Advice for Graphic Design students
These are some quick bits of information to help you get started
The Graphic Design faculty members are glad to meet with you and help plan your course choices. Students enrolled in the program are assigned a permanent faculty advisor to help throughout the six quarters.
Summer quarter tips
For folks in the program, there are four self-paced courses found in the course outline; they can be taken in Summer quarter.
Photoshop I and Illustrator I are your best choices; then Indesign I and Dreamweaver I. Be aware that Adobe recently released a major update from Creative Cloud 2014 to CC2015. This Summer we are using the Adobe CC2014 versions of the software and books, and hope to have the CC2015 versions installed in the labs for Fall quarter. If you purchased a book this Summer, it may not align completely to the software in the Fall.
As an incoming student you are welcome to visit the labs during Summer quarter. Drop in and try out the lab, meet with the Summer instructor; meet Robin, our super-helpful lab manager. You can log on to a Macintosh and try out the software or surf the web for resources.
Computer hardware and software
Computers are the key production tool for designers. Our labs are equipped with industry-standard Macintoshes and the Adobe software tools.
You are not required to purchase your own computer and software. Most students eventually buy a system. You might try working with our lab computers while you become famiilar with them and develop your work habits.
You can use the Macintoshes in the labs from 7:30 until 4:00, Monday through Friday. It is possible to do your homework in the labs if you plan your time carefully.
You can work with your own Macintosh or Windows computers; the Adobe software works on either platform and it can be moved to a new computer at any time.
The Adobe software
We produce all our work with the Adobe tools, primarily Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, After Effects, and Premiere.
Adobe only sells subscriptions to their software, packaged as the Creative Cloud. They no longer sell a box full of disks. You are now “renting” the Adobe software; you get almost 30 applications, plus extra services and online storage.
You pay by the month, and have to sign up for a 12-month contract. There are student prices for the Creative Cloud. The regular student price is $29.95 (plus tax) per month, but it often goes on sale for $19.95.
Anyone can sign up for a free Adobe account and download free 30-day trial versions of the software. If you are not sure if your computer will run the software, or you are not sure if you will buy the Creative Cloud right away, these trials are a good option to try before you buy.
Related Instruction and EWU transfer courses
The required courses in addition to Graphic Design
If you review the Graphic Design course outline web page, you will find "related instruction" categories and "area of emphasis“ categories. Be aware that the related instruction courses are required, and the areas of emphasis are suggested for students wishing to develop a specialized skill set.
Our Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree requires one course from the Communications category of related instruction, one course from the Computation, and one course from the Human Relations.
If you have previous college credits, check with your advisor to see if they will satisfy the related instruction requirements.
You may wish to seek a Bachelor’s degree following your graphic design degree. Eastern Washington University and SFCC have a direct transfer agreement allowing our students to join EWU with junior status and complete the Visual Communication Design BA degree.
This requires an Associate in Science-Transfer (AS-T) degree from SFCC. There is a slightly different course outline and different related courses for the AS-T, which you can view on our Transfer Options web page.
Prior Learning Assessments
It is possible to use design or other experience you have gained before entering the program to fulfill some of the coursework. Talk to your advisor to discuss this option.
Parking Enforcement is relentless
If you drive to school, be sure you buy a parking pass early. Study the parking rules!
Here are some typical infractions that will get you a ticket.
- Parking in handicapped spaces!
- Parking in a staff/faculty space
- Parking over the painted lines
- Parking facing the wrong direction
- Driving the wrong vehicle…a vehicle that was not listed when you bought the permit; they check license plates constantly
- Forgetting to display your pass, or hanging it at an angle
- Speeding and running crosswalk stop signs
Check out the local market
It is good to know where designers go to work. Our Careers in Design web page lists some of the local design-related firms. You might visit their web sites and look at who they are and what type of work they create.
There are many other jobs in this market that can be called "in house", that we don't normally see. Many retailers, manufacturers, service providers, charities, financial institutions, etc. have marketing and design jobs.
The local design communities
Designers collaborate and communicate.
Our own SFCC Graphic Design Club
The Spokane chapter of the American Advertising Federation... "Ad Fed"
Marcom Meeting of the marketing, public relations, design folks
Meetups and groups
Special interests and special events...
Front End Web Developers meetup
Inland Northwest Multimedia Users Group - INMUG
UP Spokane a place for entrepreneurs