Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications from American Intercontinental University

In the world of art and design, several career paths are available to the visual communications professional.  Photographers, production art managers, web designers, graphic artists, illustrators or animators all benefit from the education provided by an accredited college or university. Educated professionals who can create unique and specialized designs in print or web, communicating through the use of imagery, color and visual response, are always in demand, and with the high competition in these fields, the right education can make a candidate stand out from the crowd.

American Intercontinental University Online offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication in order to meet these educational requirements. Since these careers require the development and refinement of innate design and layout skills held by photographers, production art managers, web designers, graphic artists, illustrators or animators, the experience and training received while enrolled in a visual communications program is invaluable.

Companies hiring visual communications professionals vary.  Businesses may hire an on-staff web developer or advertising manager, but there is also a large demand for visual communications professionals in advertising agencies, web development and design companies and publishing houses, including printers. Due in part to the ever-increasing presence of the Internet, there are also smaller, private publishing companies hiring professional visual communications graduates to help transition from standard paper publishing into electronic publishing like eBooks as well as ways to incorporate multimedia into books for e-reading devices like the Kindle.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications degree from American Intercontinental University  offers core curriculum to help with communications, the development of thinking process and the ability to solve design problems creatively. This program features classes to help with critical thinking and problem solving, as well as specialized courses in web and print design, time based media, layout and multimedia. Project management classes and topics are also included in the degree program, giving the visual communications student a strong skill set beyond the artistry of visual communications. This Bachelor’s program is offered online, in order to assist the busy professional with attaining educational goals while still prioritizing current job or life obligations.

According to, the average salary for graphic and web designers is $38,000-$40,000 annually. Art Directors make about $50,000 per year, while Creative Directors are reported to make $100,000 annually. While job competition for visual communications professionals may be tougher than average, it is still a career choice with many options, including consulting, freelancing and the ability to work from home as well as employment in various industries. Average career growth for visual communications professionals is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics .

Visual communications professionals lead the way for new online and print design concepts that help businesses and organizations succeed. The career options that a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication from American Intercontinental University Online offer help creative design and visual communications professional find a place to utilize and perfect their design skills. 

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Sprucing Up the Home on a Budget

Some of the easiest, most budget friendly ways to breathe new life into a home’s interior design can already be found in or near the home. Check out this list of economical tips and tricks from some creative interior designers to spruce things up while decluttering and cleaning.

Small decorative ideas

1) Placemats, scarves and napkins – almost everybody has a stash; but are they used? By placing these table linens face-to-face and basting all but one section of the edges together (it does not have to be pretty), pull through the gap left open in the seam so that the fronts are now facing outward. Then stuff with rags, towels or even t-shirts no longer in use and tack the seam together. These make great throw pillows for use on a couch or bed, just be sure to place the pillows so the final seam cannot be seen. Since the spool of thread and needle will only cost $2.00 at a craft or fabric store, these repurposed pillows are a bargain.

2) Seashells are fantastic reminders of a special beach vacation spent collecting them along the shore, but once home these shells are often space eaters. Seashells can be used to inspire a spa-like atmosphere in your bathroom. Using old bottles or bowls, or even a trip to the dollar store could yield a pretty container for your new decoration. Add some bath salts to the bowl or bottle, and position your shell stash on top for a beautiful, meaningful decoration.

3) Picture frames are often hung on walls and never moved again, but can easily transform into new designs for the walls. By giving those frames a fresh coat of paint and replacing the photos, the old frames are given new life as well as the room in which it hangs.

Larger interior design projects

1) Walls are the makings of big change in any home. When it is time for a bigger update for a home, painting a wall or even a whole room is the least expensive way to make the biggest impact. Paint is inexpensive and with the ability to buy paint in sample sizes, an artistic impact is certainly possible. Painting supplies are pretty common among neighbors, friends and families so budget-aware painters can always borrow brushes and rollers.

2) Furniture can be moved, pushed or traded. Often, interior designers will start with the large items in the room and work from there. When a change is needed, but new furniture is not a possibility, rearrange the pieces into a new and interesting configuration. If furniture has seen better days, but budget is still a concern, look to websites like, Freecycle, and the Facebook marketplace. Budget is no longer an excuse to live with a room that is not being enjoyed.

3) Art can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Today's style says anything goes, especially if it is recycled, repurposed or original art by its owner

Renovating the design and details of a home does not have to be expensive. With recycled and repurposed design being one of the big trends for 2011, saving money by using what is within a home is not only fashionable, but smart money well spent.

