• Visual Communications
  • All courses
  • English and Communication courses


Visual Communications reviews

Take Visual Communications online at your own pace

Explore the principles of design and what makes visual communication such a powerful tool in getting a message across. Access this course anywhere, anytime with Sophia’s smart, user-friendly platform.

Visual Communications course stats

32130 students successfully completed

56 partners accept credit transfer.* See Partners

3.0 semester credits

Recommended for credit to the ACE® and DEAC college and university networks.


Download Syllabus

Fill in the form to recieve a syllabus for your course..

By providing your information, you consent to receive occasional special promotional offers and education opportunities by email from Sophia Learning or one of its affiliates.

Learning outcomes

Partners who accept this course.

This course transfers into a degree program at these featured institutions

Assignments & grading

This is a pass/fail course. You must complete 9 Challenges (formative assessments) and 4 Milestones (summative assessments) with an overall score of 70% or better.


* All fields are required.

Inside the Sophia courseroom

Sophia course image

Knock out your general education requirements on your terms. Go at your own pace, whether from your laptop, tablet or phone.

Sophia course image

A revolutionary way to satisfy general education requirements for your degree. On demand. ACE Credit®-recommended. Low cost.

Sophia course image

Sophia's Learning Coaches are here for you by phone, email or online chat from the start of your course to ordering your final transcript.

How many courses can I take with the free trial?

Access the course content through the first Challenge of any of Sophia’s 50+ courses.

How do I confirm transfer credit with my school?

Check Sophia’s list of partner schools to see if your school is on the list. If not, contact your registrar to learn about your school’s transfer credit policy and if Sophia coursework can be submitted for transfer.

Can I take courses for credit if I’m not enrolled at a school?

Sophia course completions do not expire and will be available to submit for transfer when you’re ready. At that time, check with your school’s registrar for their credit transfer policies.

What happens to the coursework I’ve already completed once I become a Sophia member?

If you’ve completed the first Challenge during your free trial, you can pick up right where you left off after you become a Sophia member.

What happens to my coursework if I cancel my Sophia membership?

Don’t worry. Your completed courses won’t disappear if you cancel your membership. Those courses will be there for you when you’re ready to submit for transfer.

Will my HR benefits cover the cost of Sophia?

If you have an education benefit through your employer, it may cover your subscription to Sophia. Check with your benefits administrator to find out if you qualify.

New members: get your first 7 days of Skillshare Premium for free!  Click here to redeem

All Classes

Creative Writing

Film & Video

Graphic Design



UI/UX Design

Web Development

Business Analytics

Freelance & Entrepreneurship

Leadership & Management


Online Classes

Find what fascinates you as you explore these online classes.

Related Skills

1700 Coursera Courses Still Fully Free!

online course visual communication

Coursera’s New Deal with Google Could Cost the Company Millions

According to Coursera CFO, the new terms represent a significant “shift”. Let’s dig into the numbers.

700+ Free Google Certifications

Most common

Popular subjects.

Digital Skills

Information Technology (IT) Certifications

Popular courses

Educación de calidad para todos: equidad, inclusión y atención a la diversidad

Introducción a la inversión bursátil

The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future

Organize and share your learning with Class Central Lists.

View our Lists Showcase

Visual Communication Courses

Study free online Visual communication courses and MOOCs from top universities and colleges. Read reviews to decide if a class is right for you.

Related Subjects

Visual Communication Design for Digital Media

The course will impart knowledge on the different aspects of visual communication design, emphasizing on virtual media platform. In contemporary visual design pedagogy, virtual media technology is an emerging paradigm. The course will emphasize on unders…

Low-Budget Video Production: Visual Communication for Small Charities

Understand how video can expand and enhance your organisation’s communications and develop practical skills for your productions.

Effective Communication for Program and Project Stakeholders and Teams

Go beyond the communication methods you learned in the project management training. Learn how to structure your program and project communications for the most effective understanding by your stakeholders, project managers, and project teams.

Strategic Communication for Sustainability Leaders

Communicating science effectively is a critical skill for anyone involved in environmental policy or sustainability. Learn how to integrate effective visualizations into compelling narratives to clearly explain complex ecosystem processes.

