New VisCom Student? How to Get Started

New to ACC?

Are you looking to start taking design classes? Or maybe you’d like to learn how to use tools like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign? You’re in the right place!

If you’re new to ACC, then your first step in order to take classes is to submit an ACC Admissions application here. Once you have completed that process, you will receive your student ID which you’ll need to log-in to the Self-Service portal to register and pay for classes.

You can explore all of our Visual Communication class offerings on the online course schedule.

Not sure how to register? Here are step-by-step registration instructions.

Find out more about:

Other related questions can be directed to Admissions and Records. You can find their contact information here.


Spring 2019 Portfolio Show

Graduating students of the Visual Communication Department’s Graphic Design program were showcased on May 16 in the Spring 2019 Portfolio Show. The show was a great success with guests from the professional design community as well as family, friends, and faculty turning out to share in the celebration.

The show marked a milestone for the students, a culmination of years of preparation as they worked their way through the program. Finally, after years of hard work and perseverance, they were able to share the fruits of their labor on their final evening together before Commencement. We’d like to offer a sincere congratulations and best of luck to all our graduates with all their future endeavors!

If you were unable to join us for the show, you can view the online portfolios of this and previous semester’s graduates in our gallery of graduate portfolios. If you are interested in becoming a graduate yourself, take a look at our programs or reach out to our Program Specialist, Kimberly Aland for more information. 


AIGA/ACC Spring 2018 Recap

Spring 2018 was yet another activity-filled semester for AIGA/ACC. In case you missed it, here is a quick recap of our events.

We kicked off the semester in February with a presentation from Anthony & Natalie Armendariz, founders of local design agency Funsize. Anthony & Natalie shared their story in how they came to found one of Austin’s leading digital service and product design agencies. They also discussed the principles behind their business philosophy and the future of digital design. Afterward, they took time for a Q & A session from the audience. We want to extend a huge thank you to Natalie, Anthony, and their team for taking the time to share their experiences and expertise with us! Everyone had a great time and took away some valuable insights.

In April, Professor Frank Curry of the ACC Department of Professional Photography provided a demonstration on photographing both 2D & 3D objects at our event “The World Is Flat: Copywork For Designers & Photographers.” Professor Curry explained some of the foundational ideas behind photography as well techniques to offer the best results regardless of the camera you are using. It was an informative evening and we’d like to thank Professor Curry for his time, as well as hosting us at the Photography Department’s Stonehollow Photographic Studio!

We would like to congratulate our graduating officers, including our outgoing president Thomas Freeman, and thank them all for their contributions and hard work. We will be taking a break from events over the summer, but we will still be holding board meetings to prepare for Fall! In addition, we will also be assembling a new board of officers. If you have ever thought about participating, now is the perfect time to find out what we’re all about. For more information or to be added to the board meeting invite list, contact one of our faculty advisors. Follow us on Facebook for news and updates on all our upcoming events. We hope to see you there!


Spring 2018 Portfolio Show

The Visual Communication Department held a showcase for our graduating students at ACC’s Highland Campus on May 11th. The evening was well attended by guests from the professional design community as well as family, friends, faculty, and fellow students.

“It’s shocking how much the students manage to accomplish is such a short amount of time. The entire class worked feverishly the entire semester towards their goals. It’s at the portfolio show that they get the opportunity to showcase their passion for creativity and design,” noted Graphic Design Portfolio instructor Russell Toynes.

Graphic Design graduate and AIGA/ACC President Thomas Freeman added, “The portfolio show was a fantastic experience. My voice was sore from talking for over two hours, but I loved the opportunity to show people my work and chat with students coming up in the program. I think it’s a perfect end to the design curriculum and a fun celebration. Being in the portfolio class with talented designers was really special, and it was great to see everyone put their best foot forward and show off their hard work.”

The portfolio show also gave the User Experience Design graduates an opportunity showcase their skills. “Industry designers saw our student’s skills first hand by participating in user research activities and interacting with user interfaces, moderated and curated by our UX Design students,” said Instructor Molly McClurg. She added, “The support and turnout from fellow designers in Austin UX Design industry was overwhelming; we look forward to collaborating with Austin’s vibrant UX community as our program and students continue to grow and evolve.”

Best of luck to all our graduates with all their future endeavors! We invite everyone to visit our website for a gallery of graduate portfolios, as well as more information about our department and programs.


