F.I.R.S.T. Institute’s Graphic Design program is designed to prepare students for the real world of computer based graphic design and digital arts. This program starts with basic computer skills, digital media design fundamentals, and illustration then works up to advanced graphic techniques. The end result of program completion creates a well-rounded graduate that will have the skills necessary to get an entry-level career in the field of graphic design. At F.I.R.S.T. Institute, we strive to keep our curriculum updated to reflect actual trends in an ever-growing and fast-paced industry.

  • Program Name: Graphic Design
  • Total Clock Hours: 780
  • Hours – Instruction: 184
  • Hours – Lab: 596

To start the program, students are first introduced to the basics of computer technology. This includes gaining an understanding of computers, their parts, and identifying related technological terminology. After students have learned the fundamentals of computing and have a good understanding of the different types of digital media formats, students are then introduced to the art of creative writing for both print and online media. After this portion of the course, students will learn about the evolution of visual arts in relation to the development of modern design principles and standards as a foundation to contemporary visual design and color theory. In addition to this, students will examine and learn about print & digital typography from a technical and artistic point of view as related to design project development. After having gained an understanding of the fundamentals of design and the creative process, the importance of prototyping for digital media is then covered in the course.

Projects completed in GD 101IDL:

  • Sketching Project

The Adobe Creative Suite software has become a dominant force of tools in the graphic design industry. From the suite of software, students will be introduced to Adobe Illustrator in this course. As a program that is graphics-driven, Adobe Illustrator is used by designers and visual artists primarily for creating drawings and illustrative vector graphics. After having learned the basics, students will develop their techniques through course-related activities that examine iconography and logo design. Building on these concepts, students will apply the elements and principles of design in the development of document layouts as related to stationary. Consistency is at the core of building strong brand identity, and it is with this understanding gained through study and lecture that students will utilize previous course work to create a branding project. At this point in the course, students move on to compile their personal portfolio, which is considered to be as equally important as a resume in the field of graphic design.

Projects completed in GD 102IDL:

  • Logo
  • Stationary
  • Brand Book

Students are first introduced to the concept of career development, what it means, and its monumental purpose in helping them find a job in their field of study. They will focus on the design of their own personal portfolio which will include a cover letter, resume, business card, and self marketing social media outlets like SoundCloud, Behance and Vimeo. This week is wrapped up by covering interviewing skills with a mock interview session.

Projects completed in CD 101IDL:

  • Resume (1st draft)
  • Cover Letter (1st draft)
  • Business Card Design
  • Bio
  • Social Media Presence

Adobe Photoshop is the most popular program from the Creative Suite software, used worldwide for its photo manipulation, editing and design. Students will be introduced to this powerful tool and its capabilities in the creation and execution of raster graphics imagery. With a tool set that in many ways imitates those used by traditional artists and designers, students will first gain an understanding of the basics of Photoshop as they learn to apply filters and effects, manipulate photos, adjust color, create photo collages and how to skillfully retouch images. As they move on to more advanced concepts and tools, they will learn about Photoshop’s use in the composition of complex web- related graphics. Students will gain an understanding of Photoshop’s use for the web as they learn about web banners and take an in- depth examination of mobile and web site mock-ups. To finish this portion of the course, students will use Photoshop to develop a web campaign for their course project, which will then be added to their professional portfolios.

Projects completed in GD 103IDL:

  • Collage
  • Web Ads
  • Web Page Mock Up

The second week of Career Development will center in on what it takes to be an entrepreneur and get students ready to begin applying for jobs. Students will learn how to update the portfolios created in the first week of Career Development. This week will also go over proper business etiquette and creating an elevator pitch. The second week of Career Development will center in on a student’s academic experience. Students finish off the week by making sure all of their requirements are met to complete the program and pursue an entry- level position in their career field.

Projects completed in CD 201IDL:

  • SMART Goals
  • Final Resume Draft
  • Final Cover Letter Draft

For the layout and composition of single and multipage documents including interactive and online media, Adobe InDesign from the Creative Suite is the industry standard. In the last of the graphics courses of this program, students will learn the techniques and elements needed when creating a layout in InDesign. They will also use knowledge of key features learned about in Photoshop and Illustrator, and how InDesign can be used in integrating elements from these other programs in project development. Having gained an understanding of the capability of these Creative Suite programs to be used in combination with each other, students will examine the different approaches for advertising design. They will also look at magazine design and book layout when creating the structure and composition of a finished multipage document. As new designers, students will utilize InDesign to create several print projects including a newsletter and brochure. UX/UI design is centered on creating effective and efficient interactions between users and interfaces. In this section of the course, students will explore the concepts and skills needed to leverage InDesign for UX design. In completion, students will compile all course work to complete a finished professional graphics portfolio.

Projects completed in GD 104IDL:

  • Poster
  • Magazine Article
  • Interactive Book