Graphic Design

2013-14 Edition

Sylvania Campus
Communications Technology Building, (CT) Room 102
971-722-4160, 971-722-4790, 971-722-4264

Career and Program Description

Graphic design is the art, discipline and profession of visual communication. By combining images, words and ideas graphic designers focus information toward an audience to achieve a desired goal. Graphic designers blend artistic talent, typography and computer knowledge to create advertisements, brochures, logos and identity systems, newsletters, catalogs, signage systems, web pages, magazines and books. The two-year program at PCC prepares the student for entry-level work in the highly competitive and deadline-oriented field of graphic design. Class work is designed to simulate industry situations and standards.

Degree and Certificate Offered

Associate of Applied Science Degree

Graphic Design

Prerequisites and Requirements

Students are strongly encouraged to attend one of the graphic design orientation meetings held throughout the year. Please check for times and dates. Students starting the program are required to test into WR 121 or above on the Writing placement test, and MTH 65 or above on the math placement test as minimum entry requirements.

The program begins fall term when students must successfully complete GD 120, GD 114 and GD 101 with a B or better before taking other first-year graphic design courses. Please note that some courses are only offered once during the year and enrollment is limited. First term design courses are taught in a hands-on, non-computer format. Beginning second term, design study is integrated with computer technology. In all classes, students study the principles and practices used to carry an idea from thumbnail sketches through layout and completed design. Both two- and three-dimensional design concepts in print and digital format are explored. All second year work is directed at building a professional level portfolio.

Full-time day students can complete the program in six terms. However, many students elect to take a part-time course load and take longer than six terms to complete the program. Students should contact the Graphic Design student support specialist at 971-722-4160 to consult for course planning. After completing the AAS degree students are eligible to transfer to Portland State University.


Graphic Design AAS Degree

Minimum 97 credits. Students must also meet Associate Degree Comprehensive Requirements and Associate of Applied Science Requirements. Students must complete a total of sixteen credits of General Education. Some courses specified within the program may be used as General Education. Students should consult with program advisors for course planning.

Graphic Design Degree Credit Summary

Remaining General Education8
Total Credits97

Course of Study

The coursework listed below is required. The following is an example of a term-by-term breakdown.

First TermCredits
ART 131ADrawing I3
GD 101Macintosh for Graphic Designers1
GD 114Introductory Typography3
GD 120Graphic Design I3
WR 121English Composition4
General Education4
Second Term
COMM 111Public Speaking4
GD 116Intermediate Typography3
GD 122Graphic Design 23
GD 140Digital Page Design 13
GD 150Digital Illustration I3
Third Term
ART 214History of Graphic Design4
GD 124Graphic Design 33
GD 141Digital Page Design 23
GD 151Digital Illustration 23
GD 160Digital Imaging I3
Fourth Term
ART 270APrintmaking I3
GD 221Graphic Design 43
GD 244Preparing Files for Print3
GD 249 or 280ADesign Studio3
GD 260Digital Imaging 23
Fifth Term
CAS 111DBeginning Website Creation: Dreamweaver3
GD 222Graphic Design 53
GD 228Professional Graphic Design Practices3
GD 239Illustration for Graphic Designers3
GD 242Combined Graphic Programs3
Sixth Term
BA 239 or 223Advertising3
GD 229Portfolio Preparation3
MTH 65Introductory Algebra - Second Term4
GD Art Elective3
General Education4
All General Education courses must be completed by end of this term. 
 Total Credits: 97


Could be used as General Education

Graphic Design Degree Art Electives

ART 140ADigital Photography I3
ART 204History of Western Art4
ART 204HHistory of Western Art: Honors4
ART 205History of Western Art4
ART 205HHistory of Western Art: Honors4
ART 206History of Western Art4
ART 206HHistory of Western Art: Honors4
ART 271APrintmaking II3

Cooperative work experience and internship placements are available. These are highly recommended to prepare student for the graphic design industry.


GD 101. Macintosh for Graphic Designers. 1 Credit.

Course covers current Macintosh operating system computer fundamentals and techniques used to increase efficiency and productivity for professional Graphic Designers. Topics include an in-depth study of system desktop features, search and navigation, advanced file management, font organization and essential shortcuts specific to the Graphic Design industry. Required course for Graphic Design majors. Prerequisite: Placement into WR 121.

GD 114. Introductory Typography. 3 Credits.

Introduces the letterform as a design element. Focuses on using typography as the primary visual in graphic design exploration. Includes font classification, composition, vocabulary and production techniques. Emphasizes hand-rendered techniques. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores.

GD 116. Intermediate Typography. 3 Credits.

Focuses on typographic composition, hierarchy of information, font identification and grid structure. Integrates type and image to reflect contemporary layout directions. Prerequisites: GD 101, GD 114, GD 120. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 140.

GD 120. Graphic Design I. 3 Credits.

Introduces the basic concepts of graphic design, including design elements and principles. Emphasizes the design process, developing an idea from thumbnail sketch, through tight roughs, to a comprehensive design. Focuses on the importance of presentation, industry standards and professional tools and techniques. Required for entry into the Graphic Design program.

GD 122. Graphic Design 2. 3 Credits.

