New Students

SFCC has a proud history of promoting our students work and achievements. The legacy of student work often finds our students effective members of the local, regional and national design community.  

Advice for starting Graphic Design students

These are some quick bits of information to help you get started


Ask questions

The Graphic Design faculty members are glad to meet with you and help plan your course choices. Students enrolled in the program are assigned a permanent faculty advisor to help throughout the six quarters.

Computer hardware and software

Computers are the key production tool for designers. Our labs are equipped with industry-standard Macintoshes and Adobe software tools.

You are not required to purchase your own computer and software. Most students eventually buy a system. You might try working with our lab computers while you become familiar with them and develop your work habits.

You can use the Macintoshes in the labs usually from 7:30 until 4:00, Monday through Friday (current hours are posted on the lab doors). It is possible to do your homework in the labs if you plan your time carefully.

You can work with your own Macintosh or Windows computers; the Adobe software works on either platform and it can be moved to a new computer at any time.

The Adobe software

We produce all our work with Adobe tools, primarily Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, After Effects, XD, and Premiere.

Adobe only sells subscriptions to their software, packaged as the Creative Cloud. They no longer sell a box full of disks. You are now “renting” the Adobe software; you get almost 30 applications, plus extra services and online storage.

You pay by the month and have to sign up for a 12-month contract. There are student prices for the Creative Cloud. The regular student price is $29.95 (plus tax) per month, but it often goes on sale for $19.95.

Anyone can sign up for a free Adobe account and download free 30-day trial versions of the software. If you are not sure if your computer will run the software, or you are not sure if you will buy the Creative Cloud right away, these trials are a good option to try before you buy.

Prepare for Fall Quarter

In order to be best prepared for Fall Quarter, we recommend getting started with the Adobe Creative Cloud and LinkedIn Learning.

You can access all the LinkedIn Learning video tutorials through the Spokane Public Library. You just need to have an active library card (it’s free!).

Click on this link to learn more about getting set up with LinkedIn Learning, and to start learning about Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Related Instruction and EWU transfer courses

The required courses in addition to Graphic Design

If you review the Graphic Design course outline web page, you will find “related instruction” categories and “area of emphasis“ categories. Be aware that the related instruction courses are required, and the areas of emphasis are suggested for students wishing to develop a specialized skill set.

Our Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree requires one course from the Communications category of related instruction, one course from the Computation category, and one course from the Human Relations category.

If you have previous college credits, check with your advisor to see if they will satisfy the related instruction requirements.

You may wish to seek a Bachelor’s degree following your graphic design degree. Eastern Washington University and SFCC have a direct transfer agreement allowing our students to join EWU with junior status and complete the Visual Communication Design BA degree.

This requires an Associate in Science-Transfer (AAS-T) degree from SFCC. There is a slightly different course outline and different related courses for the AAS-T, which you can view on our Transfer Options web page.

Prior Learning Assessments

It is possible to use design or other experience you have gained before entering the program to fulfill some of the coursework. Talk to your advisor to discuss this option.

Parking Enforcement is relentless

If you drive to school, be sure you buy a parking pass early. Study the parking rules!

Here are some typical infractions that will get you a ticket.

  • Parking in handicapped spaces!
  • Parking in a staff/faculty space
  • Parking over the painted lines
  • Parking facing the wrong direction
  • Driving the wrong vehicle…a vehicle that was not listed when you bought the permit; they check license plates constantly
  • Forgetting to display your pass, or hanging it at an angle
  • Speeding and running crosswalk stop signs


Check out the local market

It is good to know where designers go to work. Our Careers in Design web page lists some of the local design-related firms. You might visit their websites and look at who they are and what type of work they create.

There are many other jobs in this market that can be called “in house”, that we don’t normally see. Many retailers, manufacturers, service providers, charities, financial institutions, etc. have marketing and design jobs.

The local design communities

Designers collaborate and communicate.

Our own SFCC Graphic Design Club

The Spokane chapter of the American Advertising Federation… “Ad Fed”

Marcom Meeting of the marketing, public relations, and design folks.