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Graphic Design

What to Look for in Graphic Design Schools in Virginia

Graphic design combines art and design to communicate specific messages to users through visual imagery and typography. Although it’s been around for thousands of years, the age of the internet increased its demand. Every business that has an online presence needs skilled graphic designers to help them sell their products and communicate what their brands are all about. If you think graphic design might put your God-given talents to good use, make sure to find a program and school that will help you reach your potential. Not all graphic design programs in Virginia will provide you with the training, skills, experience, and direction that will help you build a career and a life.

A Bachelor’s Degree Program in Graphic Design

Regardless of your instinctual art and design talents, there are concepts, skills, and knowledge you will need even for entry level graphic design positions. Most graphic designers have bachelor’s degrees and many go on to gain certifications in the software they will use daily. Among the subjects you’ll need to understand are:

  • Typography and Design History
  • Drawing Fundamentals
  • Printmaking
  • Design Problems
  • User Experience
  • Principles of Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Writing for the Media
  • Portfolio Development and Presentation

Graphic Design Schools with the Latest Software

As a graphic designer, you’ll need to have strong skills in a variety of different software programs that are both practical, such as the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, Skype) and creative, such as the Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator). But when you work on the web, you need to continually evolve to keep up with the tools you use and the next ones coming around the bend. Also, most designers work on Apple computers, so be sure your program prioritizes Apple hardware so you can become proficient in using them yourself.

Communication in Graphic Design

Because graphic design can be a very competitive field, it will be critical to distinguish your skillset and your ability to communicate. You will need to interpret a client’s vision and build out assets that resonate with users. Look for a program that understands the critical connection between communication and design. A graphic communication program combines the essential elements of both design and business communication. Having excellent design and communication skills can differentiate you from the competition.

Graphic Design Internships

Although what you learn in the classroom is a critical foundation, what you experience in a real-world setting can be equally valuable. Look for a university that can help you find a graphic design internship. This allows you to gain experience and also to make some connections in the region. You can add the job and experience to your resume and the connections to your LinkedIn.

A Good Setting Where You Can Learn and Create

There’s something special about studying at a small college where you learn from faculty members who know your name and want to assist you in developing your talents as a designer. Be sure to choose a program in a setting that is conducive to creativity. Whether you’re most comfortable in a bustling city or a rural setting nestled at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, choose an environment that’s right for you. That includes your classroom space. Since a lot of what you learn in graphic design comes through doing, small class sizes can be extremely beneficial. The close feedback and attention you can get from professors who teach smaller classes give you more opportunities for one-on-one learning and individualized instruction.

Bluefield University is a Christian college located in Virginia. As a Christ-centered institution of higher education, we focus on more than just coursework; we work to help develop strong servicepeople. Our Graphic Communication program combines graphic design with marketing, communications, and other complementary coursework. Apply today to discover what this program can provide for you and your future.

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