What Jobs Can I Get with a Graphic Communication Degree?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn more about the school and career options for working in graphic communication. Explore the different opportunities, education requirements, and potential salary earnings.

[Featured image] A graphic communication major is working on their computer.

A graphic communication degree can open many career opportunities, including art, animation, web design, commercials, film, and video. The graphic communications industry has been growing in the UK, largely due to the popularity of digital advertising.  Graphic communication encompasses everything from commercial printing to book and magazine publishing, creative design, web design, and more.

Graphic communication jobs are as varied as the industry itself. With a graphic communication degree, you could work in the following:

  • Illustration

  • Photography

  • Animation

  • Desktop publishing

  • Graphic design

  • Drafting

  • Art direction

  • Industrial design

  • UX design

  • Web development

Graphic communication job opportunities are available in many industries with salaries based on your chosen area. 

What is graphic communication? 

Graphic communication is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of skills, including art, design, technology, and business. Graphic communication involves using computer software programs to design, create, or lay out artwork for print and digital media. Depending on the job, you may work with specialised tools. For example, if you work as an animator, you’ll use software to create visuals in motion. If you work as a web developer, you’ll use design and technology to create web pages that fulfill clients’ needs. 

In this role, you may need the skills to do everything from the technical aspects to the artistic designs or animation. You might use a combination of media such as photography, illustration, and animation to convey the message or emotion your employer is seeking.

Types of graphic communication degrees

Graphic communication is a broad field that opens the door to various specialisations. Because graphic communication is so diverse, you will have the opportunity to experiment in different areas, including: 

  • App designer 

  • Brand strategist 

  • Digital designer 

  • Animation and video graphics

  • Graphic design

  • Website design 

Foundation degree—Level 5

The Arts Foundation Diploma is a one-year course that may prepare you to top up to a full honours programme while providing specialised skill and knowlege of graphic design. This degree embraces a range of disciplines allowing you to gain hands-on experience with various materials and methods, allowing you to develop your work. 

Bachelor’s degree—Level 6

A bachelor’s degree, or honours, typically takes three years to complete and requires 360 credits on average. Some schools offer an optional fourth year. You will learn graphic design skills, marketing, and develop a portfolio.  This type of degree focuses on a more theoretical approach to your studies combined with significant elements of practice. After graduating, you’ll be eligible to advance onto a postgraduate course or start your creative career.

Integrated master's degree—Level 7

If you want to specialise in graphic design, the integrated master’s degree programme can help to achieve your goal. The programme typically takes four years to complete with a fifth optional placement year. An integrated master’s degree combines both undergraduate and postgraduate coursework into one course for a total of 480 credits. For this type of programme, you’ll have a choice after two years if you’d like to continue on the master’s path or move to a three-year undergraduate degree. 

Jobs in graphic communication 

You may be able to pursue a range of positions in this diverse industry, including those with more creative emphasis, like graphic designers or photographers, or those more related to business, such as project managers or design directors. 

*All average base salary data is sourced from Glassdoor as of June 2023


An animator creates special effects and other animations to bring motion and life to designs and drawings. You might find work in different industries, including technical consulting, software publishing, television broadcasting, and more. Some animators work as freelancers, and others work as employees within companies. In either case, you may expect a fair amount of collaboration with not just the art and design department but with team members from production and marketing.

Average annual base salary (UK): £32,998 [1]

Desktop publisher 

As a desktop publisher, you'll be responsible for a range of tasks, including working graphics into templates, designing graphics, proofreading copy, and creating documents such as flyers and brochures. You'll work to create, combine, and format elements like photos, drawings, data, and text. In this role, you'll use a combination of technology, artistic flair, and critical thinking.

Average annual salary (UK): £30,325 [2]

Graphic designer 

In this role, you’ll create designs and engaging visual elements to help convey ideas and messages. Common tasks include creating appealing layouts for packaging, marketing materials, reports, and other materials. You may need a good foundation in design to use elements like typography, images, and colours to create a finished product. Some graphic designers are self-employed, and others work for specific companies or agencies. 

Average annual salary (UK): £29,350 [3]

Visual designer 

Visual design is a broad field encompassing digital design but emphasises creating what users see on the screen. In this role, you may use design concepts and art to lay out visual concepts to help digital viewers easily interface with the digital media. You may also ensure a consistent experience on various platforms, including games, wearable technology, apps, websites, and mobile devices.

Average annual salary (UK): £39,889 [4]

Possible career pathways in graphic communications 

Because this is such a broad field, it offers a range of potential career paths. Depending on your specialisation or area of focus, you might work at or with advertising, marketing, or public relations agencies. These businesses may have in-house design teams that you’ll work with, or you can pursue a self-employed route. 

You may opt to work in hands-on design as a graphic designer, artist, or photographer. There are also alternative career paths that allow you to explore other facets of graphic communications. Examples include: 

  • Hybrid web design/developers: In this role, you would combine your design skills with coding to create and maintain websites and provide a positive user experience.

  • Project managers: In this role, you'll work behind the scenes of design to ensure that each project runs smoothly and delivers the intended results.

  • Business strategist: At first glance, you might not think that this role would keep you within graphic communication, but you would be behind the scenes of many design projects, particularly large-scale corporate projects, to ensure each project is aligned with the business's image and culture.

Tips for choosing a graphic communication programme

When you decide that graphic communications is the field you want to pursue, you’ll want to consider a school that meets your needs, including location, finances, programme structure, coursework, and available internships.

It also helps to keep your goals in mind when choosing a programme or degree level because the career you want may help you determine what to pursue. Additionally, consider the programme’s prerequisites. You may need a minimum Universities and Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS) points for admission into some programmes. 


When choosing a school, an important consideration is location. Many colleges and universities offer in-person and online classes. Remote learning allows students to maintain a full-time job while earning a degree. In-person learners can attend evening classes if the school offers them. Commuting time and expense should be considered as well as on or off-campus living.


How you will finance your education is something you’ll want to explore with your desired school. Working with the financial aid office to review all available options can save you time and money. They can assist you with the resources for applying for grants, scholarships, and student loans. 

Programme structure 

Colleges have different programme structures, so you’ll want to review each one that you’re interested in. Typically, the structure will include course offerings and other academic plans. Depending on the degree level you’re seeking, you may only have core classes in graphic communications or additional courses in areas like English, mathematics, history, and science.  


Graphic communication is a broad field, and a student’s coursework will depend on the chosen specialisation. Check the coursework offered on the school’s website or request a college catalogue. Consider if the programme offers classes in the areas you’re most interested in to help you make your choice.

Possible internship and placements 

Many colleges and universities participate in internship and work placement programmes so students can gain valuable work experience and explore different facets of graphic communications. You can check with the schools you’re interested in to learn more about internships and placements and what you’ll need to qualify. A placement year is part of a degree programme and is eligible for academic credit.

Getting started  

Graphic communication is an exciting career with a variety of opportunities. If you’re considering educational opportunities, check out the Google UX Design Professional Certificate programme on Coursera. This beginner programme is divided into seven courses that can be completed in approximately six months. It’s offered entirely online, and you can work at your own pace wherever you please. Completing the course will help you prepare for an entry-level position in graphic communication or a related field. 

Article sources


Glassdoor. "Animator Salaries in United Kingdom, https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Salaries/uk-animator-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN2_KO3,11.htm?clickSource=searchBtn." Accessed June 29, 2023.

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