Earning a graphic design degree online is growing in popularity due to an overwhelming need of individuals to continue working while receiving a primary or secondary education. Participants benefit from online educations by saving on commuting costs. The programs are also flexible to accommodate the working professional’s schedule. The graphic design curriculum is disseminated using technology such as VOIP, web conferencing, video teleconferencing, email, online forums, podcasts and webinars. Students and instructors use one or more of these methods of communication to lecture, deliver assignments, and to instruct individually.
Most online programs offered are completed 100 percent online. While these programs are growing in popularity, problems do exist in online instruction. One of the primary problems that Universities are trying to address is cheating. Students are expected to abide by the Honor system. However, the minimal supervision of online programs tempts many students to engage in this unethical practice. Hybrid programs are being introduced to address this problem. The program allows students to receive instruction online and also complete assignments online. However, students are required to complete major tests in controlled locations.
Online Degree Selection and Accreditation
Each student should verify the University’s accreditation before enrolling in a degree program. Many online programs are strictly for profit and may not be accredited. If the program is not accredited, it may not be recognized by the student’s prospective employer or future educational institutions. Obtaining a degree from a school that is not accredited is akin to giving away money. Most employers will not hire from non-accredited schools.
The National Association of Schools of Art and Design is a recognized accreditation institution. Three hundred institutions have accreditation through this association. Before pursuing a degree in Graphic Design, determine if the school is accredited by this association or another credible association.
Students should also determine the hiring and promotion percentages of online Universities. The school may have an accreditation but not a good reputation in the industry. Experts recommend that students do extensive research before selecting a University to determine their chances of being hired or promoted upon graduation.
Online Graphics Design Programs
The International Academy of Design and Technology offers courses that are equivalent to the courses that are administered on campus in the classrooms. The program is somewhat of a hybrid program where upper level courses and concentration courses are taken on campus. Other classes can be completed online at work or at home through the use of the computer and the internet.
|AS in Graphic Design|
Graphic designers create visual solutions as a communications tool for the masses. Their responsibilities include planning, analyzing, and implementing various solutions. Animation, photography, illustration, color, and layout techniques are employed to aid in communication via electronic media and print. Graphic designer's work is found in corporate reports, newspapers, journals, and magazines. Their work is also found on entertainment packaging, marketing brochures, websites, logos, signs, displays, movie credits, interactive media and other places where visual communication is necessary to attract viewers.
Graphics designers need to have excellent communications skills to succeed in the industry. Not only are these skills necessary for producing creative designs for their clients, but they must be able to effectively communicate with their clients to provide a solution that is appealing.
Designers use social, cognitive, cultural and physical cues to effectively communicate, plan, and execute designs for their audience. Designers meet with their clients to determine the goal of their project. Then a graphic designer will research and gather information to complete the project according to the specifications provided.
Graphic designers utilize the computer to prepare layouts and design illustrations for visual designs. For corporations, they may create charts and graphs. For entertainment, they may create animations, logos or illustrations. Graphics designers can obtain work from several people in the industry. Software packages are used to assist Graphic designers in successfully completing their work.
Getting Admitted to a Graphics Design Program
To obtain employment in the Graphics Design field, a Bachelor’s degree is required for most positions. The prospective student can pursue a degree program in the fine arts field with a concentration in graphics design or the student can pursue a program geared specifically for graphic design.
The curriculum includes studio art, computerized design, printing techniques, Web site design, principles of design, and commercial graphics production. Many programs also include writing, art history, sociology, psychology, cultural studies, foreign languages, marketing and business courses. These classes are included in the curriculum to expose the graphic designer to various fields that will spark their creativity.
Prospective students must possess good problem solving skills, communication skills and creative skills or have an aptitude to obtain them by graduation. Visual, verbal, and written skills are essential. Their portfolio must demonstrate their attention to detail and the aforementioned skills. The potential student must also be able to work well independently and meet stringent deadlines. Self discipline and excellent business acumen are important attributes of a Graphic Designer.
After graduation, it is important for the graphics designer to remain well read in order to facilitate creativity in their designs. The designer must also remain abreast of changing trends in design, software, and computing capabilities by obtaining new certifications or other means of education.
Certificates, bachelor’s degrees, and graduate degrees can be obtained in the field of graphics design. Individuals who already possess the gift of creativity and have a bachelor’s degree in another field can complete an abridged program that may consist of 2 to 3 years. The curriculum will focus on teaching the student the technical aspects of the field.
Most schools do not allow admission into a bachelor’s degree program until the student completes a year of basic art and design. These courses can be completed in high school or through a certificate program. Applicants should demonstrate their artistic abilities through sketches and other examples.
Career Options in Graphic Design
The Graphic Design field is expected to expand by 13 percent by 2018. The demand is originating from advertisers and computer design firms. Graphics designers who have experience with web site design and mobile phones will be in the highest demand. Internet advertising is also expected to increase the number of designers needed. Individuals with this type of experience will most likely be able to obtain viable employment in this highly competitive field. Currently, many graphic designers are employed in print publishing. However, this is an area that is projected to experience decline in the coming years.
The median income of a graphic designer is just under $50,000 annually. Senior designers can expect a median income just under $70,000 annually. Those individuals who manage their own firm can expect to earn a median income of $97,000 annually.