Skip to main content MCC Crescent Shape Search RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram chevron pointing down
Metropolitan Community College Graphic Design Program

Graphic Design Program Requirements

How to enter the Graphic Design Program

  1. General college admissions requirements.
  2. Anyone can take the recommended First Semester courses (especially GDES110-Digital Design Applications) before following the next steps:
  3. To qualify to enter the Graphic Design program and to be able to enroll in *GDES160–Graphic Design I (or any subsequent GDES class), students must successfully complete GDES110–Digital Design Applications (with a C or higher) and meeting 70% or above in the Technical Skills Assessment. The competency testing will include use of the industry software tools [Adobe Illustrator (40%), Adobe Photoshop (10%), Adobe InDesign (50%)] as covered in GDES110 - Digital Design Applications I.
  4. Testing sessions will begin just before open enrollment and will continue with a couple dates before the current semester ends.
    [These dates will be posted on our website, in the MCC-Penn Valley hallways, distributed to district-wide GDES faculty, and emailed to all GDES110 & GDES150 students.]

Skills Testing

The skills test must be completed/passed before the semester you plan to enroll in GDES160 (offered only in the Spring). Students can take the skills assessment ONCE per semester.

If a student requires ADA accommodations, they must present a form from the ACCESS office that outlines the needed accommodations at least 2 days prior to their testing date. If accommodations cannot be made within reason or in time, another testing date will have to be chosen.

Skills Testing dates - Fall 2021 - meets at Penn Valley, CA211

Testing Date Time
Tuesday, October 28, 2021 1:00 P.M.
Friday, October 29, 2021 10:00 A.M.
Friday, October 29, 2021 2:00 P.M.
Wednesday, December 1, 2021 2:00 P.M.
Friday, December 3, 2021 10:00 A.M.

Email Darlene Town to register

What Happens Next?

When students register for one of the testing dates and pass the skills assessment, they will be notified by MCC email and their name will be forwarded to the Advising Office and the Humanities Division.

A student must then contact Darlene Town (program coordinator), to be enrolled in GDES160.

What to Know for the Skills Test

  • Creating a folder with correct directory structure within it (files and folders inside it in the proper location)
  • Naming files and folders correctly/according to instruction
  • Photoshop
    • Changing image color modes from RGB to CMYK
    • Changing image file format and name to EPS
  • Illustrator
    • Creating a new document in CMYK color mode
    • Use template file (deleting it later) to draw graphic symbols
    • Use Layers to organize content
    • Create Colors/Swatches and apply Stroke and Fill colors
    • Using the Shape tools
    • Using Pathfinder panel (Unite, Divide, etc.)
    • Using Compound Path
    • Saving as a PDF format
  • InDesign
    • Creating the document the correct page size, column guides, gutter width, margins, and bleed area according to instructions
    • Setting vertical and horizontal Guides
    • Placing text from an external file
    • Using the Type tool and Character and Paragraph panels - setting font, size, color, leading, kerning, horizontal scale
    • Using the Control panel for objects - location/positioning, sizing, paragraph spacing, bulleted list or numbered list (Option-click to alter styles)
    • Applying Fill and Stroke colors
    • Placing images and adjusting container/object sizes and position
    • Paragraph spacing using Space After or Space Before
    • Using Tabs panel to set tab alignment markers and leaders
    • Using the Effects (fx) panel to change opacity and set blending modes
    • Applying Fill and Stroke colors
    • Typing text according to instructions, without typos
    • Using the Text Wrap panel - what gets wrapped and offset
    • Using Pen tool to modify the shape of a frame
    • Using Text Frame Options panel
    • Save as Package
  • Proofread your typing for errors
  • Work under deadline with controlled content and layout instructions