Preparing for a Career in Communication, Art, and Design

Communication, Art, and Design Tiger Track


To excel in visual and written communication, students need to be able to

  • Frame and formulate a clear, concise, persuasive argument while working under tight deadlines
  • Appreciate the meaning and visual possibilities of words and images together
  • Work singularly or with a team to think creatively, spontaneously, and strategically, while being sensitive to how people consume information
  • Enjoy the creation process and see the inevitable setbacks as challenges, not failures
  • Explore multiple solutions simultaneously and understand which solution would be the most appropriate for the challenge at hand.


Hampden-Sydney teaches all students argumentation, grammar, and editing. Students who particularly enjoy this emphasis should concentrate on learning to write and speak persuasively and should take time to identify which classes and professors can offer valuable supplements to their rhetoric skills in the particular communication skills that drive their interest.

  • Communication in these fields can be written or spoken as well as visual. Students should consider the Creative Nonfiction class and a Rhetoric Minor (including Oral as well as Written Rhetoric).
  • Other students will gravitate towards visual communication. These students should consider the following classes, many of which are offered by our Fine Arts Department: Color and 2D Design, Digital Photography, Drawing, Painting, Art History, American Photography, and Visual Rhetoric & Cultural Studies.

Co-Curricular Activities

  • Ferguson Center for Public Speaking - Faculty and student tutors help students prepare for oral presentations. A great place to brush up on your speaking skills, but also a productive work option if you can land a job in the Center. See Professor Deal for more information.
  • Writing Center - Faculty and student tutors help students draft and edit their papers. Outstanding students are chosen to serve as peer tutors, offering advice to other students about their prose and gaining valuable insight into their own writing skills. See the directors of the Writing Center, Dr. Frye and Dr. Deis, for more information.
  • Office of Communications & Marketing - The OCM hires three interns every semester to help create posters and presentation materials with the publications office. It can be an excellent opportunity to start building a portfolio. See Kevin Tuck, Productions Manager, to apply.
  • Lab Assistant in the Fine Arts Department - Works in the Mac lab and the photography darkroom, stocking supplies, mixing chemicals, helping with lab maintenance, and peer tutoring.
  • Student Museum Board (SMB) - The SMB helps design and install exhibits at the Atkinson Museum on campus and also participates in several events throughout the year.
  • Theatre Scene Design, Stage Management - Student workers assist the directors of campus
    productions to design and build stage and scenery.

Internship Options

Students who identify this area of interest early on should pursue relevant internships. In addition to seeking guidance at the Career Education and Vocational Reflection Office, students should seek out opportunities through industry research and their own networks.

  • The Martin Agency in Richmond provides a highly competitive, two-week training student workshop which allows hands-on experience with the Martin Agency's creative process.

Post-Graduate Opportunities

  • Post-Baccalaureate Design Degrees: Hampden-Sydney graduates occasionally pursue an additional bachelor's degree in design to supplement the liberal arts degrees that are offered in our curriculum. Several notable design schools on the east coast are Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and Virginia Commonwealth University.
  • More advanced students, who graduate with robust portfolios of their artwork, may be prepared to enroll in graduate level work at schools such as The Portfolio Center School to specialize in Art Direction, Design, Digital Media, Copywriting, Illustration, or Photography.

Careers in Communications, Art, & Design

Some potential career fields include Art Direction, Advertising Client Management, Copywriting, Marketing, Corporate Communication, Design, or Illustration.

Alumni with careers in art and design