Choosing a college degree program is never an easy decision. For most of us, it involves careful analysis of our strengths, weaknesses, capabilities, and interests. For some who are lucky enough to have a talent, however, the choice of a major can be a natural extension of that talent.
If you’re a gifted musician, choosing a major in music is a given. Have a knack for writing? Degree programs in journalism, communication, or English seem like the obvious choice. And if all you have done through your childhood, preteens, and teens is create art, then a graphic art degree is clearly the choice for you!
Graphic design is an excellent major for individuals who eat, drink, and breathe art-but contrary to popular perception, there is much more to a graphic design degree than art. Graphic design is a perfect amalgamation of creativity, technical proficiency, and business intelligence.
Having oodles of talent is important, but it’s not enough to make you a stellar graphic designer. In addition to artistic talent, other qualities expected in a professional graphic designer are communication skills, ability to manage time, and teamwork. That’s where a graphic program comes into play. A graphic arts degree helps you not only grow your artistic talent, but also helps you develop the technological and business proficiencies you need to pursue a career as a graphic designer.
Graphic Art Degree: Overview
Associate’s degree graphic arts programs are available at design schools and community colleges as well as postsecondary four-year institutions.
These degree programs are typically two years long, and are designed to train graduates in using cutting-edge technology and design principles to create visual concepts that communicate an idea, thought, or message.
The objective of a graphic degree is to help students learn to use design techniques, traditional art concepts, color theory, typography, etc. in a business environment. That’s why most graphic programs are also designed to provide graduates a solid understanding of the different functional areas of business.
Moreover, design work hardly happens now without the use of computers. So, graphic arts programs typically include training in the use of design software, desktop publishing tools, photo and video editing applications, etc.
Graphic Art Degree: Coursework
The coursework of an associate degree in graphic arts can be divided into several different categories: design, business, technology, and liberal arts.
As part of their design coursework, students are trained in web page design, typography, page layout, Illustrator, Photoshop, logo design, information design, Flash, etc. The graphic design degree curriculum includes business topics such as marketing, advertising principles, entrepreneurship, Internet commerce, etc.
Technology courses, such as computer fundamentals and programming languages, may also be a part of a graphic arts program, although there is more focus on such topics in a web design and development degree. Liberal arts courses tend to include English, sociology, communication, etc., in order to provide students a well-rounded education.
Graphic Art Degree: Prerequisites
To enroll in a graphic art degree, you should have a high school diploma or an equivalent GED credential. You should prepare for post secondary training by taking basic art and design courses in high school and creating a portfolio of your work.
Creating a portfolio is important, as some programs may require applicants to submit samples of their sketches, drawings, or designs.