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Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Design from American Intercontinental University

Digital design, as a career, include several different industries that constantly demand professionals able to create exceptional and specialized designs in print or web, communicating with people  through the use of images and color. Digital design careers require the expansion and enhancement of natural design and layout skills held by animators, photographers, art and marketing managers, illustrators, web designers, and graphic artists.

There is a large demand for digital design professionals in advertising agencies, web development and design firms, publishing houses, and online and print magazine companies. Smaller, private publishing companies are also looking for professional digital design graduates in order to help transition from the standard print publishing format into electronic publishing mediums like eBooks, as well as ways to enhance books with multimedia for e-reading devices like Amazon’s Kindle.

American Intercontinental University offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Design program that offers core curriculum to help with visual and digital communications as well as specialized courses in design principles, illustration, animation, web design and typography. Drawing concepts and art direction are also included in the degree program, giving the digital design student a focus beyond the keyboard and computer screen. American Intercontinental University Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Design program is offered online, helping assist the busy professional with attaining educational goals while still prioritizing current job or life obligations.

According to, Art Directors make about $50,000 per year, while Creative Directors are reported to make $100,000 annually. The average salary for graphic and web designers is $38,000-$40,000 annually. While job competition for digital  design professionals may be tougher than average, it is a career path full of options including private consulting, freelancing and employment in all industries. Steady career growth for visual communications professionals is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Digital design professionals lead the way for new digital and print design ideas that help businesses and organizations succeed. The career options that a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Design American Intercontinental University offer are diverse, helping creative and skilled design professionals find a place to utilize their design and illustration skills. 

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Application Programming Interface (API)

Web terminology can be confusing to the general public and to those who need to utilize it for business, but may not have the time or desire to fully understand the technology needed to create a modern and up-to-date web experience for customers and clients. Terms like “Web 2.0,” “content management,” “cloud computing,” or “API” are relatively new additions to the web development and design professions, and integrating these concepts, as well as familiarizing clients with their use can be a difficult hurdle for the web development professional.  With the various social and collaborative efforts now in place in most web site strategies, a general understanding of these applications and their integration within a website is imperative.

Application Programming Interface, or API, is a common term heard in the worlds of web design and development. An API is simply a way for different programs, websites or applications to communicate with each other and share data. APIs are tools that are freely given by companies that set standards online for communication, data sharing or interaction, among other functions. These APIs give control to the web developer in terms of integrating a company’s website with familiar technologies, like those provided by Google, Twitter or retail companies like Amazon or even Best Buy.

By using the API provided by these corporate giants, web developers are able to give clients a way to compete in their industries. Businesses benefit from the use of APIs by integrating well known and trusted web icons into their own web sites. A simple example of an API is the ability of a customer to have a credit card processed through a website that utilizes the API provided by PayPal. Since PayPal is a well known company, not only is the business assured that its payments will be processed in a timely manner, but the end user knows that their credit card information is safe, based on reputation and word-of-mouth reviews of the service. This API also benefits PayPal in terms of branding, as well as securing a portion of the financial transaction for their services. While not all companies that provide APIs are compensated for their trouble, the reputation of the service and the increased exposure to their name can have countless benefits for their own marketing and branding purposes.

While APIs are mostly the concern of web development departments and teams, the use of an API on a company’s website can help create a familiar feeling that inherently provides a source of safety and brand loyalty. The integration of a website with these APIs provided by companies like Google, Facebook or even Reuters benefit the business, end-user and even the company that provides the API for general use.

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The Art Institute Online Bachelor of Science Degree in Advertising

Advertising helps bring people and products together, informing potential customers of new and exciting goods and services that can help to improve their lives in multifaceted ways. This form of communication between business and customer is one of the oldest methods of generating sales or increasing the popularity of a product or entity, especially when combined with marketing. With the constant flow of new products and new media on which to advertise, careers in advertising are constantly evolving and the demand for creative and qualified advertising experts is on the rise.

Careers in advertising vary depending on the company, product or type of advertising that is needed. Graduates of an accredited advertising program are currently expanding their careers in public relations, entertainment, marketing research, web design and editing, media buying, brand management, and many other creative and challenging careers.  Most companies that hire advertising professionals require at least a Bachelor of Science in Advertising degree in order to be certain that an employee has the skills and knowledge needed for success.

As an entry-level advertising account executive with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising, estimates a starting salary between $44,000 - $51,000 annually. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the advertising and public relations services industry to grow 8 percent in the next decade.

