Harper College

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.


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 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 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 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 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 230 3

Description:  Covers prepress procedures, including preflight and digital front end. Includes standard operating procedures for trapping, barcodes, postal regulations, screening, color separations, step and repeat, RIP, color management, prepress automation, and working with dielines. Real world file preparation, printing methods, ink and color space utilized. Will assess proofing and plating, process control, and quality control. Includes understanding of PDF requirements for file exchange.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in GRA 102.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 233 3

This course will explore the digital print market in commercial environments. Wide format and digital presses will be calibrated and analyzed for quality output. Automation and prepress techniques will be reviewed prior to printing to assure quality input. Emphasizes understanding and incorporating emerging technologies into the production workflow. Students work from design and conception through all aspects of preparation, production, and finishing. Recommended to take Prepress and Digital Front End prior to enrolling in this course.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in GRA 101

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

Last Updated: 4/8/24