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Communication Design

Specialized Certificate

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About the Communication Design Program

UC San Diego Extension remains committed to helping you achieve your educational goals. In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have transitioned many of our courses to an online or live online format. Live Online classes are fully online with live virtual class meetings each week using our Zoom conferencing system. Online classes will have pre-recorded lectures each week and guided assignments from the instructor. We will resume in-person classes when it is deemed safe to do so.

Learn the essential skills needed to thrive creatively and professionally in the field of design

Communication design is a mixed discipline between design and message development and the intervention of the medium in which it is shared. As a communication designer you must develop the relationship between the viewer and visuals.

In today’s ever-changing digital landscape, design and messaging are more critical than ever to successfully engage people. Demand is growing for creatives who possess solid foundational principles in the aspects of design thinking in combination with the strategic, collaborative, and communication fluency needed to excel in the most demanding professional settings.

Our program addresses the constant flux within the field of digitally created media and covers essential principles of design and visual communication methodology, as well as business and professional practices that are necessary to succeed in the field. Additionally, the program will explain the “why” behind the role and function of design, as well as the “how” of successful communication design and visual storytelling. Students will learn professional practices and gain the skills necessary for portfolio development.

  • Comprehensive understanding of design principles, techniques and tools, and how to translate your vision into real-world applications.
  • Technical fluency in industry standard software applications, including the Adobe Creative Suite.
  • An understanding of professional practices and business, and how to effectively collaborate in a cross-functional team setting.
  • Project management skills and how to execute design work from inception to completion.
  • The essential skills of speaking about design work and mastering the art of storytelling within a presentation.
  • How to present and market yourself as a designer.
  • Individuals who would like to pursue a career in visual communications and graphic design and stand out among the competition.
  • Designers currently working in the industry who want to continue developing their skills to stay competitive.
  • Experienced professionals looking to gain a specialized certificate from a top ranked university.
  • Individuals looking to grow as visual artists and become effective collaborators within the design industry.
Format: In-Person, Online

Estimated Cost: $7,740

Cost varies depending on prerequisites and electives. Textbooks/materials separate.

Duration: 21 - 27 months

Varies by number of courses taken per quarter.

Contact
Department
Arts, Humanities, Languages & Digital Arts
Phone
858-534-6731
Email
unex-digital@ucsd.edu

Courses

Delivery Method
Show Legend
  • Live Online
  • In-Person
  • Online
  • Hybrid
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PREREQUISITES

recommended

Introduction to Adobe Creative CloudART-40665

Units: 3.00

$595

Introduction to Adobe Creative Cloud 9 Weeks | $595 | OnlineThis introductory course will get your feet wet with some basics in the Adobe Software (Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Adobe InDesignART-40533

Units: 3.00

$595

Adobe InDesign 9 Weeks | $595 | OnlineLearn to use Adobe InDesign, a comprehensive page layout software, in conjunction with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create various kinds of publications an...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Adobe IllustratorART-40527

Units: 3.00

$595

Adobe Illustrator 9 Weeks | $595 | Online In-ClassLearn the industry-standard professional vector drawing program Adobe Illustrator. In this graphic design training course, students will gain pract...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Adobe PhotoshopART-40311

Units: 3.00

$595

Adobe Photoshop I: Introduction 9 Weeks | $595 | Online In-ClassAn introduction to Adobe Photoshop, the imaging software application used by professional graphic artists to create and modify images...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

REQUIRED COURSES

Design History & ContextART-40721

Units: 3.00

$595

Design History Context 9 Weeks | $595 | Online and In-classUnderstanding the why of design This course offers a survey of the historical and cultural events, technical innovations, art and desig...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring

Introduction to DesignART-40720

Units: 3.00

$595

Introduction to Design 9 Weeks | $595 | Online and In-classElements and principles, color, type, composition This is an introductory course that will cover the elements or principles, of visual desi...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Design I: Type & SymbolART-40722

Units: 3.00

$695

Design I: Type Symbol 9 Weeks | $695 | Online and In-classTypography, symbol, logo This course covers the fundamentals of typography, including basic vocabulary of type and the anatomy of letters....

