Graphic Design Course Overview For Your Degree

Depending on whether you are looking for an associate program or a bachelor's, you may be required to take more or less of these courses, though they follow the same basic outline. Take a look at this to learn more about the course expectations of many graphic design programs throughout the United States.

Art History & Design History

These courses teach the origins of art and design. Their importance lies, besides general knowledge, in understanding trends and sociological factors that were integral to shaping the history of design. It's also the foundation of where design is presently, and perhaps where it might progress.

Color Theory

These courses will teach you about colors that complement each other and those that don't, as well as how to use contrasting colors effectively. The importance of the proper shade and tone is also taught in these courses. Color and design can also affect mood and emotions; you'll learn how to use the right colors to elicit the desired reaction.

Design and Typography

These courses will show you all about different fonts and the best ones to use for certain tasks.  You'll learn about fonts to avoid because they are hard on the eyes, fonts that are easy to read, and how to best choose a font for your project. You will also learn about how to construct your design on your media on a psychological level, to better help you reach your audience.

Digital Image Illustration and Manipulation

These courses will teach you how to create your images digitally with industry leading software along with how to take existing images and morph them into something completely different without being able to tell what the original image was. These are courses that will make your life as a graphic designer much easier as digital design is generally a timesaver over hand produced work.


Depending on the media you are designing for, you may have to draw by hand several aspects of a design before you can begin to use it. It's a good idea to at least sketch a design before you begin to make it but these courses will teach you about aspects of drawing and techniques that could use as a graphic designer much like the digital courses do.

Concept Development

These courses will teach you how to fully develop your concept from a small thought into a project that will be easily created and implemented.  Generally emphasis will be placed on creative problem solving and brainstorming.

Design Marketing

You will learn about the role that marketing plays in your design and how to address the needs of your consumer in this course.

Packaging and Advertising Design

You'll learn specifics of how to design graphics for packaging and advertisements in these courses so you are prepared for multiple facets of graphic design because of the varying avenues you can take when you finish your degree.

Graphic Symbolism

These courses will teach you about what graphics mean; in the same manner that color theory will teach you about what impact the colors you choose have on your overall piece. It is important to know what your elements symbolize so you do not misconstrue anything to your viewers.

Fundamentals of Web

Graphic designers are in high demand when it comes to those who make graphics for use with the Web. The Web is quite different from graphics used in print media and therefore it is important that graphic designers be aware of things going on in the Web design world so that the two professions can cross and happily co-exist.


Toward the end of your program, you will learn about putting all of the work you have done together in a format allowing you to begin to market yourself as a graphic designer to potential employers. You will learn about professional communications including information on developing a resume and cover letter. By the end of the course you will at least be almost - if not completely - ready to start applying for jobs in the field.

Each school will have a program that varies but you will find that all of them will follow this same general course guideline.  Through these courses you will be able to tackle graphic design in several capacities, from graphics for the Web to graphics for advertisements and products.

Schools Offering Graphic Design Courses

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            Graphic Design (BS)
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