Graphic Design & Photography

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Graphic Design instructor teaching a group of students

Welcome to Graphic Design & Photography

Program Description

The focus of the Graphic Design and Photography curriculum is to create a balance between design and technology. The program begins with a foundation in design, drawing and art appreciation and starts to integrate technology during the first semester. Design principles, creative thinking and problem-solving techniques, as they apply to the media arts, give the student a strong foundation for entry into the work force, and for advanced study at other colleges and universities. Students work in a state-of-the-art Digital Arts Center for hands-on computer training.

Both graphic design and photography students create projects using electronic media, typographic design, publication design, photojournalism, advertising illustration photography, and color management.

Graphic Design Concentration

With strong foundation courses in design, typography and creative problem-solving, students create designs, from concept to printed piece. The understanding of production and pre-press processes are an integral part of the concentration, along with the introduction of web design. The curriculum is based on the belief that the graphic designer is a visual and verbal communicator who is able to develop creative solutions for a variety of design and communication problems. Students execute their work in a state-of-the-art Digital Arts Center.

Graphic Design Certificate
The Graphic Design Certificate provides the student with a thorough understanding of the design process, from concept to printed piece. Production and pre-press processes are introduced and become an integral part of the Certificate, along with the introduction of web design. Students execute their work in a state-of-the-art Digital Arts Center.

Internship Program
The Graphic Design and Photography Department offers internship opportunities through the GDP 290 Work Experience course. Students intern with local, professional marketing and art directors, applying the skills they have learned to gain experience for the job they want. (Students build a professional portfolio and fill the gap between classroom and experience.) Many of these students are hired for full-time and part-time positions. They earn 3 units of credit for working 120 hours on-site and attending an internship class on campus three evenings during the semester.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Graphic Design

  1. Apply design principles to both print and screen layouts.   
  2. Demonstrate proficiency using industry-standard software to produce graphic design layouts that are print-ready digital files.  
  3. Define professional terminology for the graphic design and print industry.    
  4. Demonstrate a sense of aesthetics for design and typography in the visual communication field.
  5. Identify and apply their creative abilities to communicate ideas with confidence.
  6. Demonstrate effective evaluation techniques, such as critiquing, to test and revise ideas and designs.
  7. Develop professional quality design concepts and layouts.

Career Opportunities
Assistant graphic designer
Freelance graphic designer
Publications designer
Production coordinator
Pre-press production artist

Photography Concentration

The Photography curriculum is carefully designed to build fundamental technical skills in the operation of 35mm and medium-format cameras, using traditional and digital camera systems. In addition, all classes emphasize the importance of creativity and originality in image-making through a progressive series of conceptual assignments. Basics in digital printing technologies are provided from the entry-level classes and throughout the entire curriculum, as all darkroom facilities at SBCC are completely digital, including the operation of professional-level scanners and large- format archival printers capable of printing up to 44" x 96".

Internship Program
Internship opportunities in Photography and Graphic Design are offered through the GDP 290 Work Experience course. Students intern with local professional photo studios, art directors and marketing departments, applying skills they have learned in Photo I and II and Digital Darkroom/Color Management classes, while they gain real-world job experience. This effectively fills the gap between classroom and work environments.

In addition, the Santa Barbara Foundation occasionally offers internship opportunities to Santa Barbara City College students with appropriate skills to work within the Photography Department, testing cameras and overseeing the printing facility in OE-184.

Program Student Learning Outcomes


  1. Demonstrate fundamentals of 35mm traditional and digital camera operations.
  2. Demonstrate skills in scanning, digital printing and archival printing technologies.
  3. Demonstrate digital image editing and special manipulation effects.
  4. Demonstrate composition and conceptual development.
  5. Demonstrate acceptable photographic methods in studio photography.
  6. Demonstrate advanced lighting techniques.
  7. Demonstrate the ability to create a professional portfolio of work that projects lasting appeal and has high visual impact.
  8. Demonstrate color management basics.

Career Opportunities
Photographic Assistant
Digital Darkroom Technician, Color Labs
Color Management Controller
Fine Art Photography
Newspaper Photographer
Weddings/Event Photography
Digital Artist

Faculty & Offices
Linda Lowell, Chair, Photography (OE-184A, ext. 3571)
Elizabeth Russotti, Chair, Graphic Design (A-176, ext. 2916)
AJ Skiles, Lab Teaching Assistant. (ext. 2280)
Erin Sealey, Lab Technician (ext. 3069)


721 Cliff Drive Santa Barbara, CA 93109-2394    Main Campus Phone: 805.965.0581    © 2014 Santa Barbara City College