Graphic Design – Where Will It Lead?

MICA Graphic Design studio signage at the top of the Brown Center building.

While waiting for the tour to begin at Maryland Institute College of Art this past week, another mom pondered aloud, “what can my daughter do with a degree in graphic design?”  I was glad to hear her thinking about life after college, but how could I give a simple answer to such a broad question?  The possibilities are almost endless.

Graphic Design – often referred to as Graphic Communications or Visual Communications – is one of the largest and most diverse fields of art study.  It’s also one of the most popular.

If you break it down, graphic design is a communication tool.  Whether looking at a magazine, an ad, a website, a company brochure, a CD cover or even film titles that roll across the screen at the duplex, graphic design plays an important role by guiding communication beyond just the written word.  It communicates information visually.

So, if your son or daughter is creative, self-motivated and loves getting lost in the details, this might be a good choice for a major and career path.  Coursework will include visual thinking, typography, trademark and logo design, 2-D and 3-D graphics, and multimedia design to name a few.  Study in Graphic Design will prepare your student to solve design problems, understand different audiences, work with varying technology and understand basic business practices like working within design teams.  And, integrated with other concentration areas it can lead to a world of career possibilities.

Graphic Design graduates work as independent designers or for a wide variety of companies across the globe.  They are creative directors, multimedia designers, web masters, educators, package designers and more.  Think Coca Cola, Target, the Boston Celtics, Nickelodeon or Johns Hopkins University.  They all have and need graphic designers.

According to the 2012 AIGA/Aquent Survey of Design Salaries a junior designer working primarily on web/interactive work will earn an average annual salary of $40,000.  A junior design working primarily in print will average $38,000.  A Motion Graphics Designer/Animator will average $65,000.

To learn more about school possibilities, I’d suggest talking to your high school art teacher as well as the admissions staff at an art and design school.  Communication Arts is another great resource for gaining insights into the industry.  And while you’re at it, take a look at MICA’s program, ranked one of the top in the country.

The Gateway, MICA’s newest multipurpose dorm

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