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Graphic Design

In order to succeed in graphic design, you'll need to back up your raw talent and drive to succeed with a highly-focused and hands-on design education. VCAD's graphic design program gives you the knowledge, skills and professional connections you'll need to launch your career in graphic design.

From color theory, drawing and typography, to standard software used in the industry, this program will teach you the theoretical and practical skills you need to turn your creative ideas into reality. Students will build a portfolio of designs for packaging, advertising, publications, websites and branding.

Graduates of this program will be prepared to apply for graphic design jobs with web development firms, newspapers, magazines, publishers, printers and more.

Upon successful completion of this program, you will be able to:
  • Propose creative solutions to design problems.
  • Evaluate the appropriate materials, tools, techniques and concepts required to produce an effective design solution.
  • Communicate ideas using color.
  • Create digital graphics and illustrations.
  • Determine the appropriate media based on project requirements.
  • Manage project and time constraints.
  • Optimize the readability of typography.
  • Assess visually photographic images on quality and effectiveness.
  • Produce graphic documents of high resolution.
  • Ensure the technical and design quality of a graphic design solution.
  • Process digital images using appropriate software.
  • Produce single and multi-page layouts using the appropriate software.
  • Create a fully functional website.

"I was lucky that my class was really small so we had a lot of one on one time with our instructors; the critiquing process was great. You're able to see it through your teacher’s eyes and they give you this really good constructive criticism - they make you see it in a different light and it makes sense." - Sueanne A., VCAD Graduate.

Job Opportunities

  • Illustrator
  • Artist
  • Medical or Scientific Illustrator
  • Layout Designer
  • Page Designer
  • Graphic Artist
  • Advertising Designer

Program Courses

Term 1

Code Course Name
  • CM10E Illustrator I

    • This course presents Illustrator as an industry standard tool for the production of professional quality illustrations such as technical illustrations, mapping, illustrating from photographic reference, and colorizing bitmapped images. Students will not only learn how to create precise, organized and professional illustrations that will meet the demands and standards of art directors and advertising agencies, but they will also learn to express their creativity in design by using the advanced distortion, blends, fills masks and effects tools offered by the software. Students will understand how the production of graphics ties in within the overall design process.

  • CM10B Drawing I

    • This course will cover the fundamentals of drawing including the key concept of perspective. The students will work in both traditional a digital medium to enhance their drawing and communication skills. Students will not only learn how to develop aesthetically pleasing drawings from a construction approach but will also learn the key aspect of drawing as a communication and development tool. Time will be spent working in teams to communicate professional ideas and explore ways to improve on these communication skills using both traditional and digital tools.

  • CM10C Photoshop I

    • This course introduces the students to the popular image-editing software Adobe Photoshop. The main objective of this course is to teach the student graphical image production using Adobe Photoshop. Through this hands-on course, the student will learn the fundamentals of design, as well as advanced features and tips, to prepare images for the web and for print. By the end of this course, the student will be able to create and enhance sophisticated images using Adobe Photoshop’s tools and features. They will learn how to correct and modify print as well as web images using various techniques and organizational tools. They will also learn how to apply special effects to original and composite images.

  • CM10D Colour & Design

    • The purpose of this course is to introduce the students to the fundamental principles of design and color theory. Students will be introduced to the principle concepts of design such as layout, composition, and balance as well as the theories of color and how to use color creatively. These concepts will be presented in theory as well as reinforced through specific practical exercises and activities that will serve to demonstrate how each of the concepts is integrated into good design.

  • CM10F Design History

    • In this course students will explore and discover a comprehensive curriculum of world art history in the context of current graphic design theory and practice. Artistic styles will be explored in terms of elements of design as they developed during each 'age' both within and across cultures. Where appropriate, anthropological themes will be woven into the curriculum so as to place significant artworks, and their influences, into context.

Term 2

Code Course Name
  • GD20A Typography

    • This course focuses on the basic principles of typography and its place and importance in graphic design. Students will learn how typography evolved from its earliest days in the form of basic symbols and forms to the present day sophisticated fonts and letterforms. Students will learn the fundamentals of working with type. Students will discover the building blocks of type, the typographic measurement units and typefaces both classical and modern fonts. The course will integrate working with type in both a manual and a computerized context.

  • CM10A Life Drawing I

    • This course is an introductory level course that prepares the student to draw anatomically correct structures of the human body. Students will learn to draw the human figure in correct anatomic detail based on the observation of live models. This course will emphasize the anatomically correct proportions of the human body and the accurate portrayal of muscles and other landmarks by applying various techniques of shading and lighting, views and perspective.

  • GD20C Conceptualization

    • This course introduces the processes involved in developing a solution to design challenges. The emphasis is placed on the various techniques and tools that are used in the design process. Students will learn to integrate problem solving, and critical thinking techniques as well as to call upon their creativity to develop original solutions to design challenges. Students will study various case studies, each one highlighting a unique design challenge and the processes that were used to arrive at a solution.

  • GD20B Digital Photography

    • This course introduces students to the fundamentals of digital photography. Students will learn how to set up the camera and learn common program modes. Students will learn how to manage parameters such as composition, lighting and exposure. The course will cover different lenses and focal lengths. The course will discuss the download and transfer of photos and organizing photos. Students will learn how to fine-tune and edit photos with Photoshop Elements.

  • GD30B Electronic Design I

    • This course will explore the processes of page design and layout. Using industry standard composition software, students will learn to apply design concepts to the development of creative page layout designs. Students will learn to import and prepare various components and incorporate them into the final page layout. Students will gain working knowledge of the tools and features of composition and layout software packages.

