The Aspen Institute Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Top 150 2017

Graphic Design

Program Description

Graphic Design is a broad field that involves the creation of visual solutions for the purpose of communicating a clientʼs message to an intended audience. Also sometimes called Visual Communications, graphic design balances creative and technical skills in order to address the content and context of a message in the appropriate media. Building upon the foundation skills of the visual arts, graphic design blends innovative visual and creative design thinking in order to support the objectives of society, business, education, or the wider community.

Students who are interested in pursuing graphic design in print, web, multimedia, video and motion graphics, illustration, comics or animation may find one of the three main tracks in the Graphic Design degree program a fulfilling and challenging objective.

Degrees & Certificates

The Associates of Applied Science degree offers three tracks that allow students to pursue a focused approach to their area of interest. These include:

  • General Track- Prepares you for a wide range of creative and technical skills in Visual Communications, from print to web, illustration to advertising design.
  • Illustration Track - Blends traditional studio art skills with commercial Graphic Design skills.
  • Motion & Media Graphics Track - Prepares you for taking your Graphic Design and creative digital media skills to the fields of motion graphics used in film and video.

The Loading... is designed to advance the skills of designers already working in the field but who need to strengthen, extend or replenish their creative and technical skills in Graphic Design. Participants in the Advanced Certificate must already have a degree in Graphic Design or a related field and will be required either to fulfill the pre-requisites for the courses through their prior degree coursework or submit to the coordinator a portfolio for consideration of pre-requisite waivers. As the graphic design industry encompasses a wider range of media, this certificate is meant to strengthen the skills in design and alternative media in order to improve a graduate's marketability in this fast-changing industry. Individual students can emphasize a specific area of Graphic Design by selecting elective courses that meet their goals.

The Loading... offers students a one-year option in graphic design. It will give them beginning art and design skills that could potentially allow them to enter the workforce as a production artist. It also provides them with foundation courses that would allow them to transfer into a Bachelors program in design.

Careers in Graphic Design

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Graduates of our program have gone on to work in creative and technical areas for a variety of different industries including:

  • communications & marketing
  • magazine & newspaper design
  • advertising & promotional design
  • medical information design • sports promotional design
  • fashion catalog design
  • fashion graphics
  • website design
  • tv on-air graphics
  • video game design
  • web animation
  • comic book publishing
  • commercial printing
  • signage design
  • financial information design
  • education, teaching & service

Transferring to a 4-year program

Transferring – The AAS in Graphic Design is an occupational program that prepares students for entry level jobs. However, a large majority of our students choose to transfer after completing much or all of their AAS/GD in order to pursue Bachelorʼs degrees at many institutions including:

  • University of Michigan-Flint
  • Kendall College of Art & Design
  • College of Creative Studies
  • Central Michigan University
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Saginaw Valley State University
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • Savannah College of Art & Design
  • Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design
  • Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Art Institute of San Francisco
  • School of Visual Arts (NYC)
Transfer Information

Related Links

Coordinators & Faculty


The Graphic Design area of study offers state-of-the-art facilities for students to develop and practice their burgeoning skills in art and design. When not scheduled for class use, these studios are available as an Open Lab for students to use for homework and research. Facilities include:

  • Main Studio Lab (VADC103) - This is a large classroom studio and lab that is used for most graphic design classes. It has room for hand-rendering, cutting, layout, and presentations on one side, with a fully outfitted lab of more than 24 Mac computers featuring the latest software available.
  • Second Studio Lab (VADC101) - This smaller classroom holds 24 Mac computers with the exact same software as the Main Lab and is scheduled for several 100-level classes.
  • Peripherals (both rooms) - Featured in one or both studio labs are scanners, color laser printers, large format inkjet printers and a 42” wide dye color plotter printer that can accept a variety of media. Additional machines for laminating, comb binding, and button making round out the facilities. Both rooms are outfitted with state-of-the-art “smart” classroom audio/video systems.
August 3, 2017
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