Parkland's graphic design and interactive design students learn to inform, motivate, engage and entertain an audience through creative visual communication. Our goal is to teach students how to effectively convey a client’s message and to create work that stands out in the marketing communications industry.
A portfolio-building curriculum
Our programs consist of a solid foundation in design principles, art & design history, drawing and typography, followed by portfolio-building studio courses that enable students to put theory into practice.
Through hands-on projects-based learning, students practice solving real-world visual communication problems in the classroom. Our students graduate from Parkland College with a portfolio that is creative, professional, and demonstrates a high level of craftsmanship. Students also gain additional real-world experience through our internship program.
Parkland offers seven tracks in the graphic design and interactive design programs:
- AFA in Art & Design (Graphic Design Focus)
This transfer degree is designed for students who wish to earn a Bachelor's degree at a four-year institution. By special arrangement with the University of Illinois and Illinois State University, students who complete this degree at Parkland can transfer to either school as a junior majoring in graphic design. Students who wish to pursue this "2+2" arrangement should consult with the Graphic Design Program Director for advisement. Course work includes 32 hours in general education courses, 22 hours in foundation art studio courses, and 9 hours of graphic design courses (see Parkland's Art & Design catalog pages).
- AAS in Graphic Design
The traditional Graphic Design degree is recommended for students interested in producing creative visual communication for print and web. Course work includes 45 hours of graphic design, web design and related courses plus 18 hours of general education courses (see Parkland's Graphic & Interactive Design catalog pages).
- AAS in Interactive Design
The Interactive Design degree is recommended for tech-savvy students interested in creating dynamic user experiences (UX) for websites and devices. The program prepares students for careers in marketing communication, web design, web development and related fields. Course work includes 50 hours of graphic design, web design and digital media courses plus 15 hours of general education courses (see Parkland's Graphic & Interactive Design catalog pages).
- Interactive Design Certificate
- Digital Illustration Certificate
This certificate program is ideal for students who enjoy drawing and art creation using traditional media, but would like to add digital tools to their skill set. Students will learn the practical side of creating original art using digital tools while building a portfolio of editorial illustrations, concept art, technical illustrations, and animation. The certificate program stresses digital media software proficiency, a thorough understanding of design principles, and visual problem solving. Graduates are employed in in-house corporate art departments, illustration studios, and as freelancers.
- Print Production Certificate
The Print Production certificate program prepares students for entry-level positions that require in-depth knowledge of graphic arts software. Students will learn the practical side of preparing digital press-ready files for efficient output while gaining practical experience creating posters, brochures, newsletters, and other printed materials. The certificate stresses Macintosh computer proficiency and a thorough understanding of various commercial printing processes. Graduates are employed in printing facilities and in-house corporate art departments as pre-press operators, print production specialists, or production assistants.
A comprehensive curriculum
All of our studio courses are grounded in visual literacy, creative problem solving and technology. Instructors make a concerted effort to introduce students to a wide variety of award-winning work by influential designers providing a context for development and growth. Students are introduced to the world of typography, motion, color, photography, illustration, interactivity, print production, web development and creative copywriting. Students learn that inspiration comes from many sources and that the creative process is a methodology that works.
For a complete list of graphic design courses, course descriptions and course sequences, please download Parkland Graphic Design Program's catalog pages.