Graphic Arts Technology Degree

Graphic Arts Techology Degree at Harper College

Learn graphic production from start to finish 

Career options  arts icon


  • Desktop publishing
  • Graphic arts
  • Prepress production
  • Photography
  • Web design

Start your career in graphic arts technology with this associate degree program. The program offers specializations in Graphic Design, Package Design, Print Graphics and Web Design.

Take classes covering the full range graphic arts technology from graphic design, digital illustration and photography to press operations, color management and web development.

You’ll work closely with knowledgeable instructors who are experts in their fields. Also, you’ll enhance your skills working in one of Harper College’s three state-of-the-art graphic arts labs,
which 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. When you graduate, you’ll be ready to begin a career in the visual communication industry or transfer to a four-year degree program.

AAS degree requirements and outcomes

The Associate in Applied Science in Graphic Arts Technology offers specializations in Graphic Design, Package Design, Print Graphics and Web Design. Students may complete ONE specialization (click to expand):

This 64 credit-hour program is designed to prepare students for a wide range of employment opportunities in the graphic arts industry. This degree provides a well-rounded foundation of knowledge and skills to prepare students for new jobs as well as provide career advancement opportunities. The curriculum includes current application instruction with a focus on creative design techniques. Emphasis is on graphic and web design, including a complete understanding of print production. All students in the program complete a required sequence of classes and then select this graphic design specialty to be employable in this visual communication industry or transfer to a 4 year program.

This sequenced degree plan is one of four options that students may pursue to earn the Graphic Arts Technology Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree. While there are multiple specializations, this particular degree can be awarded only once.

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

FIRST SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ENG 101 3 Communications

Description: Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 100 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

GRA 101 3 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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.

Mathematics1 3 Mathematics

SECOND SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ENG 102 3 Communications

Description: Continues ENG 101. Reading literature and writing of various types of prose. Introduces methods used in writing investigative papers. IAI C1 901R

Prerequisite: ENG 101 with a grade of C or better, or consent of instructor or department chair.

GRA 105 3 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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.

Social and Behavioral Science+ 3 Social and Behavioral Science

THIRD SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ART 121 3 Humanities

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 111 3 Program Requirement

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.

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 Program Requirement

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 229 3 Program Requirement

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.

Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science+ 3 Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science

FOURTH SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
GRA 113 3 Program Requirement

Description: Covers advanced functions of digital image-editing software. Emphasizes advanced software functionality, color correction and color management needs as well as commercial imaging practices in a prepress environment. Focuses on different types of image capture and file manipulation.

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

GRA 131 3 Program Requirement

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 220 3 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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.

GRA elective2 3 Program Requirement
MKT 245 3 Program Requirement

Description: Focuses on marketing activities that will cover product planning, pricing strategies and promotional efforts including advertising, selling and sales promotions and distribution channel effectiveness.

Prerequisite: GRA 120 with a grade of C or better, or MGT 111.

1 - The mathematics requirement (MTH 065 or higher) for this degree can be met with Math Competency. See Math Competency options for information. Students who utilize Math Competency to meet the mathematics requirement must complete an additional three-hour Graphic Arts course. See program coordinator for recommended courses.

+ - One three credit-hour course from the Social and Behavioral Sciences electives for the AAS degree is required and one three credit-hour course from the Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science electives for the AAS degree is required. At least one of the Humanities or Social and Behavioral Sciences requirements must also meet the World Cultures and Diversity graduation requirement. See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

2 - Graphic Arts electives: GRA 145, GRA 202(S), GRA 211(F), GRA 213, GRA 214(S), GRA 222(F), GRA 230(S), GRA 231(F), GRA 232, GRA 299, WEB 150

Program learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this degree will be able to:

  • demonstrate strong visual skills through graphic design.
  • demonstrate strong typography ability and principles of design knowledge.
  • utilize all graphic applications in layout and design.
  • comprehend the graphic arts workflow from design through print and finishing.
  • comprehend color management requirements in a graphic arts workflow.
  • create acceptable print-ready digital graphic files using industry standard preflight criteria.
  • demonstrate basic knowledge and procedures in prepress, pressroom and bindery operations.
  • exhibit good communication skills to participate in a visual communications industry.

