Graphic Design

2017-18 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

Admission Prerequisites

Academic Prerequisites

  • The first three graphic design courses (GD 101, GD 114 and GD 120) are open for all PCC students who meet the registration requirements and course prerequisites to enroll. Enrolling in subsequent GD courses is limited to Graphic Design majors.
  • In order to declare a major of Graphic Design, students must complete the GD Program application form and earn a "B" grade or higher in GD 101, GD 114 and GD 120. Students should declare a General Studies degree before they apply for the Graphic Design program and advance to subsequent GD Program courses.
  • This is a limited entry program.

Other Prerequisites

  • Students interested in enrolling in Graphic Design courses must attend one of the regularly scheduled PCC Graphic Design information sessions. Please go to to learn more.

Program Requirements

Academic Requirements

  • To qualify for advancement to second-year courses students must earn a "B" grade or higher in all first-year Graphic Design and Art courses.

Other Requirements

  • None

Graphic Design AAS Degree

Minimum 91 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. In addition to required courses in the program of study, students must satisfy MTH 58/65 competency. Students should consult with program advisors for course planning.

Course of Study

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

First TermCredits
ART 131A*Drawing I3
GD 101Technology and Procedures1
GD 114Introductory Typography3
GD 120Graphic Design I3
WR 121English Composition4
Second Term
COMM 111*Public Speaking4
GD 116Intermediate Typography3
GD 122Graphic Design 23
GD 140Digital Page Design 13
GD 150Digital Illustration 13
Third Term
ART 214*History of Graphic Design4
GD 124Graphic Design 33
GD 141Digital Page Design 23
GD 151Digital Illustration 23
GD 160Digital Imaging 13
Note: All first year graphic design and art courses must be completed with a B grade or higher to qualify for the second year graphic design courses. 
Fourth Term
GD 221Graphic Design 43
GD 239Illustration for Graphic Designers3
GD 244Print Strategies3
GD 249Design Studio3
Cooperative Education: Graphic Design
GD 260Digital Imaging 23
Fifth Term
ART 270A*Printmaking I3
CAS 106Introduction to HTML1
GD 222Graphic Design 53
GD 228Professional Graphic Design Practices3
GD 242Combined Graphic Programs3
General Education4
Sixth Term
BA 239Advertising3
Principles of Marketing
GD 229Portfolio Preparation3
GD Art Elective3
General Education4
All General Education courses must be completed by end of this term. 
 Total Credits: 91

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 219AThe Art of Hand Lettering: Monoline Techniques3
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. Technology and Procedures. 1 Credit.

Introduces current Macintosh computer operating system, industry technical requirements, classroom procedures and overview of the program servers and printers. Required for entry into the Graphic Design program. 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 and RD 115) or IRW 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement.

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 122, 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. Focuses attention on design process, presentation, and industry standards. Prerequisites: GD 101, GD 114, GD 120. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 116, GD 140, GD 150.

GD 124. Graphic Design 3. 3 Credits.

Explores basic graphic design concepts. Emphasizes research, symbol design and continuity of design elements. Identifies specific requirements for 2- and 3-dimensional design projects. Prerequisites: GD 116, GD 122, GD 140, GD 150. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 141, GD 151, GD 160.

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, GD 120. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 116, 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 116, GD 122, GD 140, GD 150. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 124, GD 160.

GD 150. Digital Illustration 1. 3 Credits.

Introduces professional techniques for creating vector images. Includes templates, layers, tools and efficient construction techniques used by graphic designers. Prerequisite: GD 101, GD 114, GD 120. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 122, GD 140.

GD 151. Digital Illustration 2. 3 Credits.

Explores advanced techniques of creating vector illustrations for 2- and 3-dimensional applications. Prerequisite: GD 116, GD 122, GD 140, GD 150. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 124, GD 160.

GD 160. Digital Imaging 1. 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. Prerequisites: GD 116, GD 122, GD 140, GD 150. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 141, GD 151.

GD 221. Graphic Design 4. 3 Credits.

Focuses on publication design. Covers single-page and multiple-page projects emphasizing hierarchy, eyeflow, structure and organization. Builds upon first-year skills in typography and design through projects, lessons and exercises using professional page layout software. Includes advanced computer production techniques. Required: Second-year standing in the Graphic Design program. Prerequisites: GD 124, GD 141, GD 151, GD 160.

GD 222. Graphic Design 5. 3 Credits.

Explores branding, logo design and identity systems. Covers researching target audiences and creating design solutions to communicate client and product image through logos, logotypes, icons, and symbols. Requires advanced computer production techniques building on previous coursework. Required: Second-year standing in the Graphic Design program. Prerequisite: GD 221, GD 260.

GD 228. Professional Graphic Design Practices. 3 Credits.

Explores graphic design business strategies incorporating methods used by design professionals to seek, acquire, and maintain employment. Required: second year standing in the Graphic Design program. Prerequisite: GD 124, GD 141, GD 151, GD 160.

GD 229. Portfolio Preparation. 3 Credits.

Covers the process of developing a professional-level graphic design portfolio. Requirement: Must be eligible to graduate in the current calendar year to enroll. Prerequisites: GD 222, GD 228, GD 244, GD 260.

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 141, GD 151, GD 160, and ART 131.

GD 242. Combined Graphic Programs. 3 Credits.

Covers advanced integration of professional graphic design software. Includes projects which embody conceptual development and production of visual communications. Required: second-year standing in the Graphic Design program.Prerequisite: GD 221, GD 260.

GD 244. Print Strategies. 3 Credits.

Presents the professionally accepted production processes, procedures, and materials used to reproduce graphic communications for distribution. Required: Second-year standing in the Graphic Design program. Prerequisite: GD 124, GD 141, GD 151, GD 160.

GD 249. Design Studio. 3 Credits.

Covers development of projects for non-profit and community clients. Explores the roles and requirements of a designer in a working studio. Emphasizes client communication strategies and professional practices. Required: Second-year standing in the Graphic Design program. Prerequisites: GD 124, GD 141, GD 151, GD 160.

GD 260. Digital Imaging 2. 3 Credits.

Introduces advanced techniques of raster graphic production. Emphasizes practices used by graphic designers to create layouts and components for interactive content. Covers methods and procedures that are tailored for output to displays of digital devices. Required: Second-year standing in the Graphic Design program. Prerequisite: GD 124, GD 141, GD 151, GD 160.

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

Provides an opportunity to gain experience at a graphic design worksite or at a business employing graphic designers. Provides opportunities for new learning, skill development and practicing skills learned in the required courses. Requires coordination and approval by the instructor, the on-site supervisor and PCC Cooperative Education Specialist. Prerequisite: GD 141, GD 151, GD 160.