Visual Communication through zines using Scribus & Issuu.com

By the end of this project, you will learn how to use Scribus to create a short digital zine. Scribus v 1.4.8 is a desktop publishing software which is currently providing a valid Open Source alternative to the mainstream desktop publishing software, suc…

Improving Communication Skills

Learn how to communicate more effectively at work and achieve your goals. Taught by award-winning Wharton professor and best-selling author Maurice Schweitzer, Improving Communications Skills is an essential course designed to give you both the tools you…

Introduction to Programming for the Visual Arts with p5.js

This course is an introduction to writing code within the context of the visual arts. It asks two primary questions: What is the potential of software within the visual arts? As a designer or artist, why would I want (or need) to write software? Softwa…

Convolutional Neural Networks for Visual Recognition (Spring 2017)

This lecture collection is a deep dive into details of the deep learning architectures with a focus on learning end-to-end models for these tasks, particularly image classification.

Data Visualization and Communication with Tableau

One of the skills that characterizes great business data analysts is the ability to communicate practical implications of quantitative analyses to any kind of audience member. Even the most sophisticated statistical analyses are not useful to a business…

Visual Semiotics for Visual Communication

The course ‘Visual Semiotics for visual communication’ is crafted to have a strong understanding of semiotic landscape of visual context. In other words, it gives a deeper know how of the grammar of visual language essentially communicated through visual…

Introduction to Visual Communication

The course offers a comprehensive view of principles involved in Visual Communication. Drawing its theoretical underpinning from its major domain Communication, the course aims to impart the art of visual communication as a perfect combination of Signs,…

Stanford Seminar - Software-centric Visible Light Communication for the Internet of Things

Syllabus: Introduction. Handle difficult problems down to physical layer, media + access control synchronization. Internet of Toys. Radio Spectrum & Internet of Things. Visible Light Communication. Communication enables localization. Illumination a…

Stanford Seminar - Theories of inference for visual analysis

Syllabus: Introduction. Visualizations help offload cognition to perception. State-of-the-art: Optimize for easy pattern finding. Approaches to visualize distribution or uncertainty. Error bars/intervals violate expressiveness. Probability encodings…

Introduction to EECS II: Digital Communication Systems (Fall 2012)

The course emphasizes connections between theoretical concepts and practice using programming tasks and some experiments with real-world communication channels.

20 Rules for Visual Communication

Learn how to connect with a target audience by using practical strategies to harness the power of visual communication.

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Professional and Lifelong Learning

In-person, blended, and online courses, introduction to visual communication design.

online course visual communication

Associated Schools

online course visual communication

Harvard Extension School

Course description.

This course introduces students to a theory-driven, hands-on approach to visual communication design.

online course visual communication

Athir Mahmud

You may also like.


CS50's Introduction to Game Development

William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's Life and Work

Two men clutch each other while looking toward another, older man in armor with a shield and sword.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet: The Ghost

Get updates on new courses..

2023 Best Online Visual Communications Degrees [Bachelor’s Guide]

Home » 2023 Best Online Visual Communications Degrees [Bachelor’s Guide]

Online visual communication degrees can help you learn skills to further your career in visual arts or media. With more knowledge, you may be able to qualify for more job opportunities in the field.

Best Online Visual Communications Degrees

A visual communication major might be right for you if you’re interested in learning the fine points of how to create effective visuals advertisements and other media.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Keep reading to learn more about what you can expect from a visual or graphics communication degree.

Online Visual Communication Degrees

Online Visual Communication Degrees

A degree in visual communication teaches you how to convey messages effectively through visual arts. Here are some subjects you might study while earning your visual communication online degree:

Online programs can be very conducive to learning how to use technological applications in visual communication. Your instructors will most likely have you complete projects and upload them to your school’s online learning platform so you can receive feedback on your work.

As you go through the program, you can save projects into a digital or web portfolio. This way, when you graduate, you will be able to show samples of your work to prospective employers or clients. Visual communications degrees are especially useful in fields like advertising and media.

Some professionals help companies decide exactly what their advertisements should look like. Others work for magazines or other publications, working with layouts or helping make decisions about what photographs to print. Working in book design for a publishing company might also be an option.

