Graphic Arts Design Certificate

Graphic Arts Design Certificate at Harper College

Start your career in graphic arts/design 

Program facts  arts icon


  • Credit hours: 34
  • Stackable to degree: Yes
  • Potential job outcomes: Desktop publisher, graphic designer, web designer

Learn the basics of graphic design for print/web production with this 34-credit-hour certificate program. You’ll develop a foundation of knowledge in the graphic arts and print industries, gaining hands-on experience working with the latest computer software and understanding current production techniques.

Classes focus on graphic arts technology, desktop publishing, digital imaging, press operations, digital illustration, web foundations, page layout, packaging/finishing/distribution and more.

Study with skilled instructors who are all working professionals in their respective fields. Get additional experience outside of the classroom by working in one of Harper College’s three state-of- the-art graphic arts labs. Each lab is equipped with Mac computers and the latest creative software. 

Build on this certificate by earning an AAS degree in Graphic Arts Technology (Graphic Arts Design specialization) through additional coursework.

Certificate program requirements

This 34 credit-hour certificate program is designed to provide students with the skills to gain creative understanding and design materials for print production. This program covers type and graphic design, page layout, computer graphics, and the production needs of good design.

Required:

Number Course Title Credits
ART 121 3

Description: Introduces students to skills fundamental to two-dimensional visual organization. Explores elements such as line, shape and color, and principles such as unity, balance and variation. Provides a foundation for all areas of art and design. IAI ART 907

GRA 101 3

Description: Gives students an overview of the graphic arts industry. Covers various occupations including basic information for making career and education choices. Builds the foundation for continuing education in the graphic arts program. Includes historical, current and potential developments in the printing industry. Provides a comprehensive understanding of desktop publishing software and the steps related to producing printed materials.

GRA 102 3

Description: Presents a clear understanding of graphic desktop software and their many functions in the printing industry. Provides hands-on training using the most current desktop publishing software. Focuses on project work, page layouts and output functions.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in GRA 101.

GRA 103 3

Description: Covers fundamentals of professional digital image-editing software (Adobe Photoshop). Emphasizes skills to manipulate photos using current software tools and special effects filters. Explores program tools, color correction, channels, layers and masks. Computer skills are required for success in this course.

GRA 105 3

Description: Examines the fundamentals of color theory and color management, throughout the entire graphic arts process. Students will explore all color management techniques of input and output devices as well as tools and concepts for successful color control.

Prerequisite: GRA 101 or GRA 103 with a grade of C or better.

GRA 112 3

Description: Presents vector graphics software and its applications to the graphic arts industry. Explores tools and functions within the current software. Focuses on creating illustrations, working with type, color, and all tools needed to create multi-colored illustration and separation. Emphasizes techniques to create illustration files for use in digital print production. Computer skills are required for success in this course.

GRA 120 3

Description: Focuses on beginning fundamentals of graphic design utilizing all design principles and involves an overview of design and layout rendering techniques. Focuses on typography, images and graphics, utilizing design processes (including research and sketching) and current graphic software for print. Projects are critiqued for aesthetics and production for print.

Prerequisite: GRA 102 with a grade of C or better.

GRA 130 2

Description: Explores beginning fundamentals of photography, its history, and the development of photography in both commercial and creative usage. Presents a past and present use of photography focusing on techniques and applications in a conventional camera-based environment emphasizing the digital photographic arena.

GRA 131 3

Description: Explores the techniques and applications of digital image capture, manipulating images in Photoshop and outputting digital images. Focuses on the technical aspect of digital photography, lighting needs, application use and color management basics. Project based instruction utilizing basic photographic concepts, commercially and creatively. A DSLR camera is required for this course.

Prerequisite: GRA 130 with a grade of C or better.

GRA 145 or

Description: Introduces the student to WordPress fundamentals to create basic web pages. Hands-on computer activity includes WordPress templates, dashboard and widget usage; blogging/posts; adding links, videos, photo galleries; creating user accounts and theme changes. Student will also learn to translate the WordPress full web site into a mobile website and will integrate with social media platforms. An introduction to UI (user interface) design will be explored for mobile applications.

Prerequisite: GRA 101 or WEB 110 with a grade of C or better, or consent of coordinator.

WEB 150 3

Description: Introduces the foundational skills needed to create web pages utilizing HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Topics include Web design best practices, web site hosting, Internet protocols, graphics, media and security. Students utilize the skills learned to create a business-oriented web site project. IAI MC 923

Recommended: WEB 110 or CIS 106 or GRA 101 are strongly recommended courses in preparation prior to WEB 150.

GRA 220 3

Description: Teaches advanced graphic design that is project- and process-focused to refine creative and technical skills. Projects will follow the design process from initial research and sketches to refined computer layouts and final production-ready art files. Assignments will utilize graphic design principles and current graphic software. Projects are critiqued for design process, aesthetics, presentation and file production accuracy. Projects may become part of a professional portfolio.

Prerequisite: GRA 120 with a grade of C or better.

GRA 221 2

Description: Covers preparation of portfolio book and digital portfolio presentation. Focus is on the understanding of the professional portfolio needs and its presentation in the graphic design job market. Existing projects are critiqued for aesthetics, arrangement and presentation. Graphic resume preparation.

Prerequisite: GRA 120 with a grade of C or better.

Related programs

Students interested in graphic arts technology may also be interested in:

Resources

Next steps

For more information about graphic arts courses at Harper, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.