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Spring

Design II: Information DesignART-40723

Units: 3.00

$695

Design II: Information Design 9 Weeks | $695 | Online and In-ClassTypography, layout, composition, content design, storytelling This course builds on the foundational work in Design I and applies de...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Winter, Summer

Design III: Branding & SystemsART-40724

Units: 3.00

$695

Design III: Branding Systems 9 Weeks | $695 | Online and In-classLogo, visual language, systematic approach Learn to develop memorable identity systems using symbols, icons, logos, and comprehensi...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Spring

ELECTIVES

3 units required

Web Design I: Principles & TechniquesART-40677

Units: 3.00

$595

Web Design I: Principles Techniques 9 Weeks | $595 | OnlineBecome familiar with the principles and techniques for creating websites for desktop, tablet, and mobile devices in Web Design I. Learn th...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Winter

User Interface DesignART-40535

Units: 3.00

$695

Gain a strong understanding of user interface design so you can begin to learn how to be an interactive designer or enhance your design skills. This graphic and web design training course covers refer...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Experiential DesignART-40725

Units: 3.00

$695

Experiential Design 9 Weeks | $695 | In-class and OnlineDesign in the built environment, signage, display An introduction into the exciting world of graphic design for buildings, places and spaces. ...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Spring

Product & PackagingART-40726

Units: 3.00

TBD

Product Packaging 9 Weeks | $695 | In-class and OnlineExtending brand identity to product packaging Students will sharpen their design approach by applying their skills to three-dimensional packag...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Winter, Summer

FINAL REQUIRED COURSES

6 units required- must complete all coursework prior

Design IV: CapstoneART-40727

Units: 3.00

TBD

Design IV: Capstone 9 Weeks | $695 | Online and In-classWork on one big project, portfolio prep This is a culminating course. Students must have completed all other required courses. Building on Des...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Winter, Summer

Design V: Portfolio & Professional PracticeART-40728

Units: 3.00

TBD

Design V: Portfolio Professional Practice 9 Weeks | $695 | Online and In-classRework pieces, introduction to the practice of design Emphasis will be placed on developing a cohesive portfolio with ...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Spring

Conditions for Admission

Students who wish to apply to this program should meet the following prerequisite:

  • A basic to intermediate knowledge of Adobe Creative Cloud, especially in Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. This can be demonstrated, for example, by completion of the recommended prerequisites in the course matrix, or by submitting a portfolio for approval by the program manager.
  • No transcripts or other documentation proving these prerequisites have been completed is necessary when applying to the program. Students who meet these prerequisites should start with one of the first two required courses, Introduction to Design (ART-40720) or Design History & Context (ART-40721)

Please note, although a college degree or professional experience in the field are not required, applicants with such experience may receive preference for admission when program capacity is limited.

Complete an online application above by clicking Apply Now!

Certificate Guidelines

This program can be completed in 21-27 months. All courses are offered online, with a selection of courses held onsite each quarter for local students.

Additional Information

Questions about our classes or certificates? Contact our department at 858-534-5760 or unex-digital@ucsd.edu.

Advisory Board

Chris Chase

Creative Director & Principal

Chase Design

David Conover

Designer & Educator

Studio Conover

Angela Hill

CEO & Chief Creative Officer

Incitrio

Scott Klemmer

Assoc. Professor, Co-Director

UC San Diego Design Lab

MaeLin Levine

Partner & Creative Director

Visual Asylum

Ron Miriello

Director

Miriello

Bennett Peji

Creative Director & Principal

Bennett Peji Design

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This certificate requires an application before taking any courses. There will be a $0 fee to apply to this program. Students will also be required to pay a $95 certificate fee upon enrollment into the program after acceptance. View the complete Certificate Registration and Candidacy Guidelines.