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FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is graphic design?
What does a graphic designer do?
Why go to HACC?
Tell me more about HACC's Graphic Design Program.
What will I learn in HACC’s program?
Does HACC offer any real-world experience?
How will HACC’s Program prepare me for a job?
How do I get into HACC's Graphic Design Program?
Tell me more about the Portfolio review.
What is a career program?
What is the Graphic Design Foundations Program?
What is the difference between the Associate Degree Program and the Certificate Program?
Which HACC campuses offer courses in the Graphic Design Program?
Where can I find more information about careers in graphic design?

What is graphic design?
Simply stated, graphic design’s purpose is to sell, inform, or promote by communicating a visual message to the viewer. Graphic design communicates using words and imagery. We see graphic design all around us – from postage stamps to billboards, from cereal box design to the interior store displays at the mall. We also see examples of graphic design on the web and other interactive media.

What does a graphic designer do?
Using print and/or electronic media as their ‘canvas’, graphic designers create designs that meet their client's commercial needs to communicate a message to a specific audience. Computers are a designer’s main production tool used to create promotional, advertising, and informational graphics, some of which include: brochures, direct mail, annual reports, book and book jacket design, catalogs, newspaper layout, ad design, magazine layout, CD design, logo and identity graphics, signage design, display design, web design and interactive media design.

Why go to HACC?
HACC has a state-of-the-art graphic design program that is affordable and can be completed in as little as two years.

Tell me more about HACC’s Graphic Design Program.
HACC is committed to high academic standards that reflect current trends in the field in order to prepare students for a career in graphic design. These standards are intended to assure high-quality experiences in small classes with access to new technologies and superior media and library support. Our cutting-edge Mac computer labs feature industry-standard computers and software - taught by instructors with real world experience in the field of graphic design. Our tuition is the lowest in the area, with small class sizes that offer students individual attention – something you don’t get at larger institutions with auditorium-style seating.

What will I learn in HACC’s program?
In addition to learning the leading software in print, web and interactive design, HACC’s Graphic Design Program emphasizes problem solving and conceptual thinking, both of which prepare students for an entry-level job in the graphic design industry.

HACC’s program teaches students how to define and solve design problems with creativity and mechanical precision. Specialized courses teach the principles of design, artistic concepts, tools and the language of the graphic designer. They also prepare students for a highly competitive field that requires performance under the pressure of deadlines. Upon graduation, students will have assembled a resume and a portfolio that shows mastery of layout and design software.

Does HACC offer any real-world experience?
Our program continually supports non-profit organizations and professional agencies by incorporating design services as part of the course curriculum. Special opportunities to gain professional experience by working with clients and the community are available to students who maintain high academic performance, exhibit strong design skills, and demonstrate professionalism. All students are encouraged to seek an internship to fulfill their academic elective requirement.

How will HACC’s program prepare me for a job?
Students complete a portfolio course that prepares them to interview and present their portfolio upon graduation. Graphic design internships are also available for students who want additional real-world experience.

How do I get into HACC’s Graphic Design Program?
Briefly, first meet with a Division Counselor or the Program Director and enroll in the Graphic Design Foundations Program-2830. While in the Foundations Program, complete course requirements and submit a portfolio of work for admission into the Graphic Design Associate Degree Program-2840 or the Graphic Design Certificate Program-2200.

More specifically, admission to the Associate Degree and Certificate Programs is selective. Graphic design courses are reserved only for those who meet the entry requirements. A student intending to enroll in one of the graphic design programs must first enroll in the Graphic Design Foundations Program-2830. Enrollment in the Graphic Design Foundations Program does not guarantee admission into the Associate Degree or Certificate Program. While in the Foundations Program, students complete the following requirements: eligibility for Math 020 or above, completion of English 003 reading proficiency, eligibility for English 101, and completion of art courses Art 105, Art 121, and Art 176. The Math, Reading and English requirements may be completed through coursework or placement testing. All required courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better. Students who meet all course requirements by the conclusion of a fall semester may submit their portfolio to the annual review during the same fall semester. Students with acceptable portfolios are admitted into the program in the spring semester. 

Tell me more about the Portfolio review.
Early in the fall semester, specific information about the portfolio review process is sent to students enrolled in the Graphic Design Foundations Program-2830. Students who meet all course requirements by the conclusion of a fall semester may submit their portfolio in the same fall semester. While in the Foundation Program, students assemble a portfolio of work that consists of artwork completed in the foundation art classes. Typically, the portfolio review occurs in late fall. Students who meet all course requirements and have their portfolios accepted are admitted into the program in the spring semester.

What is a career program?
Students in HACC’s career program complete a concentrated area of study in graphic design and plan to enter the job market upon graduation. A career program prepares students for a job in graphic design through mastery of the skills required in the field. These skills include the ability to create effective visual communications, proficient operation of computers and software employed in design, web and multimedia, and the development and the presentation of a professional portfolio. Graphic design students prepare for entry-level positions as graphic designers in art departments of advertising agencies, design firms, newspapers, magazines, television stations, web and multimedia production, retail store, printers, and government agencies. Students without previous experience in the graphic design field should anticipate several years of apprenticeship before obtaining higher-level positions. Students currently employed in the field will be able to sharpen their skills, particularly in the use of state-of-the-art computers and graphic software.

What is the Graphic Design Foundations Program?
The Graphic Design Foundations Program-2830 is a preparatory curriculum designed for students interested in entering HACC’s Graphic Design Associate Degree Program-2840 or Graphic Design Certificate Program-2200. Students who want to enter either of these programs must first enroll in the Graphic Design Foundations Program-2830. While in the Foundations Program, students complete art foundation courses, specific math, writing, and reading requirements, and submit a portfolio as entry requirements for Associate Program-2840 and Certificate Program-2200. Students must meet with a Division Counselor or the Program Director when enrolling in Foundations Program-2830.

What is the difference between the Associate Degree Program and the Certificate Program?
The Associate Degree Program consists of a total of 67 credits, Students in the Associate Degree program complete general education courses that enable them to write and speak effectively, appreciate accomplishments in the arts and sciences, and understand how specialized training fits into a larger context.

Students in the Certificate Program are not required to take general education courses; therefore this program consists of a total of 42 credits. The Certificate Program is intended for students who prefer to study only those classes related to graphic design. It  is a good fit for those who want to update their skills in this field, or for students who already have a degree and want to pursue this area of concentration.

Both programs are designed to prepare students to enter the job market upon graduation. The Associate Degree and Certificate Programs are not intended for transfer; however, many HACC graduates have successfully transferred to 4-year colleges.

Which HACC campuses offer courses in the Graphic Design Program?
All graphic design major courses are only available at the Harrisburg Campus. Some general education and foundation courses are available at the Lancaster, Lebanon and Gettysburg Campuses, and at other sites. While most of HACC’s graphic design major courses are offered during the day, some courses are only offered in the evening.

Where can I find more information about the graphic design field?
Three excellent sources of information about graphic design careers, job opportunities and salary potential can be found on the websites of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and America’s Career Info Net.

AIGA, American Institute of Graphic Arts http://www.aiga.org
AIGA, Career Advice & Resources, Graphic Design   http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/careers
America’s Career Info Net   http://www.acinet.org/acinet/
BLS, Bureau of Labor Statistics   http://www.bls.gov/
BLS, Outlook Occupational Handbook, Graphic Design  http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos090.htm
BLS, Occupational Employment Statistics  http://www.bls.gov/OES/

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