Learning design can be very helpful for business majors, such as the ones collaborating on a project in the picture above. PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD PRESS OFFICE / FLICKR

Shaun Lucas

The Snapper staff features Millersville students of all kinds of major and minor degree focuses. For example, despite being the Editor-in-Chief of this publication, I am a Business Administrations major with a concentration in marketing. My minor program is journalism, fortunately aligning well with my desired career of any job surrounding business writing and/or marketing.

I have a good friend who has dual majors in marketing and art, another academic combination that may confuse some. What we have in common is that both of us have a good amount of visual design experience that many marketing majors do not have. His experience comes from his art curriculum, while mine comes from creating page layouts and other visuals for The Snapper.

Unlike my friend, my design work was entirely voluntary: if I had not decided to study journalism at college and simply spent my academic career within business, I would never have joined The Snapper and gotten hours of practice with Adobe’s design software. Work within this club not only gave me an outlet for learning design programs to better my academic and personal projects, but also skills that have earned me scholarships and my first internship.

This is not a cheesy sales pitch to join The Snapper, rather a realization that I would not understand marketing from a visual perspective nearly as much had it not been for a convenient decision in my minor. My friend and I discussed that Millersville Business Administration would benefit from the program requiring a design class or two, particularly within the marketing concentration.

Marketing and advertising are tremendously visual fields, ranging from the cinematography of a TV commercial to the display of a billboard. An advertisement’s presentation acts as a customer’s first impression of a product and/or business, thus businesses spend thousands or even millions of dollars annually just for “getting the word out there.”

Even beyond public advertising, business workers need to pitch their ideas to management before projects get approved. If management sees that a presentation slideshow is amaturely created, why would they believe the concepts being pitched would have more thought and effort put behind them?
Some business students may believe that graphic design tasks would be given to actual designers and not regular staff. That may often be the case, but why limit your abilities? Especially at an entry level position, having design fundamentals only serves to make you more appealing to employers when compared to other applicants who have no design experience.

Am I saying that all business students should join a club that requires them to pour hours into design work? No, but I do think a semester of learning one or more design programs’ basics can only help students. Even if a student does not wish to pursue design at all within their careers, understanding design allows them to better communicate with designers on projects. For example, a manager could explain to a designer how to improve the design while using design terminology.

One concern I could see with my belief is cost, as design products such as Adobe Creative Cloud only continue to rise in price. While some universities do provide all students with Adobe subscriptions as part of their tuition, this may not be a sustainable option for other institutions.

 I see two solutions to this issue: firstly, a student paying their own subscriptions to programs for a semester could replace that course’s textbook fee. Afterall, $80 for four months of Adobe InDesign is already cheaper than some courses textbooks and/or online homework portal fees. Secondly, plenty of free or less expensive design software and resources may provide business students a better understanding of why visual design in business is so crucial.

I am thankful for my collegiate journey and the many skills and programs I have learned throughout my time at Millersville. I just believe my journey came about by chance, and that Millersville could be doing a great service to business students with a slight adjustment to credit requirements.