ANN ARBOR – As a declared art student, I felt like I was in the right program but a part of me still didn’t feel quite connected to the fine art career path. Art was my first love, but I also had a longing to hone in on my marketing and communications skills.
Around my sophomore year as I was considering this, Concordia didn’t (yet) have a program that specifically combined all of my interests, so for a couple semesters I felt a bit stuck. Leaving Concordia didn’t seem right, but staying in a program I didn’t love also didn’t feel right.
In the spring of 2019, I turned to one of my advisors and the campus dean of the school of arts and sciences to share my thoughts about my current predicament. We had great conversations, which is just another reason why I love attending a smaller school—direct access to faculty and deans! An idea was sparked. Concordia would launch a new program: A degree that was still in art but incorporated marketing and communications skills that could be translated seamlessly into a business environment.
That is when the digital media design program was born.
What kinds of classes do you take in the digital media design program?
The digital media design program is made up of a single core and two emphasis choices that students can chose from—social media or communication—depending on the route they would like to take. The main core is made up of graphic design classes, photography classes, drawing and 2-D composition, as well as art and design history classes. Within the emphases, students have the opportunity to take multimedia production courses, advanced and media writing, public relations, film and video production and many more. By the time a digital media design student leaves Concordia, they will be fully prepared to take on whatever challenges that come their way in the workplace.
Speaking of a workplace, a question my parents had for me was, “What kind of job can you get with a degree like this?” As creative communities continue to grow and companies recognize that a strong digital presence is needed to be successful, they will need people like us. We will be employees with art and design skills, marketing skills, and communications skills.
Here is a list that is only the tip of the iceberg of opportunity for digital media design students:
- Advertising manager
- Art director
- Computer programmer
- Digital audio technician
- Digital graphic artist
- Digital imaging manager
- Digital video editor
- E-business consultant / manager
- Marketing expert / manager
- Multimedia designer
- Online database manager
- Public relations manager
- Technology support specialist
- Web developer / manager
- Communications specialist
Digital media design vs. graphic design: What’s the difference?
Some may be looking at this new program and be asking, “How is this so different from just regular graphic design?” Trust me, there are many differences.
First off, Concordia’s program does not solely teach the art of graphic design, it incorporates other aspects of business and communication. Other universities offer graphic design programs for people that only want to work in that artform once they graduate. CUAA’s program does not limit students in this way. It opens the door to potential jobs in web design, strategic communications, video and photography, public relations and more, as shown by the job list above.
If you are a potential student or current student reading this and you feel similarly to how I felt during my sophomore year of college, consider digital media design!
The combinations of communications, art, and business will help you to develop skills that can be used in a variety of jobs anywhere in the world.
Allie Milot ('21) is a student writer majoring in digital media design.
This story was sponsored by Concordia University Ann Arbor.