programs in graphic design can seek a variety of careers, including layout artist, website designer, publication designer, art director, illustrator and animator.
Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design
Graphic design majors learn to communicate visually through the use of type, color, photography and graphics, which are applied to print, Web or multimedia formats. The curriculum in a graphic design bachelor's degree program teaches students basic and advanced design concepts, in addition to the latest design software. Most programs require students to assemble and submit a portfolio project. Graphic design majors are encouraged to gain hands-on experience by completing an internship for class credit.
Prospective students must be high school graduates or have a GED. Visual arts experience is recommended. Submission materials include a completed application, SAT or ACT scores, and transcripts from high school, a GED program or previously attended colleges. Some graphic design programs require students to complete two years of art and design prerequisites and submit a portfolio as part of the application process.
Graphic design majors take general art classes in addition to courses that are specific to their field of study. The following coursework is typical in a bachelor's degree program in graphic design.
- Principles of design
- Creating computer graphics
- Desktop publishing
- Two-dimensional design
- Three-dimensional design
- Graphics for the Web
- Digital photography
- Principles of color
- Multimedia and animation
Career Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, predicts job growth of 13% in the graphic design field between 2008 and 2018. Designers with web design and animation skills will be most in demand; graphic designers who work with print will have more competition for jobs. Entry-level graphic designers earned an average salary of $35,000 in 2008, according to The American Institute of Graphic Arts (www.aiga.org). Graphic designers with more experience averaged $45,000 per year.
Professional graphic designers who want to advance their careers may pursue a graduate degree, such as a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Graphic Design, a master's in visual communication or a related degree. Additionally, many colleges and universities offer continuing education classes in graphic design that can help designers keep their skills updated or learn new design software. Designers can also take advantage of career development resources offered by professional organizations, such as the AIGA.
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