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A Complete Guide to a Career in Visual Communication

If you have a creative flair, a passion for design, and an eye for engaging and impactful visuals, consider a career in visual communication. A career in visual communication option with immense growth potential across all channels, including print, broadcast, and the web.

Humankind has expressed itself through images since the beginning of civilisation. Studies show that visuals can communicate complex ideas more effectively than words.

Present-day visual communicators connect with their audience through the power of images in a variety of visual formats, such as drawings, photographs, illustrations, graphics, animations, and GIFs.

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FAQs - Career in Visual Communication

Visual communication is defined as the use of images and symbols to communicate ideas. It explores the concept that visuals accompanying text have greater power to communicate, inform, or educate the audience than words. Visual communication relies mostly on two-dimensional images and uses popular visual aids as the medium of expression.

Visual communication includes signs, drawings, illustrations, commercial art, graphic design, animation, industrial design, and digital resources such as memes and GIFs.

Doesn’t the image of a burger oozing cheese tempt more buyers than a wordy description of the product? This is because images are evocative and speak directly to the heart.

Humans are predominantly visual creatures. Research shows that the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text.[1] Images trigger emotions and provide a more immersive experience than the spoken or written word. They are stored more easily in long-term memory, thus making recollection and retention easier.

That is why businesses bank on commercials to advertise their products and drive conversions. Visual communication is extremely important in any business because images impact consumers at an emotional level and help them retain the information longer. Visuals convey messages with more speed and clarity than pages of text.

Organisations need different types of visual communication, depending on the content to be communicated. Visuals help businesses stand out, personalise their brand, and engage with employees and customers. Some common visual communication types are[2] –

  • Infographics – A combination of ‘information’ and ‘graphics’, infographics typically represent data as a chart or diagram.
  • Slide decks – Slide decks are popular tools for presenting text-heavy data at the workplace. They allow the presenter to share critical insights and observations through graphs, pie charts, and diagrams in a limited timeframe.
  • Brochures – Brochures and downloadable resources help organisations to connect effectively with clients. With new-age technology, it is possible to make interactive brochures linked to the organisation’s website to garner leads and drive conversions.
  • Gamified videos – Gamified content with graphics, animation, custom images, and vectors are increasingly used in onboarding, skill training, and marketing processes.
  • YouTube videos – Most companies routinely post short videos on YouTube about their products, initiatives, and activities to keep their stakeholders informed.
  • Animated graphics – Animated graphics are finding their way into websites and resumes for increased interaction and a lasting impression.
  • Social media resources – Businesses today must have a healthy social media presence. Social media marketers liberally use visual tools such as creative memes, GIFs, videos, short clips, and images to engage with their audiences.

BSc in Visual Communication is a 3-year undergraduate degree course. It offers training in essential visual communication skills that will enable the student to make a career in visual communication in creative fields such as photography, web designing, and advertising.

  • Subjects and syllabus in BSc Visual Communication [3]
  • The subjects and syllabus that you study in a visual communication course differ according to the college and specialisation that you choose. However, some core subjects that reputed colleges offer are –

    • Graphic design
    • Photography
    • Typography
    • Audio-visual production
    • Web design
    • Animation and game art
    • Digital editing
    • Film appreciation
    • Media and communication methods
    • Marketing and public relations

    Elective subjects include, but are not limited to –

    • Film studies
    • Photojournalism
    • Virtual reality
    • Art and aesthetics
    • Event management
  • Subjects and syllabus in BSc Visual Communication [3]
  • You are eligible for BSc in Visual Communication after passing your 12th grade or HSC examination (!0+2) from any stream. Most colleges ask for a minimum of 50% as a passing percentage.

    Some colleges consider the 12th-grade scores for admission, whereas others require students to pass an entrance exam and interview before the admission process.

  • Key skills required in visual communication
    • Creative skills – Creative expression is the core principle in visual art. As an artist, you will need drawing and design skills, besides an eye for colour, tone, and texture.
    • Design thinking – Design thinking is a problem-solving approach focuses on the end user’s requirements. As a professional, creativity is essential, but it is more important for you to align your products with your audience’s needs and demands.
    • Technological skills – Visual artists use software to design products such as posters, brochures, web pages, slides, and animated graphics. They connect with their audience through digital media. Hence technical literacy and familiarity with designing software are essential skills in visual communication.
    • Communication Skills – To be successful in your visual communication career, you will need good communication skills in marketing and public relations.
    • Flexibility – Artists must have a flexible approach to design. Adaptability is the key to success. You may start with a certain design plan, but remember that the end product may turn out quite different due to user specifications or channel requirements.
    • Focus and hard work – Nothing great is ever achieved without focus and hard work. Remember the adage, ‘No pains, no gains.’
    • Organisation and time management – Visual communication is a dynamic profession where you may have to multitask and micromanage. Organisation and time management are, therefore, necessary skills for a Career in Visual Communication.

Although visual communication career is relatively new in India, there is plenty of scope in the field, and it is slated to grow in the coming years. Advanced technological innovations and new avenues of creative expression have created a paradigm shift in the art market, and new jobs are created almost daily.

