It's not surprising that the use of visual arts and animation in business, education, and entertainment is increasing. Visuals are an effective means of communication because the human mind processes images much faster than it does text. These images resonate in our minds, stirring all kinds of emotions.
From time immemorial, humans have spoken through images, drawn animal motifs, and recorded their experiences, interactions, habits, customs, and beliefs in pictures. We know this from the ancient cave paintings, some of them tens of thousands of years old, found all over the world. These drawings may have been our first language.
Multimedia designers produce visual content that explains, persuades, entertains, and solves problems. The purpose is to convey a message that resonates with the audience. Digital design is a broad field encompassing graphic design, animation, video game production, website design, and instructive videos. Thanks to multimedia design, we have moved beyond slide shows, and static displays and presentations.
The Federal Occupational Outlook Handbook of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 8 percent growth in the employment of multimedia artists and animators over the period 2014 to 2024. The median annual salary for multimedia artists and animators in 2018 was $72,520.
Multimedia designers find work in the film and television, video games, advertising, e-learning, and web design and development industries and in corporations.
In many organizations, a multimedia designer is part of a team led by a creative head or a creative director. There are also numerous opportunities for freelance or gig work. A multimedia designer's responsibilities may include any or all of the following:
Discussing product requirements with clients
Collaborating with marketing and PR personnel, business analysts, software developers, and technical professionals to create multimedia products for various audiences
Determining the right visual elements of any given project in collaboration with marketing and PR teams
Conceptualizing and developing multimedia presentations, images and video for websites, interactive displays, and other visual formats to inform a company's clients and other stakeholders, and to promote the company's brands and market their services and products
Creating digital graphics and animated visuals for web pages, movies, television, advertisements, video games, interactive media and e-learning products
Creating instructional videos for organizations
Designing web pages
Designing infographics and other informative visuals
Using software to produce animated sequences
Transferring video files for editing and digital manipulation
Editing video footage
A designer needs to devote a lot of time to research, planning, creating, and editing in order to produce engaging, high-quality media.
Keeping up with the times
Design trends, techniques, and tools evolve continuously, making it necessary to update one's knowledge and skills regularly. A digital design professional must be up-to-date with current trends and know how to apply them in a commercial context.
Multimedia designers must also keep abreast of the latest technologies and design software in their area of expertise, and be able to use the same to develop visual effects that make an impact. There are several major media design software providers, as well as innumerable apps.
Background and training
Most job advertisements for multimedia designers list a bachelor's degree as one of the requirements for employment. Normally, a degree in multimedia design, fine arts, advertising and marketing communications, digital media engineering, or other related subjects is preferred.
Successful multimedia designers usually have a solid background in art, with well-honed drawing and composition skills. This serves as a foundation for developing expertise in animation, digital graphics, 3D design, and motion graphics.
A portfolio that showcases your creative and technical abilities is a must. A degree program normally requires students to develop a digital design portfolio that demonstrates the way you conceptualize a design and develop it.
Your portfolio can include different graphic and animation examples, such as drawings, video games, landing pages, animation frames, and interactive images. It's important that your portfolio shows not only your artistic talent and technical skills, but your problem-solving abilities as well.
Normally, organizations prefer experienced candidates for multimedia design and related roles. However, some companies offer trainee positions as well. If you have no relevant work experience, then it's a good idea to work as a trainee. You will not only gain real-world experience, but will have the opportunity to build a professional network. Internships, which are a part of multimedia design and related degree programs, are also a good way to earn practical experience.
You will need to be familiar with general multimedia tools, such as Adobe Creative Suite, which includes Illustrator and Photoshop, Flash, Adobe Premiere, and AfterEffects. Those who apply for specialist positions may need to demonstrate proficiency in specialty tools as well.
Solid communication skills, the ability to collaborate with different teams, and a sharp eye for detail are also necessary for multimedia design and related roles.
An industry-recognized multimedia design certification can add value to your resume. Well-known certifications validate current design skills and product knowledge, and enable recruiters to evaluate an applicant's suitability for a specific role.
Also, some employers consider the fact that a candidate has invested time and money in earning a current certification as indication of his ability to learn new skills and his commitment to career advancement. For some job roles, a relevant certification can give a candidate a competitive edge over other applicants with similar qualifications and experience, but no certification.
There are quite a few design certifications available. It's important that you select a well-known certification in your chosen area of expertise.
Popular certifications include:
Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Creative Cloud certifications can help demonstrate proficiency in Adobe products. Adobe is currently updating their Creative Cloud certification exams, and expects to release them during the first half of 2020. According to their website, exams will be available for Adobe After Effects, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Premiere Pro.
Details are available online. You can also email Adobe for more information.
CIW Web Design Professional
The CIW Web Design Professional certification is owned and managed by Certification Managers. It is designed for web and graphic designers, creative and art directors, and web marketing and advertising professionals.
This vendor-neutral credential demonstrates knowledge of web design and development, and understanding of the method of conducting business online and the technical aspects of building an e-commerce website.
To earn this certification, you need to pass two certification exams:
CIW Web Design Specialist
CIW E-Commerce Specialist
Additional details are available online. CIW offers a number of related credentials. Additional information about the CIW certification program is available online.
Go for IT
The multimedia design field offers a reasonably high level of job satisfaction, which is one of the reasons why many take up this occupation. A career in multimedia design can prove to be rewarding if you have well-developed artistic skills, technical knowhow, strong communication and interpersonal skills, and the ability to continuously upgrade your knowledge.