Online graphic design degrees equip students with skills in communicating effectively to various audiences through visual means, including designing websites, billboards, magazines, album covers, movie posters, and much more. The degree teaches students how to effectively arrange text and images to achieve specific goals for their client or employer, which might include advertising a product, creating a logo that will be used as part of a company’s branding, or attracting attention to an event.
While a graphic design degree may share certain course work with a web design degree, the principles of a graphic design degree are applied more broadly to encompass work done outside the web, such as print media. Another difference between the two degrees is that web design goes into greater depth on the more technical nature of websites, like coding for faster page loads, optimizing code for search engines, or incorporating Flash or other advanced features. In terms of design for the web, graphic designers would focus more on appearance and layout of the site, rather than these more technical aspects.
Course work in an online graphic design degree will explore typography and visual communication, as well as design research, analysis, and implementation. Students also gain skills using photo editing and desktop publishing software, such as Photoshop and InDesign, and practice creating digital layouts that incorporate different images and typography. Arts courses in design and color theory are also typical. Most programs will conclude with the completion of a portfolio, final design project, internship or a combination of the three.
Graduates of online graphic design programs may become freelance designers or work for specialized design services companies, the printing or publishing industries, or advertising and public relations firms. Job titles include visual designer, graphic production assistant, or graphic production specialist.