Communication Design

Communication Design

Designers are creative thinkers & visual problem solvers who create graphic solutions. The NCC Art curriculum prepares students with real-world, hands-on projects that address current industry trends and needs.

Career Opportunities / Transfer Options / FAQ / Program Courses

Training Tomorrow’s
Commercial Artists & Designers

NCC offers talented students a solid education in the elements and principles of design, editorial design layout, typographic design, photography, web design, 3D computer animation, and motion graphics.

Graphic designers prepare artwork for many purposes, from video game design to web animation or print media. The designer’s process is a fascinating one, involving analyzing, brainstorming, and developing concepts that are “outside the box” and address the client’s needs to market to a target audience in a visually compelling way.

Learning from Industry Professionals

NCC invites students to sink their teeth into the hands-on learning and well-balanced education they’ll receive through classroom and laboratory learning experiences.

Communication Design students exhibit their creative designs in Communications Hall and on the NCC Art Department web site. A portfolio review is the capstone experience in the Communication Design program.

During this portfolio review, students have an opportunity to showcase their digital portfolios to professionals in the communication design industry in the Lehigh Valley.

Career Opportunities in Communication Design

Graphic designers create visual concepts, by hand or using computer software, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, or captivate consumers. They help to make an organization recognizable by selecting colors, images, or logo designs that represent a particular idea or identity to be used in advertising and promotions.

Assistant Art Director
Package Designer
Web Designer
Illustrator
Game Designer
Print Designer

Most of these workers are employed in specialized design services, publishing, or advertising, public relations and related services. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), employment of graphic designers is projected to increase by 13 percent by 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Our Students Successfully Transfer

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you offer hands-on learning?

Northampton’s Communication Design program offers you a well-balanced education through classroom and computer lab learning experiences under the supervision of talented and experienced instructors, in the College’s state-of-the-art facilities. This education will be critical when you enter the workforce or transfer to baccalaureate degree programs.

What are the job opportunities?

As a graduate of the Communication Design program, you can expect to find employment as a graphic designer, computer graphics artist, freelance designer, web designer, or new media designer with such employers as advertising agencies, graphic design studios, newspapers, publication companies, in-house corporate communication departments, to name a few.

What are the application requirements?

Applicants to the program should contact the Admissions Office at 610-861-5500 for general information on applying to the College.

Who should apply for this program?

  • High school graduates.
  • College students.
  • Individuals presently employed in the communications field seeking an opportunity to upgrade current skills and knowledge.
  • Individuals considering a career change.

What will I learn in the program?

  • You will recognize and use the technical and aesthetic terminology of communication design.
  • You will be able to create work that exhibits proficiency in both design and technical aspects of new media including print, web, motion design, and video game design.
  • You will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the design industries’ best-practices and theories that reflect current and historical cultural trends.
  • You will understand the basic principles and practices of marketing and advertising.
  • You will create a professional design portfolio (hard copy and web) and professional identity kit.
  • You will be prepared for an entry-level position in communication design.

Communication Design Courses

Print / Web Track

First Semester

This course covers major trends and influences in western and world art from prehistoric to the present; emphasis on style and form. Also available through Online Learning.
This course covers basic concepts, theories, media and techniques of drawing explored through still life, landscape, the figure, portraiture, and perspective studies. Emphasis will be on the development of observational drawing skills, composition, and an understanding of drawing as a primary form of visual communication and personal expression.
This course provides an introduction to the theory and application of two-dimensional design for the creation of pictorial space. The formal elements of art and principles of organization will be covered in depth with a special focus on the nature and properties of color. Students will be guided through a series of projects using a variety of dry, wet, digital and mixed media. Development of technical, perceptual, and analytical skills will be emphasized along with an understanding of historical and contemporary art and design practice.
Introduction to computer graphics and basic design principles. Utilizing Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator software, students will learn the fundamentals of digital design, image editing/scanning and printing. Assignments, both in and outside of the classroom, will be contextually based, providing real world applications with each lesson. Also available through Online Learning.

