Commercial Art


The term ‘commercial art’ is used synonymously with graphic art, graphic design, and advertising art these days, but any of these titles can be used to describe art that is used to advertise or promote a product. Labels, logos, packaging, posters, and print and television ads are all the creative products of the commercial art variety, and there are many types of art and design disciplines that can fall under this general umbrella. In fact, many illustrators, painters, fashion designers, cartoonists and animators could be considered commercial artists if their works are used in advertising or marketing. Art in this category may be created with traditional or digital media in two or three-dimensional format, which makes commercial art a very broad field.

Not long ago most art schools offered majors in commercial art, and many still use that term, but now more students seek concentrations in more specialized programs like digital art, computer art, web design, visual communication and graphic design. Those who are interested in creating characters for games and animation often concentrate on coursework in those subjects and seek degrees in animation or game design. While there is no hard requirement for an artist to have an art degree, some specialized fields do require knowledge and technical skills that go beyond typical drawing and design. Many jobs in the commercial art sector require applicants to be proficient with industry-standard computer software programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and Quark Xpress, just to name a few. Some designers learn the programs on their own, but most freshman level graphic design classes offer instruction on using this software. Foundation classes in drawing, typography and design are also part of any undergraduate art degree program.

Professionals in the commercial art field must stay abreast of new technologies, especially those who use digital media. Even Masters and Doctorate Degree holders need to engage in continuing education. The majority of colleges and universities offering graduate and undergraduate art programs also offer continuing education classes. Artists in entry level positions may only have a high school education, but one can still prepare for his or her commercial art career by taking art classes in high school or attending non-credit courses through a local community arts center. Community colleges and online career schools have Associate degree and training certificate programs as well, so aspiring graphic artists and designers have many different paths they can follow to break into this interesting career field.

There is no single right or wrong way to become a commercial artist. Those who choose to pursue a college degree in the arts will need to choose the most appropriate major or concentration of study. Some artistic fields like web or game design require strong programming skills as well as artistic talent. Architecture and drafting are also common genres in commercial art, but architects and draftsmen must also learn specific technical skills for those professions. Since commercial art is such a broad category, choosing the right program may be intimidating. Fortunately, undergraduate programs in graphic design or visual communications usually have similar core requirements, which makes it easier for students to switch majors later if necessary. Some people obtain multiple degrees in different concentrations in order to prepare for a commercial art career, while others are completely self-taught.

Ready to learn more about commercial art and graphic design? See our School Sorter to find a list of top art schools offering graphic design degrees. Filter results based on location, school size, desired degree level and more to create a customized list of your best school matches and easily request more information. Learn more about graphic design and commercial art by browsing related articles, located below the School Sorter.

Search & Browse over 2,800 Art Schools

Search and sort results by:
Viewing schools 1 to 50 out of 2810 total
Advertising | Animation | Architecture | Arts Management | Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Glendale, AZ
20154
Public
Advertising | Animation | Architecture | Arts Management | Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Mesa, AZ
25960
City
Public
Animation | CAD, Drafting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
Tucson, AZ
494
Suburb
Animation | CAD, Drafting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
Tempe, AZ
840
Advertising | Animation | Architecture | Arts Management | Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Phoenix, AZ
12164
City
Public
Animation | Architecture | CAD, Drafting | Film, Video, TV | Game Design | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Tucson, AZ
35880
City
Public
Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Tempe, AZ
20865
Public
Architecture | Arts Management | Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Scottsdale, AZ
10923
Public
Advertising | Graphic Design | Photography | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Hot Springs, AR
3698
Public
Advertising | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
Searcy, AR
6484
Private
Advertising | Audio Production | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Illustration | Performing Arts | Photography | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
Siloam Springs, AR
2073
Private
CAD, Drafting | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
Fort Smith, AR
7335
Public
Animation | CAD, Drafting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
Rancho Cordova, CA
731
Animation | Architecture | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
Los Angeles, CA
75
City
Advertising | Animation | Audio Production | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Graphic Design | Illustration | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Sacramento, CA
35413
Suburb
Public
Architecture | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Bakersfield, CA
18402
City
Public
CAD, Drafting | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Aptos, CA
15974
Public
Animation | Architecture | Arts Management | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Illustration | Interior Design | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
Oakland, CA
1828
City
Private
Advertising | Animation | Architecture | Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Illustration | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
21399
Suburb
Public
Animation | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Fountain Valley, CA
11231
Public
Architecture | Audio Production | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Photography | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Compton, CA
6691
Public
Advertising | Architecture | Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Sacramento, CA
15946
City
Public
Architecture | CAD, Drafting | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Graphic Design | Illustration | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
El Cajon, CA
9459
Suburb
Public
Architecture | Audio Production | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Torrance, CA
27237
Suburb
Public
Animation | Audio Production | Film, Video, TV | Game Design | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Los Altos Hills, CA
18293
Suburb
Public
Advertising | Architecture | Audio Production | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Fresno, CA
25511
City
Public
Advertising | Animation | Architecture | Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Film, Video, TV | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Glendale, CA
16781
Public
Animation | CAD, Drafting | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Irvine, CA
13294
Public
Animation | CAD, Drafting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
San Diego, CA
1430
City
Animation | CAD, Drafting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
San Dimas, CA
1030
Suburb
Advertising | Animation | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Game Design | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
San Diego, CA
2040
City
Architecture | CAD, Drafting | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Graphic Design | Illustration | Performing Arts | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Woodland Hills, CA
21928
City
Public
Advertising | Animation | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Game Design | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
San Francisco, CA
1462
City
Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Graphic Design | Illustration | Performing Arts | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Ukiah, CA
4833
Public
CAD, Drafting | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Santa Clara, CA
10954
Public
Advertising | Animation | Architecture | Audio Production | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Game Design | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Walnut, CA
29935
Suburb
Public
Animation | Audio Production | Film, Video, TV | Game Design | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
San Jacinto, CA
17583
Public
Animation | Audio Production | Film, Video, TV | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Illustration | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Fremont, CA
11695
Public
Advertising | Animation | Architecture | Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Illustration | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
San Marcos, CA
27442
Public
Animation | Film, Video, TV | Game Design | Graphic Design | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
San Diego, CA
293
City
Animation | Architecture | CAD, Drafting | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
Torrance, CA
724
City
Advertising | Animation | Architecture | Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Game Design | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Santa Ana, CA
31073
City
Public
Advertising | Audio Production | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Sacramento, CA
27171
City
Public
Animation | Architecture | Audio Production | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Mission Viejo, CA
23260
Suburb
Public
Animation | Architecture | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Illustration | Interior Design | Landscape Architecture | Performing Arts | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
San Diego, CA
23211
City
Public
Advertising | Architecture | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
San Francisco, CA
9008
City
Private
Animation | Game Design | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
San Jose, CA
12364
City
Public
Advertising | Animation | Architecture | Audio Production | Film, Video, TV | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Graphic Design | Illustration | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
San Mateo, CA
11310
Public
Animation | Architecture | CAD, Drafting | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Game Design | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Four-year school
Los Angeles, CA
3968
City
Animation | Architecture | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Illustration | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media
Two-year school
Santa Rosa, CA
25877
Public