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Visual Communications

Turn your creative side into a career. Earn degrees in graphic design and multimedia arts. Take classes in design software, web design, photography, motion graphics & animation, and filmmaking.

topics Arts Communications

Skills & InterestCreativity

CareersArt & Communications

LocationSalem Campus


  • A Visual Communications student presenting their portfolio
  • A Visual Communications student presenting their portfolio
  • Students at graduation

Why choose Visual Communications?

Our focus is to prepare you for a career in the graphic and visual arts. Successful completion of the program will equip you with –

  • Print and digital portfolios for Graphic Design students; a demo reel for Multimedia Arts students
  • Practical, hands-on experience with the digital tools of visual designers
  • Resume showing real-world experience
  • Personal logo and branding

Visit the Visual Communications breakout website for more information »

Learning Environment

Our small class sizes allow for one-on-one critiques with instructors and lots of personal attention. You'll find our instructors are passionate about what they teach. You'll be teamed with students who are equally dedicated to their class work. We have two amazing Mac labs with latest software, and dedicated lecture and photo studio space.

Ours is an intense and demanding program. You will be challenged and you will smile as you work harder than you ever thought possible. The program is a great launching pad to wherever your creativity takes you.

Program Application Process

Visual Communications is a limited enrollment program. Students, regardless of the degree they are seeking, must apply in spring for entry the following fall term. All degrees takes a minimum of two full years to complete, and students must begin the program fall term.

Visit the How to Apply section of the VC website for step-by-step instructions for getting into the program.

Visual Communications Application Period
for Entry in Fall 2024 will open on April 22nd, 2024

The application is now available on the Visual Communications Website

Overview Sessions

If you are interested in more information about the Visual Communication program at Chemeketa and the degrees we offer, we invite you to attend an overview session.

Our next Overview Session will be on May 8th, 2024 from 4:30–6:00pm in Building 4/225..

At the sessions we discuss our degrees in graphic design and multimedia arts, show examples of student work, provide information about the application process, and discuss transfer and career options.

Learn more about Overview Sessions »

What will you learn?

You will learn the technical skills as well as the teamwork and creative problem solving essential to your career. You will develop skills in graphic design, layout, typography, photography, and web design while attaining an AAS degree. Classes in illustration, photography, animation and filmmaking will open new possibilities for expanding your creative abilities.

Aptitudes and Skills

  • Critical thinking about design
  • Visualize finished design
  • Distinguish colors and typefaces
  • Artistic skills
  • Creativity and problem solving
  • Computer skills and ability to learn new technology
  • Make visual comparisons and see slight differences in shapes and shades
  • Knowledge of design, typography, photography, printing and electronic media including internet communications
  • Command of language to present information and ideas clearly
  • Make decisions based on experience
  • Work quickly and accurately
  • Organizational and time-management skills
  • Respond constructively to suggestions

See course sequences for more information.

What will you do?

Your training in visual communications gives you a wide range of career options –

  • Graphic design
  • Web design
  • Production designer
  • Prepress professional
  • Multimedia production
  • Filmmaking
  • Advertising
  • Illustration
  • Photography
  • Animation

Job Outlook

Graphic design employment is expected to grow 10-15% over the next 5-10 years. Creative individuals with technical expertise are limited only by their skill and capacity for work.


    The graphic design degree emphasizes ideas and creativity above all else, while also providing a firm technical foundation in software and production. Classes in design, color theory, illustration, typography, web design, page layout and software form the basis for designers as they learn to solve communications challenges. Classes take a projects-based approach to instruction, with many hands-on, practical assignments in a collaborative environment.

    Students also have the opportunity to work with outside clients on live projects in the Design Studio course. Students will produce both a print and a digital portfolio of work including a personal logo, résumé and website in preparation for entering the job market.

    A portfolio show, introducing you to the business community, is at the end of spring term your final year.

    Learn more about the Graphic Design degree »

    Student work samples »


    The AAS degree in Multimedia Arts is a unique path of study that is mostly separate from the other degree tracks within the Visual Communications program. Students earning this degree will take courses in photography, motion graphics/animation, and filmmaking.

    Starting the degree track with a cohort of other students in the fall, all Multimedia Arts students take the initial software class (joined by other VC students) before diverging into degree-specific classes. Students within the other degree tracks, and experience a range of cutting-edge media equipment, facilities, and techniques.

    All of this coursework culminates in a demo reel or staged exhibit that ranges in form and media depending on the student’s area of focus. This capstone experience is a way to introduce you to the local business community, and is held at the end of spring term your final year.

    Learn more about the Multimedia Arts AAS degree »

    Student work samples »


    Visual Communications has a wide selection of classes covering many aspects of modern photography, including:

    • Digital photography
    • Studio photography
    • Documentary photography
    • Portraiture
    • Photo Illustration
    • History of Photography

    While most of our classes are taught using digital SLRs (single lens reflex cameras), we also offer several traditional black-and-white film classes.

    Classes Include
    • ART265 Photography 1
    • ART266 Photography 2
    • ART267 Portrait Photography
    • ART268 Documentary Photography
    • ART237 Photo Illustration
    • ART202 History of Photography
    • ART142 Intro to Photography

    Receive hands-on learning in both traditional and digital illustration processes and techniques from practicing industry professionals. Classes in illustration include:

    • ART237 Photo Illustration
    • ART238 Intro to Illustration
    • ART239 Intro to Digital Illustration
    • ART240 Advanced Digital Illustration
    • VC139 Illustrtor 1
    • VC130 Illustrator 2

    For students interested in our filmmaking, we offer three courses, all taught by professionals in the field:

    • FLM 265 Documentary Filmmaking
    • FLM 266 Narrative Filmmaking
    • FLM 268 Advanced Filmmaking

    These courses are generally offered on Tuesday nights throughout the academic year. We recommend you provide your own video camera that records HD video and has an external microphone jack. However, we do have a limited number of video cameras for group use.