This 64 credit-hour program is designed to prepare students for a wide range of employment opportunities in the graphic arts industry. This degree provides a well-rounded foundation of knowledge and skills to prepare students for new jobs as well as provide career advancement opportunities. The curriculum includes current and proprietary application instruction with a focus on creative package design techniques. Emphasis is on the packaging industry, including a complete understanding of print production for a variety of products. All students in the program complete a required sequence of classes and then select this package design specialty to be employable in this visual communication industry or transfer to a 4 year program.

This sequenced degree plan is one of four options that students may pursue to earn the Graphic Arts Technology Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree. While there are multiple specializations, this particular degree can be awarded only once.

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

FIRST SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ENG 101 3 Communications

Description: Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 100 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

GRA 101 3 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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.

Mathematics1 3 Mathematics

SECOND SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ENG 102 3 Communications

Description: Continues ENG 101. Reading literature and writing of various types of prose. Introduces methods used in writing investigative papers. IAI C1 901R

Prerequisite: ENG 101 with a grade of C or better, or consent of instructor or department chair.

GRA 105 3 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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.

Social and Behavioral Science+ 3 Social and Behavioral Science

THIRD SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ART 121 3 Humanities

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 111 3 Program Requirement

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.

GRA 229 3 Program Requirement

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.

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 Program Requirement

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.

Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science+ 3 Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science

FOURTH SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
GRA 213 3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides instruction on manufacturing processes and techniques for various types of print graphics with an emphasis on 3D packaging. Studies production practices, material usage, flexography process, finishing and distribution processes and environmental/sustainability trends. Covers the interaction between products and the many roles that packaging plays in the supply chain. Presents methods of postal requirements, barcoding, how products get to market, costs, manufacturing needs and delivery of said product.

Prerequisite: GRA 111 or GRA 222 with a grade of C or better, or consent of program coordinator.

GRA 214  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: Explores advanced vector illustration graphic software in the graphic arts industry. Focuses on prepress techniques and print production uses. Includes an understanding of four-color print production requirements and advanced menus/tools.

Prerequisite: GRA 112 with a grade of C or better.

GRA 220 3 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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.

GRA 222  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides instruction on marketing and branding strategies and the design of packaging products. Studies packaging structural implications and substrates as well as design and production for 3D packaging such as folding cartons, flexible bags, labels and shrink sleeves. Covers barcoding and postal preparation and standards; works with supplied CAD structures. Emphasizes the creative visual design of 3D packaging and prototype creation; focuses on the file production through manufacturing requirements of the packaging industry.

Prerequisite: GRA 112 with grade of C or better.

GRA 230  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: 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.

1 - The mathematics requirement (MTH 065 or higher) for this degree can be met with Math Competency. See Math Competency options for information. Students who utilize Math Competency to meet the mathematics requirement must complete an additional three-hour Graphic Arts course. See program coordinator for recommended courses.

+ - One three credit-hour course from the Social and Behavioral Sciences electives for the AAS degree is required and one three credit-hour course from the Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science electives for the AAS degree is required. At least one of the Humanities or Social and Behavioral Sciences requirements must also meet the World Cultures and Diversity graduation requirement. See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

Program learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this degree will be able to:

  • demonstrate strong visual skills through graphic design.
  • demonstrate strong typography ability and principles of design knowledge.
  • utilize all graphic and packaging applications in layout and design.
  • comprehend the graphic arts workflow from design through print and finishing.
  • comprehend color management requirements in a graphic arts workflow.
  • create acceptable print-ready digital graphic files using industry standard preflight criteria for packaging industry.
  • demonstrate basic knowledge and procedures in prepress, pressroom and bindery operations for packaging.
  • exhibit good communication skills to participate in a visual communications industry.

