Graphic Arts Desktop Publishing Certificate

Begin your career in desktop publishing and print production

Program facts arts icon

  • Credit hours: 30
  • Stackable to degree: Yes
  • Potential job outcomes: Computer typesetter, desktop publisher, prepress production specialist

Learn about electronic prepress and become skilled using the latest graphic arts software with this 30-credit-hour certificate program. You’ll take classes in topics such as introduction to graphic arts technology, graphic arts desktop publishing, digital imaging, color management, press operations, digital illustration, WordPress and mobile technologies, web foundations, page layout and prepress production.

In addition to working with knowledgeable instructors who are experts in their fields, you’ll get additional experience sharpening your skills in one of Harper College’s three state-of-the-art graphic arts labs. Each of the labs are equipped with Mac computers and the latest creative software. On-site printing presses give you hands-on experience in all areas of graphic arts production.

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

Certificate program requirements

This 30 credit-hour certificate program is designed for students interested in specializing in electronic prepress highlighting the latest software. This certificate will enhance a student’s current employment position, as well as provide new employment opportunities.

F = Fall only course S = Spring only course U = Summer only course


Number Course Title Credits
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 2022 | Fall 2022

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 2022 | Fall 2022

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 2022 | Fall 2022

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.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

GRA 111 3

Description: 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: GRA 101 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

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 2022 | Fall 2022

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 2022 | Fall 2022

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 2022 | Fall 2022

GRA 202  S   3

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the spring term.

Analyzes real world color management in the digital and conventional print industry. Focuses on advanced under-the-hood technology in color management systems building closed loop systems. Covers color fidelity, models and the understanding of how devices interpret and deliver. Profile building and editing for input and output devices.

Prerequisite: GRA 105 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

GRA 229 3

Description: Explores advanced multi-page layout techniques in InDesign software. Projects focus on creating documents that follow industry standards and best practice for print graphics. Emphasis is placed on projects for print and preflighting techniques.

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

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

GRA 230  S   3

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the spring term.

Covers prepress procedures, including preflight, the understanding of manufacturing specs and press layouts. Emphasis on PostScripting, ripping in a high end workflow, press imposition of ripped files, trapping needs of files, proofing and film/plate output. Proof and plate assessment and quality control. Color management instruction for inputs and outputs as well as PDF requirements for file exchange.

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

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

Related programs

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


Next steps

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

Last Updated: 9/15/22