Visual Communications Academy


Junior and senior-level academy courses are taught at the ARL.


The Visual Communications Academy, which contains two pathways – Graphic Design and Animation, is designed for students who have an interest in the elements of design and techniques related to the field of visual communications. Students in both pathways have the opportunity to combine creative abilities with technical skills and knowledge and develop skills in the areas of problem solving, team building, collaboration, portfolio development, and artistic promotion.

The Graphic Design pathway emphasizes publication design, web design and other digital design (illustration, digital imaging, and videography).

The Animation pathway emphasizes architectural, mechanical, and forensic modeling techniques and how these techniques can be applied to the entertainment and videography industries.

Recommended Electives

Students interested in the Visual Communications industry may also consider enrolling in Art II, Photography, and/or Physics


  • Art I

Successful Academy Students

  • Maintain a C average in all academy coursework.


  • Graphic Design I G/T 845M or Animation I 810M
  • Advanced Graphic Design G/T 849M or Advanced Animation 811M

Senior Level Coursework Requirements:

  • Graphic Design pathway only - complete at least 6–8 hours of work-site experience per week (students must provide their own transportation) and attend weekly senior seminars at the Applications and Research Lab OR daily attendance at the Applications and Research Lab

  • Choose a “real world” problem to research

  • Maintain and submit a journal and portfolio of senior work

College Credit

Students who successfully complete the Visual Communications Academy program sequence, with a grade of B or higher in academy courses, may be eligible for credits at Howard Community College.

Industry Certification

Students in the Visual Communications pathway have the opportunity to complete PrintEd certification.

Sample Career Options

< 4-year Degree

  • Desktop Publisher

  • Graphic Designer

  • Illustrator

  • Web Page Designer

4-year Degree

  • Animator

  • Art Director/Creative Director

  • Game Designer

  • Motion Graphics

  • Pre-press Technician

  • Production Artist

  • Video Editor

  • Video/TV Producer

> 4-year Degree

  • Animation Director

  • Graphic Design Firm CEO

  • Lead Designer

Stay In Touch

Animation -