Visual Communication

Humans, as a whole, are very visual creatures. A simple image or a few words splashed across a paper can evoke any number of emotions or memories with just a single glance.

The human eye is capable of distinguishing 10 million colors and can focus on 50 different objects per second. Eyes are capable of processing over 36,000 bits of information every hour – information the human brain uses to process the world around it.
Visual communicators are able to use the complex capabilities of the human eye in order to plan, design, analyze and create a form of communication that is either read or viewed by consumers. Visual communicators help to craft advertisements for products and businesses, as well as informational pieces that are compiled heavily using visual techniques.
Education Requirements

There are a variety of degrees offered in this field, ranging from two-year associate degrees to graduate-level degrees that can take up to six years to complete.
Most associate-degree programs offered in visual communications are provided by community colleges and technical/trade schools. Associate degree programs in visual communications should include basic courses in creating designs, using technology and software to create interactive designs and the exploration of the various forms of media (print and multimedia). Candidates who possess an associate degree are eligible for most entry-level jobs in the industry.
Bachelor degree programs also are available and take four years to complete. Four-year degrees expand on the basics of visual design techniques and place more emphasis on teaching students how to be objective and focused when creating a product. Students also will be encouraged to work both independently and in groups, which are necessary skills for working in the industry.
Many qualified institutions offer both online and traditional programs at the graduate level as well. An average of 60 credits must be completed in order to earn a master’s degree in visual communications. Coursework at this level focuses on studio practice, research and design teaching methodologies. Students also may be required to complete coursework in history, theory, critical analysis and aesthetics.

Most programs offering degrees in visual communications have both online and traditional options available. Regardless of which option is chosen, students should select a program which has received accreditation from a reputable accrediting agency.
Future Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for trained professionals in the visual communications field is expected to increase by 13 percent until 2020. Data indicate that over 60 percent of those working in visual communications are self employed.
The average annual salary for the industry is $43,500, with the top 10 percent of wage earners making more than $76,000.

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