This 62 credit-hour program is designed to prepare students for a wide range of employment opportunities in the graphic arts industry. This degree provides a well-rounded foundation of knowledge and skills to prepare students for new jobs as well as provide career advancement opportunities. The curriculum includes current application instruction with a focus on print production and prepress techniques. Emphasis is on print projects, including a complete understanding of planning through print and finishing. All students in the program complete a required sequence of classes and then select this print production specialty to be employable in this visual communication industry or transfer to a 4 year program.

This sequenced degree plan is one of four options that students may pursue to earn the Graphic Arts Technology Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree. While there are multiple specializations, this particular degree can be awarded only once.

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

FIRST SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ENG 101 3 Communications

Description: Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 100 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

GRA 101 3 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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.

Mathematics1 3 Mathematics

SECOND SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ENG 102 3 Communications

Description: Continues ENG 101. Reading literature and writing of various types of prose. Introduces methods used in writing investigative papers. IAI C1 901R

Prerequisite: ENG 101 with a grade of C or better, or consent of instructor or department chair.

GRA 105 3 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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.

Social and Behavioral Science+ 3 Social and Behavioral Science

THIRD SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ART 121 3 Humanities

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 111 3 Program Requirement

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.

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 Program Requirement

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 229 3 Program Requirement

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.

Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science+ 3 Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science

FOURTH SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
GRA 202  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: 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.

GRA 211  F   or

Description: Provides essential information needed to estimate, schedule, and project manage a print job. Analyzes cost calculations of various functions within the graphic arts industry. Covers workflow, scheduling, and quantity estimation to produce a quality document. Explores CSR (Customer Service Representative) roles in graphic arts workflow.

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

MGT 111 3 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces the nature of business and the environment in which it operates. Forms of business ownership, introduction to operative and facilitating facets of business operation, management, marketing, accounting, statistics, business law, finance, investments, insurance and labor-management relations.

GRA 213 3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides instruction on manufacturing processes and techniques for various types of print graphics with an emphasis on 3D packaging. Studies production practices, material usage, flexography process, finishing and distribution processes and environmental/sustainability trends. Covers the interaction between products and the many roles that packaging plays in the supply chain. Presents methods of postal requirements, barcoding, how products get to market, costs, manufacturing needs and delivery of said product.

Prerequisite: GRA 111 or GRA 222 with a grade of C or better, or consent of program coordinator.

GRA 230  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: 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.

GRA 231  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Covers selected topics utilizing digital print technologies. Studies variable data applications, data management and cross media web-to-print solutions for the graphic arts industry. Includes aspects of personalized and customized data and marketing through text and images for print, web, email and phone delivery. Covers application training and utilization through output and trends, VDP procedures and languages, postal specifications and bindery needs.

Prerequisite: GRA 102 with a grade of C or better, or consent of program coordinator.

1 - The mathematics requirement (MTH 065 or higher) for this degree can be met with Math Competency. See Math Competency options for information. Students who utilize Math Competency to meet the mathematics requirement must complete an additional three-hour Graphic Arts course. See program coordinator for recommended courses.

+ - One three credit-hour course from the Social and Behavioral Sciences electives for the AAS degree is required and one three credit-hour course from the Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science electives for the AAS degree is required. At least one of the Humanities or Social and Behavioral Sciences requirements must also meet the World Cultures and Diversity graduation requirement. See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

Program learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this degree will be able to:

  • demonstrate skills in print production.
  • comprehend the graphic arts workflow from design through print and finishing.
  • exhibit a core understanding of graphic arts project management and estimating procedures.
  • analyze paper and ink usage in the print industry.
  • comprehend color management requirements in a graphic arts workflow.
  • utilize all graphic applications.
  • create acceptable print-ready digital graphic files, using industry standard preflight criteria.
  • perform basic operations and procedures in prepress, pressroom and bindery.
  • exhibit good communication skills to participate in a visual communications industry.

