Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Students in front of a mural they designed at Sylvania Campus

Graphic designers use critical thinking and visual design skills to create marketing materials that inform and influence target audiences. The Oregon Employment Department projects demand for graphic designers will grow 18% through 2027.

Portland has a reputation for being a highly creative city with an active design community. Local firms such as Nike, Adidas, and Wieden + Kennedy expect a high level of craft and innovation from the graphic designers they employ.

A close connection to a thriving local design industry is a great asset for PCC graphic design students – one that can be leveraged effectively with the right training. PCC’s Graphic Design program helps you acquire the visual design skills that many local companies are seeking.

Why choose Graphic Design at PCC?

Salary

The Oregon Employment Department reports graphic designers are paid from $16.87 to $43.41 per hour. The average annual salary is $60,318.

The Graphic Design (GD) program thoroughly prepares you for a highly competitive job market. Students are required to develop a presentation-quality portfolio of creative projects before graduation. This enables AAS in GD graduates to apply for industry employment or to transfer their degree to PSU as a student in the junior year of their BFA in GD program.

All GD classrooms provide each student with access to the same quality computers, printers, and scanners used by creative professionals. The curriculum is designed to train you to correctly use equipment and software towards the development of creative projects. Students have access to additional prototyping and imaging equipment as needed.

Software and design-focused courses are taught by professionals with experience developing work for clients in both print and web applications. Projects by students and faculty are regularly recognized by industry awards and publications. Nike, Dark Horse Comics, Powell’s Books, and OPUS have each hired multiple PCC Graphic Design graduates.

See our program costs or review our remote and online learning technology requirements for more information.

Degrees and certificates

PCC offers many options to meet your goals: short-term certificates, two-year degrees, and university transfer options.

Degrees and certificates by number of terms to complete
Award Length Financial aid eligible Currently accepting students?
Associate Degree: Graphic Design2 yearsLimited entry, see how
to get into this program

Locations

*Due to the requirements of Graphic Design program course offerings, some students experience a longer duration of study. Be sure to review the new student information packet for detail about Graphic Design course planning.

What will you learn?

Our courses cover the fundamentals required for a successful career in graphic design. Yes, we will develop your skills in design tools like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. Yes, you will learn the details of print production. And we go further. From preliminary research to presentation-quality work samples, the Graphic Design program teaches you a myriad of industry skills necessary to break into a competitively creative design community.

What will you do?

Graphic designers work with words and images to develop client communications for the following media:

  • Digital
  • Print
  • Video
  • Web

Entry-level designers are expected to use specified software applications to effectively address a client’s communication needs. Maintaining employment requires additional skill sets, such as communication skills (verbal and written), design skills (layout and typography), and technical skills (media-specific). Presentation, time management, and organization are highly regarded assets of the field.

Who will hire me?

Graphic designers are hired into a range of organizations:

  • Design and advertising agencies
  • In-house marketing and design departments
  • Interactive design firms
  • Commercial printers
  • Government agencies
  • Architecture firms
  • Technology startups
  • Magazine design departments
  • Book publishers
  • Breweries
  • Medical institutions
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Event planning and promotion companies
  • Real estate agencies
  • Product manufacturing companies

PCC graduates currently work as designers for:

  • Nike
  • Dark Horse Comics
  • Mozilla
  • Powell’s City of Books
  • Scout Books
  • 2 Towns Ciderhouse
  • Oni Press
  • WebMD
  • The Oregon Clinic
  • Sockeye
  • Pollinate
  • Instrument
  • Work & Co.
  • Owen Jones
  • OPUS
  • Brink Communications
  • Dull Olson Weekes Architects

Transfer to PSU

The Graphic Design program provides one-on-one training for students to apply for PSU’s Sophomore Portfolio Review process. Completing PCC’s Associate of Applied Science Graphic Design degree enables graduates the opportunity to apply a “Block Transfer” of all PCC GD credits toward the PSU’s Graphic Design BFA program, entering in the Junior year.

Next steps

Applying to PCC is free and only takes a few minutes.Apply now
This program has an additional application process. Learn about the prerequisite requirements for the Graphic Design program.

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Related programs

PCC offers more than 90 programs.