Art Programs

Art in our modern world is no longer confined to canvases, clay, and crafts. Computer art has created an overwhelming variety of jobs for artists from graphic designers to video game creators, and art schools are continually innovating their programs to teach artists the skills they need to create successful careers.

Here are a few major art school programs that train you in professions for which skilled creative people are essential:


A typical art school advertising program trains students in a mix of creative and business skills. Three jobs artists can have when working for advertising agencies are:

  • Graphic Designer – creates graphics for digital and print mediums using images, typography, or motion graphics
  • Art Director – oversees staff of artists and is responsible for visual appearance, mood, and effectiveness of the final product
  • Creative Director – oversees all aspects of a project’s branding and quality control, making sure final product expresses client’s image

A good advertising program will teach you:

  • Graphic design principles
  • Traditional and digital illustration
  • Typography
  • Image and text layout
  • Color theory
  • Marketing
  • Consumer psychology


Animators create the illusion of moving images by creating frames and key frames and placing them in rapid succession.

A good animation program will teach you:

  • Storyboarding
  • Design of animated environments and characters
  • Creation of frames and key frames
  • Motion timing
  • Flash, Maya, LightWave, and other computer software programs


An architect conceives of, designs, and directs the construction of public and private buildings and homes.

A good architecture program will teach you:

  • Drawing/draftsmanship
  • Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) programs
  • Knowledge of building codes, zoning laws, and construction contracts

Audio Production

Sound engineers record and edit soundtracks for the music, film, and television industries.

A good audio production program will teach you:

  • Operation of audio equipment (digital and analog)
  • Studio and live recording/mixing
  • Pro Tools software
  • Use of microphones, signal processors, and consoles
  • Multitrack production

Digital Arts

Digital artists use digital technology to create various works for advertisers, the motion picture industry, and video game designers.

A good digital art school program will teach you:

  • Traditional art and design skills
  • Use of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Painter, and other graphic design and audio software programs
  • Animation
  • Storyboarding


Drafting is technical drawing done by professionals in the fields of architecture, interior design, engineering, and technical illustration.

A good drafting art school program will teach you:

  • Traditional, architectural, engineering, and mechanical drafting and specifications
  • AutoCAD and MicroCAD
  • Industrial product design
  • Highway design and construction

Fashion Design

Helping people create a desired image through clothing is a difficult and inspiring business.

A good fashion design art school program will teach you:

  • Sketching and prototype creation
  • Material selection
  • Fashion history
  • Pattern and costume design
  • Computer-Aided Design (CAD)
  • Sewing techniques

Fashion Marketing

Rather than design clothing and accessories, you want to sell them to the right customers.

A good fashion marketing art school program will teach you:

  • Marketing and branding
  • Importing/exporting
  • Product development
  • Licensing

Fashion Merchandising

Fashion merchandising jobs require a blend of fashion sense and business expertise, requiring you to trend-spot and predict a season’s popular fashions.

A good fashion merchandising program will teach you:

  • Trend forecasting
  • Store displays
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Fashion functionality
  • Brand messaging


Film is a vast field with a variety of careers and know-how essential to creating quality movies.

Depending on the profession you choose, a good film program will teach you:

  • Camera operating
  • Audio/soundtrack recording and editing
  • Lighting
  • Film editing
  • Directing
  • Producing
  • Set design

Fine Arts

Fine arts can include painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, printmaking, and textiles but are not limited to these. Fine artists generally produce noncommercial and commissioned art.

A good fine arts program will teach you:

  • Traditional drawing and painting skills
  • Knowledge of materials
  • Color theory and composition
  • Art history

Game Design

Computer and video game design is a rapidly growing field with many opportunities for skilled, inventive artists.

A good game design program will teach you:

  • Character, level, puzzle, and environment design
  • Computer coding programming
  • Art and animation
  • Graphics and animation software
  • Audio design

Graphic Design

Graphic designers use images and typographic fonts to create everything from company logos, brochures, and posters to book covers and T-shirt designs.

A good graphic design program will teach you:

  • Elements of design
  • Color theory and composition
  • Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and PageMaker
  • Marketing and branding


Illustrators can find commercial jobs in the publishing, advertising, and entertainment industries as well as in the field of technical writing.

A good illustration art school program will teach you:

  • Traditional drawing and painting skills
  • Color theory and composition
  • Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and other computer software programs

Industrial Design

Industrial designers work to make product ideas user-friendly, safe, and attractive to consumers.

A good industrial design art school program will teach you:

  • Product design
  • Draftsmanship
  • Model creation
  • Product testing
  • Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CADD)

Interior Design

Interior designers plan and design the interiors and furnishings of apartments, building lobbies, museums, and other architectural spaces.

A good interior design program will teach you:

  • Draftsmanship
  • Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) programs
  • Color theory
  • Function, durability, and accessibility of furniture
  • Building and safety codes


Photographers are needed to capture important moments and offer their own unique perspective.

A good photography art school program will teach you:

  • Photo shoot preparation (scouting locations, set design)
  • Lighting
  • Backgrounds
  • Image capturing and processing
  • Digital photography software such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop

Recording Arts

Audio soundtracks are essential components in almost every field, from commercials to film.

A good recording arts art school program will teach you:

  • Engineering of recording sessions
  • Microphone placement
  • Postproduction editing for film and television

Special Effects

Special effects are the on-set simulation of events in movies, television, and other entertainment media. A special effects professional can work with live/mechanical or optical effects in film, television, theater, commercials, websites, and video games.

A good special effects program will teach you:

  • Live/Mechanical
    • Traditional effects
    • Pyrotechnics
    • Costume and scene design
  • Optical
    • Animation, visual effects, or multimedia arts
    • 3-D modeling
    • Computer Generated Imagery (CGI)
    • Storyboarding

Visual Communications

A visual communications professional knows the practical applications of design and can work for every company that needs its website to be functional and aesthetically pleasing.

A good visual communications program will teach you:

  • Graphic design history and basics
  • Typography
  • Digital photography, illustration, and animation
  • Website design

Web Design

Web design professionals create websites using the latest computer technology, including graphics, sound, and multimedia.

A good art school web design program will teach you:

  • JavaScript; Adobe ColdFusion, Dreamweaver, and Photoshop; XML markup language; CorelDRAW; and Fireworks
  • Programming languages (HTML, CSS)
  • Website construction
  • Design and color theory
  • Flash programming