AIGA/ACC Fall 2017 Recap

Last semester was a busy one for AIGA/ACC. In case you missed it, here is a quick recap of some of the highlights.

We started off the semester in September with a pair of terrific presentations from Judy Shultz of OK Paper & Theresa Campbell of PIA MidAmerica. Judy discussed the importance of being confident in your work as a designer and communicating with your suppliers and printers. Teresa covered everything from the economics of the printing industry to augmented reality and AI. After their presentations, they held a Q&A session from the audience and Judy raffled off some swag bags from OK Paper! It was a lot of fun and we appreciate both of them graciously sharing their time and expertise with us.

In October we got together to screen Debbie Millman‘s “A Brand Called You.” This engaging and informative video seminar was offered free for a limited time to AIGA members through CreativeLive. (Just one of the many benefits of membership.) I think everyone learned something and it was nice to share the viewing experience, discussing it as a group.

We capped things off in November with a VisCom Alumni speaker panel, asking our guests “What do you wish you knew before graduating?” They shared their stories of starting out in the professional world, offering advice and answering questions. It was great evening and we thank all our panelists for joining us. It was a perfect example of the sense of sharing and community AIGA can foster and there was discussion of making this an annual event.

Last but not least, we concluded the semester by electing a new board, with Thomas Freeman taking over presidential duties from now-graduated Cynthia Jefferies. We are extremely grateful to all our departing officers for all their hard work and excited to welcome all of our new officers to the team. We already have some exciting things in the works for Spring 2018, starting with a presentation by Anthony & Natalie Armendariz of local design agency Funsize on February 20. Follow us on Facebook to get the latest updates on all our upcoming events. We hope to see you there!


Fall 2017 Portfolio Show

On December 15th, the Visual Communication Department held a showcase for our graduating students in the newly opened Building 4000 at ACC’s Highland Campus.

Industry professionals, fellow students, faculty, family and friends attended the event to celebrate the accomplishments of these students. For the graduates, the show wasn’t just the cap to a very intensive semester, but to their entire journey through the Graphic Design program at ACC. Their hard work paid off with some impressive displays to share with the evening’s crowd. We’d like to extend our congratulations to all our grads, we look forward to seeing what you can accomplish!   

If you were unable to join us, you can view the online portfolios of this and previous semester’s graduates in our gallery of graduate portfolios.




AIGA/ACC Hits the Lanes

Austin creatives were out for a fun evening at the recent AIGA Bowling Tournament, sponsored by OK Paper at Highland Lanes.

As you can see in this photo, ACC was well represented. From left Dave Toedter, Thomas Freeman, Isaac Lara, Nelly Padron, Shawn McKinney, and Sean O’Toole-Pitts.

Thomas Freeman describes the event,
“While we didn’t take a trophy, I think we can all agree that we had a great time rolling strikes and gutters alike. We had some power players on our team, namely Dave Toedter. I think Isaac Lara wins the award for ‘most innovative bowling technique’ — really loved the behind-the-back-through-the-legs move. Our team was pretty fashionable in our DIY, spray-painted shirts. We recorded all of our strikes with a black X on our sleeves. Some were more marked up than others, but we all had a couple to show off! Thanks to Dave for designing the team logo and for everyone who helped get the shirts painted. Hope to bowl again next time!”


AIGA/ACC: Guest Speaker Oen Hammonds

Oen Hammonds gave an outstanding presentation at the recent AIGA/ACC event. Attendees listened attentively to Oen’s fascinating stories from his career and to his tips for soon-to-be VisCom grads.

Oen is Advisory Designer for IBM Design. Outside his 9-to-5, Oen has taught as an adjunct instructor in VisCom, sharing his design experience and guiding portfolio students. He is currently president of AIGA Austin and he will discuss AIGA, the design industry, as well as provide advice to students and graduates who are getting started in the field with a Q&A session to follow.

The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA)  is the oldest and largest professional design organization in America. AIGA/ACC, the student chapter at Austin Community College, was founded to create opportunities for students to get involved in the local design community and foster greater community among peers.


AIGA/ACC Student Chapter Kick-off

Almost 40 people attended the recent AIGA/ACC membership party. Former VisCom student Ben Humphreys got the event started with information about AIGA and described how helpful his involvement with this design group has been to his career. AIGA is the oldest and largest professional association of designers in the world and joining ACC’s student chapter provides opportunities to connect with Austin’s creative community.

