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Visual Communication AAS

Last updated 6/10/2014

Associate in Applied Science Code 5447

Program Contacts:
QC Campus

Zaiga Thorson, 309-796-5469, thorsonz@bhc.edu


The Visual Communication Degree (AAS) is offered through the Communication and Fine Arts Department.

The curriculum is rooted in a strong foundation of basic drawing and design skills, with classroom exercises providing practical and theoretical experience. Students develop strong skills and technical knowledge using a variety of software programs (based in the Adobe Creative Suite, which includes Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop), as well as experience with digital cameras, downloading images, scanning, printers and digital prepress considerations. Courses also develop skills for working in a team-based environment, as well as communication skills with supervisors, clients, writers, and other marketing and advertising professionals.

Students will learn basic skills applicable to career possibilities in graphic design, editorial design, desktop publishing or production artist, illustration, photography and photo retouching, web design, digital prepress, etc.

Upon completion of the AAS degree, students will submit a portfolio of work for final approval by the faculty. Internship possibilities are available and have lead to part-time and full-time employment for many alumni.

Students interested in a four-year Bachelor’s degree in a more specialized aspect of visual communication, should see the art curriculum listed in the Black Hawk College catalog under the Associate of Arts (AA) transfer degrees.

Visual Communication AAS
Associate in Applied Science Code 5447
Course of Study Outline – Suggested Courses (Credit Hours)
First Semester
ART 101 — 2-Dimensional Design 3
ART 121 — Drawing and Drawing Theory (3)
ART 290 — Applications in Computer Art (3)
ART 230 — Type and Digital Layout (3)
ART 215 — Digital Imagery (3)
ART 281 — Art History (3)

Second Semester
ART 111 — 3-Dimensional Design (3)
ART 122 — Drawing and Drawing Theory (3)
ART 217 — Digital Drawing (3)
ART 246 — Graphic Design  or  (3)
ART 248 — Production and Prepress
ART 200 — Art Problems – Digital Photography (2)
CS 100 — Introduction to Computers (3)

Third Semester
ART 201 — Life Drawing (3)
COMM 100 — Communication Skills  or   (3)
ENG 101 — Composition I
SPEC 114 — Interpersonal Communication (3)
PSYC 101 — Introduction to Psychology (3)
BA 160 — Business Math I (3)

Fourth Semester
JOUR 221 — Intro to Mass Communication (3)
ART 246 — Graphic Design  or   (3)
ART 248 — Production and Prepress
ART 282 — Art History (3)

Two courses from any of the tracks below. Courses listed under each track are faculty recommendations based on a particular focus area. Students may tailor those selections based on their own needs.

Photography track:
ART 231 — Photography (3)
ART 232 — Photography (3)

Illustration track:
ART 211 — Painting (3)
ART 210 — Introduction to Illustration (3)

Web Design track:
CIP 170 — Web Page Development (3)
CIP 211A  — Introduction to Flash (2)

Minimum total hours required for degree (65)

Courses for this program include: »

ART 101 2-Dimensional Design
3 cr. hrs.;
0 lecture hours; 6 lab hours per week.
Open to all students. Fundamentals of two-dimensional design. Students learn basic elements and principles of visual design through the completion of a wide variety of two-dimensional projects. Emphasis on terminology, problem-solving and craftsmanship.

ART 111 3-Dimensional Design
3 cr. hrs.;
0 lecture hours; 6 lab hours per week.
Open to all students. Fundamentals of three-dimensional design, utilizing a variety of materials. Projects examine these materials and probe the elements and principles of design as they relate to sculptural form. Emphasis on terminology, problem-solving and craftsmanship.

ART 121 Drawing and Drawing Theory
3 cr. hrs.;
0 lecture hours; 6 lab hours per week.
Open to all students. Study of basic drawing techniques using traditional drawing media such as pencil, ink, charcoal and ink wash. Concentration on composition and craftsmanship.

