Visual Communication

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Undergraduate Degree


The Bachelor of Visual Communication Design is designed to meet the growing demand for the practice of design in all aspects of the visual communication industry. A visual communicator works with complex information and presents it in a form most appropriate for a target audience by creating and manipulating imagery and text.Visual communication graduates are involved in the development of design for print, web, advertising, film, television, animation and games, and in the making of digital media, illustration, corporate communications, publishing, packaging, signage and event promotions. 

There are several pathways in this Bachelor degree:

Digital Media Design

The Digital Media Design pathway opens opportunities, but is not limited to visual communication that typically appears on a screen. This includes web design, digital media production, animation and computer game development, and mobile applications. Visual communicators working in digital design generate and manipulate imagery, text, animation, video, audio and interactive material for application in screen based, online and interactive environments.

Work is available in several industries including: internet based industry, television, film and video electronic publishing, marketing, public relations and business services, advertising agencies, design consultancies, news media, computer game and software developers, and freelance employment.

Graphic Design

The Graphics design pathway opens up opportunities, but is not limited to visual communication that typically appears in print and screen form. This includes design for print publishing, advertising and illustration, packaging, set and exhibition design and corporate communication. The designer's responsibilities can be vast and may involve the development of material for print, advertising, film and television, the internet, publishing, corporate identity, packaging and signage, illustration and information graphics.

Work is available in several industries including advertising agencies, design consultancies, printing and,packaging companies, promotion, marketing and public relations departments, book and magazine publishers, newspapers, web design, television and film production, exhibition and display or freelance employment.


Illustrators create original imagery depicting a variety of subject matter that may represent and/or enhance a story a concept or an interpretation of an idea for books, magazines, advertisements, films, television, animation and games, industrial production and digital media.  Illustrators produce two-dimensional imagery (such as drawings, paintings and diagrams) and three-dimensional imagery (such as physical or virtual models) with a range of mediums that includes traditional drawing, painting and rendering materials and digital imaging tools.

Illustrators can work in many industries in either a full time position or on a freelance basis and may specialise in specific types of work (such as a "technical illustrator", "cartoonist" or "concept artist"), or practice professionally with a combination of skills (such as "illustrator-writer" or "illustrator-designer"). Illustrators will typically work in conjunction with an art director, author, advertising copywriter, or creative director.

Creative Direction

The Creative direction pathway opens up opportunities but not limited to the advertising, media or entertainment industries. Creative directors working in the advertising industry are often responsible for the creation of or maintenance of a brands creative strategy. It is the creative director who ensures that all aspects pertaining to a client or brand are met by the output of an agencies creative department. It is often the creative director who sets the tone or directs the thrust of a campaign and who will inspire art directors, photographers and associated members of the production team and who will often sell a creative strategy direct to a client. Ultimately it is the creative director who accepts overall responsibility for the output of the creative department and who generates appropriate and individual solutions for an agencies client base.

Work Experience:

As Graphic Design is a competitive industry, students may require industry experience in order to expand their portfolio and gain employment upon graduating. This experience can be undertaken during your degree in the form of vocational placement, vacation employment, part-time or voluntary work. Note: due to the Fair Work Act, 2009, there are conditions placed upon how unpaid experience can be gained and with what type of organisation.

For more information about Graphic Design, visit the School of Design, Communication and Information Technology site.

View our Bachelor of Visual Communication Design in the Program Handbook and the online prospectus What Can I Study?.


Some jobs require additional qualifications at Honours level. Honours is a one year stand-alone program, completed after successfully fulfilling the requirements of the undergraduate degree. For more information view Bachelor of Visual Communication Design (Honours).

Postgraduate Study

Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of postgraduate study options available. Postgraduate study may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the postgraduate study options include:




Postgraduate coursework programs can add further specialisations in areas including business, safety, quality assurance and teaching. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook at    

Sample Jobs

Graduates of the Bachelor of Visual Communication Design can find employment in a variety of roles in many different types of organisations. The list below provides typical job titles for Visual Communication Design graduates.

Some of these jobs will depend upon the amount and level of study undertaken, level of experience, and the combination of other majors and electives studied, for example some may require further study.  

Not everyone uses their degree in the same way and the transferable skills gained through university study may allow graduates to pursue a range of careers that might not be directly linked to their study. Below is a sample list of job titles that might be suitable for graduates with the skills gained during the Bachelor of Visual Communication Design.

Some of these jobs will depend upon the amount and level of study undertaken, level of experience, and the combination of other majors and electives studied, for example some may require further study.  

Getting the Edge

Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.

  1. Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
  2. Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
  3. Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
  4. Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
  5. Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
  6. Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
  7. Consider volunteering.

Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.


Sample Employers

Employment opportunities exist for Visual Communication Design students in a wide range of industries within small, medium, and large organisations, including advertising, marketing, publishing and entertainment. Below are some examples of major organisations who recruit Visual Communication Design graduates.

Visual communication (graphic design) employment opportunities exist in a wide range of industries within small, medium, and large organisations, including advertising, marketing, publishing and entertainment. Below are some examples of major organisations who recruit visual communication (graphic design) graduates.

Recruitment Timing

Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.

Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .

Societies and Associations

Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.

Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.

Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.

Job Search Sites

Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:

Australian and International

  • CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.


  • CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
  • MyCareer: Australian and international listings
  • Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
  • The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs



Graduate attributes for the Bachelor of Visual Communication Design are the skills, abilities and knowledge sets that are highly sought after in the digital design industry. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.

Graduate Attributes

On completion of the Bachelor of Visual Communication Design degree, a graduate will be able to:

1. Display visual literacy applied to conceptualisation and production of design.

2. Use visual communication process to solve design problems.

3. Acquire, synthesise and apply a range of theoretical and practical design knowledge to the production of design.

4. Use oral, written and visual presentation skills effectively to communicate with clients, employers and colleagues in the business of design production.

5. Apply problem solving and critical creative thinking and evaluation skills to the solution of a range of design problems.

6. Demonstrate competent research techniques through written, oral and visual design publications/exhibitions.

7. Demonstrate competence with and understanding of the core design skills: drawing, typography and photography.

8. Demonstrate expertise in one or more of the specialist disciplines of digital, graphic or illustration design.

9. Work collaboratively and independently in the production of design.

10. Display an understanding of the business of design with a sense of responsibility for cultural, legal, environmental and ethical issues including copyright.

11. Demonstrate competence in the use of design industry technology to produce graphic, digital and illustration design from concept to finished.