What Is Digital Media? Examining Opportunities in Design Technology
What Is Digital Media? Examining Opportunities in Design TechnologyWhat Is Digital Media? Examining Opportunities in Design Technology

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As the worlds of business, communication, and entertainment continue to embrace virtual mediums, digital media is more relevant than ever. This field, which encompasses communication through visual and virtual means, is applicable in many industries and speaks to a growing need for new ways to exchange ideas and information through compelling media.

Individuals interested in pursuing a career in this growing and relevant field should consider earning a bachelor’s degree in digital media.

Definition: What Is Digital Media?

The Digital Media Association refers to digital and streaming as “the future of media content,” but exactly what is digital media? Digital media represents the union of artistic talent, creativity, and technical skill to design everything from video game animations to company websites. Because this broad field allows for many areas of specialization, digital media professionals often focus on a single area of expertise.

With a wide array of applications, digital media is only becoming more relevant. A report by the World Economic Forum indicates the many benefits of digital media, including the facilitation of social interaction and civic participation, more efficient and flexible work environments, and ongoing education.

Digital media has become integral to day-to-day business operations. According to 2019 data from Pew Research Center, 90% of Americans use the internet, 28% of adults are nearly constantly online, and 96% of Americans own some type of cellphone.  This provides an avenue through which nonprofits, corporations, and government organizations can reach their target audience and open the door to more candid and frequent conversations.
数字媒体已成为日常业务运营中不可或缺的一部分。根据皮尤研究中心 2019 年的数据,90% 的美国人使用互联网,28% 的成年人几乎一直处于在线状态,96% 的美国人拥有某种类型的手机。这为非营利组织、公司和政府组织提供了一条途径,让他们可以接触到目标受众,并开启更坦诚、更频繁的对话。

Skills That Digital Media Graduates Learn

When it comes to what digital media is for those pursuing a degree in the field, it’s about learning how to create products that are both functional and visually appealing. As a result, a typical digital media curriculum will allow students to gain a strong foundation in the following skill sets:

  • Art: Digital media is visual. Whether the product is part of a new animation or a company’s brand, it should take into consideration aesthetic appeal and art theory. Knowledge of areas such as art history and the psychology of design is essential.
  • Communication: The purpose of visual products is often to communicate a core message to end users. Students gain skills in marketing, branding, and the visual representation of information to convey their point through media.
  • User experience (UX) and user interface (UI): Creativity is only half of what digital media consists of. It isn’t enough to simply create a product that looks good — it must also function well. Skills and knowledge in effective UX and UI, along with a foundation in website design or game design, help digital media graduates develop media pieces that are technologically sound and take into consideration how users will interact with the end product.
    用户体验 (UX) 和用户界面 (UI):创造力只是数字媒体的一半。仅仅创造一个看起来不错的产品是不够的——它还必须功能良好。在有效的 UX 和 UI 方面的技能和知识,以及在网站设计或游戏设计方面的基础,帮助数字媒体毕业生开发技术上完善的媒体作品,并考虑用户将如何与最终产品进行交互。

In addition to these skills, graduates often develop an intimate familiarity with programming languages and tools like Adobe Suite, allowing them to create a portfolio of high-quality samples within their area of focus.
除了这些技能外,毕业生通常会深入了解编程语言和 Adobe Suite 等工具,从而能够在他们的关注领域内创建高质量的样本组合。

What Can You Do with a Digital Media Degree?

Because there are endless applications for digital media products, the demand for experts is experiencing an upward trend. Graduates with a degree in digital media often encounter a variety of career options. So, what can you do with a digital media degree?

Web Development and Design
Web 开发和设计

When a developer creates a website, functionality is key. Developers rely on a keen understanding of coding languages to build websites that respond to a variety of devices and browsers. In addition, they take the end-user experience of the site into account, using the website should lead to a positive experience. Web designers tend to focus more on the visual aesthetic of the website, though they may also be proficient programmers.

Web Developers Web 开发人员

Recent trends in web development and design indicate the value of this potential career path. A Pew Research Center report indicates that, as of 2019, 81% of Americans owned smartphones, providing them with immediate access to the internet, where they can engage with brands, purchase products, and participate in social media. Ensuring that websites and apps are eye-catching and practical is key. As more companies take their business online, the need for web developers is growing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates 13% job growth in the profession between 2018 and 2028 as a direct response to an increase in consumer reliance on e-commerce and mobile devices. According to the BLS, web developers earn an annual median salary of $73,760.
最近的网络开发和设计趋势表明了这一潜在职业道路的价值。皮尤研究中心的一份报告显示,截至 2019 年,81% 的美国人拥有智能手机,这使他们可以立即访问互联网,在那里他们可以与品牌互动、购买产品并参与社交媒体。确保网站和应用程序引人注目且实用至关重要。随着越来越多的公司将业务转移到网上,对 Web 开发人员的需求也在不断增长。美国劳工统计局 (BLS) 预计,由于消费者对电子商务和移动设备的依赖性增加,该行业在 2018 年至 2028 年期间的就业增长率为 13%。根据 BLS 的数据,Web 开发人员的年收入中值为 73,760 美元。

Digital Branding and Marketing

What digital media is for branding and marketing experts is the means for identifying and representing their companies and products in the market. Digital media is integral to the success of businesses and includes the development of brand assets such as logos and color palettes, the design of promotional campaigns, and the integration of visual media into forward-facing content. This remains as important as ever in today’s digital world.

