Students and professor in a digital design class.

Visual Communication and Graphic Design: Embrace Your Creative Side


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Creativity is an important part of any career. Possessing the ability to analyze, think outside the box and offer creative solutions are positive skill sets employers seek when interviewing potential candidates. While many individuals hear the word “creative” and automatically think painter, actor or writer, many careers will allow you to embrace your creativity through graphic/web design, marketing or advertising.

Students working together in a design class.At Hodges University, students are provided the opportunity to expand their creative skill sets. By viewing the computer as another type of artistic canvas, you will receive the hands-on training and experience to put you on a path to a creative career in a corporation, nonprofit or agency environment.

With degree programs in visual communication and digital design and graphics, you can embrace your creative side on campus, online or at your own pace. To meet your needs, Hodges offers both the Master of Science in visual communication, as well as the Associate in Science and Bachelor of Science in digital design and graphics in its UPOWER™ format.

UPOWER™ is a fully online, self-paced program that allows you to pursue your degree on your time. You may earn maximum credit for previous skills learned through work experience or military service. Plus, it’s a fraction of the cost!

Visual Communication
You may be asking, “What exactly is visual communication?”  Have you ever thought about working in a corporate marketing design office or design consulting firm? If so, a degree in visual communication will provide you with the tools you need to become a creative director or senior-level manager.

By pursuing a Master of Arts in visual communication, students with prior professional and educational backgrounds learn about visual communication design practices, how to manage and organize a team to effectively solve communication design problems creatively and critically, and to build upon theory-based concepts in preparation for senior-level career options.

“In order to lead in the position of manager of creative services, a graduate degree in visual communication is a highly recommended educational path,” said Arthur “Chip” McElroy, professor and program chair of the digital design and graphics program.

From marketing and creative directors to visual communicators, you will be equipped with the knowledge and tools to become creative leaders who pursue careers in graphic and/or web design, advertising, marketing, video production and more.

If a master’s degree in visual communication seems right for you, McElroy shares what skills are important for a student to possess:

  • Interested in technology
  • Passionate about creative services
  • Desire to achieve a management-level position in a corporate creative environment

“An arts degree is also very appealing to teachers and professors for career, position or rank advancement,” he added. “In a world surrounded by brand management, the leadership roles of brand stewards and visual communication managers have grown and continue to provide a brand awareness that is required in today’s marketplace.”

Digital Design and Graphics
One of the goals of Hodges University is to ensure students are prepared for workforce and employment requirements needed to be successful. Students interested in pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree in Hodges’ digital design and graphics program will adhere to a curriculum certified by the American Digital Design Association (ADDA). Whether it is drafting or design, you will learn the latest techniques using the most current applications in Autodesk and Adobe software applications.

“Both the associate and bachelor’s degree programs are heavily practicum based with portfolios driven by real-world design challenges,” said McElroy.

In the following video, Hodges University alumna Danalyn Cahill shares her experience in the digital design and graphics program. Cahill earned her associate degree in April 2012 and her bachelor’s degree in April 2014.

Associate Degree
Enrolling in Hodges’ Associate in Science in digital design and graphics, you can expect to learn about a variety of areas related to digital design and graphics, some of which include:

  • Computer-aided Design (CAD)
  • Visual communication and design
  • 3D modeling and animation
  • Graphic communication

Architectural Drafting, Web Design and Digital Animation are just a few of the elective components to the program.

Prepared for entry-level positions by the associate degree program, students are encouraged to continue their study in digital design and graphics to build upon skill, technique and expertise.

Bachelor’s Degree
Within the curriculum for a Bachelor of Science in digital design and graphics, students must not only complete core courses within their major course of study, but they must also complete courses in business and liberal arts, as well as select one of two specialty areas: graphic design or digital media.

“Students can concentrate on a traditional graphic design track or pursue an emphasis in the ever-changing world of digital media through web and multimedia design exploration,” McElroy said.

Focusing heavily on practical application, students who graduate from the program will be prepared for career opportunities such as:

  • Printing
  • Web Design
  • Animation
  • Video Game Design
  • Real Estate
  • Graphic Design
  • Public Relations
  • Drafting Design

Brandon Collier, who graduated from Hodges in 2014 with his bachelor’s in digital design and graphics, is the owner of Collier Creative of SWFL, a digital marketing firm located in Fort Myers, Florida. Reflecting on his time in the program and the knowledge gained from faculty such as Professor Chip McElroy, he said, “I was able to change who I was by learning and gaining knowledge and skills that not everyone has.”