• Class Time: Day and Evening
  • Semester: Fall or Spring Semester
  • Campus: Brooklyn Park
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Graphic design is an important part of our visual world. From websites to magazines to brochures to product packaging, a graphic designer plays a role in determining how they look. In HTC’s Graphic Design program, you’ll benefit from hands-on training that prepares you to present ideas and concepts using the most advanced technology, whether your emphasis is in creative, web design or the printing industry. When you start here, you’re on your way to designing a successful future.

Drawn to Art

Labs and Classrooms

classes, students & samples Our labs are equipped with cutting edge equipment and software.  Our new Industry speed labs are equipped with both Windows and Mac software set up as dual-boot Intel 27-inch Mac workstations with scanners and server access on all stations. Our students have access to a large format 42in photo quality printer, high end color work station, and black and white printers for mockups and proofing designs.  Programs such as the Adobe Design Premium suite software including InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks (to name a few) are used with the latest versions and updated regularly.  This gives the student the most current software and hardware in which to learn and become skilled for employment. Students have access to over 60 high end Mac computer stations, scanners and a full functioning production lab to simulate work environments. Courses are developed and delivered progressively to build students' abilities to a work-ready level in a Graphic Design environment.


Students are able to use the program computers, software, and equipment during scheduled class time and during open lab hours (posted in H175). While this access provides many opportunities for students to work on course projects and exercises,  some students choose to purchase their own equipment to provide more flexibility. We encourage new students to wait until they have completed at least one semester before purchasing personal hardware and software to facilitate a more informed purchase. Many students take a course on Mac Technologies which helps them further understand hardware and software to help decide on equipment purchases. Student discounts on supplies are also available. Consult with instructors for additional information.

There are various tools and supplies needed in Graphic Design including:

  • If taking a Basic Drawing course, a drawing supply kit
  • External hard drive USB or (preferably Firewire 800 or a 400-800 adapter might be needed) as our computers have either USB or 800FW.
  • **Additional supplies as needed for the ever changing technologies.

NOTE: You will be directed at the beginning of each class as to what specific supplies and tools are needed. The Campus Store also carries a list of supplies for individual courses each semester.

Entry Requirements

Students must maintain a level of growth and develop a portfolio for evaluation for graduation within the Graphic Design department. What does a graphic designer need to do to be successful in the industry?

Work Environment

During and after college, graphic designers prepare by developing a portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of your best work, typically a strong suit is shown revealing a style. It demonstrates your skills in many ways to clients or employers. A portfolio may include hand drawings, sketch ideas, before and after work, computer images, photos, and print samples.

Participating in an internship while in college is excellent preparation for this occupation. An internship helps you build skills, demonstrate talent, and make job contacts.

On-the-Job Training

Beginning designers usually receive on-the-job training. You can spend up to a year working with an experienced designer, but usually training lasts weeks to a few months.

Hiring Practice
Employers prefer to hire graphic designers who have excellent portfolios. They want to see work that demonstrates the talent and skills they require for the job. Employers also prefer applicants with strong computer skills. In addition, employers prefer graphic designers who can present their ideas clearly to clients. Typically an associate's degree will get you started in a career track, but some employers may require that graphic designers have a bachelor's degree and a few years of direct work experience or internship and freelance experience.

Advancement Opportunities
Experienced and successful graphic designers may advance to assistant art director, art director, or design director. In some companies, they may advance to creative director of an art or design department. Graphic designers may develop their skills to the point that they can specialize in one area, such as website design. Some may gain enough success to open their own business or have successful freelance careers.


Wages vary by area of the country. Wages also vary based on the type of project and the skill of the graphic designer. Experienced, self-employed graphic designers can earn much more than those who earn salaries. However, when they are starting out, they can earn much less. Wages tend to be higher in some industries, such as advertising. Full-time graphic designers usually earn benefits such as sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance. Self-employed designers must provide their own insurance.

In Minnesota, about 4,497 graphic designers work in this medium-sized occupation.
About 26% of graphic designers are self-employed.

Major employers:
Advertising agencies 
Graphic design studios
In-house design departments
Packaging Design and Marketing service companies
Traditional print design-media, magazine, and book publishers

Job Outlook

People in this career need to:

Express ideas clearly when speaking or writing.