If you want to combine an interest in art with an interest in technology, you could also apply visual communications knowledge in the field of web design.

Design and Visual Communications Careers & Salaries

Design and Visual Communications Careers & Salaries

Pretty much any job that involves thinking about how an audience perceives and understands visual images could be an option for a visual communications major.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , here are some different types of careers that can benefit from knowledge of visual communication.

Graduates of visual communications programs often pursue careers in arts and design, such as  art director or graphic designer positions. Other possible industries include advertising, marketing, digital design, and web development.

Visual Communication Bachelor’s Curriculum & Courses

Visual Communication Bachelor's

Here are some courses you might take during a visual communications online degree program:

Exact course titles and requirements will vary at different colleges and universities.

Online Visual Communications Degree Admissions Requirements

Visual Communications Degree Admissions

Here are some common admissions requirements for online visual communications degree programs:

Exact admissions requirements can vary widely. Some schools also ask that you submit SAT or ACT scores, but a growing number of schools are no longer requiring this.


Visual Communications Degrees accreditation

Colleges and universities can receive regional accreditation to verify that they meet certain minimal standards set by an accrediting agency. Accrediting agencies evaluate colleges and universities on the quality of their curriculum, instruction, facilities, and resources for students.

Attending a regionally accredited school can often be a precondition to obtain certain forms of financial aid. It can also impact your ability to transfer course credits to a new school. You can usually find out if a college or university is regionally accredited by visiting their website.

For more information on the topic of accreditation, you can visit the US Department of Education ’s website.

Financial Aid and Scholarships for Visual Communications Majors

Visual Communications Degrees financial aid

If you are looking for ways to fund your education, you may be able to qualify for state or federal financial aid, employer programs, or scholarships. Federal financial aid can include low-interest loans as well as grants and work-study programs. To apply for federal financial aid, you can start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) .

There are also scholarships available from private organizations that are intended to support students of visual communications and related fields. These include:

Some schools also offer scholarship opportunities based on merit.

What Is a Visual Communication Degree?

Visual Communication Degree

A visual communication degree is a type of degree that teaches you how to send effective messages to an audience using arts and design.

Visual communication degrees combine elements of both visual arts and communications. You can learn how to best use colors, shapes, text, and other visual elements to inform, tell stories, or sell products and services. Visual communications programs often feature a lot of hands-on projects and classroom discussions to help you learn to analyze the meanings of various visual design elements.

Is Visual Communication a Good Major?

visual communication major

Yes, visual communication is a good major for many undergraduate students. Many people find the field of visual communication interesting because it allows for a high level of creativity and teaches you how to use that creativity to connect with other people.

Visual communication skills can be applied in a variety of artistic careers, such as art direction, graphic design, or photography. The median salary for media and communication workers is $62,340, and the median for media and communication equipment workers is $48,920, which is higher than average (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

These types of careers can be competitive, so your ability to find work will likely depend not only on your degree but also on other factors, such as your geographic location and your level of work experience.

What Can You Do with a Visual Communications Degree?

Visual Communications Degree careers

A visual communications degree can prepare you to make artistic decisions as they relate to conveying meaning and communicating with an audience, rather than just based on what looks good subjectively.

Being able to think about visual images in this way could be useful in just about any occupation in the field of arts and design. You could also apply this knowledge in media—such as books, websites, or magazines—or in advertising and marketing.

Who Hires People with Visual Communication Degrees?

Professionals with visual communication degrees can pursue a range of positions in a variety of industries. Most art directors, for example, are self-employed. Most others work in advertising, public relations, and related services. There are some art directors, though, who are employed by motion picture and video industries, media publishers, or specialized design services.

Graphic designers also tend to be self-employed, but not as much as art directors. Graphic designers also find employment in specialized design services, in advertising and public relations services, in printing and related support activities, and with media publishers.

A photographer is another type of visual communication professional who is most often self-employed. Some photographers also work for photography agencies, broadcasting industries, and newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelors in Visual Communication Degree Online?

Bachelors in Visual Communication Degree

A traditional bachelors degree program with 16 week semesters generally takes 4 years to complete with full-time enrollment. It may take you longer to finish if you are only enrolled in classes part-time.