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh offers an online Bachelor of Science in Advertising degree that conveys excellent information to students in the comfort of their own home. Students enrolled in the BS in Advertising program will learn color theory, concept development, typography, digital illustration, writing for multimedia, and storyboarding as well as art direction, copywriting, account supervision, marketing research, organizational behavior, media and strategic planning, sales and persuasive techniques, brand strategy, public relations and promotion and financial management. These skills and techniques are important for those who pursue a career in advertising as they combine both the creative, managerial and financial sides of advertising.

Advertising careers are varied and can be a lucrative way to combine creativity and practical skills in design, marketing and accounting. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s Bachelor of Science in Advertising can help make this career a reality by offering its classes online, so students can enhance their education around their other life or job obligations, all while building a satisfying and rewarding career in advertising.

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News in Animation

2011 is gearing up for an onslaught of animation in films, television and even in commercial television advertisements. With the international success of Disney’s “Tangled,” the modern adaptation of Rapunzel, it appears that animation and those who choose a career in animation are striking gold with adults and children alike.

Nickelodeon recently announced its renewal of Spongebob Squarepants for a ninth season of 26 epidodes, including its 200th episode to be aired in 2012. This long-running cartoon staple has been a favorite of children aged 2-11 since its debut in 1999 and has been entertaining us, and our children, ever since. The Spongebob Squarepants franchise is worth an estimated $8 billion, according to Viacom.

Ozzy Osbourne, or his claymation lookalike, has taken on the role as animated spokesperson for Lipton Brisk Tea, much like his predecessors, Bruce Lee, Elvis Presley and Babe Ruth. This claymation campaign features an animated Ozzy doing what he does best, with clay style and humor, and promotes a new Facebook page that is rumored to allow people make their own claymation animations.

In other animation news, the hit movie, Megamind, is coming to DVD in February 2011. This spectacular release features a new a venture with the original the voice cast, including David Cross, Will Farrell, Tina Fey and Brad Pitt. Megamind: The Button of Doom follows Megamind and Minion on their first day on the job as the new protectors of Metro City. 

Gnomeo and Juliet, produced by Sir Elton John, will be released in theaters by Touchstone on February 11, 2011. The voice cast for the animated garden gnome version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet includes James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Jason Statham, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Patrick Stewart and Julie Walters. Rango, starring Johnny Depp as its main character, a gecko, will be released in theaters on March 4, 2011 by Paramount. Other voice talent in Rango includes Timothy Olyphant, Bill Nighy, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Ray Winstone, Harry Dean Stanton and Stephen Root.

Dreamworks is currently developing a Bollywood animation featuring monkeys titled Monkeys of Bollywood.  This animated film is based on the Hindu epic poem, The Ramayana, in which two monkeys work together to stop an evil demon from taking over the world, Bollywood style. Fans of Disney’s Phineas and Ferb should also keep an eye out for an animated film in development.

From movies to television, computer-generated or claymation, the world of animation is constantly producing new films and shows (and commercials!) to entertain adults and children. For those who enjoy the experience of watching animation, the coming months promise hours of entertainment and inspiration for further Technicolor imaginings. For the animation professional, rest easy, with this never-ending need for cartoon and caricature entertainment, animation is a career that may be unstoppable.

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Penn Foster Career School Interior Decorator Certificate Program

Working with color, texture, and visual decorating elements is only the beginning of a career in interior decorating. Interior decorators can work in retail stores or businesses, work for home builders, hotels, casinos, medical offices or anywhere that needs a creative decorating touch. Interior designers can also work for design firms, film and entertainment companies or start their own decorating and consulting business. With the strong need for interior designers to help busy professionals make a dazzling first impression, a career in interior design can be a lucrative path that encourages creativity and ingenuity.

Penn Foster Career School offers a self-paced certificate program in Interior Decorating that can be completed in as little as six months. This program includes instruction and education regarding the process of interacting with clients, how to use design and color principles and elements, including  floors, walls, windows and fabrics, identifying furniture styles and periods and integrating them into rooms, and even how to sell interior decorating  services or start an interior decorating business. Upon successful completion of the certification exam, students will receive a paid six-month Certified Interior Decorator (C.I.D.) professional membership.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of interior designers is expected to grow 19 percent from 2008 to 2018.  Median annual wages for interior designers were $44,950 in May 2008, making interior decorating a wise career choice with plenty of opportunities for growth and diversity. Penn Foster Career School offers their interior decorating certificate program to assist students in achieving their career goals, at their own pace, in order to help facilitate career growth and satisfaction while enabling students to continue any current family or job obligations. Students will master the basics of interior decorating through this program, as well gain the experience and insight into what a career in interior design can do within various settings such as art galleries, offices, residential homes and hotels.

