Dec 10, 2023  
Fall 2016 Catalog 
Fall 2016 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Visual Communications Technology-Graphics Arts and Printing, A.A.S.

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Degree: Associate in Applied Science
HEGIS Code: 5009
Curriculum Code: 2455
Campus Location: South

Engineering & Technologies Division

Pre-Admission Recommendations: HS or HSE (High School Equivalency) Diploma
Recommended High School Courses and/or Experiences: Science, Math, Keyboarding, Social Science, English.
Career Opportunities/Further Education: Printing and Graphic Arts Firms, Advertising and Publishing Firms.


Program Description

Visual communications in the form of brochures, newsletters, books, magazines, newspapers, Web pages and multimedia are used to keep our society well-informed as well as entertained. They are found in every town, city and country throughout the world. The age of utilizing handset type and manually-operated printing presses to make such printed products is gone, replacing them are new technologies, computers and complimentary software and equipment that present an overwhelming need for specialized training and skilled individuals.

The demand for entry-level estimators, computer layout and design operators, graphic sales people, pre-press technicians, as well as printing technicians, now exists and will continue to exist within this ever expanding industry.

The Visual Communications Technology-Graphic Arts and Printing curriculum specializes in courses in electronic publishing, print administration, electronic imaging and image assembly and lithographic press. To supplement classroom learning, hands-on laboratories are provided, as well as tutor monitored laboratories, for the majority of curriculum intensive courses. To enhance the graphic arts-printing courses, selected English, math, social science, humanities and science electives are required.

The objective of this curriculum is to prepare students for a wide range of job opportunities as technicians working within the graphic arts printing industry.

Department Notes

Students are encouraged to become active in the Images magazine and/or newspaper. Any student in this program, with or without reasonable accommodations, must be able to:

  • visually identify errors, color correction, or related proofing mistakes associated with various printing or design related functions;
  • stand, sit or walk for long periods of time to operate machinery such as a press, folder, cutter, computer, or other related press or bindery equipment; and
  • lift approximately 20-30 pounds for loading, unloading, or stacking of paper or related supplies.

Program Competencies

Upon graduation with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Visual Communications Technology-Graphic Arts & Printing, the graduate will be able to:

  • recognize the product mix, production sequence and variety of equipment unique to the printing/publishing industry and understand its operation as both a service and manufacturing industry/career;
  • understand and apply a variety of measurement systems including points and picas, to a diversity of job specifications/ products in the graphics industry and apply correct mathematical processes to specific procedures;
  • identify basic design principles and the historical influence on graphic design including the fundamentals of typography as they relate to print media for a variety of products and page formats including single/double-sided pages, folds, columns, single and multiple page layouts, as well as single and multiple colors;
  • apply related techniques such as markup specifications, principles of layout,  the understanding of paper, page anatomy, copyright laws and proofreading when applicable to the publishing and printing process;
  • gain competency in operating a computer including related input and output devices, as well as a variety of current versions of industry-related software for design, page assembly, photo/image manipulation, proofing and HTML web publishing;
  • understand the differences between spot and CMYK colors, graphic file formats, PostScript and TrueType, and the factors involved in outputting to a PostScript level output device;
  • gain competency and learn how to apply quality control techniques to different levels of the production process at all times including proofreading, page proofs, densitometer, visual checks and color bars;
  • be informed of safety regulations and requirements that affect different segments of the publishing/printing process;
  • understand basic management functions involved in a printing company, including the principles of estimating and production management;
  • understand and execute basic as well as advanced imposition procedures;
  • produce mock-ups and color proofs with proper imposition, pagination and directions for single and multiple pages and colors as well as separations;
  • understand and apply the principles of trapping, chokes and spreads to the printed product;
  • understand the theory of color and its relationship to the electronic process;
  • identify the unique terminology associated with the various aspects of the digital and print medic industries;
  • understand the relationship and importance of pre-flighting to electronic output and apply pre-flighting techniques to jobs prepared for output;
  • understand and demonstrate how to output to plate, both manually and electronically, for a variety of linear and digital output devices;
  • understand the differences and behaviors of output colorant including light, toner, ink jet, transfer film, ink and how to mix a variety of specific colors to create spot as well as CMYK colors;
  • understand the principles of both lithographic and digital press output and how to prepare each device for proper output for a variety of substrates, page impositions and colors as well as apply proper maintenance procedures;
  • operate and be familiar with basic bindery and finishing processes;
  • present and describe how to produce a variety of typical products in the printing industry that reflect skills in the areas of electronic publishing, design, imaging and/or output; and
  • gain competency in the basics associated with producing personalized printing based on database development, manipulation and preparation of variable data printing.


Total Degree Credits: 64.0

First Year, Fall Semester

First Year, Spring Semester

Second Year, Spring Semester


** Note: A Web Page Design Certificate is also available requiring specific Graphic and Liberal Arts courses. Students should consult his/her academic adviser for designated sequencing of required courses. Students may elect to transfer credits from the Degree program to the one-year Web Page Design Certificate program to supplement their degree with a certificate through additional study.

Note: This is a recommended sequence. Student should consult his/her academic adviser.

Adobe Acrobat, Illustrator, InDesign, PhotoShop, Flash and DreamWeaver are trademarks of Adobe Systems, Inc.

Quark, QuarkXPress, QuarkXTensions, and Xtensions are trademarks of Quark, Inc., Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm

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