Second Semester

This course introduces the theory and application of three-dimensional design with an emphasis on the elements of art and principles of organization as the foundation of successful visual problem solving and creativity. Projects cover a variety of media and techniques; technical, perceptual, and analytical skill development; and contemporary and historical art and design practices.
This course builds on concepts, theories, media and techniques introduced in Drawing I; and continues exploration of still life, landscape, and perspective studies with additional focus on the figure and portraiture. Emphasis is on the continuing development of observational drawing skills, composition, and an understanding of drawing as a primary form of visual communication and personal expression. Prereq.- ARTA107 and ARTA111.
Introduction to Web Site Design explores online website design and basic programming with industry standard software and basic coding with HTML and Cascading Style Sheets. The course addresses best practices in current web design and web standards as well as methods of publishing web sites via FTP servers. Finally, students will discuss web design careers and freelance design opportunities. Prereq. – ARTA170. Also available through Online Learning.
This course is designed to introduce students to the visual and conceptual issues of graphic design and typography. Assignments investigate typography as an element of design whose form and purpose is to convey information in a structured, legible and expressive manner. Students will work with a variety of software applications as they develop their understanding of letterform, graphic design, Gestalt theories, and typographic organization. This course is a combination of lecture, demonstration and hands-on experience. Prereq.- ARTA170.

Third Semester

This course is designed to introduce students to the many different creative aspects of web animation, while building a strong technical foundation. Students will learn a foundation in the basic principles of animation as well as how to implement them in different types of web animation software. Students are encouraged to experiment with this broad application and find their own personal expression while learning how to apply it to everyday work environments. Prereq. – ARTA130. Also available through Online Learning.
This course is designed to improve conceptual abilities as applied to design. Students will create innovative design projects, emphasizing best practices of the creative design process and visual problem solving. Focus will be on the use of creative thinking techniques and research typically involved with producing a workable design using an innovative approach. Prereq.- ARTA170.
This advanced course focuses on interface design, web usability, standards-based design, optimization, and cutting-edge interactivity. Students will be exposed to theories of information architecture and content management, which aid in creating more functional, dynamic websites. Students will build on the skills presented in ARTA130 Introduction to Web Site Design to create functional, compliant, and aesthetically pleasing websites. Prereq.- ARTA130.
This course is designed to further develop and strengthen the skills and knowledge obtained in Digital Design & Typography I. Assignments are selected with the student’s portfolio in mind and provide a variety of design challenges that will enhance students’ competitive power for industry needs. Special emphasis will be placed on typographic detail, vocabulary, the design process, presentation, assemblage, and problem solving in a “real world” context. This course concludes with a hardcopy built portfolio. Formerly ARTA181. Prereq. – ARTA180.
This course is an introduction to digital photography using an Apple Macintosh computer and a variety of digital software and peripheral devices. The course presents an overview of best practices of digital photo capture (camera work), file organization, image manipulation, and storage and output devices. Prereq.- ARTA170. Additional course fees: $30.00. Also available through Online Learning.

Fourth Semester

This is an advanced course, exploring three-dimensional graphic design, processes, and techniques and branding theories. This course specifically defines and identifies visual communication for package structure and use of typography, color and images of three-dimensional prototypes. Students will be challenged with problem-solving techniques as applied in scale, material, form and function. Prereq.- ARTA181.
This course is the capstone course in Communication Design curriculum. This course will assist students in becoming professional members of the new digital media design market. Students will be revising, developing and assembling a portfolio in both hard-copy and digital formats. Guest speakers from various communication design fields will critique and evaluation students’ portfolios during class time and at the final capstone portfolio-day presentation. Prereq.- ARTA281.

64 total credit hours which includes 4 General Education electives** and 1 program elective.

New Media Track

First Semester

This course covers major trends and influences in western and world art from prehistoric to the present; emphasis on style and form. Also available through Online Learning.
This course covers basic concepts, theories, media and techniques of drawing explored through still life, landscape, the figure, portraiture, and perspective studies. Emphasis will be on the development of observational drawing skills, composition, and an understanding of drawing as a primary form of visual communication and personal expression.
This course provides an introduction to the theory and application of two-dimensional design for the creation of pictorial space. The formal elements of art and principles of organization will be covered in depth with a special focus on the nature and properties of color. Students will be guided through a series of projects using a variety of dry, wet, digital and mixed media. Development of technical, perceptual, and analytical skills will be emphasized along with an understanding of historical and contemporary art and design practice.
Introduction to computer graphics and basic design principles. Utilizing Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator software, students will learn the fundamentals of digital design, image editing/scanning and printing. Assignments, both in and outside of the classroom, will be contextually based, providing real world applications with each lesson. Also available through Online Learning.

