Masters in Graphic Design and Multimedia degrees offer students with a keen sense of the creative design process an opportunity to advance their education in fine arts and potentially prepare them for a variety of exciting career paths. Students in graphic design learn how to use different forms of content as well as different media technology to connect with audiences. We see the finished products of graphic designers when we look at packaging, logos, websites, print advertisements, posters, billboards or even on clothing. Today’s graphic artist uses digital arts, computer graphics and other media, multimedia, to create images for video games, apps, and other emerging mediums.
Graphic Design Masters programs are 2-year graduate degrees whose aim is to teach students to communicate their ideas creatively with images and words. Students who are passionate about their art, love technology, and are open to emerging mediums might thrive in a both graphic design and multimedia design masters programs. Prospective students are typically required to possess an undergraduate or bachelor's degree, and submit a professional artwork portfolio; students who have insufficient credits in the visual arts may be required to enroll in foundational or preparatory courses before they can begin their core courses. Often, in addition to lectures, a Masters in Graphic Design program entails art studio work, computer labs, a thesis, final project or portfolio requirement for graduation.
FUN FACT: Graphic designers must keep up with new and updated computer graphics and design software, either on their own or through formal software training programs[i]
some great search tools for the student who is trying to decide on the Graphics Design Masters Program or Multimedia design degree to suit their vocational and educational needs. You might begin with a location search; use the tabs to enter a city, state or country and then browse listings. Refine this search by determining the program format that suits your lifestyle. Are you looking for a campus based MFA Graphic Design or multimedia degree program? Or, are you a looking into programs that are geared towards busy working adults? If so, you might want to review online graphic design masters programs. The other web based learning format is a combination of campus courses and online courses, called ‘hybrid’.
Fine-tune the search depending on your talents and special interests. Some listings include MFA in Graphic Design, Master of Science in Emergent Media, Master of Fine Arts in Media Design, M.S. in Surface Imaging, MFA in Communications Design, Media Studies Masters Program, Computer Art, or Information Design M.A.
Graphic design and multi-media master's degree programs encourage students to look at the world both visually and conceptually. They need to possess exceptional communication and professional skills, as well as problem-solving skills. Students will receive a great deal of hands-on work and training, and will be expected to complete a final project in order to earn their masters degree in graphic design and multi-media. Students might find at this level of education, that they learn more towards one type of degree in the graphic arts than another.
Considered a subset of visual arts, graphic design is defined as the process of visual communication, and problem solving through the use of type, space, image and color.[ii]Graphics Design Masters programs teach students to develop and contribute theory and information to the discipline, as well as to the practice of graphic design in society. Students will master the use of Adobe applications such as In Design, Photoshop and Illustrator.
Graphics design master degree concentrations include advertising, marketing, electronic and film media. Students may expect to take courses that cover design concepts and procedures, media illustration, exhibit design and design management. Other graphic design courses may include commercial packaging design, branding design and the history of multi-media and of computer graphics.
Multimedia refers to content that uses a combination of different forms such as text, audio, still images, animation, video, digital, or interactive content forms. It is sometimes referred to as ‘interactive media’[iii] Students in multi-media courses learn to use different mediums to tell stories, give instructions or to entertain. They write storylines, create characters, soundtracks, layouts and special effects, including animations. Part of this process involves creating images, graphics, and sound and video files.
Masters in Multimedia Design Degree programs involve an understanding of the history of the medium and its artistic quality. Students might expect to learn how to help creative directors in setting up a multi-media scene, and design lighting and figures for multi-media, and learn the technical skills such as computer art, or harnessing game engines and writing plug-ins.
Both graphic design and multimedia design masters program curriculums blend creativity with technology. Depending on the degree specialization, students might learn subjects, which might include explorations in the fine arts, communications, advertising, marketing, design services, art history, multimedia, computer graphics and graphic design software, and animation. Students also need to have a strong foundation in rudimentary skills of drawing and an understanding of the uses of color.
Graphic design and multi-media courses share some similarities. Students studying either field might enroll in courses such as drawing, design, computer science and typography. Other shared courses include 2D and 3D design, art history, communication design, typography and layout. Students enrolled in graphic design and multi-media graduate curriculums will spend a great deal of time working in the studio.
It is quite common to ask oneself, “What can I do with a Masters in Graphic Design?” or to wonder if you will generate income from earning a masters in multimedia design once your graduate studies are complete. While earning a degree in any subject does not guarantee employment, there are a variety of potential career paths in arts and design, and some of these have bright job outlooks[iv].
Many artists are freelancers, building a clientele, and working on a contractual basis. In fact, in 2012, about 24% of graphic designers were self-employed[v]. The industries with the highest levels of employment in the graphics design industry include[vi]:
Graphic Designers: design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects and esthetic design concepts[vii]..
Career Tip For Graphic Designers: Graphic designers are expected to face strong competition for available positions. Many talented individuals are attracted to careers as graphic designers. Prospects will be better for job applicants who work with various types of media, such as websites and print publications[viii].
Video Games Designers: design core features of video games. Some of their work involves specifying innovative game and role-play mechanics, story lines, and character biographies, creating and maintaining design documentation. They also guide and collaborate with production staff to produce games as designed[iv].
Multimedia Artists and Animators: design complex graphics; create special effects, animation, or other visual images using film, video, computers, or other electronic tools and media for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, music videos, and commercials[vii].
Career Tip For Multimedia Artists: Most multimedia artists and animators need a bachelor’s degree in computer graphics, game design, art, or a related field to develop a strong portfolio of work and learn the strong technical skills that many employers prefer[ix].
Art Directors: are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions. They create the overall design of a project and direct others who develop artwork and layouts[x].
Career Tip For Art Directors: For many artists, including art directors, developing a portfolio, which is a collection of an artist’s work that demonstrates his or her styles and abilities, is essential. Managers, clients, and others look at artists’ portfolios when they are deciding whether to hire an employee or contract for an art project[xi].
Taking your education in graphic design or multimedia design up to the next level might help you refine your technical, conceptual and creative skills so that you potentially have an edge over the competition in the workplace. Use the search tools on GradSchools.com to review all the listings for Masters in Graphic Design and Multimedia Degrees and determine which one matches your talents, your goals, and the direction you are hoping your career will take!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/graphic-designers.htm#tab-4 | [ii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphic_design | [iii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multimedia | [iv] onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1199.11 | [v] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/graphic-designers.htm#tab-3 | [vi] bls.gov/oes/current/oes271024.htm | [vii] onetonline.org/link/summary/27-1024.00 | [ix] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/graphic-designers.htm#tab-6 | [x] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm#tab-4 | [xi] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/art-directors.htm