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Graphic Design Minor: Everything You Need To Know

Minor issue, minor setback, Symphony No. 40 in D Minor—anything with the word minor in it connotes it’s no big deal right? Well, only if you’re talking about mundane inconveniences or sombre musical compositions. If you’re talking about your college minor, well, this could in fact be a pretty big factor in setting yourself up for your future career. A minor is the supplement to your core degree or major. Which equips you with knowledge that could give you the edge when looking to apply for future jobs. Want to find out more about what a graphic design minor is or what it could offer you? We’ll talk about career options, duration, salary potential and more!

Read on to the end to find out about an alternative solution where you could launch your graphic design career in just 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time. No prerequisites and no experience required! 

Is a Graphic Design Minor Valuable?

What is a Graphic Design Minor?

First of all let’s establish what exactly a graphic design minor is. As mentioned before, it’s a supplementary course of study which nestles into a core degree or major. So if your major is in any field but graphic design e.g. Arts, Science, Psychology, Information Technology or Commerce etc. You’re an eligible candidate to take on a minor in graphic design.

So Why Study a Minor in Graphic Design?

Design is a versatile and wide-reaching foundational skill set that applies to many different fields of work. Graphic design is the practice of applying the principles of visual communication to communicate a specific message to a particular audience or context. If you’ve achieved or currently study a major with a focus on abstracts (or would benefit from a visual description of concepts or ideas) this minor could be a valuable complement to your skillset and studies.

Creative thinking isn’t a skill owned by the design community. With a graphic design minor you’ll be trained in skills like design thinking, the creative process, design/UX & UI software (e.g. Adobe Suite, Figma) and more. Invaluable skills many industries either require or look favourably upon. If you’re looking to present yourself as a well rounded candidate upon graduation—a minor in graphic design may be for you.

Career Options

If you’ve taken the extra time and load to complete a graphic design minor, you’re surely wondering what it will offer you—what differentiation is there from the career options at hand had you purely studied a regular Bachelor’s degree?

It’s still good to keep in mind the way in which your core degree will pair with your minor in graphic design, as it will have some influence over the potential career paths and jobs you’re likely to land. For example, a major in information technology paired with a minor in graphic design would position you well to become a UX/UI designer or multimedia strategist. Whereas studying a major in engineering or commerce may set you up better to land a job as a project manager or consultant. Nevertheless, design is an easily translatable skill and many companies do value creative thinking, willingness to learn graphic design and agility over industry experience, or a particular skill set.

Regardless of what your major is, here are some potential career options which could be explored with the addition of a graphic design minor:

  • Graphic Designer
  • Creative Director
  • Consultant
  • Project Manager
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Marketing Consultant
  • UX/UI Architect
  • Interdisciplinary Roles
  • Creative Communications (Supervisory Roles)
  • Communications Advisor
  • Business Development
  • Design Manager
  • Web and multimedia designer
  • Multimedia strategist

Salary Potential

In this modern world, the workplace has become increasingly agile as the lines begin to blur between the intersections of many industries. And if you’re someone who isn’t satisfied with pigeon-holing yourself into a singular industry or field of study, but would like to increase your odds of achieving a higher salary in a more creative career—a graphic design minor may be for you. 

So you may be wondering what the future cost-benefit of taking on a graphic design minor may be. Many studies have shown double majors do improve your chances of acquiring a higher salary upon graduation, although the results are unclear in regards to a minor. But even though the answer may not be as compelling as expected, there is still great benefit in studying a graphic design minor.

In a recent study from Accenture, it was noted ‘creativity has increased its importance in all types of professions’. And in an article from Forbes, creativity was named ‘The Skill of The Future’. Many industries now not just value the diversification of skills in the workplace, but within the individual employees their workplaces are composed of.  

A graphic design minor will absolutely add to your value as a prospective employee. If you would love to pursue a more dynamic and multidisciplinary career within a hybrid role—it’s a great way to give yourself the competitive edge, without having to exponentially extend your time at college/university or take on a double load of study (with a double degree or major). 

What To Look For In A Program

So, you’re convinced. You’ve decided a graphic design minor is the perfect addition to round off your education and experience. The next question would be—what to look for in a program?

When looking for the perfect minor, you would want to look for a well-rounded course—focused on building a strong foundation in design thinking and theory. With an emphasis on using those skills in a wide-reaching interdisciplinary context, to solve problems, model and disrupt. These are some of the core units you would expect to be part of a graphic design minor program:

  • Design Theory
  • Design Thinking 
  • Design Principles and Methodologies 
  • Design and Innovation 
  • Fundamentals of Visual Communication
  • Introduction to Web/UX and UI Design

As a graphic design minor functions as a supplement to core study, the goal would be to learn how to integrate and blend the skills you’ve acquired from your creative minor with those learned in your major. Where upon completion of the minor, the student would have diversified their outlook, skills and perspective—extending their capabilities and problem solving skills to transcend beyond a single industry.

How Long Will It Take To Earn?

A graphic design minor is the same as any other minor. It cannot be undertaken separately and must be completed at the same time as the bachelor’s. So in summation it won’t take any longer than your regular degree. To give a general understanding of the study load, a minor will require at least 16 units at a minimum and 24 at a maximum. Additionally, if you sign up for a minor, it must be completed before you can be awarded your major. So be sure it is something that you’re willing to commit to!

Is There A Better Alternative?

If you’re reading this article and you’re not sure about:

A) The exact direction you want your future career to go and;
B) you’re not prepared to sign up for extra study for the duration of your bachelor’s; or
C) you’ve already completed a bachelor’s and a graphic design minor just isn’t an available option to you anymore; or
D) alternatively, you never undertook a bachelor’s degree but would still love to pursue a creative career and don’t know where to start.

Is all lost? You’ve read this article, and you’re afraid it’s too late. There’s no way to wind back time, relive the college years and re-elect a minor in graphic design. Or is there…

An agile option! 

Whether you’re looking for a fresh start, or a creative course to supplement your current career path (much like studying a minor at college would’ve done for you) then look no further than Shillington! An agile option which can adapt to wherever you are in your further education decision making process. Whether you’re halfway through a bachelors, just graduated, or have been out in the workforce for some years—Shillington is the flexible graphic design bootcamp who can work with you at any stage of your education journey. 

No prerequisites. No experience required. No long commitments, and no walks into the real world without being professionally prepared. Shillington offers all the benefits of a graphic design minor and more! You’ll graduate with a certificate in graphic design, digital portfolio and sleek website—everything you need to launch a creative career packaged up in 3-month full-time or 9-month part-time courses—on campus or online.

Artwork by #ShilloMCR graduate Alexandra Francis.

Hopefully this gave you an idea of what undertaking a graphic design minor would be like and helped you decide what to do with your creative future! There are many ways of becoming a graphic designer and learning graphic design. If you’ve been thinking about adding graphic design to your skillset, but things have been holding you back from pursuing the traditional path—why not consider studying at Shillington?

Resources Series

Eden Lim
September 20, 2021

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