Harper College

Graphic Arts Design Certificate

Start your career in graphic arts/design

Program factsarts 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 Design and 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.


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

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 101 3

Description:  Provides students an overview of past, present and future graphic arts processes including graphic applications for design/layout, imaging, photography, prepress, print and finishing. Direction is provided on occupations in the Graphic Arts industry and the use of digital applications related to producing print materials. Provides a hands-on understanding of desktop publishing software through lab and lecture.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

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.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

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.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 105 3

Description:  Examines the fundamentals of real-world color theory and 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. Focuses on internal workings and technology in color management systems, building a closed-loop workflow. Covers color fidelity, models, and the understanding on how devices interpret and deliver.

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

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 111 3

Covers fundamentals of offset printing as well as new technologies in the digital print arena. Provides knowledge of press maintenance and safety, feeder systems, registration requirements, ink systems and color management tools and techniques in the print industry.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in GRA 101.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

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.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

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.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

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.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

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, WEB 110 or WEB 150 with a grade of C or better, or consent of coordinator.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

WEB 110 3

Description:  Introduces the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to use the Internet and build basic web pages. Students will learn and understand introductory functions of the web, Internet communications, and project management concepts. Social networking tools and the use of multimedia on the web will be explored. Industry career opportunities will be discussed.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

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.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

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.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

Last Updated: 4/8/24