When I hear the words “visual merchandising,” my first thought is window displays, which is why I assumed Visual Studies majors aspire to create window displays and plan store layouts. But after sitting down with LIM’s Chair of Visual Studies, Laurel Lueders, I learned that visual merchandising is actually the study of visual communication.
The Visual Studies major can be very misunderstood, which sometimes creates a roadblock for students who don't have the confidence in their creative skills to pursue it. Previously, the required core class of the major was Visual Merchandising, which focused solely on color, shape, and design as they apply to window displays and store layouts.
Starting in Fall 2019, this LIM course will be called Visual Communications, and it has been overhauled and expanded to serve as an introduction to the creative industries of social media, websites, digital graphics, set design/photo styling, retail display, exhibition design, event planning, and interior concepts. This course will teach students a visual vocabulary and the elements and principles of design used to create successful compositions, while also incorporating concepts of visual branding.
All the Visual Studies students I know are interested in different careers, and this major helps them focus on their creativity in a very hands-on manner. One student, Teddie Raymond, interned with Sony Music in their store, while student Cee’Asia Daste wants to become a magazine Art Director.
If you're a visual student struggling to find an internship, Professor Lueders advises looking for "creative visual industries, particularly anything digital such as graphic design or social media." The digital age is rising and doesn’t seem to be stopping!
Potential Job Titles:
- Creative Director
- Visual Merchandiser
- Graphic Designer
- Digital Merchandise Assistant
- Social Media Coordinator
- Photo or Set Design Stylist
- Floral or Food Designer
- Visual Planning Director