Associate Degree in Graphic Design
“Design is thinking made visual.” – Saul Bass
Graphic Designers make meaning by shaping messages through content and form. Our role as designers, regardless of medium, is the same — to communicate in a clear, evocative and memorable way.
The Associate of Arts in Graphic Design begins with core courses providing a solid foundation in visual problem-solving. Throughout the program, we work to balance practical skills development with conceptual thinking and creativity. Elective courses allow students to customize the program. All students finish with the Design Studio Practicum, Emerge Studio, which provides a more real-world environment for exploration.
This program is for students beginning their studies, who have not completed a degree at another institution. Students who have already completed a degree should pursue the Visual and Interactive Design Certificate.
We have five areas of emphasis in which you can obtain certificates. Each area requires a foundation certificate, completed first, and an emphasis certificate, as indicated below. For information on waiving specific classes in a certificate, see our Department Prerequisite Policy.
Visual and Interaction Design
The Visual Design Foundation certificate provides essential knowledge, processes, principles and skills for visual design and production for print and interactive communications. It can serve as a stand-alone certificate, or as the basis for advanced study in graphic design, visual media production or other areas.
The Visual and Interactive Design Emphasis certificate requires the successful completion of (or demonstrated equivalent knowledge of ) the Visual Design Foundation certificate.
This program of study will prepare students to enter the workforce with a broad understanding of contemporary design practice. Coursework covers theory, research, design thinking, critical analysis, and practical tools and practices for a range of interactive, such as web and mobile, and print projects. Students will refine their skills and develop portfolio projects in Emerge Studio, our design studio practicum. Students will be able to customize the program to meet their personal goals through electives.
Visual Media Production
Students must complete the Visual Design Foundation certificate (or demonstrate equivalent knowledge) before beginning the Visual Media Production Emphasis certificate.
This program of study emphasizes digital tools used in today's digital media professions. Students will become proficient with industry-standard software for web and mobile interactive development as well as print production. They will have a working understanding of fundamental design concepts. Students will refine their skills through a supervised work-experience in a local firm or in Emerge Studio, our on-campus design studio practicum. Students can customize the program to meet their goals through electives.
Web Front-End Production
This certificate is no longer offered but has been incorporated into the Visual Media Production Emphasis certificate. Students who entered the program before Fall 2016 can complete the Web Front-End Production certificate. Please contact Nathan Atkinson at email@example.com for more information.
The Digital Art Foundation certificate provides essential knowledge and skills for digital artists and is required for further study of Digital Illustration. It can serve as a stand-alone certificate, or as the basis for continued study in digital illustration, animation, gaming or other areas.
This program of study combines the study of illustration, art and design with digital tools and techniques to create communicative imagery that is disseminated through all forms of visual media. Students are prepared for freelance illustration positions in print and interactive media publishing, advertising, animation, and gaming.
This program of study combines the study of animation, art, graphics and problem solving using the tools and techniques for digital animation. This course of study prepares students for entry-level positions in digital animation.
The Game Development certificate requires successful completion (or demonstration of equivalent knowledge) of the Digital Art Foundation certificate.
This program of study combines the study of game art design and development using current industry-standard tools and techniques for interactive game development. This course of study prepares students for entry-level positions in the interactive game design and development industry.
Students who entered the our department before Fall 2013 can choose to follow the former certificate structure or switch to the new one described here. If you are an existing student and not sure what program of study to follow, please contact Lorraine Leber at firstname.lastname@example.org. To see the former certificates, see Prior Certificates.
We have articulation agreements with several schools in the Bay Area,
including CCA and San Francisco State University. For more information
about transferring, contact Lorraine Leber at email@example.com.
Also, visit Assist.org for more information about