Art/Visual Communications

AWARD OFFERED Associate in Applied Science (4 semesters)

Admission Requirements and Curriculum

Wallace State’s Visual Communications program is designed for students who seek to prepare for careers in the creative economy as highly skilled graphic designers or commercial artists. The VCM program provides foundation level computer-based graphic design and commercial art training alongside traditional foundation level studio art production courses.

Graphic designers—or commercial artists—plan, analyze, and create visual solutions to communications problems. They decide the most effective way of getting a message across in print, electronic, and film media using a variety of methods such as color, type, illustration, photography, animation, and various print and layout techniques. Graphic designers use a variety of graphics and layout computer software to assist in their designs. Computer software programs allow ease and flexibility in exploring a greater number of design alternatives. Candidates for graphic design positions should demonstrate their creativity and originality through a professional portfolio that features their best designs

Wallace State’s Visual Communications program  consists of:
26 hours of general required coursework
12 hours of foundation-level art production studio courses
28 hours of computer based graphic design coursework

Learning competencies covered within the VCM Program include: Art criticism, Art Appreciation and Art History, Studio Art Production, Tools and materials of Art craft, Graphic Design history, Graphic objects and file types, Raster graphic production, Vector graphic production, Graphic animation, Multi-page publication production 3D Graphic production, Event planning and promotion, Exhibition setup and display, Niche market research, and Portfolio and resume production.

Upon completion of the Visual Communications program, students will have gained the foundation to start possible careers in graphic and commercial design, desktop publishing, computer animation, gaming design, industrial design, apparel /fashion design, photography, advertising, marketing and promotions and Web page design.  Additionally, in order for them to become better designers, artist, and more qualified employees this program also prepares and encourages students for transfer to a university, where they may earn a bachelor’s or more advanced degree.

Employment of graphic designers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. Graphic designers will continue to play important roles in the marketing of products. The change in employment of graphic designers from 2012 to 2022 is projected to vary by industry. Employment of graphic designers in newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers is projected to decline 16 percent from 2012 to 2022. However, employment of graphic designers in computer systems design and related services is projected to grow 35 percent over the same period. With the increased use of the Internet, graphic designers will be needed to create designs and images for portable devices, websites, electronic publications, and video entertainment media. 

Graphic designers are expected to face strong competition for available positions. Many talented individuals are attracted to careers as graphic designers. Prospects will be better for job applicants who work with various types of media, such as websites and print publications.

The median annual wage for graphic designers was $44,150 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,250, and the top 10 percent earned more than $77,490.  Most graphic designers work full time, but schedules can vary depending on workload and deadlines.

In 2012, about 24 percent of graphic designers were self-employed. Graphic designers who are self-employed may need to adjust their workday to meet with clients in the evenings or on weekends. In addition, they may spend some of their time looking for new projects or competing with other designers for contracts.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,

Graphic Designers, on the Internet

View Gainful Employment Information

Adrian Scott, Program Director