Graphic and Interactive Design

The Graphic and Interactive Design Program at Mount Wachusett Community College provides students with the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Graphic and Interactive Design or an Associate Degree in Graphic and Interactive Design.  Upon completion of either program, students are prepared for positions in business marketing, promotional design, advertising, brand and corporate design, publication design, web design and motion graphics.  During the course of study, the student will develop skills, tools and knowledge to become an innovative, creative thinker and leader in the industry.  Students will gain knowledge in technique, creative expression, integration of the latest design tools, and development of outstanding graphic and interactive design portfolios.

Graphic and Interactive Design (GID)

This program provides students with the visual design, communication, computer graphic, and website coding skills necessary to be competitive for an entry-level position in the visual communications field and/or to continue their education at a four-year college with an opportunity for credit transfer. For those already employed, this area of study offers them a chance to upgrade and add to their current skill set, improving their prospects for job advancement. Students will research, plan and create effective, conceptual design for use in print publishing, website interfaces and interactive design projects. Classes in design theory, visual literacy, typography, and print and web production using industry-standard software and state-of-the-art computer technology will help students generate and prepare design projects for both a print portfolio and an interactive portfolio. Creative print and web design projects include digital illustration, corporate communication and identity, publication and marketing design, interactive website design, and motion graphics. Real-world projects and client-based service learning will fully prepare students to enter the creative arts field in print and web design studios, advertising agencies, the publishing industry, and design departments of large and small businesses. The most current graphic and interactive design software is utilized and includes Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, and After Effects, as well as HTML, CSS, basic Javascript, and jQuery.

Year 1
FallCredits
GID 101Design Theory (Formerly CGD 101) 3
GID 104Digital Imaging (Photoshop) (Formerly CGD 104) 3
GID 109Introduction To Web Design (Formerly CGD 240) 3
ART 263Drawing I 3
ENG 101College Writing I 3
Spring
GID 113Interactive Web Design (formerly CGD 241) 4
GID 115Digital Illustration (Illustrator) (Formerly CGD 105) 3
GID 117Typography In Visual Communication (Indesign) (Formerly CGD 235) 3
ART 251Two-Dimensional Design 3
ENG 102College Writing II 3
Year 2
Fall
GID 202Publication Design (InDesign) (Formerly CGD 102) 3
GID 204Advanced Digital Imaging (Advanced Photoshop) (Formerly CGD 204) 3
GID 209Advanced Web Design (Formerly CGD 244) 3
Professional Elective (see list below)  3
MAT 126Topics In Mathematics (or higher) 3-4
Spring
GID 216Motion Graphics for Interactive Media 3
GID 299Portfolio Preparation and Production (Formerly CGD 210) 4
Social Science Elective 1 3
Science Elective 2 3-4
Marketing Elective  3
 Total Credits: 62-64
1

Social Science Electives: See Elective Courses by Abbreviation.

2

Science Electives: See Elective Courses by Abbreviation.

Professional Electives

Credits
ART 109Art History I3
ART 110Art History II3
ART 253Painting I3
ART 259Ceramics I3
ART 264Drawing II3
ART 286Printmaking I3
ART 252Three-Dimensional Design3
BUS 113Business Etiquette And Protocol3
BUS 125Communication For Business And Industry3
CIS 109Introduction to Programming3
ENG 106Technical Writing3
ENG 241Journalism I: Media Writing3
ENG 251Introduction To Public Relations3
MGT 110Small Business Management3
MGT 210Principles Of Management3
MKT 142Marketing3
MKT 241Advertising3
MKT 242Integrated Marketing Communications3
MKT 251Digital Marketing3
MRT 105Introduction To Mass Media 3
MRT 110Fundamentals of Video Production3
MRT 208Scriptwriting3
PHO 115Introduction To Digital Photography3
SPC 113Speech (formerly THE113)3

Marketing Electives

Credits
MKT 142Marketing3
MKT 241Advertising3
MKT 242Integrated Marketing Communications3
MKT 251Digital Marketing3

See the Graphic and Interactive Design general information for program student learning outcomes and technical standards.

Transfer options

For transfer options, please click here. It is recommended that you also consult with your academic advisor.