Online degree programs often feature a wider range of scheduling options, such as accelerated courses that only last 6 weeks or 8 weeks. Some programs also offer asynchronous, self-paced courses. These options can enable you to finish your degree in less time with full-time, year-round enrollment.

What’s the Difference Between Visual Communication Design vs. Graphic Design?

Here are some differences between the fields of visual communication and graphic design.

There is some overlap in the coursework you would take in either a visual communication or graphic design degree program.

Is a Visual Communication Degree Worth It?

Visual Communications Degree

Yes, a visual communication degree is worth it for many students. Some visual communication positions are projected to experience above average job growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employment of art directors is expected to grow by 11% over the next decade. Meanwhile, employment of web developers and digital designers is expected to grow by 13%. Media and communication occupations overall are projected to see 14% job growth (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Getting your degree in visual communication could also help you develop a professional portfolio of your work.

Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Visual Communications Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Arizona State University campus

Arizona State University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Design in Graphic Design. The program requires the completion of 26 classes to graduate, and each class is 7.5 weeks long. Courses include Designing Life, Graphic Design History I and II, Principles for Graphic Design I and II, Letterform, and more.

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Aurora University campus

Aurora University offers an online BA in Communication with an optional Public Relations and Event Planning track. Students have internship opportunities to gain hands-on experience. Courses are each 8 weeks long and include Business Communication, Human Connection and Relationships, Digital Content Writing, and Audience Analysis and Research.

Aurora University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Bellevue University campus

Bellevue University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design that can be earned 100% online. The program is designed to help students become experts in using the Adobe software suite and develop professional portfolios. Course options include Problem-Solving and Idea Generation, Design Basics, and History of Contemporary Graphic Design.

Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Grand Canyon University campus

Grand Canyon University offers a BA in Advertising and Graphic Design. The program’s online classes are each 7 weeks long, but students also have the option of taking classes on campus that are 15 weeks long. Students in the program are expected to create professional portfolios and learn to be detail-oriented while still seeing the big picture. GCU emphasizes a hands-on style of learning.

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Johnson and Wales University campus

Johnson and Wales University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Courses are 8 weeks long and 100% online. The student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1. Graduates of this program often pursue careers in business, human resource management, mass media, mass communication, and more.

JWU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Liberty University campus

Liberty University offers a BS in Digital Design—Visual Communication. Classes are 100% online and 8 weeks long. Students take on average 3.5 years to complete the program. Courses include Digital Imaging, Interactive Design I, Fundamentals of Editing, and Digital Promotion Technology and Application.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Louisiana State University - Alexandria campus

Lousiana State University—Alexandria offers an online program for a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. The program’s classes are designed to provide the opportunity to synchronously interact with instructors via video conferencing. Students also have a dedicated concierge to help ensure their success from application to graduation. LSU chooses its faculty and instructors for their real-world experience.

Louisiana State University at Alexandria is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Loyola University New Orleans campus

Loyola University—New Orleans offers an online program for a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication designed to help students hone their voices and launch their careers. Students can choose from a variety of specializations, including Journalism, Advertising, Public Relations, and Visual Communication. The program is also available on campus.

Loyola University New Orleans is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Maryville University campus

Maryville University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Communication program. It is designed to help students advance their careers in business, advertising, education, and publishing. Concentrations are available in Strategic Communication and Emerging Media Strategy. Students also have the opportunity to earn certifications from Amazon, Google, HubSpot, and SalesForce.

Maryville University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Ohio University campus

Ohio University offers a Bachelor’s in Communication through its online platform. The virtual classroom experience allows students to connect while also having the work paced in a way that is convenient for working adults. The program includes studies in journalism, media production, web and print design, communication studies, and telecommunication systems. Ohio University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Post University campus

Post University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies. The program is offered online and on campus. Students can choose a concentration in General Communication, Social Media, or Strategic Communication. Graduates can aim for careers in social media strategy, public relations, education, and more.

Post University  is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design campus

The Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design offers an online program for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. It includes studies in typography, UI/UX design, visual storytelling, written and verbal presentations, design software, and more. The program is designed to help students become well-versed in industry tools and technology, and the multi-faceted curriculum also provides opportunities to explore the humanities.

Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Savannah College of Art and Design campus

Savannah College of Art and Design offers a BA in Visual Communication with a concentration in Graphic Design. The program is available online and on campus in Savannah and Atlanta. Courses include Drawing I: Form and Space, Design I: Elements and Organization, and Drawing II: Composition and Media.

The  Savannah College of Art and Design  is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Simmons University campus

Simmons University offers a Bachelor’s in Communications online program. Online courses at Simmons are designed to be interactive and engaging. The application process is intended to be personal and holistic. Graduates of the program often go on to work in news, advertising, editing, event planning, social media, and more.

Simmons University  is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Southern New Hampshire University campus

Southern New Hampshire University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design. Students may choose a concentration in 3D Modeling and Animation or Web Design. SAT and ACT scores are not needed to apply.

Students in this online bachelors in graphic design program are given the opportunity to learn from accomplished instructors with real-world experience. The curriculum is designed to help students master advanced design software, including Adobe Creative Suite.

Southern New Hampshire University  is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Arizona campus

The University of Arizona offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies through its online Global Campus. Topics covered include visual elements in communications, technical writing principles, conflict resolution, and more. Students are given opportunities to create an electronic portfolio demonstrating professional achievement and complete a comprehensive research project on a selected career field.

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Colorado - Colorado Springs campus

The University of Colorado—Boulder offers an online BA in Communication. Courses in the program are 100% online, flexible, and just 8 weeks long. Students can earn certificates in Global & Intercultural Communication, Health Communication, and Strategic Communication. They may also choose a Community Service and Public Affairs pathway or a Media and Cultural Studies pathway.

The University of Colorado Boulder is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Maryland Global campus

The University of Maryland Global Campus offers an online Bachelor’s in Graphic Communication program. The curriculum is designed with input from employers, industry experts, and scholars. Courses include Introduction to Graphic Communication, Introduction to Drawing, Design I: Arrangement and Color, Intermediate Drawing, and Typography and Layout.

The University of Maryland Global Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Missouri – Saint Louis campus

The University of Missouri—St. Louis offers a Communication BA with an emphasis in Strategic Communication. Students are required to complete a practicum/internship to graduate. Courses include Interpersonal Communication, Introduction to Mass Communication, Communication in the Organization, Introduction to Advertising, and Introduction to Public Relations.

The University of Missouri-St. Louis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Wilmington University campus

Wilmington University offers a Bachelor of Science in Communication with concentrations in Digital Journalism, Public Relations and Strategic Communication, and Visual Communication. The degree can be earned online or at several different campus locations. Graduates work as desktop publishers, public relations specialists, and search marketing strategists.

Wilmington University  is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Getting Your Bachelors in Visual Communications Degree Online

Bachelors in Visual Communications Degree Online

If you’re interested in studying the relationship between visual arts and communication, a visual communications program may be a good fit for you. Online degree programs, whether it’s a bachelors or a masters in visual communication online , can enable you to attend class from your home or wherever is convenient. They can also make it easier to fit your classes into your current schedule.

A degree program in visual communications can help you develop your creativity and think critically about meaning and symbolism in arts and media. If you’re ready to begin your educational journey, why not start exploring accredited colleges today?

online course visual communication

Visual Communications

Online undergraduate certificate in visual communications, about this program.

The global reach of both small and large organizations has created an ever-expanding need for graphic designers who visually differentiate organizations from one another. Learn the basic fundamentals of graphic design, animation, image manipulation, image enhancement, image storage, and website design with the undergraduate visual communications certificate from American Public University (APU).

In your online visual communication classes, you’ll learn how to design, develop, and deploy moving text and graphics to create dynamic and interactive digital experiences for an organization’s customers to enjoy. This certificate is ideal for enhancing your knowledge of visual communications without committing to a degree program.

What You Will Do

Adobe Photoshop ® is a registered trademark of Adobe. Adobe Flash ® is a registered trademark of Adobe. 

Program at a Glance

Want to learn more, program requirements printable catalog version.

Must take all courses for this section.

Course ID: 2613

Course ID: 4533

Course ID: 2620

Course ID: 2617

Course ID: 4830

Course ID: 4866

Academic Calendar

Note: Not all courses are taught each month.