Second Semester

This course introduces the theory and application of three-dimensional design with an emphasis on the elements of art and principles of organization as the foundation of successful visual problem solving and creativity. Projects cover a variety of media and techniques; technical, perceptual, and analytical skill development; and contemporary and historical art and design practices.
This course builds on concepts, theories, media and techniques introduced in Drawing I; and continues exploration of still life, landscape, and perspective studies with additional focus on the figure and portraiture. Emphasis is on the continuing development of observational drawing skills, composition, and an understanding of drawing as a primary form of visual communication and personal expression. Prereq.- ARTA107 and ARTA111.
Introduction to Web Site Design explores online website design and basic programming with industry standard software and basic coding with HTML and Cascading Style Sheets. The course addresses best practices in current web design and web standards as well as methods of publishing web sites via FTP servers. Finally, students will discuss web design careers and freelance design opportunities. Prereq. – ARTA170. Also available through Online Learning.
This course is designed to introduce students to the visual and conceptual issues of graphic design and typography. Assignments investigate typography as an element of design whose form and purpose is to convey information in a structured, legible and expressive manner. Students will work with a variety of software applications as they develop their understanding of letterform, graphic design, Gestalt theories, and typographic organization. This course is a combination of lecture, demonstration and hands-on experience. Prereq.- ARTA170.

Third Semester

This course is designed to introduce students to the many different creative aspects of web animation, while building a strong technical foundation. Students will learn a foundation in the basic principles of animation as well as how to implement them in different types of web animation software. Students are encouraged to experiment with this broad application and find their own personal expression while learning how to apply it to everyday work environments. Prereq. – ARTA130. Also available through Online Learning.
Introduction to 3-D Computer Animation is an exploration of a variety of current computer animation software and state of the art digital technology. The course introduces students to best practices of computer animation and visual effects; model building, rendering, lighting, key-frame animation and character animation. Prereq. – ARTA170.
This course will introduce critical concepts and hands-on skills in the current New Media field. Students will discuss topics related to the World Wide Web, mobile devices, DVDs, CD-ROMs, digital gaming, film and animation. Students will be equiped with the skills necessary for storyboarding, script writing, character development, theories and practices used in pre-production, and creating a film or animation. Prereq.- ARTA170.
This course is designed to further develop and strengthen the skills and knowledge obtained in Digital Design & Typography I. Assignments are selected with the student’s portfolio in mind and provide a variety of design challenges that will enhance students’ competitive power for industry needs. Special emphasis will be placed on typographic detail, vocabulary, the design process, presentation, assemblage, and problem solving in a “real world” context. This course concludes with a hardcopy built portfolio. Formerly ARTA181. Prereq. – ARTA180.

Fourth Semester

This course is designed to build on the skills, knowledge and experience gained in the ARTA131 Introduction to 3-D Computer Animation course. Emphasis will be placed on working with advanced 3-D computer animation techniques for film, new media, and video games. Formerly ARTA133. Prereq. – ARTA131.
This course presents a visual and creative approach to learning interactive design with the basic fundamentals of object-oriented programming. Students will learn the fundamentals of programming within a visual context, including how to develop strong conceptual skills required for creating interactive applications. Interactive design and programming is intended for both creative and technical oriented individuals. Formerly ARTA136. Prereq. – ARTA132.
A continuation of ARTA230, New Media Theory and Practice. Students will form groups, devise a production strategy and create an animated short based on a storyboard they have chosen. Students will learn production techniques, including lighting, sound, character building, quick shorts, creating scenes, editing and final production. Prereq.- ARTA230.
This course is the capstone course in Communication Design curriculum. This course will assist students in becoming professional members of the new digital media design market. Students will be revising, developing and assembling a portfolio in both hard-copy and digital formats. Guest speakers from various communication design fields will critique and evaluation students’ portfolios during class time and at the final capstone portfolio-day presentation. Prereq.- ARTA281.

67 total credit hours which includes 4 General Education electives** and 1 program elective.

** One course should be designated as Diversity and Global Awareness (D). Students must take one Social Science Elective (SIT or SSHB) in a Writing Intensive (WI) section. Computer competencies and mathematics outcomes are included in various courses in this program. Thus, completing the program automatically satisfies the computing and mathematics requirements for this program. **

This program requires the attendance of day classes and can not be completed taking only evening classes.

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Northampton Community College

3835 Green Pond Road
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18020

610.861.5300