Graphic Design

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

Academic Prerequisites

  • The first three graphic design courses (GD 114GD 120 and GD 150) 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 114GD 120 and GD 150. 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.

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.

Non-Academic 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.

Non-Academic Requirements

  • None

Graphic Design AAS Degree

Minimum 92 credits. Students must also meet Associate Degree Comprehensive Requirements and Associate of Applied Science Requirements. Students must complete a total of four courses 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.

Plan of Study Grid
Summer TermCredits
COMM 111 Public Speaking (COMM111=COMM111Z) *,Z 4
GD 120 Graphic Design I 3
First Term
ART 131A Drawing I * 4
GD 114 Introductory Typography 3
GD 150 Digital Illustration 1 3
Second Term
GD 116 Intermediate Typography 3
GD 122 Graphic Design 2 3
GD 140 Digital Page Design 1 3
GD 151 Digital Illustration 2 3
Third Term
ART 214 History of Graphic Design * 4
GD 124 Graphic Design 3 3
GD 141 Digital Page Design 2 3
GD 160 Digital Imaging 1 3
GD 182 Screen Design Principles 3
All first year non-GD requirements must be completed prior to second year admission, and of these, all GD and ART classes must be passed with a 'B' or higher.
Fourth Term
GD 221 Graphic Design 4 3
GD 239 Illustration for Graphic Designers 3
GD 244 Print Strategies 3
GD 249
Design Studio
or Cooperative Education: Graphic Design
GD 260 Digital Imaging 2 3
Fifth Term
ART 272
Printmaking I Screenprinting
or Printmaking I Intaglio
or Printmaking I Relief
GD 222 Graphic Design 5 3
GD 228 Professional Graphic Design Practices 3
GD 242 Combined Graphic Programs 3
General Education: 1 course
Sixth Term
ART 140A Introduction to Digital Photography * 4
BA 239
or Principles of Marketing
GD 229 Portfolio Preparation 3
Graphic Design Art Elective 3
General Education: 1 course
All General Education courses must be completed by end of this term.
 Total Credits92

Could be used as General Education


This course is part of Oregon Common Course Numbering. COMM 111 and COMM 111Z are equivalent.

Graphic Design Degree Art Electives

ART 212Modern Art History: Early 20th Century Art4
ART 213Modern Art History: Art Since 19454
ART 219AHand Lettering: Monoline Techniques4
ART 219BHand Lettering: Special Tools4
ART 219CHand Lettering: Hand Drawn Letters4
ART 272Printmaking I Screenprinting 4
ART 273Printmaking I Intaglio 4
ART 274Printmaking I Relief4

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

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. Introduces current Macintosh computer operating system, industry technical requirements, classroom procedures and overview of the technology used in the Graphic Design program. Prerequisites: GD 120, and (WR 115 and RD 115) or IRW 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement. Corequisite: GD 150.

GD 116. Intermediate Typography. 3 Credits.

Focuses on typographic composition, hierarchy of information, font identification and grid structure. Integrates type and image for page layout. Prerequisites: GD 114, GD 150. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 122, GD 140, GD 151.

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 and brainstorming techniques. Introduces 3-dimensional design. Emphasizes the design process, presentation, and industry standards. Prerequisites: GD 114, GD 150. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 116, GD 140, GD 151.

GD 124. Graphic Design 3. 3 Credits.

Introduces concept generation for graphic communication. Emphasizes research, symbol design, and continuity of elements across a designed campaign. Prerequisites: GD 116, GD 122, GD 140, GD 151. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 141, GD 160, GD 182.

GD 140. Digital Page Design 1. 3 Credits.

Explores beginning level graphic design and publishing using professional page layout software. Emphasizes typography, basic page layout, computer file management, professional methods of design organization, keyboard efficiency, and the foundations of computer use in single-page layouts. The PCC Graphic Design department recommends that students take GD 140 and GD 141 courses in consecutive terms. Prerequisites: GD 114, GD 150. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 151.

GD 141. Digital Page Design 2. 3 Credits.

Covers layout design of multi-page printed documents. Includes interactive page elements, prepress and output, file management, and industry-standard design processes. The PCC Graphic Design department recommends that students take GD 140 and GD 141 courses in consecutive terms. Prerequisite: GD 116, GD 122, GD 140, GD 151. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 124, GD 160, GD 182.

GD 150. Digital Illustration 1. 3 Credits.

Introduces professional techniques for generating vector graphics and imagery. Includes templates, layers, tools and efficient construction techniques used by graphic designers. Prerequisite: GD 120. Corequisites: GD 114.

GD 151. Digital Illustration 2. 3 Credits.

Introduces advanced techniques of creating vector graphics for professional output. Prerequisite: GD 114, GD 150. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 140.

GD 160. Digital Imaging 1. 3 Credits.

Introduces professional software for digital image editing, photo manipulation, and layer compositing of raster art. Emphasizes file formats, techniques, and tools used by graphic designers. Prerequisites: GD 116, GD 122, GD 140, GD 151. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 182.

GD 182. Screen Design Principles. 3 Credits.

Introduces the fundamentals of designing for screens. Includes relevant terminology, structure of screen layouts and elements, typographic practices, and graphic optimization. Prerequisites: GD 116, GD 122, GD 140, GD 151. Prerequisite/concurrent: GD 160.

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. Prerequisites: 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.