This 64 credit-hour program is designed to prepare students for a wide range of employment opportunities in the graphic arts industry. This degree provides a well-rounded foundation of knowledge and skills to prepare students for new jobs as well as provide career advancement opportunities. The curriculum includes current application instruction with a focus on web technologies. Emphasis is on web and graphic design, including a complete understanding of website design and best practices, hosting and internet protocols. All students in the program complete a required sequence of classes and then select this web design specialty to be employable in this visual communication industry or transfer to a 4 year program.

This sequenced degree plan is one of four options that students may pursue to earn the Graphic Arts Technology Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree. While there are multiple specializations, this particular degree can be awarded only once.

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

FIRST SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ENG 101 3 Communications

Description: Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 100 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

GRA 101 3 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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.

Mathematics1 3 Mathematics

SECOND SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ENG 102 3 Communications

Description: Continues ENG 101. Reading literature and writing of various types of prose. Introduces methods used in writing investigative papers. IAI C1 901R

Prerequisite: ENG 101 with a grade of C or better, or consent of instructor or department chair.

GRA 105 3 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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.

Social and Behavioral Science2, + 3 Social and Behavioral Science

THIRD SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ART 121 3 Humanities

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 229 3 Program Requirement

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.

Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science+ 3 Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science
WEB 110 3 Program Requirement

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.

WEB 150 3 Program Requirement

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.

FOURTH SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
GRA 145 3 Program Requirement

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.

GRA 220 3 Program Requirement

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 Program Requirement

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.

GRA 231  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Covers selected topics utilizing digital print technologies. Studies variable data applications, data management and cross media web-to-print solutions for the graphic arts industry. Includes aspects of personalized and customized data and marketing through text and images for print, web, email and phone delivery. Covers application training and utilization through output and trends, VDP procedures and languages, postal specifications and bindery needs.

Prerequisite: GRA 102 with a grade of C or better, or consent of program coordinator.

WEB 170 3 Program Requirement

Description: Emphasizes techniques of sketching to develop digital wireframes and mockups to create an interactive prototype of a business-orientated website with the focus on user experience and interface design. Uses current prototyping tools to match industry standards. Explores utilization and best practices of web graphics. Examines usability testing.

Prerequisite: WEB 110 with a grade of C or better and prior or concurrent enrollment in WEB 150 with a grade of C or better.

WEB 180 3 Program Requirement

Description: Builds on web foundation skills taught in WEB 150 with a focus on configuring multimedia for the Web, using HyperText Markup Language (HTML), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and a currently popular animation tool. Students utilize the skills taught to create a business-oriented web site.

Prerequisite: WEB 150 with a grade of C or better.

1 - The mathematics requirement (MTH 065 or higher) for this degree can be met with Math Competency. See Math Competency options for information. Students who utilize Math Competency to meet the mathematics requirement must complete an additional three-hour Graphic Arts course. See program coordinator for recommended courses.

2, + - One three credit-hour course from the Social and Behavioral Sciences electives for the AAS degree is required. At least one of the Humanities or Social and Behavioral Sciences requirements must also meet the World Cultures and Diversity graduation requirement. See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

Program learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this degree will be able to:

  • demonstrate strong visual skills through graphic design.
  • demonstrate strong typography ability and principles of design knowledge.
  • utilize graphic applications for print and/or web design.
  • comprehend the graphic arts workflow from print and web design through finishing.
  • comprehend color management requirements in a graphic arts workflow.
  • create acceptable print and web digital graphic files using industry standard criteria.
  • demonstrate basic knowledge and procedures in web design/development and prepress/press operations.
  • exhibit good communication skills to participate in a visual communications industry.

Related programs

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

Resources

Next steps

For more information about the Graphic Arts Technology degree program, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.