Look almost anywhere in the world and you can see the touch of a graphic designer. Think of the logo for your favorite brand of gum: a graphic designer created that logo so it could be easily remembered. Flip through any magazine: a graphic designer put together those images and painstakingly adjusted the location of the text around it for maximum effect. Pop in your favorite movie: right from the opening credits you're seeing the labor of the graphic designer in action. When it comes to making a visible impact on the world around you, graphic design might be one of the most influential careers there is.
Several schools all across the U.S. offer online graphic design degree programs for their students to pursue, and knowing which programs have the most to offer can be a great asset in helping you choose. Using data collected from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and analyzed with our proprietary methodology, we present our list of the top ten best online colleges for graphic design.
The graphic design field is made up of a combination of talent and technology, and students learn about both when they enroll in online colleges for graphic design. This page explores the courses that students may take in order to prepare for the field, as well as the skills they can develop during their time in the program.
Graphic design degree programs offer a comprehensive curriculum that includes diverse topics. The following are examples of some of the courses that may be found in a graphic design program.
Students who earn online graphic design degrees are variety to a combination of technological and communication skills that can prove useful in the industry. The following are a few examples of these skills.
Graphic design is holding steady as a career, with little to no change (good or bad) predicted by the BLS all the way through 2024. If you're considering a job in this consistent field, one of the following might be right up your alley:
Art directors combine their passion for art with leadership skills to oversee the visual imagery used in magazines, newspapers, product packaging and television or movie productions. They work with artists and other professionals to create the perfect concept for a variety of business and artistic purposes, then determine the best ways to bring that idea to life.
As leaders in their field, art directors are charged with communicating with clients, coordinating design activities among different departments, approving budget details and timelines, and delivering a final product for each client's approval. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, most art directors need previous work experience to go along with a bachelor's degree in art or design.
Multimedia artists and animators use their artistic skills and talents to create powerful and meaningful art used for business purposes and in the entertainment world. Depending on their specialty, they may create two- or three-dimensional models, animation or visual effects used in television, movies, video games and other media. Most often, these professionals rely on computer software programs to assist with their designs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that a little more than half of multimedia artists and animators were self-employed in 2014. The other half worked mostly in motion picture and video industries and in professional, scientific, and technical services. Those interested in multimedia artists and animator careers should consider completing some freelance or personal projects to buff up their portfolio; an impressive portfolio alongside a bachelor's degree in art or computer graphics makes for a major advantage in this field.
Graphic designers use their design skills to create unique concepts meant to portray a specific message. The artistic creations built by graphic designers are often used in advertisements, brochures, magazines and presentations. Most graphic designers use computer software to create digital illustrations, then photo-editing software and layout software to perfect their designs. These specialists have created many of the world's most recognizable logos and advertising campaigns, and they've done it all with creative thinking and their own technical skill.
In addition to a bachelor's degree in graphic design or a related field, individuals interested in graphic design careers would be well advised to work on creating a professional portfolio that demonstrates their creativity and skill.
Graphic design may not be the creative endeavor for everyone. If reading this page made you think it might not be for you, then you might want to consider one of these other programs instead: