Graphic and Visual Design

The Graphic and Visual Design program is a Chapter 74 approved, competency-based program certified by Print Ed and is aligned with the Massachusetts Department of Education Vocational Technical Education Frameworks–Arts & Communications Service Cluster. Graphic and Visual Design prepares students for the visual design field using state of the art digital imaging, illustration, and page layout software and equipment, students learn to apply their creativity to real-life or simulated projects. Print ED is a national accreditation program based on industry standards for graphic communications courses of study at the secondary and post-secondary levels and is a component of the Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF®). Students are assessed on industry standard competencies developed by Print ED.

This program introduces students to theory and practical aspects of the design and commercial printing industry and allows students to explore and develop their artistic and technical skills through the creation and presentation of graphic and multi-media projects. Students are introduced to the Graphic and Visual Design field with an emphasis of design through production in a hands-on approach. Students gain competencies in traditional and computer-based layout, design, typesetting; copy preparation, composition and printing press operations. Students enhance their skills using software programs such as Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Students learn electronic plate making, 2-color press operations, finishing and binding, and paper cutting. Students maintain an electronic and presentation portfolio and will work on projects such as ads, logos, multi-page documents, four-color publications, posters, packaging, and photographing products to market. Students strengthen their skills in visual design by concept development, creating corporate identities, branding and packaging, as well as designing self-promos. Students will also learn to create animated GIF advertisements. In addition, students are exposed to digital photography, silk screening and sign-making technology.

Course Objectives
Using industry standards students will learn the following competencies:
♦ Integrate academics through project based learning
♦ Create a portfolio
♦ Recognize career pathway opportunities
♦ Interact safely in a shop environment
♦ Incorporate the use of industry standard technology and software
♦ Read, understand, and communicate in the language of the field
♦ Organize and research information
♦ Develop a professional appearance, exemplary work ethic and superior communication skills
♦ Demonstrate customer service & sales skills and process method of sales transaction
♦ Use resources for research & problem solving
♦ Troubleshoot, diagnose, analyze, and present data related to the fieldProgram

♦ Adobe Suite: Acrobat Professional, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Bridge
♦ Digital Photography
♦ Silk Screening
♦ Two-Color Offset Press
♦ PrintEd Certification

Looking toward the future:
Everyone is exposed to the communications industry through newspapers, books, calendars, catalogs, and web pages. The industry continues to undergo technological changes as computers and technologies alter the manner in which work is performed. There is a demand for talented employees in the visual design field because of the rapidly expanding market for Web-based information and expansion of the video entertainment market, including television, movies, video, and made-for-Internet outlets. Visual designers with web site design and animation experience will especially be needed as demand for design projects increase for interactive media—Web sites, video games, cellular telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), along with new and emerging technology. Demand for visual designers also will increase as advertising firms create print and web marketing and promotional materials for a growing number of products and services. Students completing the Graphic and Visual Design program have the option of securing gainful employment, continuing formal studies at the post-secondary level, or pursuing a combination of both.

The Graphic and Visual Design program has articulation agreements with Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts, Holyoke Community College and Springfield Technical Community College.

Through the articulation agreement with Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts students who graduate from the Graphic and Visual Design program with a B+ or better have the opportunity to receive a tuition credit of $2,000.

Through the Holyoke Community College articulation agreement students have the opportunity to earn college credit in Introduction to Digital Fine Art Photography (ART 148) – 3 credits.

Through the Springfield Technical Community College articulation agreement students have the opportunity to earn college credit in: Digital Prepress (GRPH 122) – 3 credits, Typography (GRPH 125) – 3 credits, Graphic Communications (GRPH 131) – 3 credits, Introduction to Graphic Arts Computer (GRPH 145) – 3 credits, and Macintosh Operating Systems (GRPH 455) – 3 credits.

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Cherie Westberg
Exploratory & 1st year


Kyla Korytoski
2nd & 3rd year


Marty Dooley
2nd & 3rd year


Deb Guy
Technical Assistant