ART 122 Drawing and Drawing Theory
3 cr. hrs.;
0 lecture hours; 6 lab hours per week.
Prerequisite: ART 121.
Emphasis on color and expressions in composition utilizing various drawing media such as pastels, colored pencils, ink, and other traditional drawing media.

ART 200 Art Problems
1-3 cr. hrs.;
1-3 lecture hours; 0 lab hours per week.
Introduction and practical experience with various art media and technical processes. Each “workshop” emphasizes a different medium. No more than 3 semesters hours of this course may be applied toward a degree.

ART 201 Life Drawing
3 cr. hrs.;
0 lecture hours; 6 lab hours per week.
Prerequisite: ART 121 or instructor consent.
Basic figure drawing skills with emphasis on various media and individual approaches. An appreciation of the human form through the study of human anatomy and structure.

ART 210 Introduction to Illustration
3 cr. hrs.;
0 lecture hours; 6 lab hours per week.
Prerequisite: Art 201 or instructor consent.
The practices and techniques of illustration are explored with an emphasis on art created for the printed media. Advanced skills in drawing for visual communication are applied using a variety of materials and techniques. Students are instructed in process to develop their creative concepts. Projects address visual communications for magazine, book, editorial, advertising, and digital media. Emphasis on individual creativity and professional presentation is stressed.

ART 211 Painting
3 cr. hrs.;
0 lecture hours; 6 lab hours per week.
Prerequisite: ART 101 or instructor consent.
Study of the fundamentals and media of painting. Practical application emphasized in water-based-media and ground preparations with introduction to other paint media.

ART 215 Digital Imagery
3 cr. hrs.;
0 lecture hours; 6 lab hours per week.
Fundamentals of working with raster imagery are explored using the computer. Emphasis is placed on proficiency with various tools and features in software programs such as Adobe Photoshop. Students learn to create work for print and web publication, as well as for creative self-expression. Work with peripheral devices such as scanners, printers and digital cameras is also included.

ART 217 Digital Drawing
3 cr. hrs.;
0 lecture hours; 6 lab hours per week.
Fundamentals of vector-based drawing are explored using the computer. Emphasis is placed on proficiency using various tools, creating imagery used for graphic design, web publishing and illustration. Basic design principles and printing and reproduction requirements are also emphasized.

ART 230 Type and Digital Layout
3 cr. hrs.;
0 lecture hour; 6 lab hours per week.
Open to all students. The study of type and its usage from the calligraphic origins through historic uses to digital type. Emphasis will be placed on the use of type as a design element.

ART 231 Photography
3 cr. hrs.;
0 lecture hours; 6 lab hours per week.
Prerequisite: 35mm reflex camera.
Basic tools and techniques of photography. Includes field trips and darkroom experience.

ART 232 Photography
3 cr. hrs.;
0 lecture hours; 6 lab hours per week.
Prerequisite: ART 231 or instructor consent.
Advanced camera and darkroom techniques, composition, and design, and their relationship to photography as an art form.

ART 246 Graphic Design
3 cr. hrs.;
0 lecture hours; 6 lab hours per week.
Prerequisite: ART 101 or instructor consent.
Examination of skills, techniques, and tools of the advertising and commercial arts. Projects provide experience in techniques and design elements as applied to graphic design.

ART 248 Production and Prepress
3 cr. hrs.;
0 lecture hours; 6 lab hours per week.
Prerequisite: One of the following: ART 290 or ART 230 or ART 246 “C” or better or instructor consent.
Fundamentals of graphic design are further explored, with strong emphasis on editorial design. Students will work with digital drawing, imagery and text layout software. Particular emphasis is placed on setting up electronic files for print, paper selection and printing considerations. Includes layout and production work on student art publication with a press check at a commercial print shop.