Visual communication is a vast domain that covers multiple specialisation areas, from typography to digital photography to game art. Myriad job profiles require visual artists, such as films and television, advertising, web design, mobile design, and social media platforms.

You can easily find your niche with the right mix of creativity, tech-savviness, and hard work.

There is a wide range of jobs / careers in visual communication across various industries, such as advertising, education, and entertainment, both in India and abroad. Visual artists can work as multimedia artists, graphic designers, art directors, and design educators. Below are some popular job options after BSc in Visual Communication –

  • Graphic designer

    According to the Department of Labour statistics, graphic design is one of the fastest-growing fields in the country. It is an extremely versatile sector with numerous job openings across print, broadcast, and digital media.[4]

    Graphic designers use software to create the visual components of advertisements, marketing campaigns, company brochures, websites, UI and UX interfaces, and more. They select the layout, typography, colours, and styles for print and digital products.

  • Web designer

    Web designers work in tandem with web developers to create visually appealing and user-friendly interfaces. They have good technical skills and a fair knowledge of programming languages, along with creative abilities.

  • App designer

    App designers design applications for mobile phones, tablets, and computers. Depending on their niche, an app designer may create online games, food apps, health apps, weather apps, maps and navigation programmes, and a lot more.

  • Photojournalist

    Photojournalists capture powerful and expressive images of people, places, and events to document facts or to tell a story. They commonly use photo editing software to enhance their content.

  • Video editor

    Video editors work in the film, television, and advertising industries. They edit, rearrange, and enhance video clips or footage to create artistic effects or to tell stories.

  • Art director

    Art directors oversee the artistic aspects of design projects such as films, publications, and commercials. They typically head a team of designers, communicate with clients about the design requirements, brainstorm ideas, and determine the design specifications.

  • Advertising

    Visual communication in advertising includes illustration, creating brand logos and product icons, packaging design, advertising campaign visuals, brochure design, and more.

  • Design educator

    Design educators teach the theory and application of design in design learning institutions. Educators have a master’s degree in design and practical experience in fieldwork.

  • Communications manager

    Communications managers design and oversee programmes to promote a business and its products and services. They use their visual communication skills to create appealing marketing materials, interactive web content, or social media posts.

Visual communication course fees vary according to the institution and can range from INR 30,000 to over INR 5,00,000 per annum.

The course curriculum for visual communication also varies with the college of choice. However, most colleges offer some core subjects and a few electives.

The core subjects are usually topics related to communication, photography, art, aesthetics, and various design methods. The electives include focused and job-specific subjects such as film art, photojournalism, virtual reality, and event management.

After creating career in visual communication in India, the salary ranges from INR 2.4 lakhs to INR 16.1 lakhs, with a national average of INR 6.1 lakhs per annum. Your salary will depend on your experience, area of expertise, skillset, and employer.

To ensure a successful career in visual communication, you should be able to think creatively and work on your technical skills. You should also build a sound understanding of your target audience and their needs, along with a knowledge of contemporary design trends.

Apart from creativity, technical expertise, and hard work, here are a few tips that will help you excel in your visual communications career[5] -

  • Know your audience. This will help you to cater to their needs better. After all, you design for them.
  • Seek inspiration. Creativity is a state of mind. The best artists and designers are open-minded and observant and can learn from the most mundane objects, events, and processes.
  • Utilise colours, fonts, and textures effectively. These basic tools can create a dynamic effect and greatly enhance readability.
  • Aim at balance and harmony. The purpose of art is to create harmony. You can achieve this by synthesising compatible images, icons, patterns, and layouts and creating a visual flow. Size, scale, and proportion are also essential in maintaining a balance in your product design.
  • Work on your communication skills. Besides being a necessity in marketing and public relations jobs, good communication skills and healthy working relationships are paramount for success in any career.

Here are a few things to consider while choosing a college for Visual Communication –

  • Course Curriculum

    Although most reputed colleges offer similar core subjects, the electives are more focused and job-oriented and may vary with the institution. Make sure that the college offers the subjects of your choice.

  • Staff

    Check the college website for the staff credentials before taking admission. Visual communication is application-based, so it will help if the educators have some industry knowledge and technical expertise.

  • Budget

    Visual communication course fees vary widely across various institutions, so be sure to choose a college that does not unduly strain your pocket. Find out what is included in the net fee amount. Also, consider additional expenses such as transport, accommodation, your course toolkit, and miscellaneous expenses.

  • Infrastructure

    The college needs good infrastructure with well-equipped studios, WiFi connection, software, hardware, and other provisions. Before deciding, it is best to visit the campus, talk to existing students, and check out the infrastructure.

  • Affiliation

    The college’s affiliation is an extremely important factor to consider before applying for admission. Is the college affiliated with a deemed university? Should you wish to study further, can you pursue your post-graduation in Visual Communication based on this degree?

  • Internships

    Visual communication is a dynamic field and calls for practical application of design. Most reputed colleges offer a few months' internships to provide students with hands-on job experience. Look for a college with a sound internship programme and connection with reputed employers.

  • Placements

    Find a college that sets up placement interviews with reputed companies at the end of the course. While you can land a job through other channels, having a head start at the outset can work wonders for your career in visual communication.