Course Descriptions



Survey of Graphic Design

Credit(s): 3

This course introduces students to the characteristic manner of expressions, basic designs, various constructions, and execution of graphic design, and its visual aesthetics at particular times and places throughout history. The course covers how the look of graphic design has evolved and what caused this evolution, starting with commercial art at the beginning of the industrial revolution in the 19th century and ending with the current digital era.



Credit(s): 2

This course introduces the techniques used in typography, which is the visual communication of information through type. A historical perspective will trace the development of typography from its beginning to its current use in graphic design. Students will learn about the transition from traditional techniques and concepts to the creation of electronic documents utilizing quality typographic work. Attention to detail will be stressed so that students have an opportunity to acquire and demonstrate the use of the typographic skills necessary in today's graphic design work.
Prerequisites: GDES-130, GDES-131


Introduction to Apple Operating System (Mac OS)

Credit(s): 1

This course is an introduction to Apple's current operating system for graphic and web designers. The course will cover the necessary hardware, the basics of the operating system, the necessary peripheral devices, the use of wireless networking, and Mac troubleshooting in a graphic design environment. Students will be exposed to basic software installation and trouble shooting basic problems. This course also provides knowledge and skills that will be used in other NIC Graphic and Web Design courses.
Corequisites: GDES-131


Adobe Illustrator - Vector Graphics

Credit(s): 3

This course offers in-depth knowledge of the Adobe Illustrator for Graphic Design software program. Students are introduced to basic hardware and software, standard input and output devices, and basic troubleshooting in a graphic design environment. Students will explore the fundamental concepts associated with Illustrator and learn the basics of computer-aided illustration.


Adobe Photoshop - Raster Graphics

Credit(s): 3

This course offers in-depth knowledge of the Adobe Photoshop - Raster Graphics software program. This course introduces students to basic hardware and software, standard input and output devices, and basic troubleshooting in a graphic design environment. In addition, students will gain experience in image creation and manipulation. This course will cover the fundamental concepts needed to scan, correct, manipulate, and enhance bitmap (Raster) images.
Prerequisites: GDES-131


Adobe Indesign - Layout and Composition

Credit(s): 3

This course offers in-depth knowledge of the Adobe InDesign software program. It introduces students to basic hardware and software, standard input and output devices, and basic troubleshooting in a graphic design environment. Students will also gain experience in typesetting and preparing single-page and multi-page layouts for publication.
Prerequisites: GDES-132


Web Development Basics

Credit(s): 3

This course introduces the student to HTML, CSS and other essential web coding concepts in addition to the creation of pleasing graphical interface/web pages using industry graphic design software. Emphasis is placed on hands-on skills. Students will use standards-compliant HTML to create basic web pages, be able to use styles to format those web pages, and will demonstrate an understanding of advanced CSS selectors and properties. Students will demonstrate the ability to effectively design and layout web pages using CSS.


Digital Illustration

Credit(s): 2

This course is a digital drawing fundamentals lab for graphic designers that includes working with a stylus and tablet, introduction to various media techniques, and conceptual integration with design and layout tools to achieve a knowledgeable broad project overview from start to finish. Students will be introduced to tools and digital paradigms used by working professionals in creating digital visuals in a timely manner applicable to graphic design, web, game design and video production. This course is meant to develop hands-on experience within a series of five projects constructed in class.
Prerequisites: GDES-132, GDES-133


Graphic Design I

Credit(s): 3

This course offers instruction in the principles of design. Students research case studies, use problem solving skills and techniques, and gain an understanding of basic layout composition and color theories in print, web, and video. Students develop concepts with rough layouts and comprehensive layouts on assigned projects including creation of their own business package. Field trips and student presentations support theories and concepts learned in the classroom.
Prerequisites: GDES-131
Corequisites: GDES-132


Graphic Design II

Credit(s): 3

This course is a continuation of GDES 221. It is designed to give the student more hands-on experiences in developing skills with tools, materials, and professional methods for creating professional visuals. The student will learn to incorporate research, illustrations, and other graphics necessary to complete packaging, advertising proposals, and then present results individually and as a group. Continued emphasis is placed on computer applications and on assigned projects. This course is helpful in building visual literacy, expanding conceptual and technical skills, and improving creative problem solving.
Prerequisites: GDES-221


Graphic Design III

Credit(s): 3

This course is a continuation of GDES 222 and provides hands-on exposure to a variety of complex visual design problems. Real life interaction with customers provides opportunities to best prepare students for future design careers. GDES 223 develops the creative use of computer technologies and requires clients' proposal submissions, presentations and respect to stringent deadlines.
Prerequisites: GDES-222


