About Graphic Design

Develop your creativity and ideation skills, learn the elements of communication design and apply this knowledge to a broad range of design projects.

Visual media design surrounds us. The social media sites that connect us, the websites that inform, the magazines that entertain, the logos that brand our favorite products—all of these are thoughtfully designed using problem-solving skills, creativity, and technical skills. Our graphic design programs include both an AA degree and certificates that can get you started on a new career, prepare you for transfer to a four-year school or upgrade your current skills. Communication in all forms—visual, verbal and written—is emphasized.

Explore Potential Careers

Studying Graphic Design can lead to a variety of different jobs or career paths. Below are just some of the many options you will have!

  • Graphic Designer
  • Visual Designer
  • Web Designer
  • UX Designer
  • UI Designer
  • Graphic Artist

Program Options 

Click on the degree or certificate you're interested in earning to see a sample map of courses to take to complete your goal from start to finish.

Please note that the course maps provided are just an example to help you get started. Please meet with a faculty member in the department to personalize the plan to you and your Academic goals. 

View Requirements in College Catalog

Semester 1 

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
VMD 100

Orientation to VMD

1  
VMD 101 Design Fundamentals 3 Can substitute DSGN 101 or PHOT 100 or ART 125
VMD 105 Visual Media Design Skills 3  
ENGL 1A + 1AS University-Parallel Reading and Composition + Support 4 - 6  
GE Area A Communication and Analytical Thinking 3  

Total Units: 14 - 16

Semester 2

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
VMD 120 Graphic Design I 3 Prerequisites: VMD 101, VMD 105
VMD 130 Typography I 3 Prerequisites: VMD 101, VMD 105
VMD 140 Web Production I 3 Prerequisite: VMD 105
VMD 152 InDesign I 3 Prerequisite: VMD 105
MATH 46, MATH 60 or 860, ET 108B, or ET 50, or PSYC 5, or ECON 5, or LALS 5, or PHIL 12A, or FIN 136M or higher math course (or equivalent) Math Graduation Requirement 3 - 8  

Total Units: 15 - 20

Semester 3

Often completed in Summer
Course Number Course Title Units Notes
VMD 150 Illustrator I 3 Prerequisite: VMD 105
GE Area H Ethnic Studies, Women's and Gender Studies and LGBTQ Studies 3  

Total Units: 6

Semester 4

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
VMD 122 Graphic Design II 3  
VMD 127 USER Experience 3  
VMD 131 Typography II 3  
VMD 154 Photoshop I 3  
GE Area D Social and Behavioral Sciences Requirement 3  

Total Units: 15

 

Semester 5

Course Number Course Title Units Notes

VMD 124A

VMD 124B

VMD 124C

Information Design

Package Design

User Interface Design

2

2

2

(Choose 2)

Prerequisite: VMD 122

VMD 190 Portfolio Preparation 3 Prerequisites: VMD 101, VMD 105; Advise: VMD 122, VMD 152
VMD 200A Design Studio Practicum 3 Prerequisites: VMD 120, VMD 130, VMD 140, VMD 150, VMD 152, VMD 154
GE Area C Natural Sciences Requirement 3-6  
GE Area F United States History and Government Requirement 3  

Total Units: 14 - 17

View Requirements in College Catalog

Semester 1

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
VMD 100 Orientation to Visual Media Design 1  
VMD 101 Design Fundamentals 3 Can substitute DSGN 101 or PHOT 100 or ART 125
VMD 105  Visual Media Digital Skills 3  

Total Units: 7

Semester 2

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
VMD 120 Graphic Design I 3 Prerequisites: VMD 101, VMD 105
VMD 130 Typography I 3 Prerequisites: VMD 101, VMD 105
VMD 140 Web Production I 3 Prerequisite: VMD 105
VMD 152 InDesign I 3 Prerequisite: VMD 105
VMD 150 Illustrator I 3 Prerequisite: VMD 105

Total Units: 15

Semester 3

Often completed in Summer
Course Number Course Title Units Notes
VMD 154 Photoshop I 3 Prerequisite: VMD 105

Total Units: 3 

Overall Total Units: 25

View Requirements in College Catalog

Semester 1

Completion of Visual Design Foundation Certificate Required
Course Number Course Title Units Notes
VMD 110 History of Graphic Design 3  
VMD 118 Color in Design 3 Advise: VMD 101, VMD 105
VMD 122 Graphic Design II Prerequisites: VMD 120, VMD 140, VMD 152
VMD 131 Typography II 3 Prerequisites: VMD 130, VMD 152
One Elective Choose from Electives below 3  

Total Units: 15

Semester 2

Course Number Course Title Units Notes

VMD 124A

VMD 124B

VMD 124C

Information Design

Package Design

User Interface Design

2

2

2

(Choose 2)

Prerequisite: VMD 122

VMD 127 User Experience 3 Prerequisite: VMD 140
VMD 190 Portfolio Preparation 3 Prerequisites: VMD 101, VMD 105; Advise: VMD 122, VMD 152
VMD 200A Design Studio Practicum 3 Prerequisites: VMD 120, VMD 130, VMD 140, VMD 150, VMD 152, VMD 154
One Elective Choose from Electives below 3  

Total Units: 16

Electives 

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
VMD 112 Design Drawing Techniques 1.5  
VMD 114A Letterpress Printing I 2  
VMD 116A Bookbinding & Book Arts I 2  
VMD 134 Calligraphy 1  
VMD 135 Hand-Lettering 1  
VMD 141 Web Production II 3 Prerequisite: VMD 140
VMD 151 Illustrator II 3 Prerequisite: VMD 150
VMD 153 InDesign II 3 Prerequisite: VMD 152
VMD 155 Photoshop II 3 Prerequisite: VMD 155
VMD 192 Professional Practice 1  

VMD 194A 

VMD 198B

 Internship/Work Experience

1 and/or

2

Completion of the Visual Design Foundation Certificate; Concurrent enrollment in 7 units
VMD 200B Design Studio Practicum II 3 Prerequisite: VMD 200A

Overall Total Units: 31

View Requirements in College Catalog

Semester 1

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
ENTR 101 Introduction to Entrepreneurship 3  
VMD 105 Visual Media Digital Skills 3  
DSGN 105 Design Thinking 1.5  
VMD 101 Design Fundamentals 3 Can substitute DSGN 101 or PHOT 100 or ART 125

Total Units: 10.5 

Semester 2

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
ENTR 102 Applied Design Thinking for Entrepreneurship 1.5  

MRKT 140

Introduction to Marketing

3  
Two Electives Choose from Electives below 6  

Total Units: 10.5

Electives

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
VMD 120 Graphic Design I 3 Prerequisites: VMD 101, VMD 105
VMD 140 Web Production I 3 Prerequisite: VMD 105
VMD 150 Illustrator I 3 Prerequisite: VMD 105
VMD 154 Photoshop I 3 Prerequisite: VMD 105
VMD 192 Professional Practice 1  

Overall Total Units: 21

Transfer Options

The program coursework you complete at City College will satisfy lower-division requirements for related majors at several colleges and universities. Start planning your transfer by exploring Graphic Design programs at the following institutions:

  • San Jose State University
  • Chico State University
  • San Francisco State University
  • California College of the Arts

Have questions about transfer? Visit the Transfer Center for help, transfer information, and/or to speak with college representatives.