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Graphic Design

The graphic design program at PTC has been created to help you launch your career.

You will learn the industry–related skills and techniques of computer graphics, electronic imaging and commercial production in addition to utilizing scanners, digital cameras and computer–based hardware. In your classes, you will gain an understanding of color and composition, design and typography, and effective problem solving.

Key Benefits

  • At PTC you will learn how to use state of the industry software that will prepare you for the commercial graphic design world
  • You will build a portfolio and host your own portfolio show that showcases your design skills and launches your networking with prospective employers.
  • You will participate in an internship that will give you invaluable hands on experience on the job.
  • PTC graphic design students learn from Instructors who have worked or continue to work in the field of design and understand what it takes to be successful.
  • PTC has an advisory board of design professionals that guides curriculum so you learn what industry needs.
  • PTC has an extensive staff of career service professionals to assist you in starting your career in graphic design.

Explore Design Portfolios

More information about Graphic Design below

In the PTC Graphic Design Program you will learn key skills such as:

  • Use fundamental design theories to communicate ideas visually
  • Operate design software
  • Designing and producing annual reports
  • Creating brochures
  • Making client presentations
  • Developing advertisements
  • Creating billboards
  • Developing Corporate identity packages
  • Developing digital and print portfolios
  • Creative interactive websites
  • Designing web-ready animations


Design 1
This course focuses on the fundamentals of the visual design elements of line, shape, and color, with the emphasis on creative thinking and problem solving using various techniques and methods. A 70% grade must be attained at this level to continue into GDA256 Design 2.
This course introduces the foundation of drawing through the five elements of art (line, space, value, form, and texture). A series of activities will focus on visual demonstrations of gesture drawing, form, perspective, and developing concepts through visual representations of imagery and typography.
Color Theory and Techniques
This course introduces the basic principles of harmony and contrast. Fundamental theories pertaining to color perception and design are introduced and practiced. The student’s skills with color design and communication are developed and refined through project creation and critique. Areas of focus in this course include color theories, models, digital production, traditional techniques and print.
This course focuses on the fundamentals of typography and introduces the students to aspects of type for display and text design. Students become familiar with the categories of type and a variety of font families. They also become proficient at choosing fonts to match a specific message.
Computer Illustration
In this course students use the computer as a drawing tool. Students will become aware of the industry markets of cartooning, technical illustration, and typography and how these can work in different designs and page layouts. A 70% grade must be attained at this level to continue into Graphic Design related courses.
Digital Imaging
This course utilizes techniques associated with designing computer graphics and page make-up for desktop publishing. Emphasis is on the exploration of illustration, photo retouching and manipulation, working toward finished results primarily for print and Web. A 70% grade must be attained at this level if continuing into GDA139.
This course provides an introduction to the concepts, techniques, procedures, and application of photography. Students will use cameras in studio and field conditions to capture images to meet the requirements of assignments designed to develop specific skills and competencies. Emphasis is placed on basic compositional rules, common features of a DSLR camera with appropriate lenses, lighting, and exposure.
Web Design 1
This course introduces the processes of designing web pages for publishing on the World Wide Web. Students learn to apply their visual design skills within the constraints and limits specific to this medium. Students gain an understanding of the Internet environment and the process of website design and development. Students learn basic HTML programming, image creation, and page layout with graphics and web design applications. A 70% grade must be attained at this level to continue into GDA255 Web Design 2.
Computerized Page Make-Up
This course focuses on the capabilities of the Macintosh computer as a working tool in producing graphic art. The emphasis will be on using the computer and software as design tools and learning to merge text and graphics to create ads, newsletters, and logos for desktop publishing.
Advanced Digital Imaging/Production
This course focuses on advanced image manipulation and editing techniques. Industry standards are explored for print and web production. Students develop the skills necessary to create original images and artwork.
This course introduces the principles and methods needed to prepare traditional and electronic artwork. Specific areas of study include art rescaling, photo cropping, color separation, digital photography, file management, and a basic introduction to electronic separations and printing.
Advertising Processes
This course examines the creative side of advertising, through foundation theories and practical applications. Students are challenged to closely observe and understand advertising in today’s market.
Portfolio Development 1
This course focuses on advanced layout and design skills. The student explores more complex visual communication theories, and apply them to a variety of appropriate media. Creative problem solving and presentation skills are reinforced using reliable design principles and skillful digital and conventional methods. Prerequisite: A 70% grade must be attained at this level to continue into GDA203 Portfolio 2.
Corporate Design
This course examines corporate identity programs and the use of trademarks and logos from concept to presentation. Emphasis is on the use of type and design and how it is applied in the corporate environment.
Portfolio Development 2
This course will enable students to further develop their portfolio and presentation skills for potential employers. Students will also develop an electronic portfolio using industry preferred software to demonstrate their familiarity and proficiency with the computer. A 70% grade must be attained for completion of this final class. Prerequisites: GDA201, GDA255.
Multi-Page Documents
This course highlights the study, examination and use of typography when creating page layouts and how to prepare and design multiple-page documents. The students develop skills in a computer page layout program to prepare for the industry’s need for competence in magazine, booklet, brochure and catalog design.
This course provides a thorough survey of business practices from a creative professional perspective. Topics include contracts, invoicing, copyrights, freelancing, client relations, operations, management, proposals, and accounting.
Portfolio Web Development
In this course, students create a comprehensive and original campaign to complete their portfolio. This submission is fully researched, proposed, designed and produced by the individual student, down to planning and incorporating their own photographs and support elements. As an individualized assignment, students are encouraged to explore concepts and processes that advance their current design skills using print, web and interactive media. A 70% grade must be attained for completion of this final class. Prerequisite: GDA255.
Web Design 2
This advanced course builds on the students' basic Web authoring skills by focusing on the demands, details, and subtleties of creating web pages. The processes of graphic and multimedia creation, adding interactivity, color use, file management and formats, testing, publishing and publicizing are addressed. Students introduce interactivity and multimedia elements to enhance their personal sites, and design and develop a commercial website. A 70% grade must be attained at this level to continue into GDA203 Portfolio 2. Prerequisite: GDA137.
Design 2
This course will assist students in developing a variety of approaches to effective visual communication using elements of design, photography and a wide range of creative processes. Students will use suitable design principles for a project directed at a specific target audience. Prerequisite: GDA115.
Interactive Media
This course teaches technologies and practices that streamline web development, such as the use of preprocessors and frameworks. Students learn to enhance web projects using animation and interactivity. A 70% grade must be attained at this level if continuing to MMA224.


