Graphic Design: Visual Communication

Graphic Design: Visual Communication - AAS

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Graphic Design: Visual Communication is designed for students who plan to enter the field of Design. Program is designed to provide students with training in fine art foundations, design principles, and in computer-generated design including layout, illustrations, typeface, color principles, photographic manipulation, and prepress ready graphic design.


Major Code: 
Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
Total credits required: 
Award notes

Students must earn a grade of C or better for all courses required within the program.

Program prerequisites
Course #Course TitleCredits
ART100Introduction to Computer Graphic Art (1) OR
Permission of Department0-1

At Scottsdale...

Graphic design is about visual problem-solving and meeting clients’ needs in a visually captivating way. At SCC, experienced faculty provide you with a broad range of computer-generated design coursework taught using high-end software and technology in a new MAC G5 computer lab with flat screen preview. Layout, illustration, color principles, typography, photographic manipulation, digital pre-press for designers, and high end output are all important aspects of the program.

Your creativity is allowed to flourish in small classes where you are provided individual attention with specialized instructors. Interaction with the professional design community is further supported through guest lectures, studio tours, internships, and cooperative education opportunities.

Supplementing the curriculum with these real-life experiences provides you with an intensive, comprehensive design education.


  • In 2012 we received the distinguished Frederick D. Kagy Education Award of Excellence, naming us as one of the nation’s best graphic design programs.
  • Gold Premier Print Award in each category since 2003
  • Program chair: ZA Prust Industry Achievement Award 2015

Course Format

Classes are offered in a variety of formats: in-person, online, hybrid, day, evening, full-time and part-time.  

How long will it take?

The total number of credits necessary for the AAS is 60-66. It takes a minimum of 2 years as a full-time student including summer school. This estimate does not include developmental education courses (courses under 100 level).


The estimated cost of the AAS program is $6,435 for Maricopa County residents. *(see below for details)


Most graphic design program classes use low or no-cost textbooks. There are a few classes that require a textbook, but it generally runs under $200 total. General Education courses may have textbooks that cost more.

Program Curriculum

Semester 1

  • ART100 Intro to Computer Graphic Art
  • ART169 Two-Dimensional Design
  • ART175 Electronic Publishing
  • ART177 Computer Photographic Imaging

Semester 2

  • ART181 Graphic Design I
  • ART103 Typography in the Digital Age
  • ART190 The Art of Web Design*

Semester 3

  • ART104 Cross Media Marketing for Designers
  • ART114 Digital Color
  • ART291 Digital Prepress
  • ART182 Graphic Design II*

Semester 4

  • ART248 Design Self Promotion
  • ART215 Advanced Electronic Publishing*
  • ART142 Digital Photography*
  • ART296 Cooperative Education*


  • ARH110 – History of Graphic Design

*Restricted Elective suggestion

Some courses are offered only one semester per year.

Fall only

  • ART104 Cross Media Marketing for Designers
  • ART114 Digital Color
  • ART291 Digital Prepress
  • ART298 Special Projects: PDF Workflow

Spring Only

  • ART183 Computer Aided Graphic Arts
  • ART190 The Art of Web Design
  • ART290AB Creative Brand Strategy

Spring and Summer

  • ARH110 The History of Graphic Design
Required courses
Course #Course TitleCredits
ADA/ART169Two-Dimensional Computer Design3
ADA/ART175Electronic Publishing Design I3
ADA/ART177Computer-Photographic Imaging3
ADA/ART248Design Self Promotion3
ARH110History of Graphic Design3
ART103Typography in the Digital Age3
ART104Cross-Media Marketing for Designers3
ART114Digital Color3
ART181Graphic Design I3
ART291Digital Prepress3
Restricted Electives
Course #Course TitleCredits
ADA/ART289Computer Illustration3
ART142Introduction to Digital Photography3
ART/COM/STO150Digital Storytelling3
ART182Graphic Design II3
ADA/ART183Computer Aided Graphic Arts I3
ART/MMT190Art of Website Design3
ART215Advanced Electronic Publishing3
ART296++Any Cooperative Education course1-4
CIS133DAInternet/Web Development Level I3
General education requirements
General Education RequirementCredits: 19-24
General Education CoreCredits: 12-17
First-Year CompositionCredits: 6
Any approved general education course from the First-Year Composition area.6
Oral CommunicationCredits: 3
Any approved general education course from the Oral Communication area.
Critical ReadingCredits: 0-3
CRE101College Critical Reading and Critical Thinking (3) OR
Equivalent as indicated by assessment.
MathematicsCredits: 3-5
Any approved general education course from the Mathematics area.
General Education DistributionCredits: 7
Humanities and Fine ArtsCredits: 0
Met by ARH110 in Required Courses area.
Social and Behavioral SciencesCredits: 3
Any approved general education course from the Social-Behavioral Sciences area.
Natural SciencesCredits: 4
Any approved general education course from the Natural Sciences area.
  • Demonstrate and apply knowledge of computer techniques and art presentation methods. (ADA/ART169)
  • Create electronic two-dimensional design images using traditional methods of visual problem solving. (ADA/ART169)
  • Use the computer to produce output-ready graphic designs using appropriate page layout program. (ADA/ART175)
  • Use the computer to produce and manipulate photographic imagery for print and graphic design production. (ADA/ART177)
  • Present an historical overview of graphic design and typography including identification of key works in a variety of media, and descriptions of various tools, techniques, and materials used in creating visual communication pieces. (ARH110)
  • Describe key developments in the history of typography. (ART103)
  • Use computer generated typography with an understanding of type anatomy and use it effectively in visual communication. (ART103)
  • Identify the fundamentals of marketing as they apply to the graphic designer. (ART104)
  • Evaluate various digital marketing tools and methods for our complex marketing segments. (ART104)
  • Describe the use of digital color and color profiles. (ART114)
  • Use the computer to conceptualize, visualize and produce art. (ART169, ART175, ART177, ART181)
  • Use tools of the trade and principles of design to produce layouts, for a variety of graphic design projects. (ART181)
  • Evaluate goals and objectives and develop a self-promotion package. (ADA/ART248)
  • Apply communication objectives in interviewing and practice solid business ethics and etiquette. (ADA/ART248)
  • Develop and use presentation skills for the creation of various portfolio formats. (ADA/ART248)
  • Use digital prepress concepts and techniques to design, create, and evaluate electronic files for successful output to various devices. (ART291)

At Maricopa, we strive to provide you with accurate information about this degree or certificate. However, the information above represents current requirements for the academic year and may change as the result of the curricular process. This course list does not represent a contract, nor does it guarantee course availability. If you are interested in pursuing this degree or certificate, we encourage you to meet with an advisor to discuss the requirements at your college for the appropriate catalog year.