Term 3

Code Course Name
  • GD30E Corporate Design

    • This course explores the role of the graphic designer in the process of developing branding or corporate identity systems. The course will explore the components that typically comprise a corporate identity system. Students will learn the processes and considerations that impact the design of corporate logos, colour selection, type, symbols, branding elements, stationary and other collateral elements. Students will explore several case studies of prominent companies and brands and how graphic design influenced their corporate identity systems.

  • GD20D Photoshop II

    • In this course students will learn to work with the advanced functions of digital imaging software to produce graphics and textures that can then be used in a variety of design processes and output formats. Students will learn to work with layers, slices, rollovers and other advanced features to produce quality images for print production or web display.

  • GD20E Publication Design

    • Designing print publications is one of the most important components of a graphic designer’s work. This course will lay the foundation for the work involved in creating a publication of various formats. Although the arrival of desktop publishing has greatly facilitated the publication process, the designer must still overcome some of the common obstacles and challenges encountered in printing and publishing. The course focuses on the design of single and multi-page publications that combine type, graphics, colors and textures while addressing some of the common printing and publication challenges.

  • GD30C Electronic Design II

    • This course explores the importance of digital page composition in modern print production. The course will cover advanced topics in print production and its relevance to electronic pre-press, digital and variable data printing, color management and color scales, dynamic publishing as well as direct to plate and convention separations. Students will also learn about post press and finishing processes. Students will learn to create multiple page digital pre-press documents.

  • GD30D Packaging Design

    • This course introduces the fundamental features of package design including the typical package materials, the processes and decisions that go into the design, and production of a package. Students will explore the various materials and types of packages that are in use today as well as current trends and concerns surrounding packaging. Students will learn to combine the creative design concepts and the choice of materials to develop creative packaging solutions. The course will explore some of the most notable packaging successes.

Term 4

Code Course Name
  • GD40A Portfolio Production I

    • This course prepares students to transition to the professional world. The focus of this course is to prepare students for job interviews by helping them compile and defend a first draft of their portfolio. The portfolio will contain pieces produced by the students that demonstrate their skills in conceptualization, design, modeling and animation. This will be the first step in assisting students to identify a preferred skill set and to select distinguishing portfolio pieces that showcase this skill. This will then provide them with a focus for polishing their technique and developing a unique style. Feedback will come in the form of industry, instructor and peer critique.

  • GD40B Advertising Design I

    • This course will explore the role of graphic design in the context of advertising. Students will learn about current trends in promotion and marketing, establishing a target market, consumerism, visual stimuli, advertising theories and strategies, product placement and how they impact the design process. Students will learn the importance of meeting deadlines, professional presentation and attention to detail. The course will explore some of the issues and challenges that must be considered when design advertising collateral.

  • GD40C Dynamic Media I

    • This course explores the production of interactive multimedia projects. Students will learn how to design an animated prototype using interactive multimedia software. Most computer programs combine a certain degree of animation with static graphics and images. Interactivity between the user and the program is a mainstay. This interactivity combines animation, audio, video and the ability for the user to respond to the program using a variety of input methods. This type of program is used in the game industry, education, simulators; computer-based training and other applications. Students will learn how to import images and other vector based artwork, create animated buttons and graphics, control and manage movie clips and import audio files. Emphasis will be placed on design and optimization of files for deployment on the Web.

  • GD40D Illustrator II

    • This course continues from where Illustrator I left off. Students will gain an advanced understanding of the tool set, so that they may solve more difficult design problems. Projects will require a more sophisticated use of Illustrator techniques with a greater focus on finished quality and pre-press.

  • GD40E Web Design I

    • This course introduces the fundamentals of website development. The students will learn about the structure and components of an HTML / XHTML based website. Students will learn how to design and create a fully functional website using the tags and features of the markup languages. Students will learn to work with text, tables, images forms and hyperlinks to populate their website.

Term 5

Code Course Name
  • GD50D Web Design II

    • The main objective of this course is for students to experience the authoring of a dynamic website using a popular, dedicated web-authoring tool and server technology. The student will build upon the web design skills and competencies gained in previous courses through more advanced practical exercises and assignments. The student will be asked to integrate all design, technology, graphic design and presentation skills into producing a final interactive website. Students will be asked to work with the full line of software packages and technologies including DreamWeaver, Flash, Photoshop, and Illustrator.

  • GD50A Portfolio Production II

    • This course is aimed at preparing the students' transition to the professional world, allowing them to place the final polishing touches on their portfolio work. Students will be required to explain and defend the presentation structure of their portfolio and individual pieces to a panel of their peers and industry in the format of a job interview. All portfolio components should demonstrate the student’s mastery of the programs core competencies while highlighting the uniqueness of their work. Selected pieces should reflect a standard of quality evidenced by additional time spent polishing applied skills. Students will be required to complete their presentation website and marketing collateral.

  • GD50B Advertising Design II

    • This course explores the relationship between marketing and the design of advertising collateral. In order to appreciate how to design the advertising materials, it is essential to appreciate the link to marketing. This course will explore how price, promotion, distribution, target markets and the product itself relate to advertising and thus the design component of advertising. Lectures include a review of the target market sectors and how to produce designs that are relevant to a particular target market. Students will also learn how budgets, corporate marketing strategy and the company vision will influence the design of marketing and advertising collateral.

  • GD50C Dynamic Media II

    • In this course students will build upon the skills learned in Dynamic Media I and create engaging interactive content with ActionScript 3.0 for Flash CS4. Students will learn the fundamentals of adding interactivity to Flash files using ActionScript via the Actions panel, as well as in external ActionScript files. The course covers the creation of simple navigation and timeline control and progresses through controlling animation with ActionScript code; using Event Listeners and writing event-handling functions; and controlling loading of and interaction with data, text, video, sound, and images.