Graphic Designers and Art Directors

Graduates interested in a career in digital branding and marketing often seek graphic design positions. New trends in color schemes, logo creation, and 3D imagery point to exciting opportunities in this field, which the BLS predicts will grow 3% between 2018 and 2028. Growth will vary by industry, with positions in computer systems and related fields growing 24%. Graphic designers earn an annual median salary of $52,110, according to the BLS. Graphic designers may also secure positions as art directors, who earn a median annual wage of $94,220 and often lead teams of graphic designers, illustrators, and photographers.
有兴趣从事数字品牌和营销职业的毕业生通常会寻求平面设计职位。色彩方案、徽标创建和 3D 图像的新趋势表明该领域存在激动人心的机会,美国劳工统计局预测该领域将在 2018 年至 2028 年间增长 3%。不同行业的增长率会有所不同,计算机系统和相关领域的职位增长率为 24%。根据美国劳工统计局的数据,平面设计师的年收入中值为 52,110 美元。平面设计师还可以担任艺术总监的职位,他们的年收入中值为 94,220 美元,并且通常领导平面设计师、插画家和摄影师团队。

Motion Graphics and Video Game Design

Both television and film rely heavily on the skills of motion graphics experts. What is digital media for these creatives? Designers in this field develop storyboards and create animations that deliver cohesive visual effects. The advent of modern computer-generated imagery (CGI) has led to an increased demand for these digital media skills, with Comscore reporting growth in the film industry to a market value of $42.5 billion in 2019.
电视和电影都极大地依赖于动态图形专家的技能。对于这些创意人士来说,数字媒体是什么?该领域的的设计师开发故事板并创建动画,以提供连贯的视觉效果。现代计算机生成图像 (CGI) 的出现导致对这些数字媒体技能的需求增加,Comscore 报告称,2019 年电影行业的增长达到 425 亿美元的市场价值。

The gaming industry also looks to motion graphics experts to create realistic and seamless stories that are visually engaging. According to one report from SuperData, the video game industry alone was worth more than $120 billion in 2019. With gamers making use of a variety of platforms — including desktop computers, mobile devices, and consoles — there is no lack of opportunity for digital media experts who specialize in animation and motion graphics.
游戏行业也希望动态图形专家创造逼真且无缝的故事,在视觉上引人入胜。根据 SuperData 的一份报告,仅视频游戏行业在 2019 年就价值超过 1200 亿美元。随着游戏玩家使用各种平台——包括台式电脑、移动设备和游戏机——专门从事动画和动态图形的数字媒体专家不乏机会。

Motion Graphics Experts, Multimedia Artists, and Animators

Motion graphics experts often seek multimedia artist or animator positions. Whether working in television, film, or video games, there is ample opportunity, with the BLS reporting the annual median salary of multimedia artists and animators as $75,270. The profession is expected to see employment growth of 4% between 2018 and 2028.
动态图形专家通常会寻找多媒体艺术家或动画师职位。无论是在电视、电影还是视频游戏中工作,都有很多机会,劳工统计局报告多媒体艺术家和动画师的年平均工资为 75,270 美元。预计该职业在 2018 年至 2028 年间就业增长率为 4%。

Digital Illustration 数字插图

Art meets technology in the field of digital illustration. Whether creating posters, book jackets, fliers, or other materials, a keen eye for color, layout, and typography will go far. Digital illustrators may work with print or online media, and often integrate aspects of web design, animation, and graphic design into their work. They must be proficient with current technology and offer ample creative insight.

Digital Illustrators 数字插画家

Since digital illustrators can pursue careers in any number of fields, the opportunities to seek a career leveraging this skill set are numerous. Among the most common fields digital illustrators enter are marketing and web design, both of which project growth in the coming years. The BLS places the career of digital illustrators in the category of graphic designers.

Pursue a Career in Digital Media

As employers gain a more complete understanding of what digital media is and recognize the value it brings to their organizations, those who work in this area could encounter new opportunities to advance in their careers. Aspiring designers who have a dual passion for art and technology may find that earning a degree in digital media can be a decisive step toward achieving their professional goals.

Discover how an online bachelor’s in digital media from Maryville University inspires students to build professional portfolios and gain hands-on experience that can be invaluable in future jobs.

Recommended Readings: 推荐读物:

Marketing in the 21st Century: How Does Digital Media Affect the Marketing Mix?
21 世纪的营销:数字媒体如何影响营销组合?

Design in the Digital Age: Must-Have Tools for Graphic Designers

A Guide to Activism in the Digital Age

Sources: 来源:

Billboard, “2019 Global Box Office Revenue Hit Record $42.5B Despite 4 Percent Dip in U.S.”
Billboard,“2019 年全球票房收入创纪录达到 425 亿美元,尽管美国下降了 4%”
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Digital Media Association, About DiMA
数字媒体协会,关于 DiMA
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Pew Research Center, “10% of Americans Don’t Use the Internet. Who Are They?”
皮尤研究中心,“10% 的美国人不使用互联网。他们是谁?”
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Pew Research Center, “About three-in-ten U.S. adults say they are ‘almost constantly’ online”
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Pew Research Center, Mobile Fact SheetExternal link: Superdata, 2019 Year In Review Digital Games and Interactive MediaExternal link:
皮尤研究中心,移动事实表 Superdata,2019 年数字游戏和互动媒体回顾

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Art Directors
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U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Graphic Designers
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U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Multimedia Artists and Animators
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U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Web Developers
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World Economic Forum, “Digital Media and Society — Benefits and Opportunities”
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