View Syllabi

Related programs, courses start monthly, admission requirements.

Materials Cost

Software and/or lab equipment required for some courses in this program must be purchased at the student’s expense, and are not included in the university book grant. Expenses may depend on courses chosen for electives and concentration requirements. Estimated costs can be found at https://apus.libguides.com/bookstore . 

Technology fee: $65 per course | $0 for active-duty military, National Guard members, and Reservists.

Selecting the right program to meet your educational goals is a key step in ensuring a successful outcome. If you are unsure of which program to choose, or need more information,  please contact an APU admissions representative at 877-755-2787  or  [email protected] .

Quality Education Should Be Affordable

So you can focus on the opportunities ahead, without the financial burden of more expensive schools who are not as invested in your success. Learn more about paying for school.

Transfer Credit

Transfer Credit

Why Pay to Learn What You Already Know?


Federal Student Aid

Military Tuition Assistance

Military Tuition Assistance


Veteran Benefits


Scholarships and Private Loans

Consumer information.


Maryland Residents learn more about costs, completion rates, median debt, and more .

*Cost Per Credit Hour

To minimize out-of-pocket costs, U.S. active-duty servicemembers, their spouse/dependents, National Guard members, and Reservists receive a tuition grant that caps undergraduate, master's degree, and graduate certificate tuition at $250/credit hour. In addition, a university book grant provides no-cost textbooks and ebooks for all undergraduates and military-tuition-grant-eligible master’s-level students. See all military student benefits .

online course visual communication

online course visual communication

Visual Design Open & Free

Free for independent learners, visual design — open & free.

Students in this mini-course are introduced to the basics of visual communication design and typography, and learn to analyze and produce effective printed documents, such as technical reports, proposals, and software documentation. Learn about Open & Free OLI courses by visiting the “Open & Free features” tab below.


What students will learn, learning objectives by module, course outline, other course details, system requirements.

In this mini-course, students learn to analyze and produce effective printed documents, such as technical reports, proposals, and software documentation. To guide their learning, students are introduced to the basics of visual communication design and typography through a series of audio-visual explanations that describe and illustrate key concepts and vocabulary, self-assessments that verify the understanding, and hands-on exercises with individualized feedback that provide opportunities to try out what they learned.

The goal of this course is to introduce fundamental knowledge and skills associated with the design of documents. Rather than delivering prescriptive guidelines or domain-specific rules (which are unfortunately more frequently available to novice designers), this course focuses on introducing students to design principles that are applicable to a broad range of design problems. For instance, instead of presenting guidelines like “The same font should be used throughout the whole report, unless a second font is chosen for headings and tables” (Winckel, Hart, Behrend, & Kokkinn,, 2002, p. 5) or “Title [of a spreadsheet] must be centered and prominent” (Jeter, 2002), this course explains the principles that guide the selection of fonts and how visual hierarchy can be established by controlling visual variables.

Who should use this OLI course

Visual Design includes the following types of activities:

Audio-visual explanations.

In each section, students are introduced to basic visual communication design concepts, vocabulary, and practical issues through declarative instructions that are primarily delivered as oral descriptions supported by visual examples. Both effective and ineffective examples are used to explain and illustrate basic concepts.

Self-Assessment Questions

Each audio-visual explanation is followed by a small set of self-assessment questions that provide students with immediate feedback relating to the task at hand.  This is intended to help students rehearse and verify what they learned in the audio-visual explanations.

Not applicable.

UNIT 1: Introduction

UNIT 2: Visual Hierarchy

Module 1: Type

Module 2: Spacing

UNIT 3: Legibility & Readability

UNIT 4: Page Layout

Estimated time to complete

The entire course can be completed in about 2 to 3 hours.

Date last updated

August, 2016

Author and other credits

Coming soon.

Creative Commons License

OLI system requirements, regardless of course :

Some courses include exercises with exceptions to these requirements, such as technology that cannot be used on mobile devices.

This course’s system requirements:

Open & Free features

Open & free courses.

Related products

Activity identifying which spoken words are stressed.

