Commercial Art: Career Diploma Summary

About this article
A commercial artist conveys ideas and communicates a message with graphic information. It's an exciting career filled with artistic challenge and opportunities for groundbreaking expression. This article provides information about the training you need to become a commercial artist, and areas where you might search for employment.
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What is a Commercial Art Diploma Program?

Commercial art refers to art that is used for conveying information to interested parties. It requires many of the skills of other art forms, such as drawing, painting or photography, but serves a commercial or specific communicative purpose. A diploma in commercial art can prepares you for entry-level employment in a wide variety of industries where the discipline is in demand. You can work in advertising agencies, customer service, commercial printing, education, financial institutions, or freelance design and production. Government agencies use commercial artists, as does the health care industry. You might work as an in-house artist in publishing company, at a magazine or newspaper. There are commercial art jobs in manufacturing, service bureaus, television stations, video production companies, and public relations firms.

Skills Acquired

In a diploma program for commercial art, you will learn a great many necessary skills for translating your talent into a marketable discipline. You will take technical, advanced technical and general education courses in design, graphic production and Internet technologies. In most programs you will explore the principles of photographic design, and learn about the role of visual style in the commercial sector. You will study traditional drawing board techniques of graphic representation, while also gaining facility with the latest computer graphics software and applications. Also, you'll study graphic design problems to learn about the most create effective visual communications techniques, while learning to apply design, typography, software and production skills efficiently and accurately according to industry standards. As a commercial artist you will be expected to be creative and free-thinking, while maintaining an established style or direction, as well as being up to speed with the latest technologies. You will need an understanding of topics as varied as color management and copyrighting, and in some roles you will need to have customer service and business skills as well.

Coursework in a Commercial Art diploma program may include:

  • Typography Illustration
  • Techniques Layout and Design Production
  • Art Photograph Graphics Software
  • Electronic Prepress/Production Scanning and Proofing
  • Color Management
  • Four-Color Imaging
  • Internet Technologies
  • Portfolio Development
  • Applications in Screen Printing
  • Advertising Layout and Design
  • Fundamentals of Typography
  • Graphic Reproduction and Finishing

Career Outlook and Salary Information

Competition is fierce for employment in commercial art, but jobs are plentiful, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the field to grow steadily through 2014, as demand for graphic design continues to increase from advertisers, publishers, and computer design firms. Median annual earnings in commercial art averaged around $38K in 2004, with the highest paid earning as much as $65K.

Popular Schools

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. - New Media Journalism
      • M.S. - New Media Journalism
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Graphic Design
      • B.S. - Graphic Design
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Winthrop University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Arts Administration
      • Master of Arts in Arts Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. Digital Communication
      • B.S. General Studies - Fine Arts
    Associate's
      • A.S. General Studies - Fine Arts
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
      • HS Diploma
  • New York, NY

    New York University

  • Syracuse, NY

    Syracuse University

  • Online Programs Available
    8. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA in Graphic Design
      • BA in Game Art and Development

Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • M.S. - New Media Journalism
  • B.S. - Graphic Design

What is your highest level of education?

Winthrop University

  • Master of Arts in Arts Administration

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Indiana Wesleyan University

  • B.S. Digital Communication
  • B.S. General Studies - Fine Arts
  • A.S. General Studies - Fine Arts

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Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

  • Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology

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Penn Foster High School

  • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
  • HS Diploma

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Southern New Hampshire University

  • BA in Graphic Design
  • BA in Game Art and Development

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