Skill Areas

To earn accreditation, programs must accredit in Introduction to Graphic Communications and one other skill area of their choice. Instructors may accredit in as many skills areas as they wish. See skill area competency lists.

Introduction to Graphic Communications*

This topic provides the student with a review of the key business and production elements of the graphic communications industry. Topic areas include the structure of the industry, the organizations that support it, the economic footprint of the industry, the types of print businesses and the markets that they serve, the various print processes that are in use and the products that they produce, the way companies are organized, occupational opportunities in the industry, and the basic production equipment used in a typical printing plant.

*All programs must be accredited in Introduction to Graphic Communications

Graphic Design

Graphic design is the art of communication, stylizing, and problem-solving through the use of type, space and image. The field also requires creativity and the knowledge of ever changing technology. Graphic designers use various methods to create and combine words and images to provide a visual representation of ideas and messages. The designer works with a variety of creation tools in order to convey a visual message from a client to a particular audience.

Digital File Preparation & Output

Knowing and executing the steps needed to prepare a client file, from preflighting through platemaking is essential for the production of a successful printing project. It is important to assure files are well managed and proper image resolution and color spaces are chosen. Also, careful attention to consistent color matching and an efficient layout of pages on the press sheet are vital for correct production to any output device.

Digital Production Printing

Digital production printing is the fastest growing area of the printing industry. This growth and acceptance by customers is being fueled by the ability to produce high quality printing quickly and in a cost efficient manner. There are many examples of work that were previously printed on an offset press being transferred to a digital press. There are also many new jobs being produced that can only be printed with a digital press.

Offset Press Operations & Bindery and Finishing

The use of offset lithography is the most common way of creating printed products such as newspapers, magazines, brochures, stationery, and books. There are a wide range of offset lithographic presses available, with the ability to accommodate different sizes of paper, speeds and numbers of colors. Paper can be fed from a sheet or roll of paper depending on the type of press. After a project has been printed, press sheets may undergo further production through binding and finishing steps. Common operations include cutting press sheets into smaller sizes, folding or binding them into a book.

Screen Printing

The most versatile of all printing processes, screen printing can be used to print on a wide variety of substrates, including paper, plastics, glass, metal and fabrics. Some common products produced from screen printing include posters, labels, decals, signage, textiles and electronic circuit boards. A significant characteristic of screen printing is that a greater thickness of the ink can be applied to the substrate. Because of the simplicity of the application process, a wider range of inks and dyes are available for use with screen printing than for use in any other printing process.