STEM Readiness — Open & Free

online course visual communication

Healthcare IT Foundations

online course visual communication

Media Programming — Open & Free

online course visual communication

PC Hardware — Open & Free

Contact / about us.

OLI’s website has undergone a refresh, and so has the student registration process. Watch the video to see how easily students can register with a Course Key.

25 Visual Communication Courses You Can Audit For Free

Visual Communication is the representation of ideas and concepts meaningfully through graphics and images. There are many different types of content under the umbrella of visual communication where infographic, motion pictures, interactive content, etc. are just a few.

Please enable JavaScript

Following are 25 courses for students, creative professionals, beginners, artists who would like to learn about different aspects of visual communication. From graphic design, typography, visual elements of UI and the history of visual communication, there is something for everyone in this list.

Introduction to Imagemaking

This beginner’s course is a part of the Graphic Design Specialization being offered by the California Institute of Arts. The course can be completed in approximately 14 hours and will help students learn about image-making which is an exciting area in graphic design. In this course, students will learn about the different materials and techniques used in image-making and will also be equipped to create their image books. On completion of the course, students will be able to make informed decisions in the field, use correct vocabulary, and create their own designs using visual representations.

3D Data Visualization for Science Communication

This online course emphasizes on scientific communication for beginners and will help students acquire visual literacy. The course is being offered by the University of Illinois and can be completed in approximately 32 hours. Through this course, students will be able to understand how to interpret visual scientific data and also create their own representations. Amongst several topics, students will learn what makes scientific visualizations cinematic, how to appeal to broader audiences, and how to work with image-making software.

Graphic Design

This course is a part of a four-course series being offered by the University of Colorado Boulder. The course is a beginner’s level course and can be completed in approximately 29 hours. In this course, students will understand the importance of visual communication in attracting audiences and building relationships in businesses. Students will learn how to create visual representations, tips, and tricks of the trade and understand how to survive and keep growing in this trade.

Seeing Through Photographs

This course is aimed at making students visually literate and helping them understand the difference between seeing and understanding a piece of art. The course is an offering of The Museum of Modern Art and can be completed in 15 hours. The course is an amalgamation of art, history and photography. Students will learn to differentiate between photographs and photographic images while also understanding the importance of context. They will also understand the role of photography in this changing culture and the importance of innovation in photography.

Fundamentals of Graphic Design

This course is also a part of the Graphic Design Specialization mentioned above and is being offered by the California Institute of Arts. This course will equip students with all the basic skills that come into play in different areas of graphic design. Over 15 hours students will learn about different techniques and principles used in graphic designing and understand the fundamentals of colors. Students will learn how to create their own images and play with different aspects that comprise a visual image.

Visual Presentation

This online course will help students understand the importance of visual elements in communication. The course is being offered by the Rochester Institute of Technology and can be completed in approximately 3 weeks. In this course, students will learn how to apply the basics of visual designs at work, understanding visual hierarchy and other text to image relationships. Since this course revolves around business communication, it will also help students understand how to represent quantitative data in the form of images and the related best practices.

Camera Control

This course is a part of the Photography Basics and Beyond Specialization being offered by the Michigan State University. The individual course can be completed in approximately 12 hours. In this course, students will begin by learning the different elements of camera control. Students will understand the importance of time in photography and cover different concepts like light metering, exposure modes, lens options, and shutter speeds.

Principles of Photo Composition and Digital Image Post Production

This online course is also a part of the Photography Specialization mentioned in the previous course which is being offered by Michigan State University. Over 15 hours, students will understand the different design elements that are used in creating images. The course covers smartphones as well as professional cameras and helps students learn post-photography image management using different software and applications.

Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR Specialization

This specialization is an offering by the Michigan State University and is a complete package for anyone interested in learning in detail about photography. The specialization comprises 5 courses that cover every aspect of photography right from technical aspects of the camera, its controls to post-photography image management and sharing. Irrespective of whether students own a professional camera or a smartphone, students will learn about composing and creating creative images that can be used for different purposes.

Design and Making Infographics

This online course revolves around infographics and how they can be best utilized. The course is being offered by Michigan State University and can be completed in approximately 14 hours. In this course, students will learn how to create infographics, visually represent data and how to merge all the elements of an infographic to make it look good. Students will also learn how to spot data in stories and how to effectively operate the Adobe Illustrator for creating these infographics. The course includes a project where students get the chance to apply their learnings to practical uses.