Special requirements

GID students should either have a computer at home with Internet access and the Adobe Creative Suite or be able to spend time outside of class in the Graphic Design computer labs where Internet access and the Creative Adobe Suite are provided. A grade of C or better is recommended for students taking GID courses. Students should follow suggested course sequence, since most courses are not offered out of sequence. Technical standards must be met with or without accommodations.

Career options/Earning potential

For career options, please click here.

Graphic and Interactive Design Certificate (GIDC)

This certificate is for students with prior computer knowledge, business experience, or a degree in a computer-related field who wish to upgrade and add to their current skill set, improving their prospects for job advancement or for personal use. Students will research, plan and create effective, conceptual design for use in print publishing, website interfaces and interactive design projects. Classes in design theory, visual literacy, typography, and print and web production using industry-standard software and state-of-the-art computer technology will help students generate and prepare design projects. The most current graphic and interactive design software is utilized and includes Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, and Dreamweaver, as well as HTML, CSS, basic Javascript, and jQuery.

Year 1
FallCredits
GID 101Design Theory (Formerly CGD 101) 3
GID 104Digital Imaging (Photoshop) (Formerly CGD 104) 3
GID 109Introduction To Web Design (Formerly CGD 240) 3
GID Professional Elective (see list below)  3
Spring
GID 113Interactive Web Design (formerly CGD 241) 4
GID 115Digital Illustration (Illustrator) (Formerly CGD 105) 3
GID 117Typography In Visual Communication (Indesign) (Formerly CGD 235) 3
GID Professional Elective (see list below)  3
 Total Credits: 25

GID Professional Electives

Please consult with an advisor

Credits
ART 251Two-Dimensional Design3
ART 263Drawing I3
BUS 113Business Etiquette And Protocol3
BUS 125Communication For Business And Industry3
CIS 109Introduction to Programming3
ENG 106Technical Writing3
ENG 241Journalism I: Media Writing3
ENG 251Introduction To Public Relations3
GID 202Publication Design (InDesign) (Formerly CGD 102)3
GID 204Advanced Digital Imaging (Advanced Photoshop) (Formerly CGD 204)3
GID 209Advanced Web Design (Formerly CGD 244)3
GID 216Motion Graphics for Interactive Media 3
MGT 110Small Business Management3
MKT 142Marketing3
MKT 241Advertising3
MKT 242Integrated Marketing Communications3
MKT 251Digital Marketing3
MRT 105Introduction To Mass Media 3
MRT 110Fundamentals of Video Production3
MRT 208Scriptwriting3
PHO 115Introduction To Digital Photography (if not previously taken)3
SPC 113Speech (formerly THE113)3

See Graphic and Interactive Design program student learning outcomes and technical standards.

Special requirements

GIDC students should either have a computer at home with internet access and the Adobe Creative Cloud or be able to spend time outside of class in the graphic design computer labs where internet access and the Adobe Creative Cloud are provided. A grade of C or better is recommended for students taking GID courses. Students should follow the suggested course sequence, since most courses are not offered out of sequence. Most courses in the GIDC Certificate may be applied to the GID Degree. Technical standards must be met with or without accommodations.

Transfer options

This program is intended for immediate career entry. Courses completed as part of this certificate program can be applied to the Graphic and Interactive Design Degree.

Career options/Earning potential

For career options, please click here.

Gainful Employment Program Disclosure Information

For gainful employment information, please click here.

Program Student Learning Outcomes for GID, GIDC

Upon graduation from this program, students will:

  • Design effective visual communication pieces for both print and interactive design that demonstrate a solid understanding of design, including the elements and principles of design and typography.
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the principles of visual communication coupled with an understanding of current print, web and interactive design tools, concepts, terminology, and techniques to produce concept-driven design work.
  • Define and employ the design process especially as it relates to:
    • Audience definition, research, analysis, and concept development; the production of thumbnail sketches, rough drafts, and the preparation of final comprehensive print layouts and websites.
  • Gain an intermediate to advanced skill set in industry-standard applications, including the Adobe Creative Cloud and other appropriate programs.
  • Transform and enhance digital imagery through the use of Adobe Photoshop with emphasis on the creation of high-quality graphics for print and interactive design.
  • Create complex digital illustrations and layouts with a solid understanding of the complex functions of Adobe Illustrator.
  • Plan, design and develop multi-page publication designs while utilizing design elements and principles, grids, typography and layout techniques.
  • Define print capabilities and the printing process, and utilize pre-press techniques.
  • Plan, design, and develop interactive websites utilizing intermediate to advanced web authoring techniques and industry-standard software.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in: project planning, UX, hand coding HTML and CSS; the fundamental applications of Javascript and jQuery; and building a variety of fixed, responsive and mobile website layouts.
  • Create dynamic, motion graphics while utilizing industry-standard software.
  • Manage and develop client-based graphic and interactive design projects with the use of effective design, layout and navigational architecture while meeting strict deadlines.
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the concepts and restrictions of copyrights and intellectual property laws.
  • Prepare for the job market with career planning, skill assessment, resume writing, and interviewing, as well as compile a professional-quality portfolio for entering the job market or for transferring to a four-year program.