Steps to Career Success 1
The purpose of this course is to acclimate students to the available resources to maintain their focus on achieving career goals. The course is scheduled for all students in the 1st quarter, one hour per week.
Steps to Career Success 2
The purpose of this course is to develop an understanding of the nuances of industry. Topics will include industry related organizations, social networking, employer expectations and other professional skills. The course offering will vary by quarter depending on the program offered, one hour per week.
Career Development
The focus of this course is on preparing students for the upcoming job search process. They will produce a series of critical job search documents, including a resume, reference page, cover letter and thank you letter. These documents are applied to job search activities that give students the opportunity to hone their interview skills, research potential employers, complete an online job application, and experience a mock interview scenario.
The Internship is a cooperative effort between the Institute and the professional community. It is designed to provide the students with an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills learned in their major in a related working environment. This internship requires 240 hours work experience.


English Composition 1
This writing course focuses on the writing of descriptive narrative, cause and effect, and process essays from the initial stage of prewriting to final revisions and editing. Topics included are purpose, audience, development, focus and organization, as well as word usage and sentence structure. Elements of grammar, spelling, and punctuation are reviewed. Assigned readings are part of class discussion and writing assignments. Prerequisite: Satisfactory performance on the writing proficiency exam; otherwise, students must have concurrent success with GEE099 and GEE100 before proceeding on to GEE150.
English Composition 2
This writing course is a continuation of the fundamentals introduced in GEE100 English Composition 1. Library and electronic research techniques and guidelines are thoroughly covered. Advanced persuasive writing and research-based persuasion are emphasized using citations and works cited according to MLA guidelines. Analytical and critical thinking skills are developed through students’ evaluation of their own writing and assigned readings. Prerequisite: Satisfactory performance on the writing proficiency exam or GEE100.
Effective Speech
This course focuses on the various dimensions of effective speaking with emphasis on audience analysis, reasoning, organization, evidence, and delivery. Throughout the course, the student is acquainted with the various types of speeches and their effectiveness through critical and analytical reading, individualized and group exercises and projects, and class discussions. Students deliver a variety of speeches, including informative and persuasive speeches.
Art History
This general studies course focuses on the history of art and design. Lessons and projects provide students with approaches to creative thinking, understanding visual communication, and discovering meaning through discussion and research. Lectures and other activities are designed to enhance the student’s understanding of the relationship between historical developments and artistic production.
Personal Finance
This course blends financial theory with financial applications while providing an understanding of the U.S. financial structure. Emphasis is placed on budgeting, personal income and expenditures, present and future value calculations, personal financial statements, and finance and credit alternatives.
This course introduces the student to basic psychological principles. Topics include neuroscience and behavior, states of consciousness, learning, development, personality, health psychology, psychological disorders, and social psychology.
Critical Thinking
In today’s information age, critical thinking skills are vital for success. This course utilizes case studies to teach reasoning, analysis, and evaluation skills in everyday situations. Students learn the importance and benefits of critical and creative thinking, work through steps to understand, analyze, and evaluate specifics of argument and persuasion, and practice solving problems using critical thinking skills.
Human Relations in Organizations**
This general studies course focuses on effective human relations in organizations. Specific areas of study include work relationships, ethical choices, team building, conflict management strategies, diversity in the workplace, and work-related stress.
**This course can be replaced by another approved General Education course.

PTC Graphic Design graduates are prepared for entry-level positions at:

  • Advertising agencies
  • Graphic art studios
  • Architectural Firms
  • Art Studios
  • Engineering Firms
  • Product Design Companies
  • Magazines and Newspapers
  • Freelance
  • Government groups
  • Printing companies
  • Web design businesses
  • Corporate design departments
  • Retailers

PTC offers a comprehensive Career Services Department with a dedicated staff who will assist you in your career search. Companies that have previously hired PTC graduates include:

  • Carnegie Museum of Art
  • Dick's Clothing & Sporting Goods
  • Forever Broadcasting, Inc.
  • Herald Star
  • IN Community Magazines
  • Matthews International
  • Morning Journal
  • Palo Creative
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • PPG Industries
  • SAE International Trib Total Media, Inc.
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • Valassis
  • Some employers may require a background check and drug screening prior to employment.

Applicants for the Graphic Design program must meet specific entrance requirements.

For graduation rates and other important consumer information regarding this program, please click on the link below:

United States Department of Education Gainful Employment Data

PTC can help launch your career with a hands-on, personal approach
and a wide range of advantages over traditional institutions.