The beautiful scenery in the Colorado state, which includes mountains, plains and valleys, makes it a prime location for artists of all types. The Continental Divide, which extends along the crest of the Rocky Mountains, creates the western slope of Colorado, and artists travel from around the world to create images of the Rim Arch in the Black Ridge Canyons, or to capture the beauty of Hanging Lake falls. For this reason, there are many graphic design programs throughout the state.
Aims Community College
Although it is not clear who had the original idea to start a community college in Weld County, it was Kirby Hart who suggested one be established, and this suggestion led to the appointment of a feasibility committee made up of several school district representatives. The committee found a definite need, and in 1965, the Colorado State Board of Education gave approval for the plan. In January, 1967, voters in 11 of the 12 school districts approved the creation of the community college, and a governing board was chosen. The Lincoln Elementary School building was leased and the name of the college was chosen that the board hoped would indicate the students who attended could “aim” for higher goals.
Aims Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and most recently received their notice on April 26, 2011. The Board of Trustees has three main goals:
•Prepare Aims for the learning needs of current and future students.
•Improve the school’s image and reputation.
•Attain long-term financial, operational, human and environmental sustainability.
Aims Community College offers day and evening classes, as well as online courses to provide the most flexibility to students. Students may apply for financial aid, and there are counselors available to provide assistance to those who need help paying for college.
Graphic Design & Rich Media Animation A.A.S.
An Associate of Arts and Sciences degree in Graphic Design and Rich Media with a focus in animation from Aim Community College teaches students how to communicate using animation for print, web and other applications. Courses include animation production, design and color, digital photo editing and the first level of game design. Students must also take general education courses such as English Composition, art history, drawing and math. The Animation focus degree is a two year program, although there is also an animation certificate available that is a two semester program requiring 18 credits.
Graphic Design & Rich Media: Graphic Design, A.A.S.
The Graphic Design focused Associate of Arts and Sciences provides a more general graphic design education than the animation and web design pathways. Classes include typography and layout, as well as instruction in a variety of Adobe programs. Students also learn about graphic design production, and participate in an internship toward the end of their degree. There are two certificates offered related to the graphic design pathway. The Graphic Application and Graphic Software and Applications Certificate are each two semesters and can provide a base level of studies prior to a student embarking on the associate’s level courses. The Graphic Design & Rich Media Associates with the Graphic Design focus is a two year program.
Web Design & Development, A.A.S.
Web Design & Development is for those students who are interested not only in graphic design, but in website design as well. Students learn about databases, content management, motion graphs and design production, which go further into the development of websites from the beginning, not just with the artistic portion of designing websites. Students may also participate in an internship that will provide them with a hands-on approach to building and designing websites. There are two website design certificates available as well. The Web Design Certificate and the Web Design Specialist Certificate provide entry-level information that can help a student achieve employment in the website design industry, and becomes a stepping stone to the associate level courses should the student choose to further their education. Both certificate programs last two semesters, while the associate’s degree program lasts for two years.
For any programs at Aim Community College, prospective students should apply for admission by completing an application and attend a New Student Orientation. Students must also be assessed for college placement and meet with an advisor before they are officially enrolled.
Ed Beaty Hall 126C
5401 West 20th Street
Greeley, CO 80634
Arapahoe Community College
Arapahoe Community College was the first two-year college in the greater Denver area, and has been in existence since 1965. Originally, the college was known as the Arapahoe Junior College, but the name was changed in 1970 to what it is today. It is adjacent to Littleton and just ten miles south of Denver. Art students enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of the Colorado Rockies from the campus.
There is much to do on the Arapahoe campus. Students can join various clubs and organizations, while also participating in student government. With convenient access to light rail, students also have the ability to visit many art galleries, join music and vocal groups, as well as discover the opportunities that a graphic arts degree can provide.
Students who wish to attend Arapahoe should fill out an application online, making sure to check the registration checklist prior to submission. At the same time the student applies for admission, they can complete a financial aid application as well. Anyone who is a high school student, aged 17 or older may apply to Arapahoe as the college has an open-door admissions policy. All coursework transfers into university programs as well for students who want to carry their education further.
