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Graphic Design

The Graphic Design Certificate of Achievement is a two-year program designed to provide students with entry-level skills for business or industry in the field of graphic design, and is structured to provide a practical, hands-on experience in graphic fundamentals. The program addresses basic design principles, layout techniques, professional typographic treatments, computer applications, digital illustration, computer production techniques, offset printing requirements, and business practices. It provides the most current information, technology and equipment possible. Most of the instructors are practicing professionals in the field of graphic design. Students spend much of their time creating practical design pieces from initial sketches all the way through to final digital output that ultimately becomes an integral part of a professional student portfolio.

The graphics professional is a person who loves problem solving on a visual level. This individual enjoys collaborating with others to create effective communication pieces to address client marketing and advertising goals. The designer helps create identities, business systems, posters, flyers, brochures, book covers, advertisements, billboards, packages, magazines, newsletters, wine labels, Web sites, compact disk packaging, etc. etc. Graphic design tends to be a fast-paced, deadline-driven profession that demands creativity, quick thinking, good organization, excellent technology skills, and well-developed visual and verbal communication skills.

The program is designed to address graphic design skill sets. The computer design core teaches students to use industry standard computer graphics packages in a project-based environment. The design and production fundamentals sequence addresses design and offset printing fundamentals in a workshop setting with much feedback and group work as part of the curriculum. Additional coursework in business practices, and portfolio development helps round out this very practical approach to instruction. Students learn to:

  • develop strong, effective visual communication concepts
  • communicate visually with hand-drawn sketches
  • create simple graphic treatments using basic illustration techniques
  • use the computer as a production and creativity tool
  • create mock-ups of all types of graphic design using hand skills
  • set up computer files for offset printing
  • use typography effectively
  • work with clients and printers
  • set up a freelance studio and bid graphic design projects
  • create a professional portfolio

The graphic designer has many employment opportunities in an exciting field, including production artist, in-house graphic designer, freelance designer, or computer illustrator. Many students in the program have jobs in the field before they graduate. We offer an intern program for qualified students to gain on-the-job experience with local businesses while acquiring new skills.

Students who complete the program work for a variety of businesses in the local community. Publishers hire them to do advertising design, production, PhotoShop work, layout, and design. Small businesses require data sheets, newsletters, Web sites, advertising, and brochures. Graphic design studios need employees with strong computer backgrounds, good ideation techniques, and precise mock-up skills. Many students graduate with the goal of owning their own freelance businesses.

This certificate is the second step in a career ladder. Students who have already completed the Graphic Design Production Fundamentals Skills Certificate will have fulfilled a portion of the Graphic Design Certificate of Achievement. For students interested in an associate degree, a Graphic Design Major is available.

Graphic Design Certificate Coursework
Course # Course Name Units Delivery
first semester course of study (fall/spring) 10.5 Classroom Online
GD 51 Introduction to Graphic Design: Visual Basics 3.0 X  
CS 72.11A Adobe InDesign 1 3.0 X X
GD 52 Rapid Viz: Drawing Techniques for the Designer 1.5 X  
CS 70.11A Adobe Photoshop 1 3.0 X X
second semester course of study (spring/fall) 12.0
GD 53 Design Techniques in Illustrator 3.0 X  
GD 54 Beginning Page Layout and Advertising Design 3.0 X  
GD 20 Typography and Letterforms 3.0 X  
GD 55 Tools, Methods and Materials 3.0 X  
third semester course of study (fall) 6
GD 57 Digital Prepress and Print Production 3.0 X  
GD 15 History of Graphic Design 3.0 X  
fourth semester course of study (spring) 7.5
GD 58 Advanced Page Layout and Advertising Design 3.0 X  
GD 63 Online Resources for the Graphic Designer 1.5   X
GD 60 Creating the Professional Portfolio 1.5 X  
GD 65 The Business of Graphic Design 1.5 X  
  Total Units 36