May 29, 2024  
2015-2016 Course Catalog 
2015-2016 Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graphic Design, AAS

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(previously Commercial Art)
Initially, students will be admitted to the Visual Communications diploma program. After Term 2 of the Visual Communications diploma program, students will apply to the Graphic Design A.A.S. degree program and submit a program change form. Students must complete the Visual Communications diploma or receive program chair permission. Students will start the Fall semester by choosing a graphic design or web design concentration.

If you want to take your passion for art and design to the next level, the Graphic Design AAS degree program is closely aligned with local business to understand their “real world” needs and develop those skills in our students. Our classes provide students with design skills, web and print software skills, video production skills and professional work practices needed to get a position in this highly competitive field.

Although most graduates who gain employment begin in entry-level positions, hard-working and talented students have started as high-level designers and owners of successful freelance businesses. The Graphic Design program prepares students to find employment with advertising agencies, corporate design departments, web design companies, book and magazine publishing, digital media companies, graphic design firms, printing companies, newspapers and marketing firms. Upon completion of the program, graduates will have taken courses in communication design, web design, typography, illustration, digital imaging, page layout and digital file preparation.

For more information about the Graphic Design program, please visit our website at

Location: Ankeny

Students start Fall semester. This is a full-time program.

To complete this program, students must take daytime classes; not all classes are offered at night.

Program Entry Requirements

  1. Complete an application for admission.
  2. Satisfy the assessment requirement by taking Reading and English sections of the COMPASS test and taking the ALEKS math placement test and:
  3. Obtain a minimum COMPASS Reading score of 61 or a minimum ACT Reading score of 14.
  4. Obtain a minimum ALEKS placement score of 30% or a minimum ACT Math score of 14.
  5. Obtain a minimum COMPASS English score of 42 or a minimum ACT Writing score of 14.
  6. Attend a required Graphic Design program information session.
  7. Recommended: Basic Microsoft Office skills or BCA 212  or Basic Macintosh or Adobe Creative Suite skills or GRD 301 .


Graduation Requirements

To earn a Graphic Design AAS degree, a student must complete all coursework as prescribed and maintain a 2.0 grade point average. Students are required to produce a portfolio of graphic design work that demonstrates their ability to conceptualize and produce a variety of creative and effective multichannel communication collateral and to attend the Portfolio Day event.

Visual Communication Diploma Total - 43

Requirements for the AAS Degree

Students accepted into the Graphic Design AAS degree program would continue taking the following courses. Students must choose a Graphic Design Concentration or a Web Design concentration:

Requirements for the Graphic Design Concentration AAS

Semester 5

Required Course(s)

Option 1 - Select 1 Course

Total Minimum Credits Required to Complete this Program - Graphic Design Concentration - 73

Requirements for the Wed Design Concentration AAS

Semester 5

Option 1 Course List

Semester 6

Total Minimum Credits Required to Complete this Program - Web Design Concentration - 76

Fixed Costs

Tuition……………………………………………………………………………………..$143.00 per credit

The costs for each program are estimates and subject to change.

Varied Costs

  Semester 1 Semester 2 Semester 3 Semester 4 Semester 5 Semester 6
Books (approximate) 175-200 260-310 30-140 120-300 70-400 200-300
Supplies 20 20 20 50-400 100  
External Hard Drive Recommended, but optional 100          
Macintosh Computer 1500          
Design Software (Monthly Subscription) 20 20 20 20 20 20
Portfolio         100-200  

Note: Financial aid may be used to purchase a computer. Apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) online at

Approximate total for Graphic Design AAS: $13,104 - $14,249*

Approximate total for Graphic Design Web Emphasis AAS: $13,753 - $14,978*

* Program entry requirements are not included in the total approximate cost.

What Kind of Work Will You Do?

• Develop the overall layout and production of magazines, newspapers, journals and corporate reports.
• Design web pages, interactive media and multimedia projects.
• Produce promotional displays, packaging and marketing brochures for products and services.
• Create distinctive logos and brands for a variety of businesses and services.
• Develop signs and signage systems for business and government.

What Skills and Abilities Will You Need?

• Artistic talent and creativity.
• Ability to conceptualize and effectively use design elements and principles.
• Design for multichannel media.
• Work long hours on a computer using specialized design software.
• Accurately follow project specifications.
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
• Present your ideas, designs and proposals to prospective clients and supervisors.
• Teamwork, collaboration and the ability to take art direction from supervisors, clients and coworkers to improve your work.
• Manage your time to meet established deadlines while working on more than one project at a time and stay within
   project budget.
• Possess critical thinking skills and creative problem-solving skills in order to assess a client’s needs and develop a design strategy.

What Else Should I Consider about this Program or Career Choice?

• Must be able to work under pressure to meet deadlines.
• Must learn and use multiple software applications and stay current with updates, adapt to change and be able to learn on
   your own.
• Must be able to sit at a computer for long periods of time.
• Must be self-motivated to develop an effective job search strategy to secure a position in this very competitive job market.
• Anticipated average starting salary $28,833 (2010-2011 Placement Report).

Nondiscrimination Policy

Des Moines Area Community College shall not engage in or allow discrimination covered by law. This includes harassment based on race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sex (including pregnancy and marital status), sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability and genetic information. Veteran status in educational programs, activities, employment practices, or admission procedures is also included to the extent covered by law. Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against may file a complaint through the College Discrimination Complaint Procedure. Complaint forms may be obtained from the Campus Provost’s office, the Academic Deans’ office, the Judicial Officer, or the EEO/AA Officer, Human Resources. For information about the ADA, the Section 504/ADA Coordinator can be contacted at 515-964-6857. For Title IX questions and concerns contact 515-964-6850.

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