What High School Courses Should I Take to Prepare for a Graphic Design Major?

high school courses for graphic design

Artistic teens interested in pursuing careers as graphics designers can prepare for a graphic design major while still in high school by selecting courses that will help them in their college endeavors. While a flair for the arts can be nourished by courses in the arts, there are actually several subjects that will benefit future college students as they take their first steps along the path to becoming graphic designers.

College Preparatory Courses

Obviously, gaining admittance to a college or university is one of the first steps in becoming a graphics design major. Since high school transcripts play a major role in college admission, students should choose activities and courses that make them good candidates. The U.S. Department of Education recommends that students interested in college take challenging courses in math and science. Learning a foreign language and basic computer skills are also a plus. If a student has a particular college or university in mind, they can contact the school to discover exactly what it specifically requires for admission.

Performing Arts Courses

Students intrigued by graphic design should take as many art courses as possible. Exploring drawing, painting, printing, photography, art history and other similar subjects helps teens broaden their understanding of how art functions, refine their own art skills and develop a portfolio of varied works that might aid them in their college admission process. While many high schools offer limited art classes, many colleges have courses or summer programs for high school students.

English Courses

According to The Princeton Review, graphic designers report strong communication skills are vital to their professional success. A large part of graphic design involves creating effective advertising and marketing. Graphic designers must be able to sell a product, and they must be able to sell themselves and their work to the companies who hire them. The writing skills honed in English classes can prepare students to produce clean, error-free copy. More importantly, the analytical skills they learn can help them examine the message they are trying to get across and the audience they are trying to reach, enabling them to discover effective ways to communicate with their designs.

Computer Courses

Computers are everywhere in the modern world, and art is no exception. Much of today’s graphic design work is for websites. Many graphic design majors include web design in their curriculum. Classes in programming languages, computer graphics, desktop publishing, web design and computer animation can give students a real head start.

Business Courses

Many graphic design majors require students to study business as well. It makes a great deal of sense; some graphic designers become entrepreneurs, operating their own graphic design firms. But, even when graphic designers are employed by newspapers, magazines, advertising agencies, public relations firms or graphic design companies, most of their clients are businesses. Understanding how businesses work aids graphic designers in better understanding and meeting their clients’ needs. Business classes also prepare students to work within a budget while still producing the quality product promised.

People studying graphic design in college have many exciting ways they can use their graphic design degree. Colleges and universities provide undergraduate and graduate degrees in graphic design with numerous concentrations that allow students to focus on the specific area that most intrigues them. But, students should not wait until they reach college. Taking courses that increase their odds of college admission and making the most of their opportunities to study the arts, English, computers and business in high school can help them prepare for a graphics design major.

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