Visual Communications Technology

Visual Communications Technology

The Visual Communications Technology; Graphic Arts and Printing curriculum uses the latest technology available to transform ideas into digital and print media. We use the most advanced communications tools to prepare you for a career in the third largest high tech manufacturing industry in America. Whether it's traditional "ink on Paper" printing in the form of brochures, newsletters, books, magazines and newspapers, or electronic "digital media" such as web pages and other multimedia products used to entertain and inform throughout the world.

The Visual Communications Technology; Graphic Arts and Printing Degree program curriculum offers specialized courses in electronic publishing, digital imaging, lithographic press and bindery, print administration, web and multimedia. We prepare you for a wide range of career opportunities in this multifaceted industry from the creative and artistic to administrative, managerial and professional through job planning and production.

To enhance graphic arts and printing courses, selected English, math, social science, humanities and science electives are required.

Program Competencies

Upon graduation with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Visual Communications Technology-Graphic Arts & Printing, the graduate will be able to:

  • recognize the product mix, production sequence and variety of equipment unique to the printing/publishing industry and understand its operation as both a service and manufacturing industry/career;
  • understand and apply a variety of measurement systems including points and picas, to a diversity of job specifications/ products in the graphics industry and apply correct mathematical processes to specific procedures;
  • identify basic design principles and the historical influence on graphic design including the fundamentals of typography as they relate to print media for a variety of products and page formats including single/double-sided pages, folds, columns, single and multiple page layouts, as well as single and multiple colors;
  • apply related techniques such as markup specifications, principles of layout,  the understanding of paper, page anatomy, copyright laws and proofreading when applicable to the publishing and printing process;
  • gain competency in operating a computer including related input and output devices, as well as a variety of current versions of industry-related software for design, page assembly, photo/image manipulation, proofing and HTML web publishing;
  • understand the differences between spot and CMYK colors, graphic file formats, PostScript and TrueType, and the factors involved in outputting to a PostScript level output device;
  • gain competency and learn how to apply quality control techniques to different levels of the production process at all times including proofreading, page proofs, densitometer, visual checks and color bars;
  • be informed of safety regulations and requirements that affect different segments of the publishing/printing process;
  • understand basic management functions involved in a printing company, including the principles of estimating and production management;
  • understand and execute basic as well as advanced imposition procedures;
  • produce mock-ups and color proofs with proper imposition, pagination and directions for single and multiple pages and colors as well as separations;
  • understand and apply the principles of trapping, chokes and spreads to the printed product;
  • understand the theory of color and its relationship to the electronic process;
  • identify the unique terminology associated with the various aspects of the digital and print medic industries;
  • understand the relationship and importance of pre-flighting to electronic output and apply pre-flighting techniques to jobs prepared for output;
  • understand and demonstrate how to output to plate, both manually and electronically, for a variety of linear and digital output devices;
  • understand the differences and behaviors of output colorant including light, toner, ink jet, transfer film, ink and how to mix a variety of specific colors to create spot as well as CMYK colors;
  • understand the principles of both lithographic and digital press output and how to prepare each device for proper output for a variety of substrates, page impositions and colors as well as apply proper maintenance procedures;
  • operate and be familiar with basic bindery and finishing processes;
  • present and describe how to produce a variety of typical products in the printing industry that reflect skills in the areas of electronic publishing, design, imaging and/or output; and
  • gain competency in the basics associated with producing personalized printing based on database development, manipulation and preparation of variable data printing.

Department Notes

Students are encouraged to become active in the Images magazine and/or newspaper. Any student in this program, with or without reasonable accommodations, must be able to:

  • visually identify errors, color correction, or related proofing mistakes associated with various printing or design related functions;
  • stand, sit or walk for long periods of time to operate machinery such as a press, folder, cutter, computer, or other related press or bindery equipment; and
  • lift approximately 20-30 pounds for loading, unloading, or stacking of paper or related supplies.


Total Degree Credits: 64.0

First Year, Fall Semester
GA 101 - Orientation to Graphics Credit Hours: 2
GA 102 - Publishing I Basics Credit Hours: 2
GA 105 - Lithographic Press I Credit Hours: 2.5
GA 125 - Create With Illustrator® Credit Hours: 2.5
GA 131 Photoshop® I Credit Hours: 2
EN 110 - College Composition Credit Hours: 3 
MT 116 - Algebra in the Real World Credit Hours: 3 or
any Math higher than MT 116

First Year, Spring Semester
GA 121 - Publishing With InDesign™ Credit Hours: 2
GA 124 - Lithographic Press II Credit Hours: 2.5 
GA 126 - Visual Design Basics Credit Hours: 2.5
GA 141 Photoshop® II Credit Hours: 2
EN 111 - Composition and Interpretation of Literature Credit Hours: 3
Humanities Elective Credit Hours: 3
Social Science Elective Credit Hours: 3

Second Year, Fall Semester 
GA 133 - Lithographic Press III Credit Hours: 2 
GA 134 - Print Administration/Quality Control Credit Hours: 3
GA 135 - Digital and Variable Data Printing Credit Hours: 1
GA 231 - Prepress Fundamentals Credit Hours: 2 
GA 232 - Digital Imaging I Credit Hours: 2.5 
EN 201 - Writing for Graphic Publications Credit Hours: 3

Second Year, Spring Semester
GA 140 - Publishing IV Web Basics Credit Hours: 3
GA 143 - Internship Credit Hours: 3 
GA 144 - Multimedia Credit Hours: 2
GA 241 - Digital Imposition & Workflow Credit Hours: 2 
GA 242 - Digital Imaging II Credit Hours: 2.5 
Science Elective Credit Hours: 3

* Graphic Arts Elective: 
GA 145 - Web Page Design with Dreamweaver Credit Hours: 3
GA 146 - Intro to 3D Modeling and Animation Credit Hours: 3
GS 111 - College Success Skills Credit Hours: 3

* A Web Page Design Certificate is also available requiring specific Graphic and Liberal Arts courses. Students should consult his/her academic adviser for designated sequencing of required courses. Students may elect to transfer credits from the degree program to the one-year Web Page Design Certificate program to supplement their degree with a certificate through additional study.

Note: This is a recommended sequence. Student should consult his/her academic adviser. Adobe Acrobat, Illustrator, InDesign, PhotoShop, Flash and DreamWeaver are trademarks of Adobe Systems, Inc. Quark, QuarkXPress, QuarkXTensions, and Xtensions are trademarks of Quark, Inc., Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm

Available At:

South Campus

Recommended H.S. Courses and/or Experiences:

Social Science

Pre-Admission Recommendations:

HS or HSE (High School Equivalency) Diploma

Career Opportunities/Further Education:

Printing and Graphic Arts Firms
Advertising and Publishing Firms

Hegis Code:


Curriculum Code:



Engineering & Technologies
Visual Communication Technology

Need Help?

Visual Communication Tech – Graphic Arts and Printing

Peter Masak
South Campus
Room 2101A
4041 Southwestern Blvd.
Orchard Park, NY 14127
P: (716) 851-1751