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Visual communication design relies on your creativity to develop art, video and the appearance of products to communicate ideas. The field combines an artistic eye with technological skills and is useful in graphic design, entertainment and manufacturing, among other industries. The available jobs generally require at least a college degree and a portfolio showcasing your most spectacular achievements.
Graphic designers use images, color, layout, and typography to entertain and inform consumers. Among other messages, they produce billboard signs, magazine advertisements, website home pages and company logos. They start their projects by meeting with clients or art directors to determine the audience and strategy for reaching them. They then produce designs by incorporating images and text into a cohesive communication. Clients review these efforts and recommend changes, which designers incorporate into the final product, which must receive client and manager approval. The primary tools of graphic designers include computer hardware and design software.
Art directors create the overall visual style of their companies, which can involve periodicals, newspapers, websites, product packaging and multimedia. They oversee the work of designers, hire and train them, and assign them tasks and schedules. They often meet with other department heads to develop goals and discuss projects with clients. The industries in which art directors work include advertising and public relations, publishing and movie production. Aside from the initial college degree, art directors typically require several years of increasingly responsible experience. Most start out as graphic designers, photographers, illustrators or copy editors.
Animators develop moving images for TV, movies, video games, mobile phones, websites and other multimedia. They may work by themselves on small projects or in teams with other animators, artists, sound professionals and programmers to create large-scale projects, such as games or movies. For complex designs, they start with storyboards that map out the major scenes of their animations. They may specialize in particular tasks, such as creating three-dimensional characters, texturing computer models or developing backgrounds. Although degrees for the field are available, employers do not require one. More important are examples of past creative efforts.
Industrial designers create the look of manufactured products ranging from kitchen appliances to cars. They must take into account not only aesthetic appeal to consumers, but functional efficiency and cost. Members of their team include marketers, engineers and other product specialists with whom they determine designs that are efficient, safe and practical to produce. They start with virtual models and prototypes for testing before developing the final product. Industrial designers may advance to chief designer or design department head. Many obtain MBAs to develop their business skills.
- Stevenson University: Visual Communication Design
- Stevenson University: Career Choices for the Visual Communication Design Student
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Graphic Designers Do
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Art Directors Do
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Multimedia Artists or Animators Do
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Industrial Designers Do
Aurelio Locsin has been writing professionally since 1982. He published his first book in 1996 and is a frequent contributor to many online publications, specializing in consumer, business and technical topics. Locsin holds a Bachelor of Arts in scientific and technical communications from the University of Washington.
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