Commercial Art

Art and design color our perception of the world — from the products we buy to the television shows we enjoy. The commercial arts play an important part in our day-to-day lives and in the business world.

Kendall Adams, program director


A Career in Commercial Art

The Commercial Art program at Piedmont Technical College offers hands-on, real-world experience with the same kinds of software and design challenges you’ll experience in a creative career.

From photography, to computer graphics, to print design and more, PTC’s program will give you a solid foundation for success in the world of commercial art, whether you’re interested in starting your own business, or going to work for a major corporation or advertising agency.

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What Will I Do as a Commercial Artist?

If you have an artistic streak and you enjoy solving problems by thinking creatively and interacting with computers, you should consider a career in commercial art. As a commercial artist, you’ll plan, analyze and create visual solutions to communications problems.

From billboards, to television ads, to the way products are packaged and manufactured: almost every element of modern consumer culture has been influenced by graphic designers and commercial art professionals at one point or another on the journey from concept to finished product.

Some of your Responsibilities May Require you to:

  • Use digital illustration, photo-editing software and layout software to create designs
  • Create visual elements such as logos, original images, and illustrations that help deliver a crafted message
  • Present design concepts to clients and/or art directors
  • Work with vendors and conduct press checks to ensure satisfactory print quality
  • Take photos using various photographic techniques and lighting equipment
  • Plan and oversee photo shoots.

Career Quick Facts

Career Outlook

Graphic Designers

  • Median Salary Average: $39,380
  • SC Salary Range: $27,070-$75,140
  • 100% placement rate for 2015-2017 graduates


  • Median Salary Average: $32,180
  • SC Salary Range: $17,360-$63,760
  • 75% placement rate for 2015-2017 graduates

Salary and career information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Physical Demands
  • Great deal of sitting (in computer rooms/offices/art department)
  • Very active
  • Focused on computer screen for a good portion of the day
  • Movement back and forth between computer and paste-up, light
  • and cutting tables
  • Movement in order to get certain angles in photo shoots
Entry Level Positions
  • Graphic Designer
  • Photographers
  • Layout Assistant
  • Customer Service
  • Typesetter
  • Graphics Arts Assistant
List of Employers

Recent graduates have found work at:

  • A. K. Photography
  • Allegra Print and Imaging
  • Bridgestone/Firestone
  • Capsugel
  • Ellett Brothers
  • FujiFilm USA
  • Glasgow Printing
  • Grace Community Church
  • Greenwood Chamber of Commerce
  • Greenwood Regional Tourism & Visitor Bureau
  • Office Max
  • Index Journal
  • Leath Correctional Institute
  • Newberry Observer
  • Piedmont Technical College
  • Saluda Standard-Sentinel
  • South Carolina Festival of Flowers

Commercial Art Transfer Agreements

Francis Marion University

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Coastal Carolina University

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Program Information

Commercial Art students get a solid foundation in design concepts, in-depth instruction in the most up-to-date versions of industry standard software like the Adobe Creative Suite, and actual experience with real-world challenges related to their field of study.

Students can choose from three certificates — advertising design, digital rendering and gaming, and photography. Any of these certificates can be extended into an associate degree in general technology.

The importance of developing a solid portfolio is stressed throughout all of the areas of study. With 120 years of combined professional art and design experience, the Commercial Art faculty has a wealth of experience to share with students, and each instructor is focused on student success.

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