Introduction to Digital Video

Credit(s): 3

This course introduces students to the basic technical skills necessary for using digital video cameras, lighting equipment, and audio/video editing software used in conjunction with Apple hardware and software. The course covers the step-by-step processes necessary to create effective video projects including story boarding techniques and sequences related to a video production workflow. Individual and team video projects produced in a DVD and online format will be required.
Prerequisites: GDES-132, GDES-221


Computer Animation

Credit(s): 2

This course provides students with computer animation techniques using leading vector and Raster software commonly used in the graphic design and media industries. The end product is integrated into various existing and new media including web browsers, self-running applications such as DVDs, online, and interactive kiosks. It covers step-by-step process animation projects combining graphic design and professional video animation software.
Prerequisites: GDES-131, GDES-132


User Experience Design and Usability

Credit(s): 3

This course takes an in-depth look at the use of prototyping and usability testing and their impact on user experience on various design projects throughout the semester. Topics include: website planning and strategy, sketching, prototyping, wireframes, interaction design, web usability testing methods, reporting and presentation skills.


Social Media Design Strategies

Credit(s): 2

This course is specifically tailored to meet the needs of the web design professional. The class instructs the student on how to build a presence and leverage it across multiple iterations of modern social networking portals; creating a foundation for the current and future application of these portals in the business and creative environments.
Corequisites: GDES-222, GDES-225, GDES-246


Prepress Production and Management

Credit(s): 3

This course provides a systematic introduction to the complex print production process and the study of graphic design job coordination and preflight techniques, including functions related to matching customer needs to the requirements of prepress and press operations. By taking a step-by-step approach through simple, straightforward projects and examples, students will gain a better understanding of the essentials of digital color prepress. Effective prepress preparations will ensure high-quality printed output, including document structure, as wells as efficient management of print production workflow from concept through execution and digital output production costs and distribution. Students will learn which type of software to use for optimal results at each stage of the prepress production process.
Prerequisites: GDES-222


Design Concepts for the Web

Credit(s): 3

This course is a continuation of the Web Development Basics course and further utilizes HTML and CSS for designing and formatting online content for the web. This course will focus on contemporary web standards for interface development by reinforcing the separation of content from the presentation layer and focusing on end-user behavior. Students will use optimized graphic formats, typography, layout principles, and cascading styles to develop conceptual designs into fully working functional, live, interactive websites.
Corequisites: GDES-221


Dom Scripting for Designers

Credit(s): 3

This course introduces students to basic programming concepts through the use of ECMAScript (JavaScript) and the Document Object Model. Students will learn the history of ECMAScript and its role in contemporary websites and web applications. Basic and intermediate scripts will be created to solve common interface problems. Students will learn to evaluate existing libraries and scripts so that they can make informed decisions about their applicability for a given task. Students will learn best practice and unobtrusive DOM scripting techniques.
Prerequisites: GDES-222, GDES-245


Development for Mobile Devices

Credit(s): 3

This course is designed to bring students up to speed on designing for a smaller platform, namely mobile phones and handheld devices. Students will build upon foundational CSS to achieve adaptive layouts based on minimal viewports and discuss the importance of supporting this audience segment.
Prerequisites: GDES-255
Corequisites: GDES-245


Applied Web Development

Credit(s): 3

This course is a project-oriented course that will apply knowledge from previous web design classes. Applied Web Development students will learn how to build dynamic, database-driven websites using PHP and MySQL. They will use PHP to transform static HTML web designs into functional dynamic web sites. Students will become proficient at server-side programming, form processing & validation, database queries and content management.
Prerequisites: GDES-260


Design Projects

Credit(s): 3

This course includes the development of real-life design projects. Students will complete publishable projects while performing client-graphic designer interaction; designing pre-production, production, and marketing costs; and delivering projects to the customer in a variety of media for different markets. Students must be responsive to client-driven deadlines.
Prerequisites: GDES-131, GDES-132, GDES-221
Corequisites: GDES-133


Portfolio Development

Credit(s): 3

This course provides an overview of the graphic design profession, provides techniques to engage students in the first assembly of their graphic design professional resume and portfolio, and knowledge of essential job interview skills. The result of combining a first portfolio, while acquiring practical and relevant information about the industry, prepares students for internship opportunities. The course is designed to further prepare students toward clients' expectations, to stress deadlines, and to reinforce necessary technical learning. Assigned projects mirror real life assignments, including professional ethics, communication, and production costs.
Prerequisites: GDES-222


Graphic Design Internship

Credit(s): 3

This course provides students with practical, on-the-job experience in preparation for a successful career in the graphic design field. The internship is paired with in-class learning and weekly meetings with the sponsoring instructor and designated business or agency. An internship is an excellent job market pathway. An exit portfolio review is scheduled at the completion of the course. GDES-290 can be repeated in order to earn a maximum of six credits in this course.