Builds on the basic concepts of graphic design. Emphasizes color, including color theory, vocabulary, color schemes, and the effects of color. Focuses on identifying graphic styles, brainstorming techniques, and introduces 3-dimensional design. Attention placed on design process, presentation, and industry standards. Prerequisites: GD 101, GD 114, GD 120 Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 140 and/or GD 150.

GD 124. Graphic Design 3. 3 Credits.

Third in a series of six graphic design courses. Builds on basic concepts of graphic design. Emphasizes research, identifying specific graphic design needs for a business, symbol design, and maintaining continuity while working with multiple colors, sizes and materials. Studies in-depth the relationships of type, layout and color in two- and three-dimensional graphic design projects. Prerequisites: GD 122, GD 140, GD 150. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 141, GD 151.

GD 140. Digital Page Design 1. 3 Credits.

Explores beginning level graphic design and publishing using professional page layout software. Introduces typography design, basic page layout, computer file management, professional methods of design organization, keyboard work and the foundations of computer use in single-page layouts. To be taken sequentially. Placement permission slip required. Prerequisites: GD 101, GD 114 and GD 120. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 122.

GD 141. Digital Page Design 2. 3 Credits.

Covers layout and design of multi-page printed documents. Includes interactive page elements, prepress and output, file management and industry-standard design processes. Department permission required. Prerequisite: GD 140.

GD 150. Digital Illustration I. 3 Credits.

Explores the basic tools and techniques of Adobe Illustrator and its use in creating appropriate solutions to graphic design problems. To be taken sequentially. Placement permission slip required. Prerequisite: GD 101, GD 114, and GD 120. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 122.

GD 151. Digital Illustration 2. 3 Credits.

Explores advanced tools and techniques of Adobe Illustrator, and its use in creating solutions to complex graphic design problems. Placement permission slip required. Prerequisite: GD 150. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 160.

GD 160. Digital Imaging I. 3 Credits.

Introduces professional software to control digital image editing, photo manipulation and layer compositing of raster art. Emphasizes file formats, techniques and tools used by graphic designers. Placement permission slip required. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 141 and GD 151.

GD 170. Photoshop and Design Basics. 2 Credits.

Introductory Photoshop tools and techniques combined with basic design and composition principles. Ideal for learning digital photo page layout and design. Macintosh experience highly recommended. Audit available.

GD 221. Graphic Design 4. 3 Credits.

Focuses on publication design. Single-page and multiple-page projects will emphasize hierarchy, eyeflow, structure and organization. Projects, lessons and exercises are intended to build on first-year skills in typography and design using professional page layout software. Advanced computer production techniques build on previous coursework. Required: Second-year standing in the Graphic Design program.

GD 222. Graphic Design 5. 3 Credits.

Explore branding, logo design and identity systems. Research target audience and create design solutions to communicate client and product image through logos, logotypes, icons, and symbols. Advanced computer production techniques build on previous coursework. Required: Second-year standing in the Graphic Design program Prerequisite: GD 221.

GD 228. Professional Graphic Design Practices. 3 Credits.

Prepare self-promotion resume packages, visit graphics businesses and receive industry insights from guest speakers. Offered to second-year, graduating Graphic Design students intending to seek employment in the industry. Prerequisites: GD 221. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 222, GD 242, GD 260, GD 244.

GD 229. Portfolio Preparation. 3 Credits.

Develop a professional portfolio comprised of design work that may be revised, redone or created. Define employment goals and participate in practice interviews and critiques. Offered to second-year, graduating Graphic Design students intending to seek employment in the industry. Prerequisite: GD 228.

GD 239. Illustration for Graphic Designers. 3 Credits.

Explores a variety of traditional, non-digital illustration tools and techniques. Covers professional methods of digitizing and formatting artwork for media reproduction. Integrates illustrations into design communication materials. Prerequisites: GD 124, GD 140 and ART131.

GD 242. Combined Graphic Programs. 3 Credits.

Create graphic elements in multiple programs and explore importing, exporting and assembling in other programs. Advanced techniques are used to study cross-application issues. Required: second year standing in the Graphic Design program. Prerequisites: GD 141, GD 151, GD 221. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 260.

GD 244. Preparing Files for Print. 3 Credits.

Presents the production processes which follow the design phase. From correctly preparing design in the digital environment for successful printing on commercial presses. The business roles of the designer, the printer and the service bureau will be covered. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 221.

GD 249. Design Studio. 3 Credits.

Explore graphic design theory in actual client-directed projects. Course is set up to simulate a working design studio providing the opportunity to experience the requirements and roles of a designer in the field, as well as the administrative tasks. Emphasizes client communication and professional practices. Acceptable substitution: GD 280A Cooperative Work Experience: Graphic Design. Required: Second year standing in the Graphic Design program. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 221, GD 244.

GD 260. Digital Imaging 2. 3 Credits.

Introduces advanced techniques in color correction and image manipulation for print and web-based graphics. The study of masks, channels and advanced selection methods will be incorporated in professional-level design projects. Export formats and cross-application issues are covered. Required: Second year standing in the Graphic Design program. Prerequisite: GD 160.

GD 280A. Cooperative Education: Graphic Design. 1-6 Credit.

Cooperative on-the-job experience allowing for the application and development of knowledge and skills acquired in the on-campus program. Variable credits: Receive one credit for every 40 hours of successful work experience. Department permission required.