Graphic and Digital Design Online

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    Certificate Requirements

    • This certificate can be completed online or through a combination of online and on-campus courses.
    • Course requirements: 6-8 individual online and/or on-campus courses; this includes 3-5 required courses and 3 graphic/digital design electives. You may enroll in Graphic Design Basic Core OR Color Theory, Graphic Design I, and Digital Graphics with Illustrator I as your first required course(s).
    • Timeline to completion: Most courses last nine weeks or more. Courses meeting for fewer than (9) nine sessions count as half of an elective and need to be combined to fulfill one elective requirement. Most students take two courses per semester. The certificate must be completed in two years.
    • Cost: $776-$796 per course.

    Be a future-focused creative professional. Today's graphic, Web, and interactive designers must be adaptable and remain up-to-date in the evolving world of technology and visual culture. Graphic design courses develop foundational design skills (concept, type, layout, color) and provide training in industry-standard software. Tailored instruction enables both beginning and advanced students to make progress in these courses.

    Required Courses

    Foundational Courses

    Option 1

    1) Graphic/Digital Design Basic Core


    In this introduction to visual communication concepts and tools, you learn the fundamentals of typography, graphic design, and layout, as well as digital skills. Taught by two instructors, the class includes basic design and type exercises using Photoshop and Illustrator. Develop the essential design skills you need to produce graphics for print, advertising, corporate identity, and other media.

    Option 2

    1) Color Theory


    Discover color and its implications for designers and artists. Study ideas of space and the use of color to solve spatial problems. Look at color harmony and the way colors interact, as well as color qualities and combinations. Online students must have access to a scanner. There are no prerequisites.

    2) Graphic Design I


    Learn design fundamentals and concept development as they relate to typography, composition, and color. Discover what makes the difference between ordinary images and powerful, effective graphics. Strengthen your design communication skills and develop your style and vision as you transform your concepts into finished designs. Online students will need access to a scanner.

    3) Digital Graphics with Illustrator I


    This course is for the design student who needs a comprehensive and intensive introduction to Illustrator. Learn to draw, delineate, and design electronically with this standard vector-based illustration and graphic design program. Create curves, lines, and shapes to make objects that can be colored, manipulated, moved, duplicated, scaled, and rotated, generating smooth-lined, clean, scalable graphics or artwork for both print and the Web. Use this course to make Illustrator an integral part of your digital graphics tool kit. Prerequisite: Mac Basics or PC Basics. Some exposure to Illustrator or Adobe products is desirable.

    Other Required Courses

    1) Digital Imaging with Photoshop I


    Acquire a working knowledge of this industry-standard software used for print, webpages, animation, presentation, video production, and enhancement of traditional and digital photography. Explore scanning and color correction, tools and layers for image compositing, elemental retouching, and type treatments. Prerequisite: Mac Basics, Photoshop Basics, or the equivalent. Online students must have Photoshop CS or higher (Mac or Windows platform).

    2) Graphic Design History


    This course covers the history of graphic design from the mid-19th century through the digital revolution. Influential movements are examined, including Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Dada, Constructivism, De Stijl, Bauhaus, Neue Grafik, DIY Punk, and today’s digital landscape. Students explore the evolution of the discipline from typesetting to lithography to digital design and investigate the relationship of the graphic design discipline to propaganda, advertising, branding, personal expression, and social change.

    Elective Options

    Track A

    1) Typography


    An in-depth understanding of typographic concepts and methods is essential for effective visual communication. Students examine the evolution of the alphabet and the history and basics of typographic style (with an emphasis on 20th-century type design and application). Projects help students understand the difference between legibility and readability and develop a discerning eye and the ability to create effective and expressive type designs. The impact of technology on type design and the work of typographic innovators are discussed. Online sections require access to a scanner.

    2) Digital Layout with InDesign


    In this course, we explore the potential of InDesign as a design tool. InDesign is the industry-standard program for professional page layout. The focus of the class is on using the features of InDesign to develop design skills. There is an emphasis on typography. Discussions include design critiques, in which students learn how to analyze design and how to give and receive constructive criticism. Prerequisite: familiarity with the Mac operating system; some exposure to Illustrator or Adobe products is desirable. CS Adobe InDesign will be used in the course. Online students must have InDesign CS or higher (Mac or Windows platform).

    3) One elective course from Parsons at Open Campus in Digital and/or Graphic Design

    Track B

    1) Three elective courses from Parsons at Open Campus in Digital and/or Graphic Design

    Want to go further? Explore the AAS degree program in Graphic Design at Parsons.