Listen to others, understand, and ask questions.

Read and understand written information.

Reason and Problem Solve

Think of new ideas or original and creative ways to solve problems.

Analyze ideas and use logic to determine their strengths and weaknesses.

Identify problems and review information.

Develop, review, and apply solutions.

Judge the costs and benefits of a possible action.

Combine several pieces of information and draw conclusions.

Develop rules or follow guidelines for arranging items.

Use reasoning to discover answers to problems.

Concentrate and not be distracted while performing a task.

Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.

Understand new information or materials by studying and working with them.

Manage Oneself, People, Time and Things

Manage the time of self and others.

Check how well one is learning or doing something.

Work with People

Be aware of others' reactions and change behavior in relation to them.

Persuade others to approach things differently.

Perceive and Visualize

Imagine how something will look if it is moved around or its parts are rearranged.


People in this career need knowledge in the following areas: 

graphic design students samples HTCDesign: Knowledge of making and using plans, sketching and reading sketches, concepts driven toward a solution, building digital files.

Communications and Media: Knowledge of producing, sharing, and delivering product designs, information or entertainment. This may be through written, spoken, or visual media.

English Language: Knowledge of the meaning, spelling, and use of the English language.

Computers and Digital Media: Knowledge of computer hardware and software.

Fine Arts: Knowledge of the methods and concepts needed to create or perform works of art. Areas of knowledge may include music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.

Sales and Marketing: Knowledge of advertising and selling ideas, products, and services.

Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of providing special services to customers based on their needs. Delivering a message.


People in Media-Graphic Design careers are people who tend to:

Consider achievement important. They like to see the results of their work and to use their strongest abilities. They like to get a feeling of accomplishment from their work.

Consider independence important. They like to make decisions and try out ideas on their own. They prefer jobs where they can plan their work with little supervision.

Consider recognition important. They like to work in jobs which have opportunities for them to advance, be recognized for their work, and direct and instruct others. They usually prefer jobs in which they are looked up to by others.

Consider good working conditions important. They like jobs offering steady employment and good pay. They want employment that fits their individual work style. They may prefer doing a variety of tasks, working alone, or being busy all the time.

Have artistic interests. They like work activities that deal with artistic forms, designs, and patterns. They prefer work which allows for self expression.

Have realistic interests. They like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and finding solutions. They like to work with plants, animals, and physical materials such as wood, tools, and machinery. They often prefer to work outside.

Have enterprising interests. They like work activities that involve starting up and carrying out projects, especially in business. They like to lead and persuade others, make decisions, and take risks for profit.



Basic Web Technologies Certificate

Graphic Design: Creative Diploma

Graphic Design: Production Diploma

Graphic Design: Web Design Diploma

Production Technician for Digital Publishing Certificate


Expected growth 5.4%; starting $22-$36 hourly

Potential Job Titles

Graphic Designer, Artist, Production Supervisor, Creative Manager, Design Director, Desktop Publisher, Graphic Designer/Production, Creative Director, Designer, Graphic Artist,Graphic Specialist, Assistant Art Director, Publication Designer, Art Di


Minnesota State Colleges and Universities

AIGA, NAPP, PIM, ADFED, SkillsUSA, Photoshop user group, Dreamweaver user group, InDesign user group


An articulation agreement between Hennepin Technical College and Minnesota State University Moorhead will facilitate credit transfer of HTC's Graphic Design A.A.S. degree or diploma toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Operations Management at MSU-Moorhead. 

Agreements with many high schools in Minnesota allow students to receive credit. The Graphic Design program is constantly willing to explore potential college credit options for new students with both life and past training experience.


The Graphic Design advisory committee is comprised of art directors, production managers, business owners, and freelance artists who work in a diverse range of industry sectors relating to both print and web media. Their input helps assure the program is constantly advancing, meeting, and often exceeding, industry requirements. The advisory committee meets twice per year officially and throughout the year assisting in tours, guest speaking engagements, internships, job shadowing, reviewing portfolios, resume reviews, and contest judging. Our advisory committee is key in our advancement and success,

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