Visual Art & Design

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Roles and Work Environment

Artists and designers play integral role in many industries in today’s visual culture. Commercial artists also help business enterprises sell products and services, illustrate concepts, convey messages, and document events. Artists also create graphic works for websites, film, television, and video. Some artists specialize in storyboards and others work solely as animators, bringing cartoon characters and computer-generated heroes to vivid life. They may also specialize in visual effects, which is known as computer-generated images (CGI), designing scenery or backgrounds or creating images of actors performing.   Designers can be found in roles that involve the prototyping and creation of physical sites and products, such as packaging, buildings/interiors, websites, clothing, promotional materials, and much more.

Examples of Visual Art & Design Jobs:

  • Cartoonists
  • Costume Designers
  • Digital Designers
  • Film and Television Directors
  • Graphic Designers
  • Production Designers and Art Directors

Below are some additional resources to find opportunities:

Skills and Training

  • Computer
  • Creativity
  • Digital Media
  • Drawing/Design
  • Interpersonal
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
  • Organizational
  • Writing

Industry Timeline

The recruitment timeline in this industry is based on position vacancy. The following example highlights the timeline of a visual art organization interested in hiring UVA students.


Nickelodeon is the number-one brand for kids with original cartoons, sitcoms, movies and award shows. It produces hits like SpongeBob SquarePants, The Loud House, School of Rock, Shimmer and Shine and more!  Its summer internship program, which starts in June and wraps in August, has a deadline at April 1stJuly 1st is the deadline for its fall internship program, which starts in September and ends in November or December.  Its spring internship program’s deadline is November 1st. This spring internship usually starts in February and ends in April/May.

Find Opportunities


Off-Grounds and Remote

Applying and Interviewing

Resumes and Cover Letters

Your professional resume should address skills needed in your desired field and special accomplishments or results-oriented tasks you performed in previous work.  Depending on the specific job function you hope to fulfil, those skills might include:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Creativity
  • Leadership
  • Broad Content Knowledge
  • Ability to Improve with Feedback
  • Savvy with Technology

(SNAAPShot 2013)

When it comes to choosing a format, some arts or media organizations may be more tolerant of design-heavy resumes that use color, graphics, or otherwise veer from the traditional one-page resume.  Keep in mind that, regardless of the field, hiring managers are more interested in quality content (what have you done?) than visual appeal.  In fact, some employers view non-traditional resumes as a tool for masking a lack of experience. Don't let this be you! Use work samples and your online portfolio to show your design skills so you can keep your resume content-focused.

Artist Resume

If you are promoting your work to galleries or posting your experience on a website where you are selling work, an artist resume may be a better fit than one that is designed for employment.  Here, you would highlight awards, publications, shows/exhibitions, and competitions you participated in, as well as some statements about your artistic approach.


The interviewing process varies with positions in this industry.

The following are some sample questions for the Graphic Design role.

  • Describe your process for generating design ideas for a project. I’m particularly interested in how you develop an understanding of audience, message, and purpose and then implement this understanding in your design.
  • Do you prefer that your client give you quite specific ideas or leave the entire design process up to you? Why?
  • Explain your familiarity with production processes and designing a job to be printed.
  • How long would it take you to plan, design, and complete a 300 × 400 banner?

Promoting & Selling Your Work

Producing a creative piece you want to market and / or sell is an incredible accomplishment, and something to celebrate. There are numerous methods of promoting your work, most of which correlate to both your piece and your goal for it. Below are a few ways to publicize you and your product.

Alumni Spotlight: Graphic Designer


Brittany is a Production Designer with Journey Group, an independent graphic design company located in Charlottesville, VA. A designer and artist by trade, Brittany spends her free time designing, photographing, and illustrating for personal projects and non-profits in the area.

Major: Interdisciplinary Studies (Bachelor), Elementary Education (Masters)
College: University of Virginia
City: Charlottesville
State: Virginia

Additional Industry Resources

Blogs and Industry Research

  • The Secret Handshake Resource for student designers and young creative looking for insider insight, honest answers and solid solutions to go pro.
  • Architecture: ACSA Atlas, an ongoing project examining architectural education in relationship to demographics, higher education, the profession and the economy
  • ArtNews
  • Dezeen
  • Graphic Design USA

Professional Associations

More to Explore

Virtual Drop-In Hours: Tuesday, 12-2pm 

One-on-One Counseling: Select "Creative Arts, Media, & Design" from the Handshake appointment...

Jobs and internships in arts, museums, administration, symphony. UVA Students have exclusive paid access through Handshake.

Learn more about Pre-Law events, courses, and opportunities available!