Graphic Design & Web Development IDL

The Graphic Design & Web Development program is designed to prepare students for the real world of digital based graphic design and web development. This program starts with basic computer skills, digital media design fundamentals, illustration, and basic photography, then works all the way to advanced concepts in front end web programming.

The web changes rapidly so the use of up-to-date technology is paramount at F.I.R.S.T. Institute. Our focus is to spend time in multiple areas of design and development, focusing on core areas practical for the modern designer. Having a broad scope of knowledge makes for a more competent and skilled professional and opens up more opportunities for our graduates. 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 fields of graphic design and web development.

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. We take advantage of the vast amount of open source frameworks, tools, and software available for the web based content creation. Every course will assess students on weekly objectives with regular quizzing, real world projects, and performance based evaluations.

Prerequisite: Basic computer and internet competencies. High school level English or higher.

Delivery Methodology: Interactive Distance Learning (online)

Average Class Size: 15-20 Students

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates obtain a Diploma.

Thirty-Nine (39) Weeks – 1014 Clock Hours / 91.26 Academic Quarter Credit Hours

811 Hours / 81.11 Academic Quarter Credit Hours – Instruction 203 / 10.15 Academic Quarter Credit Hours – Lab

What is Interactive Distance Learning?

Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) is not your typical online education. Students in our IDL programs get the full classroom experience from the comfort of their homes. This is a fully-engaged diploma program that gives students the opportunity to learn hands-on with industry-standard gear and equipment provided in their Creative P.A.K. Each IDL class includes live lectures with instructors, time to work on projects, video conferencing, student-to-student interaction, individual demos, and more.

Your Creative P.A.K. (Required)
Your Creative P.A.K. (Required)

Students in our IDL program are required to purchase a Creative P.A.K. to use during the course of their program and beyond. The digital media industry and its relevant technology are ever-changing, so specific items in your Creative P.A.K. may be updated from time to time.* 


Creative P.A.K. Total: $650

Gear included in the P.A.K.
  • Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens
  • SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC Memory Card
  • FotodioX LED Studio-In-a-Box (16 x 16")


*Specific items are not guaranteed. Contact the school for more information.

Class Materials (Required)
Class Materials (Required)

Students are required to be prepared for class. This includes having these items at all times: pen, writing paper/notebook, ID badge, and all required materials for their program. The following required items are not included in the tuition. It is the student’s responsibility to purchase the items for use on their first day of class.


Students learn a basic level understanding of computers, their parts, and terminology for the first week of Graphic Design Principles. After students have learned the fundamentals of computing and have a good understanding of the diverse types of digital media formats, students get a sneak peek at the Adobe Creative Suite of Products.


A set of tools that are widely used in the Graphics and Digital Design industry. F.I.R.S.T. then introduces them to art history, and 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.


Classes get introduced to Typography and Design Processes. Important skill sets are then developed through studies on Creative Thinking, Research and Concept Development, Business Communications, Client Briefing and Analysis, Digital Printing, and the importance of the print production processes. Students learn Branding fundamentals and then examine marketing in relation to corporate and personal branding and social media.


GDWD 101IDL – Graphic Design Principles

• Shade by Numbers Project
• Calligraphic Font Creation Project

• Creative Brief Logo Project
• Branding (Brand Book) Project

Digital Illustration

With an intense focus on illustration students are introduced to Adobe Illustrator, an industry standard used primarily in the creation of vector graphics and line art. Students first learn about the concept of illustration through the study of simple, sequential, editorial, and marketing illustration.


The Adobe Illustrator user interface, workspace and tools are then learned through demonstration and exercise. As skills are gained, students go from creating simple vector shapes to more advanced vector illustrations and graphics, including the use of typography.


Students will take the skills learned in Illustrator to complete several projects that include logo design and other creative illustrations.


GDWD 102IDL – Digital Illustration

• Creative Portrait Project
• Flat Character Design Project
• Styled Architectural Illustration Project

• Layered Minimal Movie Poster Project

Photoshop and Digital Photography

In this course of study, students are introduced to digital photography and camera basics. They will learn how to set up cameras with lighting considerations and use them in real photo shoots. Photographs from Digital Photography are some of the images used to learn key skills in photo selections and editing.


