Based off my own personal experiences, I consider a Communications major to be more beneficial than a graphic design major. Here's why:
I started off my freshman year as an undergrad pursuing a B.A. in Graphic Design. After a semester full of an intense graphic design course, I realized that I didn't want to limit my educational and professional career, so I switched over to Communication Studies instead. Through the Communications major, I was able to focus on many different areas of communication, while still maintaining my passion for graphic design and pursuing it recreationally, and through volunteer work. As a result, I actually think my Comm major benefited my skills in graphic design, because I learned what it means and how to have effective communication and apply that from a visual, design perspective.
Generally, most graphic design programs have, naturally, a strong focus on the technical and hard skills associated with graphic design. However, they may not always have the soft skills needed to succeed in the workplace, such as effective communication, knowledge of marketing, customer experience, and much more.
In other words, through my experience, the communication major allows greater flexibility in allowing people to market themselves. Everyone needs to communicate, no matter the medium, and communication programs generally offer a huge focus with crucial transferable skills.
There is also the option of taking one as a major, and another as a minor, if the schools you're looking at offer either option as a minor. This is a great way to get your foot in the door with both positions.
Zainab recommends the following next steps:
- Research graphic design programs, look at the focus and learning outcomes, as well as the courses offered.
- Research communication programs, look at the focus and learning outcomes, as well as the courses offered.
- Which program aligns most closely with your values? Does this program allow for you to grow and change as an individual? Remember that what you like and want to pursue right now may not necessarily be the case in the future.