ART 281 History of Art
3 cr. hrs.;
3 lecture hours; 0 lab hours per week.
Open to all students. Survey of the great works of architecture, painting, and sculpture from the Ancient World to the Gothic Age. The historic development of Western art is emphasized. IAI: F2 901

ART 282 History of Art
3 cr. hrs.;
3 lecture hours; 0 lab hours per week.
Open to all students. Survey of the great works of architecture, painting, and sculpture from the Renaissance into the twentieth century. The historical development of modern Western art traditions is emphasized. IAI: F2 902

ART 290 Applications in Computer Art
3 cr. hrs.;
0 lecture hour; 6 lab hours per week.
An introduction to computer applications in the visual arts. A computer software based approach to visual image manipulation and generation, including the integration of computer hardware, software, and peripheral devices as tools to create and combine traditional and contemporary visual ideas as applied to art and design.

BA 160 Business Math I
3 cr. hrs.;
3 lecture hours; 0 lab hours per week.
Prerequisite: A minimum score of 32 on COMPASS pre-algebra test or a minimum score of 22 on ACT math.
A short review of basic math concepts and their application to actual business problems. Covers insurance, interest calculations, merchandising discounts, taxes, dividends and basic statistical measures.

CIP 170 Web Page Development
4 cr. hrs.;
4 lecture hours; 0 lab hours per week.
The student will learn website development with the three methods that have been used since web design first began: hand-coding HTML using a text editor; building web pages using a WYSIWYG editor like Dreamweaver; and using the most modern method, a Content Management System that separates design from content while making it easy for non-technical users to update a site. Topics include: design principles, formatting web pages with cascading style sheets, server-side vs. client-side technologies, testing web pages with multiple web browsers, and web servers. In addition, the student will learn how to stay current on W3C standards for web page development.

CIP 211A Intro to Flash
2 cr. hrs.;
2 lecture hours; 0 lab hours per week.
The student will create dynamic web content and animation using Flash. Topics covered include: creating vector graphics, creating animation, motion tweening, adding interactivity, sound and video.

COMM 100 Communication Skills
3 cr. hrs.;
3 lecture hours; 0 lab hours per week.
For career program students only. COMM 100 and ENG 132 fulfill requirements for an associate’s degree in several career programs. Concentration on developing skills in writing, speaking and reading.

CS 100 Introduction to Computers
3 cr. hrs.;
3 lecture hours; 1 lab hour per week.
Prerequisite: Appropriate placement score or REA 093 “B” or better.
Introduction to computer concepts, computer applications, and the impact of computers on society. Applications include problem solving methods, word processing, spreadsheet, database, and presentation graphics software. Basic Algebra or equivalent is recommended.

ENG 101 Composition I
3 cr. hrs.;
3 lecture hours; 0 lab hours per week.
Prerequisite: ACT English score of 22 or above; or appropriate COMPASS score; or English 091 “C” or better.
English 101 is designed for students who are competent in the fundamentals of composition. Students will write essays using a variety of expository strategies and will apply standard techniques of documentation when appropriate. IAI: C1 900

JOUR 221 Introduction to Mass Communications
3 cr. hrs.;
3 lecture hours; 0 lab hours per week.
Study of the communications process. Newspapers, magazines, books, radio, television, and motion pictures. IAI: MC 911

PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology
3 cr. hrs.;
3 lecture hours; 0 lab hours per week.
Prerequisites: College level reading scores on COMPASS or REA 098 and SBS 100 “C” or better.
A survey of the field of general psychology without specific emphasis on any particular theory or model of human or animal behavior. Fundamental principles, methods, theories and issues in the field are discussed. Content areas may include learning, thinking, neuroscience, methodology, memory, perception, personality, intelligence, emotion, adjustment, and abnormality among others. IAI: S6 900

SPEC 114 Interpersonal Communication
3 cr. hrs.;
3 lecture hours; 0 lab hours per week.
Examines skills needed in informal face-to-face communication; emphasizes self-concept and interaction with others.