Printer Friendly Version    Evaluation Worksheet   

Graphic Design Certificate Computer Studies Total Units: 43.5
A newer version of this program is available. View the latest version here.

Catalog rights may apply, see a counselor for more information.

Term Effective: Fall 2010


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 as well as verbal communication skills.

The program is designed to address graphic design skill sets. In partnership with the Computer Studies application offerings, the Graphic Design students master the Adobe graphics standard computer application programs: Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign. The companion design, production and illustration classes operate in a workshop manner with lots of real world projects, feedback and group work as part of the curriculum. Additional coursework in business practices, and portfolio development helps to round out this very practical approach to instruction. Students will learn how 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 off-set 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 this exciting field including production artist, in-house graphic designer, free-lance 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, websites, 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 free-lance 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.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this certificate, the student will be able to:

  1. Develop professional level communication visuals from initial concept all the way through printed materials using design principles, an understanding of graphic design history, typographic knowledge, hand mock-up and illustration skills, advanced computer skills using the Adobe Suite, and pre press knowledge;
  2. set-up and manage a one person freelance studio complying with governmental regulations, estimating projects, writing up proposals, negotiating with clients, keeping records, billing clients, and managing finances; and
  3. create and present a professional portfolio of at least fifteen finished projects to potential employers and clients using professional level interviewing skills and well designed collateral materials.

Recommended Sequence of Courses

Follow the link to view the recommended course sequence for this program of study.

Program Requirements:

The requirements for the Graphic Design Certificate program are:

  • Complete 43.5 units from
    • Graphic Design Certificate Core Requirements

Graphic Design Certificate Core Requirements - complete 43.50 units
Complete any combination totaling at least 43.50 units from the following:
CS 70.11AAdobe Photoshop 13.00
CS 72.11AAdobe InDesign 13.00
GD 15History of Graphic Design3.00
GD 20Introduction to Typography and Letterforms3.00
GD 51Introduction to Graphic Design: Visual Basics3.00
GD 52Rapid Viz: Drawing Techniques for the Designer1.50
GD 53Design Techniques in Illustrator3.00
GD 54Beginning Page Layout and Advertising Design3.00
GD 55Tools, Methods, and Materials3.00
GD 56Digital Illustration in Photoshop1.50
GD 57Digital Prepress and Print Production3.00
GD 58Advanced Page Layout and Advertising Design3.00
GD 59Package Design Techniques3.00
GD 60Creating the Professional Portfolio1.50
GD 61Color in the Digital World3.00
GD 63Online Resources for Graphic Designers1.50
GD 65Business of Graphic Design1.50

Term Effective: Fall 2010

The requirements for this program of study are effective beginning the semester shown above. If you began working on this program before the effective semester, you may not be affected by the changes. Consult with the program contact person or the department chair to determine your eligibility to complete the program under previous requirements.

Term Inactive: Fall 2014

Previous Versions:

Graphic Design - effective Summer 2007
Applied Graphics - effective Fall 1981

Course Prerequisites and Advisories:

Courses in a program of study may have prerequisites or advisories; that is, courses that must or should be completed before taking that course. Please check for prerequisites or advisories by clicking on the course numbers in the Program Requirements section.

Phone Email Website
(707) 527-4909