Adobe Photoshop is an industry standard for creation, editing, and photo manipulation. From the technical processing of multiple images to the making of unique artwork and digital paintings, Photoshop is used by animators, graphic designers, web designers, photographers, architects, and more. Throughout this course, students are introduced to the many tools and features of this powerful raster graphic editing software. Building on the skills learned, more advanced features, effects and techniques are taught using demonstration and hands-on exercises. Students will then utilize their new knowledge of the tools combined with personal artistry to create several portfolio-worthy graphics projects.


GDWD 103IDL – Photoshop and Digital Photography

• Product Photography Project
• Headshot Project
• Photo Collage Project
• Digital Ad / Web Banner Project

UI/UX Design

Students are introduced to a brief history of the web, the language, and vocabulary associated with it. They then cover Important design considerations for websites and applications to make them practical for all users. Professional concepts in User Experience and User Interface Design are learned during this course.


Students gain an understanding in how to facilitate an easy end user experiences through meaningful and purposeful interface design. Skills are gained through practical exercise in the layout and positioning of web application content and elements. This is done through design research, wireframes, mock-ups, and prototyping. Several projects are completed that apply the UI/UX app design skills learned.


GDWD 104IDL – UI/UX Design

• Web Style Guide Project

• Accessibility Project
• GUI Project
• Landing Page Project


Web Design and Development  

The internet through daily interaction, is an integrated way of life for both individuals and businesses. Students are introduced to HTML as a markup language, this is the foundation for building structure on websites. As languages are often broken down to basic words or elements, so too are coding related languages. Students then learn about HTML elements as the fundamentals of the language and the dynamic results that are produced through its use.


A look at the importance and necessity of inclusion for all, to have equal participation in the use of the web through accessibility is then covered. Students will also be introduced to CSS, the language used for taking the basic structure of HTML and how it applies the visual display and presentation of web pages through responsive design.


After learning how to develop a website from scratch, students then learn some basic Frame Works & Grid based layouts through templates. At this point students are learning some introductory concepts in how webpages are made to be interactive and engaging to the end user.


Content Management Systems such as WordPress are integral to a significant percentage of existing sites
on the web. These systems make the creation and management of digital content easier for both consumers and designers alike. Time in WordPress is spent on how to modify existing templates and using the advanced features included in them.


GDWD 105IDL – Web Design and Development

• Wiki Project
• CSS Layout Project
• Bootstrap Scalability Project
• Custom Portfolio Template Project

Motion Graphics 

After having developed strong skills in Layout and Design, Typography, Illustration, and Photo Editing, along with an understanding of the web. Students are taught the techniques needed for putting design assets and graphics into motion. Motion theory is introduced at the beginning of the course to give students a sound foundation in the concepts needed to successfully execute projects. Students will learn technical skills that follow the principles of animation through key-framing, image positioning, masking, and other visual effects. Projects are developed with the goal of helping students grow in their creative problem-solving skills, these will be utilized in the execution of various motion graphics projects.


GDWD 106IDL – Motion Graphics

• Bouncing Ball Project
• Animated Logo Project
• Flat Character Animation Project

• 3D Parallax Design Project

Layout Design

Understanding how various design elements are combined in the creation of successful visual communication is the basis of this course. Students begin with an introduction to the art of digital layout using the elements and principles of design. Exercises in how to create good compositions are done through design challenges.


Next, students take some time to apply and further grow their layout and design techniques while learning Adobe InDesign, an industry standard. Using InDesign, students will create several projects such as catalogs and brochures and then go on to develop a print campaign for their course project.


GDWD 107IDL – Layout Design

• Editorial Magazine Layout Project

• Concert Flyer Project
• Packaging Design Project
• Vehicle Wrap Project

Graphics and Web Portfolio

In the Web and Graphics Portfolio course, students cumulatively refine and perfect all their previous projects to a finished and finalized form. This is accomplished in part through professional review and critique. The body of work from GDWD 101 through GDWD 107 is what is included during this last stage of the course. Students leave the program with a diverse and strong, but most of all, professional level portfolio showing their abilities in graphic design, motion, and front-end web design & development.


GDWD 108IDL – Graphics and Web Portfolio

• Illustration Portfolio Review Project
• Photo Layout Portfolio Review Project
• Motion Graphics Portfolio Review Project

• Final Custom WordPress Portfolio Project