Graphic Design Certificate Program

CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION

All students who finish this program will receive a signed certificate of completion verifying their participation in the program.

Program Description

This five day intensive certificate program (held on Sundays, 9am-5pm for 5 weeks) will give you an in-depth introduction to Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects and InDesign and the universal threads that weave between them when used for graphic design. In addition to learning these industry standard tools, you'll also learn about core design theory, best practices and processes commonly used when addressing different graphic design projects.

Through a combination of lectures, hands-on learning, take-home exercises and guided practice time you will develop a graphic designer's sense of problem solving while building three projects. Class projects will include a simple print piece, a motion graphics video and a website user interface (UI) composition. By creating a variety of projects, you will gain an understanding of how to effectively implement professional design tools, how to creatively solve problems and what solutions are most appropriate for successful design.

Read more about what makes our certificate programs unique.

Prerequisites

This certificate program's sessions are spaced one week apart (held on Sundays). To get the most out of this program and keep up with the fast pace of the classes it is very important to practice what you've learned and complete the "homework" provided in the weeks between sessions. Participants should also be familiar with the overall interface that is shared between all the Adobe applications. If you haven't used any of the Adobe tools or want to be sure you're up to speed, we offer registrants a free video introduction. Please contact BDA staff for access to this video.

Program Goals

During this course you will:
  • Identify the common themes and tools in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and After Effects.
  • Explore core digital design principles, processes and best practices.
  • Learn basic typography, design and graphic illustration skills.
  • Prepare graphic elements and layout for web, print and motion (video).
  • Animate simple graphics.
  • Design pieces such as an animated logo, business card, Web portfolio layout comps and a graphic resume.
What this Course WILL NOT cover:
  • Coding for the web or generating an actual website.
  • Intermediate or advanced digital painting.
  • Intermediate or advanced photo manipulation.
  • Intermediate or advanced tools/processes in InDesign and After Effects.
  • How to be an expert designer in all things Adobe.

Requirements

BDA provides Macintosh workstations for in-class use and can make these workstations available to students, outside of class time, if scheduled in advance with BDA staff. Workstations and BDA equipment cannot leave BDA facilities and there is no "guarantee" that we will have a workstation available for your to use when you need to use it as MAC workstation use must be coordinated with staff availability during BDA weekday business hours. Students are also welcome to use their own computer with the latest version of the Creative Cloud installed. Adobe offers a free 30-day trial of the Creative Cloud.

After You Register

BDA is committed to making learning process as enjoyable as possible and making sure that you can focus on your learning. After you register you will be contacted by our staff who answer questions you might have and assist you with any logistical and travel concerns.

Schedule (5 consecutive Sundays)

Sunday #1: Graphic Design for the Adobe User

9am - 10am
Introductions and Class Overview

We'll kick off with some networking who's who, what's your background, why you're here. Then we'll go over what the class will cover, the structure and methodology. We will take an initial look at the Adobe Creative Cloud and the specific software we will be covering in the course.

10am - 11am
Similarities and Differences between Adobe Illustrator and the Other Adobe Apps

We'll transition into taking a deeper look at Adobe Illustrator as a hub for Graphic Design. Many of the other Adobe products share similar qualities to Illustrator such as UI layout, tools and non-destructive editing capabilities. But each software also has major differences, which we will highlight as well.

11am - 12pm
First Look at the Projects We'll Be Creating

After surveying the similarities and differences, specific strengths and weakness of each software will begin to emerge. We will take a look at the projects we will be creating in the course and connect each project to a specific software strength that will serve us best. Common formats and deliverables will also be discussed for each project.

12pm - 1pm: Lunch Break

1pm - 2pm
Digital Graphic Design Theory

After sizing up Adobe software for a specific job, let's look at some the core theory behind all digital graphic design. Just as there cannot be an up without a down, or a night without a day, there are digital dualities to explore in color spaces, graphic types and file handling, each with pros and cons to consider. Even though there is always more than one way to get a job done in Adobe software, we'll set up some guidelines on how to design with maximum efficiency and editability.

2pm - 4pm
Graphic Design Principles

Graphic Design uses core principles no matter what the medium. In this hour we will at look some of the key principles used daily by designers all over the world. We will discuss how to lay a foundation for your design, maintain balance and unify the elements. We will also visualize strategies of leading the viewer's eye to a specific element for a specific purpose. We will wrap up this discussion of fundamentals by showing some successful, and not-so-successful, graphic design examples.

