Graphic Design

Start your professional work portfolio right here in our Graphic Design program. With the option to earn a Diploma or an Associate in Applied Science degree in Graphic Design, you’ll receive the education and experience needed to launch your career in our dual-track program.

Develop skills in design, graphics, animation, typography, digital illustration, drawing, photography and advertising techniques while learning in our state-of the-art Macintosh Computer Lab. Featuring 17 new iMac computers with the latest Adobe Creative Cloud suite applications, the graphic design classroom has everything you need to do your work efficiently.

Gain on-the-job experience through internships, increasing your chances for job placement after graduation. Working on a shared network drive with other students and your instructor will also give you a taste of how graphic designers work in the field.

Whether you choose to pursue print design, animation or multimedia authoring, the digital portfolio you produce in our program will help get you started for a creative career path.

Faculty Contact

Mark Rosenberg
Graphic Design Program Coordinator & Assistant Professor
712-362-7976 | mrosenberg@iowalakes.educreate new email

Program Details


DEGREE: Associate in Applied Science (69 credits)

CAMPUS: Estherville


Did You Know?

Starting Salary: $29,442

Average Salary: $43,918

Projected Employment Growth: 0.6%


Term 1

Credits: 4

This foundation course focuses on the general knowledge and essential skills used in creating two dimensional designs. Fundamental design concepts including the use of the elements and principles of design, along with color theory, are introduced through a variety of hands-on-experiences.

Credits: 3

Introduction to vector based drawing application. Students will create both black and white and multi-color graphics using applica­tion tools and menu commands. Various projects of interest will be completed during the semester that incorporate your understand­ing of drawing tools, color theory, and typography.

Credits: 3

Students work with advanced design problems and concepts. A semester long case study of a company will result in the research, design, and production of a marketing plan, logo, research materi­als, and other graphic assets necessary to move the company business strategy forward.

Credits: 3

This course provides insight into the effective use of color through the study of contemporary color theory including additive and subtractive color. This course involves the development of color perception, expression and application in traditional and digital design, through a series of problem-solving exercises and projects. Fundamental student experiences, along with a historical perspective will provide insight and understanding to the intrinsic power of color in design.

Credits: 3

Basic digital theory, how the digital camera works. Includes digital capture of both still and video; input into the computer; digital manipulation; basic Photoshop and photography; saving digital images for future use and long term archiving. How to prepare digital images for print social media, web and other uses and how to send digital images after formatting for upload.

Term 2

Credits: 3

The course uses a variety of approaches and techniques to develop and enhance the student’s drawing skills. Exploration and experimentation with alternative drawing materials and methods will be strongly encouraged and supported.

Credits: 3

Emphasis on expository and argumentative writings including a review of usage and mechanics.

Prerequisites: Satisfactory score on the ACT, Accuplacer, ASSET,COMPASS as determined by Iowa Lakes policy

Credits: 3

This introductory course covers the core concepts associated with digital imaging. Students learn how to effectively use this software in a graphic design environment; planning and carrying out professional digital imaging projects. This course introduces both basic visual design concepts and a comprehensive understanding of digital workflow, providing the student with a foundation for print, web, interactive, animation, and game design projects.

Credits: 3

This course explores the fundamental principles of typography and its role in visual communication. Students will explore both the form and function of typography in design through lectures and demonstrations. Emphasis is placed on the history of type, anatomy of letter forms, and appropriate uses of type.

Credits: 3

Balance, proportion and harmony as they apply to printed images on paper. Type selection, copy-fitting, use of ornaments and the psychology of advertising are explored. Students design for web or social media platforms.

Credits: 1

Opportunity for career exploration and development of job seek­ing skills. Emphasis is placed on familiarization of businesses employing graphic designs, resume preparation, and job seeking skills including preparation of job correspondence and application forms, and participation in job interviews for the purpose of obtain­ing a graphic design internship.

Term 3

Credits: 2 or 4

Supervised, paid work experience in a business or industry involved in an area of graphic design.

Term 4

Credits: 3

Basic understanding of the components used in an electronic publishing system and an introduction to desktop publishing. Emphasis is on using a computer for page layout using existing art, creating art and combining text and art to create page layouts and output to hard copy. Students will learn about the basics of design and layout, typography and about the many design tools and resources available.

Credits: 1

This class is for the student preparing to graduate. It enables the student to compile accomplished works into a quality portfolio pre­sentation. Different types of digital portfolio systems are discussed and viewed.

Credits: 3

This is a general survey course which includes sets; number systems; elementary algebra; exponents; equations and inequalities; fractions; ratios; proportion and variation; probability and statistics; elementary graphing; consumer mathematics; and an introduction to geometry.

Prerequisites: Appropriate placement score

Credits: 3

The fundamentals course develops the basic skills involved in a variety of communication situations, including oral presentations and interpersonal speaking.  Emphasis is placed on organization, audience analysis, vocal and physical delivery, listening, nonverbal communication, critical thinking, and methods of dealing with communication apprehension through class discussion and activities.

Term 5

Credits: 3

This course will give students a hands-on, example based intro­duction to the modeling and animation process for use in movies or games. Colors, textures, physical simulations, and keyframe based animation are covered.

Credits: 3

This course advances the ideas and techniques taught in Digital Imaging I with an emphasis on advanced techniques. Focus will be put on the understanding of tool setting, curves, levels, blend­ing modes, layer styles, special effects, as well as painting and drawing tools. Students will be challenged as a designer working with real-world projects.

Prerequisites: GRA 140 – Digital Imaging

Credits: 3

An introduction to the creation of graphics and animation for use on web pages using current software programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Animate, and Fireworks. This course also takes students through the entire web design process from start to finish including: site definition, site mapping, wire framing, creat­ing mock ups, initiating user tests, and exporting a final website design.

Credits: 3

An introductory course that studies mass media and society. The class includes a historical and contemporary overview of indus­tries, professions, processes and social effects of the mass media.

Credits: 4

Structure and function of the human body with emphasis on cells, tissues and all major organ systems. Anatomy and physiology are integrated at the cellular level and at the organ/system level. Lecture and laboratory.

† indicates a course that fulfills the diversity requirement. This course may also fulfill another general AA requirement.