Essential Design Principles for Tableau

This course is a part of a five series course in Data Visualization for Tableau. The course is an offering of the University of California, Davis, and can be completed in approximately 13 hours. Students need to have knowledge of Tableau for this course and understand the basics of data visualization. In this course, students will learn to determine whether a visualization is effective or ineffective and how to improve an ineffective one. Students will also learn how to create appealing visualizations for different target audiences. Some topics that will be covered include visual perception, cognitive load, exploratory analysis, and best practices.

IMAGE | ABILITY – Visualizing the Unimaginable

Ideas from the history of graphic design, graphic elements of design: color theory and image formats, building digital media using graphic design in google slide, the language of design: form and meaning, use canva to create social media and marketing designs, brand new brand.

This online course is the final part of the Graphic Design Specialization being offered by the California Institute of Arts. In this course, students will create an imaginary brand and will get the chance to apply theoretical knowledge to practical uses. In this course, over 23 hours, students will be taken through the entire process of design right from ideation to presentation. Students will demonstrate their learning, visual research, and development skills through the creation of a brand development guide.

Visualization for Data Journalism

This online course will teach students how to represent large amounts of data through graphs like renowned publications. The course is being offered by the University of Illinois and can be completed in approximately 19 hours. Beginning with the history of visualization in journalism, students will learn about the emerging trends, various types of charts, and the pros and cons of each one of them. Students will look at examples of data visualization and learn how to integrate visualizations into narratives.

Introduction to Graphic Illustration

Basic drawing skills and an understanding of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop are prerequisites for taking this course. The course is being offered by the Cornish College of Arts and can be completed in approximately 50 hours. In this course, students will learn how to distribute, translate, and produce their own visual ideas. Students will learn about the role of visual illustrations in the market and understand how art and ideas can be integrated to come up with appealing pieces of graphic illustrations.

Introduction to Graphic Design History

Textual elements of design: fonts, typography, and spacing.

This beginner’s course is a part of a specialization being offered for non-designers trying their hand at graphic design. The course is being offered by the University of Colorado Boulder and can be completed in approximately 13 hours. In this course, students will learn to understand the similarities and differences in the concepts of fonts, typography, and text while also learning about their history and evolution. Students will learn about different aspects of textual elements in design and will cover topics like tracking, kerning, alignment, spacing, and manipulating text.

Digital Drawings: Points, Lines and Curves

This course revolves around Adobe, Design Architecture, Rhino3D, and Architecture. The course is being offered by the UNLV College of Fine Arts and can be completed in approximately 4 hours. The course is a part of the program, Fundamentals of Digital Design and Architecture. In this course, students will learn to create complex designs and be introduced to Rhino3D and Adobe Illustrator. Students will gain a better understanding of points, lines, and curves that form the foundations of digital drawing. Students will also learn about easy design tools and ideas such as geometric operations, graphic compositional principles, to visual hierarchies with line weights, tone, and poché in this course.

Visual Elements of User Interface Design

This course is a part of a four-course series in UI / UX Design Specialization being offered by the California Institute of Arts. It will take approximately 16 hours to complete the course during which students will learn what a user interface is and the role of a designer in it. Students will understand the role of color, imagery, and fonts in design to make it meaningful. Towards the end of the course, students will be able to design a static screen-based interface and will learn the key elements of a clean, consistent, and intuitive interface design.

Graphic Design Elements for Non-Designers

This is an online specialization in graphic design for non-beginners that will help them understand the different elements that constitute graphic design. The program is being offered by the University of Colorado Boulder and can be completed in approximately 4 months. In this course, students will learn about the conceptual designs concerning design projects and will analyze the different concepts to apply in business settings. Students will learn how to create foundational creative projects like business cards, brochure ads, websites, and manuals. Post completion of the course, students will also be able to communicate better with graphic designers and creative professionals.

The language of instruction for all the courses mentioned above is English while transcripts may be available in different languages. While most of the courses mentioned above are available for free for auditing, some of them may require a fee for enrollment. Financial aid is also available for some of these courses.