4pm - 5pm
Q& A - Open Forum

We will quickly introduce the next Sunday's work-day schedule and the optional homework for this week. Also, this will be an opportunity to address questions, expand on various points, and raise new ones.

Sunday #2: Creating a Logo and Business Card Design in Adobe Illustrator

9am - 10am
Homework Critique and Logo Design Real World Examples

We will spend the first part of today's class looking over any homework designs, answering questions and providing critical feedback. Looking specifically at logos, we will focus our eye on some real world Logo Design and discuss what makes a logo successful.

10am - 11am
Typography 101: Resources, Rules and Tools in Adobe Illustrator

Typography is an important ingredient in many graphic designs, so we will dissect the anatomy of type and common units of measurement. We will explore the controls in the Character and Paragraph panels and practice wielding the common type tools.

11am - 12pm
The Pen Tool and Image Trace

The Pen tool is a workhorse among common Adobe tools so mastering it is a necessity. We will practice manually creating logo elements using a variety of techniques to tame this squirrelly instrument. We will de-mystify the image trace panel to manipulate raster graphics into usable vector images.

12pm - 1pm: Lunch Break

1pm - 2pm
Logo Design to Client Spec

Now we can put our new skills to the test by designing variations of a logo to a specific client's needs. The instructor will provide a few written specs and you will sketch a series of design solutions. Guidance, feedback and assistance from your instructor will be close at hand as we narrow down the best possible logo candidates.

2pm - 4pm
Finalizing the Logo and Business Card Layout

Cleaning up your best logo design will be the focus of this session. Then, we will switch gears to set up a classic business card file format with bleeds. At the heart of the card's design will be your logo in its current state and several layout approaches will be discussed as we manipulate each element including text and color. We will finalize the illustrator file for delivery to the client as well as underscore common export settings for a .pdf printable file.

4pm - 5pm
Q& A - Open Forum

We will quickly introduce the next session's schedule and the optional homework for this week. Also, this will be an opportunity to address questions, expand on various points, and raise new ones.

Sunday #3: Wireframing a Website UI with Photoshop

9am - 10am
Homework Critique, UI Design Overview and Real World Examples

We will spend the first part of today's class looking over any homework designs, answering questions and providing critical feedback. Looking specifically at user interface design for the web, we will focus our eye on some real world UI Design and discuss what makes Photoshop a great mock-up tool for websites.

10am - 11am
Raster and Vector Graphic Manipulation in Adobe Photoshop

Wrangling pixels is different than sculpting vectors, so in this session we will discover another set of tools and techniques to graphic creation.

11am - 12pm
Basic Photo Manipulation

Photoshop was created for photography, and photos are a staple element in web site design. We will look specifically at photo maniplation tools as well as non destructive adjustments that will enhance an area of an image, or unify it to a web site design. A few tricks of the trade will be shared using the pen tool, paths panel and channels panel.

12pm - 1pm: Lunch Break

1pm - 2pm
Responsive UI Design to Client Spec

Now we can put our new skills to the test by designing variations of a responsive user interface to a specific client's needs. The instructor will demonstrate using the popular Bootstrap CSS framework for creating web interface comps. Guidance, feedback and assistance from your instructor will be close at hand as we generate the main interface layout.

2pm - 4pm
Guiding Content into a Smaller Screen

With the main layout in place, decisions will be made on where the established graphic elements must migrate when viewed on a smaller device. These comps will be exported for the web.

4pm - 5pm
Q& A - Open Forum

We will quickly introduce the next session's schedule and the optional homework for this week. Also, this will be an opportunity to address questions, expand on various points, and raise new ones.

Sunday #4: Animating Graphics with Adobe After Effects

9am - 10am
Homework Critique, Motion Graphics Overview and Real World Examples

We will spend the first part of today's class looking over any homework designs, answering questions and providing critical feedback. Looking specifically at motion in graphic design, we will focus our eye on some real world motion graphics and discuss what makes After Effects an industry standard for creating motion graphics.

10am - 11am
Video Formats, Resolutions and Frame Rates

This session will converge on the added dimension of time and speed in our motion graphic designs. Common video resolutions, frame rates and formats/codecs will be discussed as we review the main areas of the Composition Settings Dialogue box. By importing several types of graphics, both vector and raster, we will discuss various strategies to keeping your files organized.

11am - 12pm
The Timeline and Basic Keyframe Animation

Now it is your turn in the director's chair! By manipulating attributes such as opacity, size and position over time using keyframes, words will fly and shapes will disappear and reappear before our eyes. You will also get some editing practice while getting used to the timeline controls.