The next speaker at the event was Dave Claunch, Founder & President of Liaison Creative + Marketing, who described the state of the local design industry. Dave calls Austin the “most creative town in America” with an excellent economy and a great environment for job seekers.

In a presentation filled with advice and stories culled from his years of industry experience, Dave kept the crowd’s attention with useful tips on how to prepare for a career in design — from training and work ethic suggestions, through stressing the importance of an online portfolio that effectively showcases your best work. In the Q&A following his presentation, Dave had valuable suggestions on how to approach finding a job: what to do and what not to do!

“Getting connected” is at the top of both Ben and Dave’s advice on how to get started as a designer. A membership with AIGA allows designers to create relationships with other designers in Austin while belonging to a national community of more than 22,000 dedicated colleagues. Plus it offers a bevy of opportunities and resources, such as members-only job listings, local and national events and exposure through the AIGA member gallery.

To join the AIGA/ACC Student Group, simply create an account at As a student you can join at the $50/year Contributing level. As you are guided through the registration process, be sure to choose Austin Community College as your student group.

Not ready to commit to membership? Ben suggests volunteering at upcoming AIGA events — an inexpensive way to see what this group is all about.

And be sure to follow the ACC student chapter on Facebook for information about upcoming events:

AIGA /Austin Community College

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact an AIGA/ACC Faculty Advisor:
Breanna Whitener – [email protected]
or Kim Greyer – [email protected]

photo credit: Ben Humphreys


Spotlight on Our Tutors

Meet the three VisCom tutors who are here to assist you. If you’re having trouble with software or get stuck on an assignment, time in a lab with a tutor by your side may be just what you need – they are at your service!

Maria Isbell believes that it is her task as a tutor to make it as easy as possible for the student to excel — which includes finding ways to demonstrate the subject matter in a way that makes sense and becomes relevant to the student’s experience. She adds, “It is fun watching their success and it’s very gratifying to feel I have played a small part in that success.”

Maria works in a variety of Adobe software including InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. She is also proficient in Microsoft Office, specifically as an expert in Excel and PowerPoint. Recently she has been working with an Austin software startup developing software which is a next generation sales enablement and story-telling product.
Maria said about this software’s success, “it is very exciting being on the cutting edge of new development and functionality and we were thrilled when we were awarded two patents on our software, one in the U.S. and one in India, in July of 2016!”

Maria tutors at Northridge Campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays mornings 9:00-11:40 in room 4261.

Jesse Beaman began studying at ACC a few years ago and he remembers that the Survey of User Experience class inspired him to move forward with UX studies. “I found the perfect fit when I realized I could build a career out of my two favorite things: research and problem solving. I’m on track to graduate this spring with my AAS degree.”

Jesse can assist you with Sketch, Craft, Invision, Illustrator. His skills include researching, prototyping, usability, design thinking, interaction design, and html/css.

Jesse has years of experience teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which is a strategic problem-solving sport. This sport presents unique challenges for each athlete, and in a similar way, tutoring constantly offers a unique set of problems to solve. Jesse explains further, “when students are having trouble with software or assignments, I enjoy breaking down the problem, exploring the issue, and working together to come up with a solution to move forward.”

Jesse tutors at Northridge campus on Wednesdays 3:00-6:00 in room 4206.

Mark Mitchell believes that mindful tutoring can lead to student success and that a tutor must be patient, a good listener, instructional innovator and encourager. Students seeking tutoring are often facing a challenge regarding understanding the skills and concepts required to successfully master an assignment. Mark feels that they need an “Ah ha” moment to allow them to understand the processes so they can move forward with confidence.

Professionally Mark approaches projects with a goal of creating unique print and web solutions that will differentiate a client’s services and products from the competition. Since the purchase of his first Macintosh computer, Mark has been using Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator to create award-winning design.

As a seasoned Adobe Creative Suite user, Mark’s range of experience enables him to guide students through the knowledge, skills and best practices to create topnotch design.

Mark emphasizes, “my job is to help students to be successful by assisting them as they gain the skills needed to bring to life their creative visual communication ideas.”

You’ll find Mark tutoring at South Austin Campus on Wednesdays 11:40-2:40 in room 1211 and on Fridays 11:00-2:00 in room 1212.

VisCom has open labs at Northridge, South Austin Campus and in Highland Learning Center’s ACCelerator lab. Hours are posted on the doors at NRG and SAC, and also on this page: open labs.