Interior decorating is a fun and creative career that can have a lasting impact on families, homes and businesses. For those looking for a unique and beneficial way to showcase their visual and design skills, interior decorating offers a path into artistry and style that moves beyond other visual arts careers. The Interior Decorating Certificate program at Penn Foster Career School gives students the ability to take control of the future and set up a career path in which they can be sure of job satisfaction and security.

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Web and Graphic Design Internships

One of the best ways to gain experience while completing a web or graphic design degree program is to enter into an internship with a company.  Internships are mutually beneficial relationships between a business and person that provide real-world training and experience while helping the business, not by performing the work of an employee, but giving the business the ability to gauge the talent level of future employees, as well as give students and graduates incentive to apply for positions within the company.

Smaller businesses that can be overlooked by new graduates can use the internship arrangement as a way to establish their presence in the minds of these students by offering a different work environment, possibly picking up the newest and most creative talent before larger corporations can. Internships are offered by major corporations, and even local, small businesses, and many may have arrangements with the school the web or graphic design student is enrolled in. The process of applying and interviewing for an internship within a company gives the student experience in those areas, as well as the experience they can gain as they shadow and learn about the business world during their internship.

An intern is not an employee, however. Interns cannot be expected to replace an employee or perform work that is not of an educational benefit to their career. A web or graphic design intern may be able to offer advice or examples of products or designs, but it is in the company’s best interest to treat any work the intern performs or produces as the intern’s work, and pay them accordingly. If the company chooses to use the intern’s designs for the benefit of the business, a financial arrangement should be made outside of the internship guidelines. This protects both the intern and the company from any fines that could be levied according to The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The internship should provide the web or graphic design intern with the experience of working within a business environment. As the internship is an on-the-job training agreement, interns should always be supervised. Before entering into an internship, both the company and intern need to agree on a set amount of hours or period of time of the internship, as well as supervisory guidelines and that there is no payment for the services performed by the intern during the internship. It should also be stated that there is no expectation of actual employment at the end of the internship term, and that the internship is for the benefit of the web or graphic design student, similar to training within an educational environment.

Internships for web and graphic designers can occur in almost any industry, especially as businesses focus more on online and Internet graphics and websites. An internship program gives a company the ability to show off its level of care for employees, an aspect of employment also rapidly becoming important as new graduates seek employment, as well as cultivate its employee environment to meet the needs of the new generation of workers. For the web or graphic design intern, an internship can provide insight into the corporate and business environments, enabling the intern to learn which types of industries and work environments are best suited to his or her own needs, as well.

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Westwood College Bachelor of Science in Game Software Development

Career titles like, “Product Software Developer,” or, “Interactive Programmer,” may not seem glamorous, but the world of computers and programming are always developing new technologies, programs and applications for our health, wellness, information and even entertainment. Video games are not created by a select few people who work for Microsoft, Activision or Electronic Arts, but are created by teams of video game developers in all types of companies who are committed to producing the finest quality interactive entertainment and games for public consumption.

Westwood College Bachelor of Science in Game Software Development provides the education and classroom experience for those who wish to pursue a career in game software development and programming. This online program is structured so that students may even complete the requirements for their Bachelor of Science degree in as little as three years, providing more time for life, work and family commitments as well as giving students a faster way to begin a career in the video game industry.

The Bachelor of Science in Game Software Development from Westwood College includes courses in algorithm analysis and design, artificial intelligence for games, game analysis and playability, scripting and tools and game project management, software testing and debugging. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to understand the process of software development and describe its key elements, test game software with industry-standard techniques, work within software configuration management and design, develop, test and deploy a game or interactive software product.

Video game development requires experts in game software development and programming, game quality assurance (bug testing and fixing), multi-media, music, illustration and many other computer-based skills needed to fulfill the need for enchanting and entertaining interactive media and games. At an entry-level position, those with a Bachelor of Science in Game Software Development from Westwood College can expect to make an average of $50,000 annually, and the job growth in this industry is expected to continue to grow, despite the high competition rate in the field. Websites such as specialize in placing these specialized computer programmers and developers within companies that seek qualified and talented individuals to help create these unique games and applications.

Because of the demand for new video games that take advantage of the latest technology and trends in video game design, including games for computers, gaming systems and mobile devices, a career the video game industry can fulfill both the technologist and gamer needs of the computer programmer and software developer. A Bachelor of Science in Game Software Development from Westwood College can be a fast and challenging way to achieve the needed skills, education and experience needed to secure a career in the competitive and demanding field of video game design and development.

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