12pm - 1pm: Lunch Break

1pm - 2pm
Animating a Logo to Client Spec

Now we can put our new skills to the test by designing variations of a logo animation to a specific client's needs. The instructor will provide a set of simple storyboards indicating the motion and timing desired. Guidance, feedback and assistance from your instructor will be close at hand as we bring a logo to life.

2pm - 4pm
Animated Typography and Sound

Using keyframe animation basics, strategies for incorporating typography with your logo will be discussed. By the way, have you ever tried to watch your favorite movie on mute? Basic sound effects will always enhance a motion graphic and we will add a few simple ones for a big impact. Critical compression settings will be highlighted as we export our animations into a shareable quicktime movie.

4pm - 5pm
Q& A - Open Forum

We will quickly introduce the next session's work-day schedule and the optional homework for this week. Also, this will be an opportunity to address questions, expand on various points, and raise new ones.

Sunday #5: Page Layout with Adobe InDesign

9am - 10am
Homework Critique, Multi-Page Layout Design Overview and Real World Examples

We will spend the first part of today's class looking over any homework designs, answering questions and providing critical feedback. Looking specifically at the multi-page document in graphic design, we will focus our eye on some real world examples of publications and discuss what makes InDesign the most popular software for designing books, magazines and in our case, visually dynamic resumes.

10am - 11am
Typography 102

This session will look at the power of InDesign paragraph controls. We will discuss different strategies to setting up projects with a multi-page resume as an example. Designing with massive amounts of type can be accomplished using InDesign's character and paragraph styles panels.

11am - 12pm
Placing Graphics

InDesign was made for arranging graphics with text in an efficient manner. We will complete our graphic resume by practicing placing in both raster and vector graphics and wrapping text around them. We will explore the choices you have in creating a .PDF export using settings in InDesign's export dialogue box.

12pm - 1pm: Lunch Break

1pm - 2pm
Compiling Your First Portfolio

Gather up all your assignments and make any last minute changes to the details. It's time to review all the work we have completed and create your first design portfolio!

2pm - 4pm
Final Presentations

Everyone will get a chance to show off their best work from the class and get feedback from your peers and the instructor.

4pm - 5pm
Wrap Up

We will quickly introduce a bonus set of future projects that you can work on after the program to keep learning. This will be our last opportunity to address questions, expand on various points, and raise new ones. Goodbyes and farewell wishes all around!

Instructor

Michael Chavez

Since he was young, Michael has been passionately creating visual art and design.

For the past 9 years he has been dedicated to the art of visual communication through graphic design. Michael has taught at the Art Institute of Colorado for 8 years in the graphic design program where he has focused on typography, portfolio and layout design while also successfully running his own single man design shop.

He has also served on the board of AIGA Colorado since 2012.On a day-to-day basis, Michael not only uses the industry standard of design software but he also teaches the use of those programs. He has worked on projects big and small from branding and identity programs to logo design, collateral, typographic expression, digital illustration and different formatting for print, web, and social media.

Michael is a Colorado native that loves letterforms, bicycles, and enjoying the outdoors with his family.

Location

This certificate program will be held in the Boulder Digital Arts Boulder location classroom.

$999
BDA Members
$1099
Non-Members

Registration:

BDA Members: $999.00

Non-Members: $1,099.00

Available Dates

April 23 - May 28, 2017

Weekend Format Schedule

Register
Complete Schedule:
Sunday, April 23, 2017
9am - 5pm
Sunday, April 30, 2017
9am - 5pm
Sunday, May 7, 2017
9am - 5pm
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Skip Week Mother's Day
No Class
Sunday, May 21, 2017
9am - 5pm
Sunday, May 28, 2016
9am - 5pm

Location: Boulder Location (Details)

Boulder Location
1600 Range Street, Suite 100
Boulder, CO  80301

This is BDA's headquarters located at Arapahoe Avenue and Range Street in Boulder (approximately 52nd and Arapahoe) on the northeast corner of Range and Arapahoe. The building is .6 miles east of Foothills Parkway, and .25 miles west of 55th Street. Range is the street that is between the stoplights at Conestoga and Commerce. Parking is available all around the building.

