Visual communication designers work in just about every industry imaginable including advertising, publishing, entertainment, technology, finance, health, education, and more. Many designers work in advertising agencies, design firms or in-house marketing departments. About one out of three designers are self-employed working as freelancers or own their own design studio.
Being a successful visual communication designer requires excellent communication skills, attention to detail, creativity, problem-solving skills, and up-to-date knowledge of the latest software. Creating an impressive design portfolio is critical in order to obtain employment.
Visual communication design, like many creative fields, are competitive professions. While publishing and advertising are two of the most prevalent industries when it comes to employing designers, companies in all types of industries are increasingly producing marketing materials in-house. In many cases, designers also significantly contribute to online content and social media campaigns. Opportunities will continue to be plentiful for talented individuals, especially those with web design, animation and strong interpersonal skills.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual earnings for visual communication designers in the US was $52,290 in May 2016. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,950, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $82,020. In Illinois, wages for visual communication designers ranged from $28,640 to $81,510 per year in 2016 according to CareerOnestop.org. In Champaign the range was $28,200 to $58,420. The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) also publishes a periodic survey of design salaries in an interactive format.
Career choices with your degree
Visual communication designers may carry business cards with titles such as:
- graphic designer
- web designer
- user experience designer (UX)
- media specialist
- multi-media designer
- digital artist
- production artist
- technical artist
- pre-press technician
With additional training and experience, you may have titles such as:
- art director
- creative director
- type director
- technical director
- web developer