Graphic Design Professional Certificate

Creative Studies for Adult Learners

Image of vocational graphic design Branding design by Sessions College student Ivan Zrinscak

Our fully online Graphic Design Professional Certificate program will provide you the software skills, design knowledge, and professional portfolio needed to effectively compete in this exciting and dynamic field.

Designed for the busy adult learner, this program can be customized to fit your experience level and can be completed in six months on a part time basis.

Once completed, you can continue your studies by adding from a wide array of concentrations or you can participate in our Bridge Program and earn a Associate degree.

Classes start at the beginning of each month. Affordable tuition and easy payment plans make this certificate program your best value in design education.


graphic design certificate

As a Graphic Design Professional Certificate student, you'll learn the design software programs that every pro needs to know: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Discover techniques for creating digital images, illustrations, and layouts, addressing fundamental concepts in color, typography, and composition.

Graphic design course assignments involve photo editing, logo design, poster design, magazine covers and layouts, and more. You can complete the program in nine months or less.

Already have some design experience? You can customize the program around your learning goals, provided you meet core requirements. Browse our online graphic design courses and complete course list, and talk to an advisor.

Graphic Design Program Standards

online graphic design course student
"Professional feedback from instructors allows me to create great project... Projects I developed during the course helped me create my first professional portfolio"
- Kate Caryk, Graphic Design Certificate.

The goal of the online Graphic Design Certificate program is to prepare you for a professional career as a graphic designer. You will begin to develop a portfolio of individual creative work you can present to potential employers. Here are the standards you are expected to meet as a student in this vocational program.

#1 Digital Imaging

Your work will demonstrate entry-level professional Photoshop skills and effective decisions in selecting and editing images. You will be able to improve images for professional publication by retouching and correction, and create realistic or imaginative images by compositing or collage.

#2 Color

You will develop distinctive color palettes based on the principles of color harmony. Your work will exhibit a sophisticated use of color and contrast, the ability to research colors and make choices that are appropriate for each client and project.

#3 Vector Art

You will develop entry-level professional skills in creating vector art illustrations in Illustrator, using shape drawing and freehand drawing tools, Pen tool, type tools, and basic effects. You will be able to create simple, stylized logos, icons, and illustrations for effective visual communication.

#4 Typography

You will be able to research and select appropriate typefaces and design typography to support the branding or communication goal of a particular client or project. You will demonstrate the ability to organize text into a clear, readable information hierarchy in page layouts while using display type for impact and expression.

#5 Composition

You will be able to create engaging and readable layout designs that blend text and imagery using fundamental design and composition techniques. You can create a professional-quality poster, print ad, or cover design that attracts the eye and guides the viewer through your layout.

#6 Page Layout

You will be able to create consistent, engaging, and readable layouts in InDesign for multi-page documents using master pages to control the style and positioning of text and graphics. Your page layout work will demonstrate proficiency in designing information for print publications such as newsletters and brochures.

#7 Design History

You will have a basic ability to identify and discuss important eras, designers, genres, and techniques in 20th and 21st century graphic design. You will be able to apply the concepts of important designers and design movements in your own work and develop an effective workflow of research, conceptualization, and design.

#8 Graphic Design

Your work will exhibit professional competence in various print design genres including poster design, logo/branding design, magazine layouts, cover design, and packaging. Your design work will show evidence of in-depth research in order to produce a striking, memorable, and creative solution.

Below, Graphic Design certificate student Barbara Evans talks about discovering her creativity and building a portfolio of work.


Graphic Design Certificate Online Admissions

Classes in our vocational programs start at the beginning of each month. The Professional Certificate is open admissions: To apply for the program, simply complete our application and select your program options. Applicants are expected to have graduated high school.

graphic design certificate programs advisor Brenda
"The Professional Certificate gives you the chance to develop professional design skills on a part-time schedule. You're learning not just the software but also the principles of design." – Brenda Meda, Senior Admissions Advisor

Whenever you're ready, talk to our admissions staff to explore program options or attend an Open House.

Don't forget to visit our Tuition and Fees page.

Graphic Design Software and Supplies

software for online graphic design courses

To take this online program, you'll need a computer with an Internet connection as well as additional software and supplies.

  • A Windows-based or Macintosh computer that meets manufacturers' requirements for required software in the program.
  • Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign CS6 or CC.

Be sure to visit our Student Store for discounts on hardware and graphic design software. Program customizations or the addition of concentrations (Advanced Certificate) may involve additional requirements. View list of online graphic design courses or our directory of all certificate program courses.

Related Programs

Check out our Graphic Design Associate Degree program and Undergraduate Certificate in Graphic Design.

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