Printing & Graphic Design at Cal Poly

This course will link a student's daily experience with tangible printing and graphic embellishments.

Program Highlights

Learn to apply graphic design skills to digital illustration and page layout using Adobe Creative Cloud.
Learn how to recognize print embellishment features in real world samples including packaging, publications, and mailing products.
Create print-ready files that will comply with production standards and workflow of digital and off-set printing.
Develop ways to make tangible printed products by evaluating how to market them to consumers and figure out what their end-use applications will be.

Residential Tuition:


Session 1:
June 30, 2024 July 12, 2024


Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo
Cal Poly SLO - San Luis Obispo, CA

Course Overview

Have you ever wondered how to transfer one of your favorite animation characters into stickers, magnets, or tote bags? Do you wonder what makes the dashboard glow in the car? Students with an interest in graphic design and printing may wonder how colors are printed on t-shirts or how a large-scale Star Wars vinyl wrap was applied to a building or bus?

This course will link a student’s daily experience with tangible printing and graphic embellishments. By the end of this class, students will be comfortable designing for digital printing technologies, and will produce a laser cut LED lamp, notepads with varnish sleek foil stamp, a t-shirt, a canvas poster, a bag or hat, and buttons or stickers using their own designs. In this course, students will experience a wholistic experience of the design and reproduction workflow from ideation, prototyping, iteration, and production.

Meet your instructor

Rachel Ma, PhD

Printing & Graphic Design Cal Poly SLO

Rachel Ma earned her Ph.D. in Paper and Printing Science from Western Michigan University. Her teaching and research interests include printing electronics, inks and substrates interactions, smart packaging, and biodegradable materials.

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Topics you'll explore

Course Structure

There are nine 3-hour class sessions over the two-week course. During week one, students have class from 9am-12pm, Monday - Friday. During week two, students have class from 9am-12pm Monday through Thursday. Wednesday afternoons are dedicated to additional academic time (excursions, speakers).

Hands on Learning

Students will have the opportunity to tour University Graphic System (UGS) - the in-house, student-run print business. Students will have the opportunities to meet and interact with UGS managers (current Cal Poly junior or senior Graphic Communication students) and see the print and finishing equipment in operation and workflow.

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Summer Springboard Pre-College Summer Program