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Graphic Design (AA) Computer Studies Total Units: 31.5
Term Effective: Fall 2023


The Graphic Design major is 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, 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.

There is also a certificate which 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 a Certificate of Achievement, see the certificate site.

Program Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this program, 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.

Program Requirements:

The requirements for the Graphic Design (AA) program are:

  • Complete 31.5 units from
    • Graphic Design Major Requirements

Graphic Design Major Requirements - complete 31.50 units
CS 70.11AAdobe Photoshop 13.00
CS 71.11Adobe Illustrator 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 Design3.00
GD 53Design Techniques in Illustrator3.00
GD 54Principles of Layout and Design3.00
GD 60Creating the Professional Portfolio1.50
GD 62Color Theory for Designers1.50
Complete any combination totaling at least 4.50 units from the following:
BMK 51High Tech Selling and Pursuing a Sales Career3.00
GD 57Getting It Printed: Digital Prepress and Print Production3.00
GD 65Business Skills for Creatives1.50
GD 90Designing the User Experience3.00
GD 145Package Design1.50

Term Effective: Fall 2023

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.

Previous Versions:

Graphic Design - effective Fall 2019
Graphic Design - effective Fall 2014
Graphic Design - effective Fall 2010
Graphic Design - effective Summer 2007
Applied Graphics - effective Spring 2007
Applied Graphics - effective Summer 2004

Associate Degree Requirements:

The major is one of several requirements students need to fulfill in order to be awarded the Associate Degree, the highest level of academic achievement recognized by Santa Rosa Junior College. Please note that all of the following requirements must be met in order for the degree to be conferred:

For all students admitted for the Fall 2009 term or any term thereafter, a grade of "C" or better, or "P" if the course is taken on a pass/no pass basis, is required for each course applied toward the major.

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.

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(707) 524-1567
Computer Studies