Multimedia, Graphic Design and Illustration
An Associate of Applied Science Degree in Multimedia, Graphic Design and Illustration from Arapahoe prepares students for entry-level work in the print design industry. The program focuses on either web design or illustration. Students learn through lectures and lab participation, with emphasis on the latest design software. Students can expect approximately $2,000 in additional costs for books, design materials, drawing supplies, computer storage media and color printing. In order to gain admission into the program, students must demonstrate proficiency with Macintosh operations through a placement examination, with a requirement to take MGD 101 or MGD 102 if they do not pass the exam. It is highly recommended that students have proficient typing and math skills as well. There are reading and writing prerequisites as well, which may be fulfilled through ACT/SAT scores, ACCUPLACER scores of 80 for reading and 95 for sentence skills, or by taking REA 090 and ENG 090.
Arapahoe Community College
5900 South Santa Fe Drive
Littleton, CO 80120-1801
CollegeAmerica – Colorado Springs
In the mid-1960s, Control Data Corporation began a school designed to train their employees in what was then a just-beginning computer field. Known as Control Data Institute, staff learned computer programming, maintenance and other computer related information. In 1989, the school was sold to Human Capital Corporation and renamed Career Development Institute. Former employees of Control Data were the new owners of the school, and they upgraded the curriculum, creating more modern offerings. In early 1993, they purchased a school in Denver, which was renamed CollegeAmerica Denver.
The Colorado Springs campus of CollegeAmerica is designed for learning and for employment. The newly remodeled 21,000-square-foot facility features 20 classroooms, a theater, three medical arts and four computer labs. Programs are specifically designed to help students secure employment after graduation. Instructors have real-world experience, and student advisers are available to mentor and tutor those who may need additional assistance.
CollegeAmerica is committed to education quality and their integrity is based on values that include honesty, fairness and consistency. The administration holds themselves and their staff to high accountability in the post-secondary community so that students who earn their degree from CollegeAmerica can feel confident about their credentials.
Graphic Arts Associate Degree
A Graphic Arts Associate Degree from CollegeAmerica Colorado Springs provides students with training for entry-level positions in the graphic arts field. It provides a strong foundation in advertising and web design, as well as marketing, multimedia applications plus much more to help students improve their job prospects. Students obtain an integrated understanding of both business needs and graphic design while building an extensive portfolio of work. This program can be completed in between 15 and 20 months.
Bachelor of Graphic Arts
The Bachelor of Graphic Arts degree at CollegeAmerica Colorado Springs teaches students the skills necessary for getting a message delivered using print or electronic media. Students learn how to use type, illustration, animation and other techniques to solve communication challenges. Graduates have moved on to entry-level positions in advertising agencies, as well as successful freelance work and at in-house production departments upon completion of the program.
2020 North Academy Boulevard
Colorado Springs, CO 80909
CollegeAmerica – Denver
What started as a way to teach employees computer skills in the 1960s is now a thriving two- and four-year degree college. Control Data Corporation began the school in order to train staff in the infant computer industry, calling the training facility Control Data Institute. The school became Career Development Institute when it was purchased by Human Capital Corporation, a company made up of former Control Data employees. In early 1993, CollegeAmerica purchased the Denver location of the training facility, offering additional business and computer skills training. In 1998, the school became a degree-granting school, offering Associate level degrees until 2002, when they were granted the ability to offer four-year programs.
The Denver campus of CollegeAmerica features a high-tech multimedia center, AAAHP-approved medical lab, student lounge, online library and a networking lab. The faculty at the college are not just professors, but are professionals in the graphic arts industry. They bring a hands-on approach to teaching that is unlike other colleges in the area.
CollegeAmerica continually strives to improve as they understand they are educating many working professionals. The college works to stay up-to-date with career trends, employment opportunities and current technology. It is the goal of the college that students are trained for success, whether they are launching a career or increasing their chances of success in a current career.
Graphic Arts Associate Degree
For those seeking entry-level positions in graphic arts, the two-year degree at CollegeAmerica is the perfect option. Students develop a sound foundation in design, multimedia, marketing and many other aspects of the graphic arts industry. Students not only learn the relationship between business and design, but also create an extensive portfolio that can be used to demonstrate their abilities to potential employers. The course of study can be completed in between 15 and 20 months.
1385 South Colorado Boulevard
Denver, CO 80222
CollegeAmerica – Fort Collins
The Fort Collins campus of CollegeAmerica gives students a feeling of instant belonging. The campus offers career-focused educational options, and the friendly staff is committed to offering advice and assistance to every student who enters the doors. Instructors are professionals in the graphics arts field, so they are able to provide hands-on information in a real-world manner so that students are prepared to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation.