Technical Standards1 for GID, GIDC

Technical Standards 1 for GID, GIDC

1 For general information about technical standards and accommodations, see Technical Standards

Students entering this program must be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Read and comprehend textbook material at the 11th grade level.
  • Communicate and assimilate information either in spoken, printed, signed, or computer voice format.
  • Gather, analyze, and draw conclusions from data.
  • Write at a college level as evidenced by completion of ENG 098 Fundamentals of Writing or placement into ENG 101 English Composition I.
  • Read and proof printed text from a computer screen, with or without corrective adaptive devices.
  • Exhibit social skills appropriate to professional interactions.
  • Perceive, interpret, and use graphic images in their entirety from a computer screen.
  • Perceive and use computer screen RGB colors.
  • Learn to operate a computer with sufficient manual dexterity to manipulate peripherals such as keyboard, mouse, and graphics tablets.
  • Be physically capable to work at a computer for a minimum of several hours.
 

Courses

GID 101. Design Theory (Formerly CGD 101). 3 Credits.

This course is an introduction to the Graphic Design field. It is a combination of lecture, group critique, computer demonstration, and hands-on applications. Through a series of exercises, special emphasis is placed on the understanding of the fundamentals of design and typography as they are applied to the development of effective visual communication for both print and web applications. Through research and analysis, students will become familiar with a history of Graphic Design and contemporary designs from leading members of the wider Graphic Design community. Students will create a comprehensive final project consisting of both print- and web-designed projects within a campaign for a Public Service Announcement (PSA). This course also addresses audience definition, research and analysis, concept development, and the production of thumbnail sketches, rough drafts, and the preparation of final comprehensive layouts. Prerequisites: ENG 098, FYE 101, RDG 098, or placement; GID 104 (Formerly CGD104) (or corequisite). Fall for GID students. Spring for non-majors.

GID 104. Digital Imaging (Photoshop) (Formerly CGD 104). 3 Credits.

This project-based course will emphasize design theory and practices, concept development, and the production of portfolio-ready pieces. Students will learn the basics of designing electronic artwork with special emphasis on understanding the tools and techniques of Adobe Photoshop. Students will be able to transform digital images into new pieces of art through the use of non-destructive editing techniques: smart objects, masks, adjustment layers, camera raw filter, smart filters, selections and channels. In addition, students will employ creative and effective use of the elements and principles of design and typography in various projects. Students will create, optimize, and save graphics for the web. Basic computer skills are required: Ability to use a computer operating system and follow basic procedures including keyboarding/mouse skills, as well as system commands such as working with directories/folders, and opening/closing applications. Prerequisites: ENG 098, FYE 101, RDG 098, or placement.

GID 109. Introduction To Web Design (Formerly CGD 240). 3 Credits.

This course is the first in a three-part series teaching front-end web design and development. The course begins with an overview of the Internet and the World Wide Web, followed by an introduction to the three layers of web development, Structure (HTML), Style (CSS) and Behavior (JavaScript). Students will hand code a variety of web page assignments to master the fundamental techniques presented in this course. Emphasis throughout the course will include the effective use of Project Planning techniques, the Principles of Design, User Experience (UX) Design, Writing and Typography for the web, validation and browser testing. Additional topics include an introduction to the Apple/Mac operating system including file management, and Copyright and the use of images on the Web. In conjunction with MWCC’s Library research and information training, an information literacy module will be included and will provide the focus for one of two required large-scale Creative Website projects. Basic computer skills are required: ability to use a computer operating system and follow basic procedures including keyboarding/mouse skills, as well as system commands such as working with directories/folders, and opening/closing applications. Prerequisites: ENG 098, FYE 101, RDG 098, or placement. Fall.

