Visual communication is the conveyance of ideas and information in forms that are sight-related. Therefore, it relies partially or completely on eyesight. Visual communication is a broad spectrum that includes signs, typography, drawing, graphic design, illustration, industrial design, advertising, animation, color, and electronic resources.

Graphic design, especially when compared to visual communication, is that it’s a narrower and highly specialized field. It focuses on the creation of key graphics for an advertising campaign, website, or print materials. Graphic designers do possess the broad set of skills that covers everything from animation to photography, as in visual communication. Instead, they produce a completely finished, visual product for clients. Instead, they focus on creating key graphical elements that fit within a broader visual communication process.

Here is an example to illustrate the difference and help you understand the degree implications:


This learning format has become very popular as it covers online degree, certificates, certifications, self-help courses, professional courses, and more. It entails any type of distance learning that does not involve sitting in a classroom.

With respect to eLearning, graphic design relates to the way the course looks. It is how your fonts, colors, images, graphics, layouts, and effects work together to create a cohesive design. When you crop or remove the background from an image or create a custom icon that is graphic design.

Visual communications for eLearning relates to how you communicate ideas, processes, or procedures visually on the screen. When you select an image to represent an important idea- that is visual communications. When you create a series of animations to explain a complicated process- that too is visual communications.

Education- Graphic Design

You may commence your education in high school. As an aspiring designer, you should take as many art and design-related courses as you can. If you have the resources, sign up for a pre-college graphic design course. Attending one of these will prepare you for an undergraduate degree program and could make you a more attractive applicant to the colleges on your list of prospects.

Coursework in graphic design covers a wide range of subjects, such as studio art, principles of design, commercial graphics, web design, advertising, and graphics-related computer technology. Classes in marketing and business may be part of the curriculum as well since designers must be able to compile and submit professional job proposals, and effectively sell themselves to potential clients.

Colleges, universities, and design schools offer degrees in graphic design. Most colleges offer the degree as a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts. These degree programs incorporate aspects of traditional art instruction and principles, advertising and marketing studies, and professional business skills. Students learn about the technology involved in graphic design, as well as the business skills to promote themselves for a diverse array of careers in this field. Students in these programs hone their skills in areas such as illustration, drawing, and typography, as well as utilizing contemporary software and tools. Most programs require students to develop professional portfolios that display their work. Others may require students to engage in internships.

Education-Visual Communications

To confuse the differences between graphic design and visual design, some college programs refer to their degree as visual communication design. This type of study plan examines color, type, movement, symbols, and images in the realm of visual communication. The designer creates and manages the production of visuals designed to inform, educate, persuade, and even entertain a specific audience. The curriculum envelops the entire creative process that is applicable to many design related professions. A sampling is advertising, illustration, motion graphics, and digital media.

Some college programs emphasize the communication aspect. These programs study the tools required to report news and feature stories through media other than words. Students will be able to get ideas across using photography, slideshows, and digital tools. The curriculum includes courses in editing and design, multimedia journalism, news writing, and reporting.

Combination of the Two

You could consider a Bachelor of Science in Design-Communication. A communication design program studies typography, photography, drawing, video/animation, audio, storytelling, interaction, and space. These courses help students develop critical and visual thinking along with essential design processes. Coursework may include topics like environmental graphics, design for social engagement, business, and media studies enhance your learning.

Professional communication designers build careers wherever communication is important. Designers often work for design firms, internal design teams, or as independent freelancers. They have career opportunities in advertising, branding, corporate identity, digital product design, exhibit design, interface design, package design, and web design.


Visual communicators use a greater array of methods to convey a message: photography, digital design, unique illustrations, presentations, and animations. All of these are composites of their training and education. In contrast, graphic designers focus is limited to the design and development of key graphics for insertion into digital and print media, websites, mobile apps, and more. Together, these two creative professionals have the same purpose. The objective of each is to make it easier to communicate a company’s key points and marketing efforts in a way that is bright, vivid, and graphically appealing, no matter the type of media.