More About: Graphic Design Media Arts

  • Graphic design is the combination of type and image to communicate messages and information to a particular audience on behalf of a client. We do this by creating and carefully arranging various visual elements to find unique ways to engage and convey the message to the viewer. Graphic designers are communicators as well as problem solvers, using their talents to solve clients' communication issues. This is accomplished in a wide array of formats (including brochures, books and magazines, websites, posters, motion graphics, etc.) and through many different applications such as advertising, promotion, branding, interactive design, information graphics, and corporate communication systems.

    Throughout their 24 months at Southeast Community College Graphic Design | Media Arts (GD|MA) students explore these print and interactive design applications in a variety of courses including Drawing, Typography, Publication Design, Package Design, and Corporate Identity as well as Interactive Design and Web Design. These courses are designed to explore the basic elements and principles of design, build their portfolio, and prepare students for the graphic design industry.

    In the first two semesters, students explore and become proficient in the fundamental skills required in graphic design. Through these courses students will hone their drawing and observational skills, increase their awareness of the elements and theoretical principles used in design, explore the detail-oriented study and use of typography, and become proficient in the use of computers and the design programs (Adobe® Creative Cloud®).

    The Graphic Design | Media Arts program aims to provide students with the skills and materials needed to be successful within the design industry by focusing on supplementary skills related to the arts industry focusing on photography, drawing, and front-end development. GD|MA offers interactive and web design courses which explore the implementation of their design knowledge to online, mobile, and tablet applications as well as examine the expanding and developing industry of digital marketing. Students will learn the fundamentals of coding with HTML/5, CSS/3, and jQuery to bring their design to life online. These additional proficiencies and techniques are invaluable in a student's development into versatile future designers within an industry that is demanding more of its employees.

    Students dedicate their final two semesters within GD|MA by preparing to enter the design industry. Students will develop their print and online portfolios for graduation that include both academic and professional work as students are encouraged to work pro bono for non-profit organizations and small business clients. Students will also gain experience writing a resume, cover letters, professional email and phone correspondence, and interview skills by completing a two-week internship.

    Students have access to state of the art printers, photo studio lighting, backdrops, and equipment, mounting, binding, and die-cutting materials, and current browser and device testing for website development.

    GD|MA is dedicated to creating a real-world working environment that prepares students for employment. Our comprehensive curriculum ensures that students graduate with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be successful in the ever-changing graphic design industry. Many of our graduates go on to be employed at regional advertising and design firms, working in-house for a range of businesses and corporations, and as freelance designers.

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    Student Expectations

    By the first day of class, each students is required to have their own industry ready laptop, ‘Contributor’ membership to AIGA, materials/supplies, and books. Each student is also required to purchase their own Adobe Creative Cloud license on the first day of class.

    During the second quarter, students will need to supply their own camera for the photography course. We teach students the basics of photography to allow students to take their own photographs for their projects and final portfolio. All students have access to our studio photography equipment throughout their time with GD|MA.

    Web Courses

    During the second semester, students begin learning the fundamentals of interactive design and web development. We prepare students with front-end development skills (HTML, CSS, jQuery). Students begin learning HTML and CSS through Dreamweaver, as a text editor. They later transition to tools such as Sublime. Over the four web courses and one interactive design course, we focus on teaching students a variety of design and development tools that are used by professionals such as InVision, Balsamiq, Dreamweaver, Sublime, and Adobe XD. During the final web course, students will design and develop a website for a pro-bono client and their very own, responsive, portfolio website to aid in job hunting after graduation.

    Pro bono Work

    During their third and fifth term, students will be required to seek out and work with real-world clients to produce projects for their course work. The pro-bono work will be conducted under the guidance of the instructor.

    Portfolio Courses

    Over the span of our three portfolio courses, students will spend 10 to 15+ hours a week developing and designing projects for their final portfolios. These projects are decided upon individually with loose parameters provided at the beginning of the quarter; this ensures that each student leaves the GD|MA program with a unique portfolio to their interests and skillset.

    Intern Experience

    During the student’s last semester, they will work full time for a two-week period in the graphic design field completing an internship. Students gain practical graphic design work experience for the development of marketable employment skills. Students may arrange to do their internships at advertising agencies, publishers, marketing firms/departments, newspapers, Web design studios, print shops, sign shops, etc. We’ve had students travel all across the country: Oregon, Illinois, California, Texas, Alabama. We’ve even had international travel: England and Mexico. The internship is a 40-hour per week commitment. During the time students are doing their internship, Graphic Design faculty will visit the various job sites and visit with the students and employers to make certain that the goals established prior to the beginning of the internship are being met and to assure that the student and employer are having a productive and positive experience.

    GDMA is NOT

    • The GD|MA program does not currently offer advanced animation courses or use tools such as Cinema 4-D. We will lightly introduce students to motion graphics and Adobe After Effects.
    • We are not video game designers or game developers. At no point do we discuss or talk about this field.
    • GD|MA does not discuss anime or comic book design.
    • We are not back-end web developers. While we instruct students on HTML, CSS, and touch lightly on jQuery and PHP, we do not teach any programming languages such as C++, Java, or Ruby.
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