Should You Study Visual Communications?
Since the world is embracing design and design thinking, now is the perfect time to consider studying design. Google, Facebook, and other companies are embracing that “out of the box” thought process that would have been deemed unconventional before.
When I say I have studied Visual Communications to someone it is difficult to explain what the course entailed, or what I’m qualified to do. If I say I’m a graphic designer it limits what I have learned over the past four years through peoples perspectives of what a “graphic designer” is.
Leaving school I completed a portfolio FETAC course but always thought Art College was where I would go; Visual Communications was not presented to me as an option. I dropped out of Art College and discovered the world of graphic design a few years later as a way of honing my skills and I returned to university when I was 25.
I was asked to give a talk to perspective students of Visual Communications who were completing portfolio courses last year. One of the first questions I asked was what they thought the course was about; the answers were mostly the same that “you learned to design logos”. Of course, that is one aspect of it but there is more depth and opportunity to be gained from the qualification than creating just logos.
The beauty of Visual Communications is that a variety of traditional mediums are explored like, illustration, typography, printmaking, paint, drawing and photography. These are then fused with digital processes to create a variety of multimedia such as book making, posters, branding, film, animation and moving image.
The possibilities are endless; at Athlone Institute of Technology we were encouraged to use a variety of mediums to create work through image making, design modules and via numerous (and sometimes mad) briefs.
Although all of what I described may sound like art to some, being a designer is not art. Designers are problem solvers first and foremost; they solve and communicate someone else’s issue, while an artist creates work for himself or herself. That’s not saying that designers don’t delve into personal projects from time to time, my final graduate project was based on a topic of my choice. Other briefs I received in college tested my problem solving, language and expressive skills.
Visual Communications through digital or print means is becoming a necessity in marketing and business. Companies need to find ways to brand themselves creatively and flaunt their brand in unique ways. Visual Communications really is a way of utilising your creativity in real world situations for real brands and companies while getting paid to do it.
This is part one in a series discussing Visual Communications, the next piece will go through what you should put in your portfolio for your college interview.