GID 113. Interactive Web Design (formerly CGD 241). 4 Credits.

The second course in a three-part series teaching front-end web design and development, this course picks up where GID 109 ends. We begin with a brief recap of previous skills, followed by a study of additional layouts including responsive web design layouts that adapt to the size of the device being used. Additional techniques include CSS3, HTML5, flexible images, media queries, and advanced navigation bars. An overview of Mobile Web Design will be included. Students continue to increase their knowledge of JavaScript and jQuery to add interactivity to their web pages. A variety of web page assignments will be hand coded to master the fundamental techniques presented in this course. Emphasis continues on the effective use of project planning techniques, the principles of design, user experience (UX) design, writing and typography for the web, validation and browser testing. One of two required creative website projects will focus in-depth on working with a client. Prerequisites: GID 109 or permission of the Division Dean; GID 101, GID 104 and GID 117 are recommended as pre- or corequisites. Spring.

GID 115. Digital Illustration (Illustrator) (Formerly CGD 105). 3 Credits.

This project-based course will emphasize design theory and practices, concept development, and the production of portfolio-ready pieces. Students will learn the basic elements of vector graphics—paths, strokes and fills—and how to use Adobe Illustrator’s powerful drawing tools. The course also explores how to use color, build complex shapes from simple paths, and produce a detailed trace from a bitmap image, sketch or line art. Special emphasis is on understanding the Bezier pen tool, as well as learning specialized techniques for creating line-art, complex color illustrations, and two and three-dimensional drawings. Students will illustrate and design two creative projects that are a culmination of the skills and techniques learned in the class. Basic computer skills are required: ability to use a computer operating system and follow basic procedures including keyboarding/mouse skills, as well as system commands such as working with directories/folders, and opening/closing applications. Prerequisites: ENG 098, FYE 101, RDG 098, or placement. Spring.

GID 117. Typography In Visual Communication (Indesign) (Formerly CGD 235). 3 Credits.

Typography is what sets graphic designers apart from other artists. They understand that letterform can communicate the mood and meaning in the written word. It is for this reason that this course will focus on a solid understanding of typography in visual communications with the use of Adobe InDesign. Students will explore the anatomy of the letterform through various exercises while learning how to classify typefaces and how to use them effectively and creatively. They will explore the characteristics of typefaces to develop a basic proficiency in identifying the distinctive features of each. Students will acquire a solid foundation in the basics of typography and will as a result make better decisions about typographic usage. Details of text layout and information hierarchy will be emphasized. Integration of other CSS programs, to create professional appealing designs for both print and web projects, is covered. Students will learn how to use typography on the page as an integrated graphic element to produce typographic solutions effectively and creatively. Saving InDesign documents for web access will be covered as well. Online as well as print assignments using type predominantly will be required. Students will design two creative projects using Adobe InDesign. Prerequisites: ENG 098, FYE 101, RDG 098, (or placement). Spring.

GID 177. Designing Business Graphics (Photoshop) (Formerly CGD 107). 3 Credits.

This course is designed for non-GID program majors who want to build skills in the technical, marketing, and business uses of Adobe PhotoShop. Students will learn to use basic tools, palettes, menu items, layers, masking, selections, and channels. Focus will be on scanning, creating and saving graphics, creating practical marketing pieces for print and web output, as well as creating animations for use in interactive, web-based media. Not open to GID/GIDC majors. Prerequisites: Basic computer skills: Ability to use a computer operating system and follow basic procedures including keyboarding/mouse skills, as well as system commands such as working with directories/folders, and opening/closing applications. If the student is unable to complete these tasks easily, please enroll in an appropriate introductory computer course.

GID 202. Publication Design (InDesign) (Formerly CGD 102). 3 Credits.

This project-based course is a continuation of GID 101 Design Theory and GID 117 Typography in Visual Communication and focuses on an advanced understanding of graphic design principles, theory and practices, concept development and the production of portfolio-ready, multi-paged layouts. Emphasis is on understanding complex layout formats and composition while utilizing Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat PDF. Through various exercises, students will explore grids, typography, and advanced layout techniques such as master pages and style sheets, as well as gain an introduction to e-publishing and app development for publications using the Adobe Digital Publishing suite. Students will create two sophisticated, multi-paged publication design projects. Prerequisites: GID 101, GID 104, GID 115, GID 117 or permission of the Division Dean. Fall.