CollegeAmerica is a nonprofit college that invests in the students. They are uniquely situated to put the student needs and goals ahead of their own. They understand that people return to school in order to improve themselves, usually through better career options. They understand that a good job could mean more money, and everything they do is centered around the student’s success in order for them to achieve the goals they have set. Tuition and programs go directly to programs and services so that students earn their degrees faster. Scholarships are available as are many different financial aid programs. CollegeAmerica also invests in the community and this helps bring neighborhoods and families together. There are many free services available that help bring students to campus who could not otherwise have attended.
Graphic Arts Associate of Applied Science
The Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Arts at the Fort Collins CollegeAmerica campus can be earned in between 15 and 20 months, making it possible for a student to get their degree in less than two years. Students learn about advertising design, multimedia applications, web design, marketing and other aspects of the graphic design industry. Curriculum is integrated with business so that students receive a well-rounded education that will help them succeed after graduation. Students also create an extensive portfolio that will help them demonstrate their ability to potential employers.
CollegeAmerica Fort Collins
4601 South Mason Street
Fort Collins, CO 880525
Colorado Mesa University
Located in Grand Junction, Colorado, Colorado Mesa University was founded in 1925 as a junior college. In 1937, it became Mesa College and began offering baccalaureate programs in 1974. In 1988, it was renamed once again, becoming Mesa State College as the school had developed significantly since its inception. In 1996, Mesa began offering their first Master’s degrees, expanding both campus and student enrollment until being renamed Colorado Mesa University in 2011.
Today, there are over 9,000 students enrolled at Colorado Mesa University, and it is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission North Central Association. The university has been designated as Balanced in arts and sciences profession and some graduate coexistence as part of the Carnegie classification. Students have the opportunity to participate in sports, fitness activities, clubs and organizations throughout the campus. All first and second year students are required to live on campus when space is available. Residence halls offer students hassle free living with no separate bills to pay, no dishes and no grocery shopping when meal plans are chosen.
In order to apply for attendance at Colorado Mesa University, students must complete an application for admission and submit the application with official high school transcripts or GED scores. The college will also have to receive SAT or ACT test scores and a $30 application fee. There is a personal essay required, and students may submit personal letters of recommendation, although that is optional. The college is selective in admission to the baccalaureate programs, but there are associate degree programs available with less selective criteria. Incoming freshmen must have an index of 92 or higher in order to be considered for entry into the baccalaureate program.
Bachelor of Fine Arts Graphic Design Animation and Motion Graphics
The Animation and Motion Graphics Bachelor of Fine Arts from Colorado Mesa University focuses on time-based and animated graphics. The curriculum includes traditional and digital animation skills using a variety of methods, including storyboarding, typography, illustration and web design. Graduates have obtained positions as computer artists, animators, storyboard artists and many other professions throughout the graphic arts world.
Bachelor of Fine Arts Graphic Design Visual Design
The Visual Design focus allows students to focus on industry standards in print and web design, as well as applied illustration. Students work on Macintosh computers in the Graphic Design Mac Lab using the latest graphic design applications software. Entering students are encouraged to discuss course sequencing with their advisor as all Graphic Design courses have prerequisites. Graduates from the program have obtained positions in advertising, web and corporate design, as well as illustration and other visual arts related fields.
Colorado Mesa University
1100 North Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81501-3122
Colorado Mountain College
Colorado Mountain College has 11 locations for students in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The college was ranked 17th by CNN Money and was ranked first among Colorado’s two year colleges for graduation and transfer rates. The college was founded in 1969 and offers associate and bachelor degrees. It was the first college to offer ski and snowboard business degrees and offers the only ski lift and ropeway maintenance degree in the country. Each campus offers a variety of clubs and organizations for students to gain additional knowledge outside the classroom. The mountain communities that surround the campuses provide a multitude of enterprises. Alumni have started outdoor equipment companies, created media for national clients and worked for sustainability organizations throughout the world.
The campus offers miles of spruce and aspen, wildflowers and alpine peaks as a backdrop to the top-notch education students receive. Mountain life is the guide for living at Colorado Mountain University with kayaking, hiking and mountain biking available right outside the residence hall doors. But the college offers more than scenery and recreation, as the faculty offers elevated academics to all students. The faculty welcomes ideas from students, and many hold degrees from Ivy League colleges. They have chosen to teach at Colorado Mountain in order to connect with students on a more personal level. Colorado Mountain University also offers one of the lowest tuitions in the state.
