The University of the arts


CE Certificate Application Form | Not Currently Accepting Applications

Communication Design Essentials

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 Why You Should Participate in the Communication Design Essentials Certificate:

  • You want to have a solid understanding of the practical applications of design principles.
  • You want to become fluent in or refine your understanding of the Adobe Creative Suite design software.
  • You want a marketable and flexible skill set for a career in print media.
  • You want to explore personal aesthetic sensibilities.
  • You want to build a strong print portfolio. 

UArts Continuing Education is not currently accepting applications for this certificate. Please join the Continuing Education mailing list to get updates on this program, and for information on the application deadline to join the next cohort.

In the meantime, we welcome you to consider one of our certificate prerequisite courses. If you would like to schedule an advising session to discuss your options with Continuing Education staff, please email 

Required Courses


Competency exams will determine students' level of proficiency with Adobe software programs; all students must be proficient in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to progress to the next course.* Must take at least 3 credits from below:

  • Fundamentals of Design
Must be taken as first course

Receive a strong, broad-based foundation in the visual arts through instruction in drawing and design in a studio setting. This course emphasizes the core fundamentals of 2-D design as the building blocks of visual literacy. Through lectures and hands-on assignments, gain a working knowledge of concepts and the vocabulary needed to facilitate your understanding of visual organization. Projects in a variety of media develop technical skills, sensitivity and perception in order to communicate effective artistic intent and vision. Through structured critiques, have the opportunity to evaluate and analyze your work while connecting it to art and design.

Select at least 3 credits from courses below:

  • Adobe Creative Suite Overview

Designed for individuals with some exposure to the Adobe suite of design software, this course provides an overview of the fundamentals of Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Topics include image resolution, scanning, importing and exporting images, print setup, photo adjustments and vector usage. Basic typography and design will also be addressed. You can expect to gain a better understanding of how the three programs work together to create products for print or the web.

  • Adobe Illustrator Workshop

When it comes to designing web layouts, Adobe Illustrator allows you to move and resize elements quickly and intuitively. Illustrator is the industry standard for creating vector-based graphics such as logos and typography. It is also a rich supporting tool in creating page layouts prior to starting design. This workshop focuses on a practical overview of Adobe Illustrator's interface, workspace, tools and techniques. It will provide the skills to create website layouts, graphics, icons and typographical graphics that add distinction and professionalism to any website or user interface.

  • Adobe InDesign Workshop

Adobe’s page layout program lets you put together every kind of print-oriented product imaginable – brochures, ads, posters, billboards and more – using text, images and illustrations. InDesign allows the creation of multipage documents, and it works seamlessly with images from Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat. Learn how to integrate and use these tools more effectively.

  • Adobe Photoshop

Explore Photoshop through hands-on web design exercises. The course starts with an introduction to the Photoshop interface and tools and the types of files that are used for web graphics. Th e course continues as you learn how to use layers, effects, text, filters and image optimization tools for the web. Once you gain familiarity with the tools of Photoshop, you will be able to use those skills to create website templates, rich graphics and web page elements such as content boxes and buttons.

  • Adobe Photoshop Advanced

Explore advanced techniques while focusing on the design process and professional production techniques. Ideal course for those eager to continue exploring Photoshop, working with advanced layer techniques, gaining an understanding of how to use curves for image enhancement and learning to sharpen images for output. Explore several advanced Photoshop techniques, including seamless compositing and advanced layering techniques, tool and palette customization and creative special effects for print, screen and the web. Note: Please bring digital files and projects to work on during the first session. Prerequisite: Adobe Photoshop or equivalent experience.

  • Adobe Photoshop Workshop

Get acquainted with Adobe Photoshop, the must-have software for work with web graphics. Explore Photoshop through hands- on exercises focused on its use as a tool for web design. The workshop starts with an introduction to the Photoshop interface and tools and the types of files that are used for web graphics.

Select at least 3 credits from courses below:

  • Typography

Through a series of applied design projects, this course stresses the importance of typography and design in visual communication. Study basic letterform anatomy, type history, typographic contrast, characteristics of major type families and how to design words, sentences and paragraphs to visually communicate an idea. Develop your ability to create typographic layouts using the dynamics of a grid system as a design tool and to build an effective hierarchy. Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Design, Adobe InDesign or equivalent experience.

  • Visual Identity Design

Logos, design, fonts, color, photography, composition, text and style come together to form a perceived image for marketing initiatives, individuals, businesses and products. In this course, explore how to apply and integrate Adobe Creative Suite skills toward the development of basic print design projects and branding that begin to communicate to various audiences. Consider how to use tools more effectively to have visual impact. Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Design, Adobe InDesign or equivalent experience.

Total Minimum Required:                                    12.0        4 courses

*For those not proficient in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, up to 6.0 additional credits may be required beyond the 12 total required credits.