GID 204. Advanced Digital Imaging (Advanced Photoshop) (Formerly CGD 204). 3 Credits.

This course covers extensive use of Adobe Bridge, Photoshop and Camera Raw. Students will work with photographic images using tools from all of these Adobe packages for more advanced image creation and editing techniques. Bridge will be used to manage files and integrate all of the Adobe program files to place elements into their projects. Extensive work with compositing files and working with smart objects, Camera Raw, and smart filters to non-destructively edit images will required. Advanced operation of tools and palettes, file formats, optimizing images for the Web and other media, retouching files, masks, paths, channels, color adjustment for printing, animation and video for the Web will be covered as well. Students will be able to transform digital images into new pieces of art through the use of non-destructive editing techniques: masks, adjustment layers, selections and channels. In addition, students will employ creative and effective use of the elements and principles of design and typography in various projects. Students will research, plan, and design projects for both print and Web. This project-based course will emphasize design theory and practices, concept development, and the production of portfolio-ready pieces. Prerequisites: GID 101, GID 104 or permission of the Division Dean.

GID 209. Advanced Web Design (Formerly CGD 244). 3 Credits.

This is a culminating course in the three-part series teaching front-end web design and development. This course picks up where GID 113 ends and will require students to effectively employ the skills and techniques they’ve learned in all of their previous GID classes. In this class, students will concentrate on building advanced website wireframes and layouts, creating an HTML email campaign while learning to use popular online HTML email campaign solutions, creating a WordPress website, and exploring options for building mobile sites. We begin with examining a variety of advanced website layouts including online stores, magazine and news style layouts, and parallax style layouts. For the first Creative Project, students will explore digital marketing through the design, building, and sending of a multi-piece promotional HTML email campaign using one of the popular online email platform options. Creative Project One will be followed by an introduction to building WordPress sites for clients who wish to have a designer create the initial site and then want to maintain it on their own. Students will then build a WordPress website for their second Creative Project. Additional topics will include CSS3, HTML5 and building separate mobile websites. Prerequisites: GID 113. Fall.

GID 216. Motion Graphics for Interactive Media. 3 Credits.

This course is an introduction to motion graphics and animation for designers. Students will explore the relationship between graphic design and time-based, interactive media while examining contemporary and historical examples of motion graphics and animation. This course will focus on the use of current industry standard software to produce a range of motion graphics projects for the Web and other interfaces. Students will be introduced to strategies of visual communication through kinetic elements: form, speed, rhythm, orientation, color, texture and quality of motion. Projects will cover basic animation principles, design and composition, typography, timing, storyboarding, and incorporating sound and music. Through varying creative projects, students will gain a solid foundation of motion graphics and animation and techniques that will support their creativity and enhance their digital skill-set. Prerequisites: GID 104 or GID 177 or permission of Division Dean. ENG 101 recommended as a pre or co-requisite.

GID 299. Portfolio Preparation and Production (Formerly CGD 210). 4 Credits.

This 4-Credits course is the final capstone class in the GID program. Students will rework and refine their past projects for their portfolio, experience a “real world” client/designer professional relationship, explore production issues of print and web designs, write a resume, and develop a personal visual identity for self promotion. Students are expected to be proficient in page layout, digital imaging, digital illustration and web design as they move their strongest pieces forward, strengthening their portfolio as they advance their visual communication skills. The teacher will act as a facilitator for group critiques, organize guest speakers and field trips, and provide service learning supervision. Service Learning provides students with an opportunity to enhance their design skills, in collaboration with a community-based nonprofit organization, as they provide creative visual solutions for their client. This course will prepare the student to enter the field of graphic and interactive design with both a printed and on-line portfolio of their best work, a comprehensive understanding of a perspective employer‘s expectations, and how to meet those expectations. As well, throughout the course students will gain a solid working knowledge of prepress and production techniques as it applies to their personal and client-based projects. Prerequisites: GID 101, GID 104, GID 109, GID 113, GID 115, GID 117, GID 202, GID 204, GID 209 or permission of the Division Dean.