Graphic Design Career - Associate in Applied Arts

Program Info

Year Established
Program Code
Degree Type
Associate in Applied Arts
Office Contact
School of Liberal Arts: 313-845-9624,, Liberal Arts Building, Room: K-201 and F-138
Faculty Contact
Victoria Shepherd: 313-845-6487,, Fine Arts Bldg, Room: F-151

Program Description


This program is designed to provide students with skills both soft and digital that will prepare the student for an entry level position or an entrepreneurial role in the industry. This is a career program for students who do not plan to transfer and wish to seek either an entry level position or begin working with clients. The program provides a comprehensive foundation of study, emphasizing the development of theoretical, practical, and technical skills within the Graphic Design field. The program uses sequential courses that build and develop skills in a range of studio classes. Offers courses in print, front-end web design, motion graphics, and the business of design. Employs computer applications and tools as well as design techniques to assist the student in developing the range of skills necessary to compete in the multi-media field of graphic design.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students should be able to:

  1. Create visual communications for an intended message, from conceptual development to final artifact using a range of media, both traditional and digital, for final output both printed and digital.
  2. Utilize current graphic design terminology and methodology as a basis for discussing and evaluating works of design, both student and professional.
  3. Incorporate historic and contemporary design influences, both period and designer, in the creation of design solutions as well as understand the role of design in culture.
  4. Implement appropriate typographic treatments for print and digital communications. This includes typesetting, legibility, hierarchy, and style to create engaging communication solutions.
  5. Apply design processes to complete appropriate design solutions. This includes the ability to sketch and refine preliminary concepts, employ the elements and principles of design as well as color theory into effective solutions.
  6. Utilize current industry software and equipment to construct vector and raster files for use in print, motion and digital outcomes. This includes appropriated file formats for saving work as well as for distribution of final output, and preparation for print or file transfer.
  7. Learn how to build a design business practice. Topics include communicating, contracts and building a personal design identity.
  8. Develop and present a portfolio of projects for use in seeking an entry-level position or transfer to a four-year degree program. Curate and exhibit projects in a graduating student exhibition
Career Opportunities

• Production Designer
• Graphic Designer
• Visual Designer
• Communication Design
• Front-End Web Designer
• Content Management Design
• Illustrator
• Animator
• Motion Designer
• Content Developer
• Layout Artist
• Social Media Designer

General Education

Category 1: English Composition
Complete any one.
Category 2: English Composition or Communications
Complete any one.
Category 4: Social Sciences
Complete any two from different disciplines.
Category 5: Humanities and Fine Arts
Complete any one from a different discipline (not ART).
Credit Hours

See General Education Requirements for details.

Requirements are subject to change. The information represented here is effective starting Fall 2020 and applies to the current catalog year. If you were admitted prior to this year, please check your requirements under the My Progress section of HFC Self Service.