Offered at the Spring Valley campus of Colorado Mountain College, the two-year program gives students the skills and confidence they need to begin a career in graphic design. The program includes a combination of fine art, computer design and digital processes to give students a well-rounded background in the graphic design industry. Graduates have gained employment in advertising agencies, marketing departments, print shops and as successful freelance graphic artists. There are many art-loving communities that surround the campus, providing additional experience to those in the program. There are local galleries, artist collectives, monthly art walks and award-winning exhibits that allow students to showcase their talents beyond classroom walls. The college also offers degrees in new media, professional photography, web design and visual art in addition to their exceptional graphic arts program. In addition, the skiing, snowboarding, biking and running capabilities close to campus are beneficial for many students.
Colorado Mountain College
Spring Valley Campus
3000 County Road 114
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
Colorado Technology University
Started as Colorado Electronic Training Center in 1965, Colorado Technical University got a humble start in a former roller rink. The school continued to grow throughout the 1970s as aerospace and military industries needed a well-trained local workforce. The school added engineering and computer science classes in order to meet those needs, and in the 1980s added technology, engineering, business and criminal justice to the curriculum. In 1995, doctorate programs were added and Colorado Tech added online learning, pioneering the way students could attend classes and offering more flexibility.
Colorado Technology University has two campuses – one in Colorado Springs and one in Denver. Both campuses offer social, professional and academic networks of like-minded students who are working toward similar goals and dreams that can only be achieved through education. Military Times has ranked Colorado Tech as one of the best for veterans for two years in a row, and the school was named on a list of military friendly schools by GI Jobs Magazine from 2010 to 2014. It is also one of the top ten schools for awarding degrees to minorities according to Diverse Issues in Higher Education.
Colorado Technology University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission North Central Association, an independent corporation founded in 1895 and recognized by the United States Department of Education. In addition, the college is accredited by the Council for Higher Education and several degree specific accreditation organizations as well.
Bachelor of Science in Information Technology – Web Development
Although not specifically a graphic design degree, the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a Web Development specialty at Colorado Tech offers in-depth website design and development that includes instruction in design. Instruction is given in processes and techniques in all aspects of website design, including the creation of database systems and website design architecture. Classes include multi-media development for the web, digital media and intellectual property, as well as mobile web design. The program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is offered at both the Colorado Springs and Denver campus. The program includes 184 credits and takes approximately 48 months to complete.
Colorado Technical University
3151 South Vaughn Way
Aurora, CO 80014
Community College of Denver
The Community College of Denver uses innovation and open innovation to create a well-trained workforce, enriching the local economy and promoting the success of students beyond graduation. The college is located in Denver, surrounded by the grace of the Rocky Mountains where those seeking an art education can thrive. The school boasts open admissions and a good student to faculty ratio to further insure the success of students. Student enrollment is a diverse population, with high school students taking Postsecondary Enrollment Options, adults who have been in the workforce for some time or those with degrees who are seeking to improve their job outlook. In 2012, there were more than 12,400 students enrolled on both a full- and part-time basis. Over 50 percent of the students enrolled were minority students.
The Community College of Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The college is also a member of the American Association of Community Colleges and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.
Graphic Design Certificate Program
Students in the graphic design program develop skills in design, illustration and pre-press specialties before choosing one to emphasize. Students who complete the certificate program can use credits earned to apply to their Associate of Applied Science degree in Graphic design. The certificate program can be completed in just two semesters. Students will be ready for entry-level positions in a variety of industries that use graphic design services, such as book and publication design businesses. The job placement rate for those who completed the certificate program was 100 percent.
Graphic Design Associate of Applied Science Degree
Students who obtain an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Graphic Design from the Community College of Denver learn the skills they need to work in a variety of settings. The college has Macintosh and PC computer labs that are loaded with industry-current software. The Associate degree can be completed in four semesters. Graduates have obtained employment in many graphic design industries, including web-page and package design where creative typography is necessary to relay information or develop ideas. The program has a 100 percent job placement rate for graduates.
Community College of Denver
Center for Language, Arts and Behavioral Sciences
PO Box 173363
Campus Box 850
Denver, CO 80217-3363
With the beautiful scenery and endless possibilities available, it is no wonder that there are so many graphic design degrees in Colorado.
For more information on a Graphic Design degree program, please see “Top 10 Online Graphic Design Degree Programs“.