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Computer Graphics-Digital Art/Design
Associate Applied Science

Curriculum code 1428

Course Requirements

The Digital Art/Design Program prepares students for employment in the graphic production and information technology industries related to the visual arts. Students completing this program will obtain a solid theoretical foundation in traditional art and design, in addition to developing advanced skills in Macintosh hardware and software for quality computer graphics and design production.

Students will have the advantage of classes in the college's Fine and Performing Arts Center, which offers state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.

This program is intended to lead to employment. Students considering transfer to a four-year college or university to obtain a bachelor's degree using the courses from this program should make an appointment with an academic advisor to review options.

Nature of Work—Graphic designers or graphic artists, plan, analyze, and create visual solutions to communications problems. They decide the most effective way of getting a message across in print, electronic, and film media using a variety of methods such as color, type, illustration, photography, animation, and various print and layout techniques. Graphic designers develop the overall layout and production design of magazines, newspapers, journals, corporate reports, and other publications. An increasing number of graphic  designers also are developing material for Internet Web pages, interactive media, and multimedia projects. Graphic designers also may produce the credits that appear before and after television programs and movies.

Graphic designers prepare sketches or layouts by hand or with the aid of a computer to illustrate the vision for the design. They select colors, sound, artwork, photography, animation, style of type, and other visual elements for the design. Designers also select the size and arrangement of the different elements on the page or screen. Designers then present the completed design to their clients or art or creative director for approval. Graphic designers use a variety of graphics and layout computer software to assist in their designs. Designers creating Web pages or other interactive media designs also will use computer animation and programming packages. Computer software programs allow ease and flexibility in exploring a greater number of design alternatives, thus reducing design costs and cutting the time it takes to deliver a product to market.

Related Job Titles—Artists, commercial designers; fashion designers; and interior designers. Other occupations that require computer-aided design skills include computer software engineers, drafters, and desktop publishers. Other occupations involved in the design, layout, and copy of publications include advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers; photographers; writers and editors; and prepress technicians and workers

Employment Outlook—Employment of graphic designers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations from 2008-2009, as demand for graphic design continues to increase from advertisers, publishers, and computer design firms. Among the five different design occupations, graphic designers will have the most new jobs. However, graphic designers are expected to face keen competition for available positions. Many talented individuals are attracted to careers as graphic designers. Individuals with a bachelor's degree and knowledge of computer design software, particularly those with Web site design and animation experience will have the best opportunities.

Demand for graphic designers should increase because of the rapidly expanding market for Web-based information and expansion of the video entertainment market, including television, movies, video, and made-for-Internet outlets. Graphic designers with Web site design and animation experience will especially be needed as demand for design projects increase for interactive media Web sites, video games, cellular telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and other technology. Demand for graphic designers also will increase as advertising firms create print and Web marketing and promotional materials for a growing number of products and services.

Earnings for graphic designers/desktop publishers vary according to level of experience, training, location and size of firm. Median annual earnings for graphic designers were $42,400 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $32,600 and $56,610. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,110, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $74,660. The American Institute of Graphic Arts reported 2008 median annual total cash compensation for graphic designers according to level of responsibility. Entry-level designers earned a median salary of $35,000 in 2008, while staff level graphic designers earned $45,000. Senior designers, who may supervise junior staff or have some decision-making authority that reflects their knowledge of graphic design, earned $60,000. Solo designers, who freelanced or worked under contract to another company, reported median earnings of $57,000. Design directors, the creative heads of design firms or in-house corporate design departments, earned $95,000. Graphic designers with ownership or partnership interests in a firm or who were principals of the firm in some other capacity earned $95,000. Resource: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010-2011.

For job and internship listings and job search assistance, contact the Job Resource Center in the Student Services Center, S202, (708) 974-5737,  www.morainevalley.edu/jrc.

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