Visual Communications Program
The visual communications program prepares students for careers in the print, web and digital media design fields. The curriculum balances study of conceptual and visual problem-solving skills with the development of technical skills and knowledge of current industry practices. The program’s associate in arts degree offers content in graphic design and web/interactive media, including digital publishing for mobile devices and content management systems.
ART 112, ART 115 or 116; ART 185; ART& 100 or ART 114 or 150 or 205 or 215; ESLA 117 or placement into ENGL& 101.
Special application process
Admission to the visual communications program is by special application. For more information about course/program prerequisites, the application process, application materials and deadlines, visit the visual communications program page on the College’s website or contact entry & advising or the visual communications program coordinator.
Additional requirements during/after course of study
To be eligible for placement in a cooperative work experience internship, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.50 in program courses and demonstrate professional work behavior exhibited through good class attendance, punctuality and timely completion of class assignments.
Students must meet the WCC Academic Standards of Progress policy. To re-enter the program, a student must re-apply to the visual communications program, following the special application process. A student who is re-admitted may be required to repeat certain program courses to update skills to current industry standards.
Visit whatcom.edu/viscom for more information.
Visual Communications Degrees and Certificates
Visual Communications Classes
Study of the design of letterforms, the function of type, and the use of type as a design element. Required preparation: program admittance.
Application of layout and typographic principles to the design of identity systems, publications and collateral materials such as brochures, newsletters, catalogs. Emphasis on learning page layout software and preparation of art and copy for print reproduction. Required Preparation: program admittance.
Further study of layout and publication design including the use of grid systems for multipage publications. Course covers document creation for print and digital publication and addresses issues of layout design for mobile devices such as eBook readers and tablets. Required preparation: program admittance and VISCM 250.
Illustration principles and techniques using vector-based software. Course covers the creation of illustrations for editorial, advertising and information graphics purposes. Required preparation: program admittance.
Illustration concepts and techniques using bitmapped graphics software. Includes digital image manipulation and image editing of scanned images. Required preparation: program admittance.
Advanced Photoshop skills in preparing raster images for print, web, and digital publishing. Topics include: color management, image resolution, color correction, clipping paths, masks, sharpening, retouching, and compositing techniques. Required preparation: program admittance.
Study of commercial print processes and digital preparation of artwork for reproduction. Topics include: printing process, project workflow, industry standard graphic file formats, digital color foundations, preflight, quality issues, paper stock, bindery processes, business relationships, quoting print jobs. Prerequisite: program admittance.
Fundamentals of web design and site development using coding and web authoring software. Topics include: site planning, workflow, usability, interface and layout design, cross-platform issues, HTML/CSS, image optimization, and web typography. Required preparation: program admittance.
Further study and application of web design principles and site development. Course covers designing for mobile and desktop screen sizes, grid systems for web layout, using HTML/CSS and jQuery for animation and interactivity. Required preparation: program admittance; VISCM 280.
Fundamentals of developing web sites using open source content management systems (CMS). Topics include: CMS functionality for web management needs, content organization, developing graphics for theme-based layouts, modifying theme design through HTML, CSS and scripting. Required preparation: program admittance.
Fundamentals of video production with focus on creating and preparing video for streaming on the Web. Topics include: content development, digital video/audio production, digital editing techniques, file formats and compression for Web delivery. Program admittance required.
Standard professional and business practices in the graphic and web design profession with emphasis on the preparation of a portfolio of the student's work. Other topics include: resume writing, interviewing, portfolio presentations, business contracts, copyright law, recordkeeping, and taxes. Required preparation: program admittance.