Graphic Design

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Major in Graphic Design

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“We glorify God by reshaping the raw materials of the world in such a way that, for those with eyes to see, God’s glory and presence are made visible.” ~John Mark Comer

Studies have shown that nearly 100 million business start-ups are launched every year. That’s one business birthed every three seconds! And no business can survive without some sort of marketing strategy. Whether it is the need for social media, product packaging, or a new logo, website or business card, graphic design will always be in demand in every imaginable industry. As a college major, graphic design teaches students how to create high quality visual imagery for advertising, print, publications, web and multimedia formats. Topics of study range from design theory to portfolio development to digital design to project management. Typically attracting visually-oriented individuals, this major focuses on conveying a message through the function of font, color, photography and graphics which bring creative vision to life. A graphic design major also equips students with the specific software and technology skills necessary to succeed in the industry.

Many of the most desired skills for a graphic design major are in fact, tech-centered. Therefore, in addition to having an intuitive knack for aesthetics and the ability to create a smooth, cohesive look, it is imperative for a graphic design major to be somewhat tech-savvy and familiar with basic computer design applications. Other helpful traits and skills for this major include having an eye for detail, thick skin when it comes to revising and editing, and a strong understanding or “read” of your target audience in order to convey the specific message needed for a particular design assignment. In addition, design work is often done in collaboration and for a wide-array of clients so it is important to be a team-player and have strong communication skills. Individuals who thrive in the graphic design industry are those who are able to multitask, meet deadlines, stay focused and maintain a posture of lifelong learning in a sea of constantly evolving technology and design styles.

Stepping into a graphic design program, you can expect to take all sorts of general art classes. You will likely work to create a design portfolio over the course of your educational journey and may participate in an internship before graduating. You may choose to narrow in on an area that is of special interest to you, or choose a broad spectrum of graphic design electives in order to remain diversified in your abilities. Examples of courses include:

  • Principles of Design and Color
  • Two-Dimensional and Three-Dimensional Design
  • Multimedia and animation
  • Typography
  • Website design
  • Printing technique
  • Digital design
  • Desktop publishing

Graphic design careers continue to emerge and expand. Those in highest demand include web and digital designers, animators and computer systems designers (with a projected 20% job increase), while more traditional jobs centered on print and publishing continue to become increasingly competitive. Though not for everyone, freelancing is a huge trend in all niche areas related to graphic design. Though graphic design majors typically become visual/graphic artists or designers, other related careers include:

  • Production designer
  • Art director
  • Marketing specialist
  • Multimedia artist
  • Product developer
  • Illustrator
  • Textile designer

If creative juices pulse through your veins and artistic ability seems hard-wired into your brain, then perhaps part of God’s good plan for your life involves taking your abilities and showcasing His inventive, beautiful image to the world through the diverse and unique field of graphic design. 

 

A future in Graphic Design

By Amber Gragert

Graphic design is communication through design and is the art of creating a visual design with image or text that suggests ideas and stirs up emotions or experiences. Every time you open your web browser you are instantly welcomed into the world of graphic art and design. Everything from emoji and widgets to book covers and college brochures falls under the influence of graphic design - and what an interesting and vast world it is.

As a graphic design major, students learn to communicate through visual media by way of print and computer graphics. Most graphic designers use computer software to create and design their images. Though they will use different mediums in order to accomplish their task - whether it be electronic, film, or print. This is why, as with any other art major, it is important for graphic design artists to not focus solely on computer generated design, but also be proficient in other art forms as well as it is the foundational experience on which students build upon. Knowing shapes and forms in life make all the difference when creating life-like images with seemingly real dimension on a screen or print.

Coursework for this major include: figure drawing, 2-dimensional design, e-dimensional design, color theory, and art history. Along with technical drawing, web design, computer aided design, graphic design, desktop publishing, and multimedia applications. Further still, students may take courses in digital imaging, marketing, CAD, interactive media, and animation. Exciting, right? There are so many fascinating topics to cover and new techniques to discover and learn in order to communicate with the world through visual media.

Careers for graphic design majors are diverse and include some such as: advertising director or coordinator, book designer, creative director, design manager or director, film and video editor, graphic artist, multimedia artist, and website designer. All are hugely creative and serve as a way to effectively communicate any given idea, emotion, or concept to the public. A more unknown or realized career is an email marketing designer. You know all those flashy junk emails you get? There's a graphic designer somewhere that worked with one or more writers, marketing managers, and an interface specialist to create those email graphics and layout to grab your attention and convey and effectively communicate that company's messages, information, and goal to you. How about the book jacket of one of the novels you just finished while completing your summer reading list? That has a graphic designer's handiwork all over it. Or just take a look at your smart phone for career inspiration, because there are hours of labor that go into designing functional web content on mobile devices. Experience with programming language is more than useful for students looking to enter that realm of graphic design.

The demand is high for graphic designers and the need continues to grow due to the digital age and the push from advertisers, publishers, and computer design firms. In fact, doubling majors in marketing or business would make graduates dramatically more marketable in their career aspirations. There is quite a bit of overlap with graphic design and marketing in business - and knowing both realms and how they fit together makes for easier hires. Other helpful characteristics and skills would be: A creative thinker, task and detail oriented, ability to work well with others, coordinate projects, interest in learning new concepts and research, and of course computer comprehension. If you have these skills and are looking to further them and make a career out of them, then throwing your hat in the ring as a graphic design major is the right choice for you.