Our award winning graphic design program has a proud history of mentoring strong, dynamic designers. Guided by faculty who are working professionals, students learn to design for the real world. Frequently earning top awards, transfer scholarships and jobs, our graduates excel in the industry.

At City, we ignite inspiration and student success with portfolios that demonstrate a unique voice, vision, and execution.

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Yours Packaging, by Eve Rios

What Is Graphic Design?

Graphic design uses visual communication and conceptual strategy to create clear, captivating messaging. Combining imagination, intuition, logic, and systemic reasoning, graphic designers develop logos and branding, packaging, web and interactive design, environmental design, advertising, communication design, and so much more.

At City, we open the door to unlimited opportunities. Early emphasis is on the design process, form, color, typography, and digital skills. Students apply elements and principles of design to practical projects that include identity and branding, multi-page collateral, packaging, and web and interactive projects.  Upon completion, our graduates have built a professional portfolio they can use to continue studies at a four-year university or start their career.

Learn About Our Degrees

Col Mobile App, by Olivia Larsen

Why City College Graphic Design?

Over 70% of our graduates find employment or transfer within 3 months of finishing the program

We are the most affordable option in San Diego with individual classes costing less than $200 each

It is more cost effective to complete general education courses at a community college prior to transfer to a four-year institution or private university.

City Alumni can be found at firms and creative agencies in San Diego and at top studios and companies nationwide.

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"The students in this program are exquisitely prepared as they leave City College Graphic Design and are geared for success in the highly competitive and demanding profession of graphic design. It is a thrill for me to welcome the students who are coming to Academy of Art University on scholarship."

Mary Scott
Chair, School of Graphic Design, Academy of Art University

Caj Rio, by Emily Hall

Success Stories

San Diego City College Graphic Design graduates often experience remarkable success. Students who have earned the Certificate of Achievement frequently secure entry-level jobs in design, advertising, or in-house firms. Many have chosen to continue their studies in graphic design and have secured partial or full scholarships at well-respected universities and private design institutions.

Josh Higgins
Currently a Creative Director at Facebook, Josh oversees a multidisciplinary team of art directors, writers, filmmakers, and engineers who build and communicate the Facebook brand. As the Design Director of President Obama's 2012 campaign, he built and led the historic campaign in which the web, design, and technology played a pivotal role. With roots in graphic design and advertising, Josh's work has earned him national honors. Josh dedicates a percentage of his time to social causes, supporting them with exhibits and charitable projects like the Hurricane, So-Cal, and Haiti poster projects. 

Chris Do
Chris Do is an Emmy award winning designer and founder and CEO of Blind, Inc.--a trans-media agency located in Santa Monica, where he oversees the creative and strategic direction of the company. He serves on the board and is an advisor for organizations like AIGA/LA and the Emmys Motion & Title Design Peer Group. Prior to forming Blind, he worked at Cole & Weber, Seattle as an Art Director, Epitaph Records as a designer, a freelance designer at broadcast design firm, Novocom, and R/GA LA under Kyle Cooper on main titles such as The Island of Dr. Moreau, Celtic Pride and Eraser.

View Our Student Work

Occupational Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2016 median annual salary for graphic design is $47,640. The graphic design field is projected to see steady growth of 1-2% per year with a 21% increase in the interactive and digital sector.

Potential jobs include

Account executive Design educator In-house designer
Animator Design strategist Production artist
Art director Freelance designer Production coordinator
Chief creative officer Front-end developer Production manager
Content strategist Graphic designer Senior designer
Copywriter Illustrator  
Creative director Information architect  


"My instructors and classmates were all so passionate about design and willing to go out of their way to help. The portfolio I worked on in school helped me get hired soon after the review. I’ve never experienced a more supportive and positive educational community."

Ashley Kai
Designer, Facebook
SDCC Graphic Design, Class of 2017

"After a few years in the marketing world, I was trying to make a career switch into UX design. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the incredibly talented and dedicated professors and staff at City College’s design program."

Margaret Padilla
Interaction Designer, Google
SDCC Graphic Design, Class of 2016

Graphic Design Learning Outcomes

  1. Research, analyze, organize and formulate artistic order out of chaos.

  2. Recognize and speak a global visual language and demonstrate an awareness of the meanings and power of symbols and words.

  3. Design products and services that will make a social and ecological impact.

  4. Apply elements and principles of design to projects that include packaging, magazine production, and design and production of posters, logos and brochures.

  5. Formulate decisions about issues of concept,format, imagery, type, printing and methodology.

  6. Use both computer and traditional methods to solve graphic problems.

  7. Create a professional portfolio that can be used to pursue studies to a four-year university or obtain employment.

Contract Faculty

  • Sean Bacon
  • Bradford Prairie
  • Candice Lopez
  • Andrea Singer

Adjunct Faculty

  • James Bowman
  • Min Choi
  • Seth Ferris
  • Channin Fulton
  • Mike Green
  • Alana Hawkins
  • Petra Ives
  • Leanna Jones
  • Matt Turney
  • Julie Warren
  • Kira Wilson

Lab Technicians

  • Eugene Brown
  • Norman Ramos

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