July 9 - August 6, 2017

Weekend Format Schedule

Register
Complete Schedule:
Sunday, July 9, 2017 - 9am - 5pm
Sunday, July 16 2017 - 9am - 5pm
Sunday, July 23, 2017 - 9am - 5pm
Sunday, July 30, 2017 - 9am - 5pm
Sunday, August 6, 2017 - 9am - 5pm

Location: Boulder Location (Details)

Boulder Location
1600 Range Street, Suite 100
Boulder, CO  80301

This is BDA's headquarters located at Arapahoe Avenue and Range Street in Boulder (approximately 52nd and Arapahoe) on the northeast corner of Range and Arapahoe. The building is .6 miles east of Foothills Parkway, and .25 miles west of 55th Street. Range is the street that is between the stoplights at Conestoga and Commerce. Parking is available all around the building.

October 8 - November 5, 2017

Weekend Format Schedule

Register
Complete Schedule:
Sunday, October 8, 2017 - 9am - 5pm
Sunday, October 15, 2017 - 9am - 5pm
Sunday, October 22, 2017 - 9am - 5pm
Sunday, October 29, 2017 - 9am - 5pm
Sunday, November 5, 2017 - 9am - 5pm

Location: Boulder Location (Details)

Boulder Location
1600 Range Street, Suite 100
Boulder, CO  80301

This is BDA's headquarters located at Arapahoe Avenue and Range Street in Boulder (approximately 52nd and Arapahoe) on the northeast corner of Range and Arapahoe. The building is .6 miles east of Foothills Parkway, and .25 miles west of 55th Street. Range is the street that is between the stoplights at Conestoga and Commerce. Parking is available all around the building.

January 7 - February 4, 2018

Weekend Format Schedule

Register
Complete Schedule:
Sunday, January 7, 2018 - 9am - 5pm
Sunday, January 14, 2018 - 9am - 5pm
Sunday, January 21, 2018 - 9am - 5pm
Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 9am - 5pm
Sunday, February 4, 2018 - 9am - 5pm

Location: Boulder Location (Details)

Boulder Location
1600 Range Street, Suite 100
Boulder, CO  80301

This is BDA's headquarters located at Arapahoe Avenue and Range Street in Boulder (approximately 52nd and Arapahoe) on the northeast corner of Range and Arapahoe. The building is .6 miles east of Foothills Parkway, and .25 miles west of 55th Street. Range is the street that is between the stoplights at Conestoga and Commerce. Parking is available all around the building.

Customer Comments

The level of education combined with the reasonable tuition and flexible schedule, is unlike any other program I've come across. For those like me, it's just too difficult to think about going back to school even part-time. I love what you guys do at BDA!Stephanie
Read All Comments

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Comments For: Graphic Design Certificate Program

The level of education combined with the reasonable tuition and flexible schedule, is unlike any other program I've come across. For those like me, it's just too difficult to think about going back to school even part-time. I love what you guys do at BDA!Stephanie on 5/16/2016
"The program, teacher, and BDA went well above my expectations. The class was so engaging, interesting and very comfortable. It was exciting to be in an environment with an incredible teacher as well as other students that not only help with what you are learning, but also motivate you."Laura on 2/15/2016
I thoroughly enjoyed the overall class. The program, teacher, and BDA went well above my expectations. The class was so engaging, interesting and very comfortable. It was exciting to be in an environment with an incredible teacher as well as other students that not only help with what you are learning, but also motivate you.Laura on 2/15/2016
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Optional Payment Plan for Certificate Programs:

We want to make our training as accessible as possible so we offer a simple payment plan for our Certificate Programs. For classes that are $400 - $999, each of the two payments is simply 50% of the total cost of the Certificate Program or "bundle" with no finance charges or other costs. For classes that are $1,000+, each of the four payments is simply 25% of the total cost of the Certificate Program or "bundle" with no finance charges or other costs. BDA membership is required to obtain a payment plan. Click here to learn about membership. The first payment will be taken at the time of registration and the remaining payments are paid once a month for the following three months. Details the payment amounts for this particular program are listed in the table below.

It's easy to take advantage of this option and we encourage you to sign up early since these programs often fill up fast! If you're interested, don't register online. Instead, please contact BDA staff at 303-800-4647 or email us with the name and start date of the class you wish to attend (info@boulderdigitalarts.com) and we'll get you setup, take your first payment, and confirm your registration.

 

Payment Program Details

  Payment Amount
Payment 1
Paid at time of registration.
$249.75
Payment 2
Due one month after registration.
$249.75
Payment 3
Due two months after registration.
$249.75
Payment 4
Due three months after registration.
$249.75
Note: you must be a BDA member to take advantage of our payment plans. Registrants using the payment plan are not eligible for any early registration discounts and always pay the standard registration fee ($999.00).
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