The choice of graphic design degree versus web design degree is often a choice between a focus on artistry or a blend of creativity with IT skills. These two degrees, and the jobs that come from them, are similar in that they both include technology and they both require artistic talent and vision. The two degrees are from there quite diverse from each other, although their skills are complimentary, and many graphic designers do cross into web design later in their careers.
Graphic design degree programs prepare students to work in a modern artistic field that often involves using design programs to create unique images that can be reproduced in either electronic or print format. These images will be used to enhance and decorate websites, book covers and various advertising materials. The work of graphic designers is often heavily reproduced and widely dispersed. Graphic design courses teach students how to create original works of art and blend this work with images or photographs drawn from electronic sources. Other courses will cover how to use technology and programs to alter images in ways impossible via any other method.
Web design degree programs prepare students to work as web designers who create or enhance websites for various clients. Web design courses will involve website layout and formatting as well as management and instruction on interactive designs. Web designers may or may not create unique content for their sites. They are primarily concerned with organizing and presenting that content.
There are many top ranking and accredited schools that offer degrees in both design specialties. The International Academy of Design and Technology in Sacramento offers multiple degree options for graphic design. Kaplan University offers a specialization in web design included in an information technology degree program that could expand a graduate’s hiring potential into other technology positions.
Graphic Design Degree versus Web Design Degree Career Options and Job Placement
Graphic design is considered a very affordable alternative to traditional artists or illustrators. The work of a graphic designer is also more easily incorporated into electronic formats and mediums necessary in the marketing world. This makes the demand for skilled graphic designers high and gives them excellent job security. Graphic design careers are also diverse. Some designers may work for large individual companies to produce all of their marketing materials. Others may be entirely freelance or work for a company that accepts private contracts for many smaller clients. Graphic designers often have great freedom of choice in their work. Salaries are likewise broad, ranging from $38,000 a year to over $60,000 with an average of around $47,000 in 2013. A very successful and productive freelancer can make far beyond the usual range.
Like graphic designers, those pursuing a web design career often work freelance or for contracting companies. Most large businesses may employ one or two web designers to maintain and update their websites. Most web designers will work with other IT professionals in small teams. The salary range for web designers in 2013 was $45,000 to $82,000 with an average of $61,000. Upper level salaries are often obtained by managers responsible for complex corporate websites. Such a position may require a business degree or experience in addition to web design and IT.