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Career Paths With an Associates Degree in Graphic Design Online

Graphic design is everywhere in your daily life. Most every piece of marketing, advertisement or signage you see is likely the work of a graphic designer, from the logo on your morning coffee cup to the fonts used on your word processor. It is a broad field that combines artistry with communication in order to create the text and pictures that you see and read throughout your day. If you have any inclination toward art or marketing, then you may want to consider earning an associates degree in graphic design online.

Artistry at work | Associates Degree in Graphic Design Online

The success of a message is in part dependent on the way in which it's presented - content is useless if its presentation is illegible. In terms of marketing, a message fails if it's forgettable. Multimedia artists and graphic designers are responsible for developing the style and layout of texts and images so that they have the desired impact on an audience. They may be employed to create anything from posters, magazine advertisements, website layouts movie title fonts or online infographics.

Yet, the art of graphic design isn't just about making work that stands out, but also developing a style that blends in with the appropriate context. A playful logo may be fitting for a restaurant or nursery, but wholly inappropriate for a more technical business. The work demands that an artist understand the context of a product in relation to its producers and its audience, and developing just the right style. The effort required to achieve this balance can be deceptive - the very shape, spacing and line width of the letters on most documents and advertisements you read were likely a long time in the making.

Earning an Associates Degree in Graphic Design Online may prepare you to enter this field, with most programs combining art classes with technical coursework aimed at developing students' artistic abilities along with their computer skills. Proficiency in both the creative and technical aspects of the degree are necessary, as much of graphic design utilizes computer programs and graphics to bring their work to life.

Job opportunities

While many employed graphic designers hold a bachelor's degree in the field, it's possible to find work as a graphic designer or a multimedia artist with just an associate's degree. Generally, a good portfolio can be just as useful as degree. Indeed, part of the benefit of studying in this field is the opportunity to develop a stronger portfolio. As such, if you do decide to pursue an associates degree in graphic design online, you may pursue work, or use it as a stepping stone for further education.

Becoming a graphic designer is the most direct track for people with this educational background. This job involves determining a messaging strategy and developing illustrations, logos and even websites for clients. You may be expected to prove familiarity with certain types of software, so it's important that graphic designers stay up-to-date with the latest technologies.
Multimedia artists, meanwhile, may be expected to create graphics and animation for computer programs and illustrations. They may work closely with animators or engineers in the creation of computer-generated images.

Potential Salary

Your pay is dependent upon the company that chooses to hire, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does provide statistics for annual median wage and job outlook for occupations related to the field.

  • Graphic designer: $44,150[i] (7 percent employment growth projected through 2022)[ii]
  • Multimedia artists and animators: $61,370[iii] (6 percent employment growth projected through 2022)[iv]

Skills required 

To become a graphic designer or multimedia artist, creative talent is a worthwhile skill to possess. However, if you have little creative background, don't dismay: The technical aspect of artistry - including an understanding of light, color and proportion - is a skill that can be developed. Computer skills are also key to being successful in this field.


[i] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/graphic-designers.htm#tab-1 [ii] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/graphic-designers.htm#tab-1 [iii] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm#tab-1 [iv] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm#tab-1