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Graphic Design

This 2-year laptop program provides an in-depth knowledge of graphic design theory, professional techniques and industry standards is achieved in 6 semesters of study.

The Graphic Design Program is designed to explore all aspects of visual communication including typographic design, brand identities, and print and digital production with an entrepreneurial focus throughout. Curriculum focuses on the creation of visual content and the techniques which transform that content into posters, brochures, folders, catalogues and books.

Through applied research, critical discourse and self-reflection you will engage in creative problem solving. You learn about communications for visual artists, art history, drawing, and 2D/3D design. Assignments create a portfolio that celebrates the power of your imagination.  

To be admitted to this program you are required to have:

• A portfolio and a postsecondary certificate or diploma in a related field or equivalent experience.  

Click here for more information on how to apply.

You will be working with celebrated instructors in fully-equipped studios, Apple computer labs and classrooms. Coming here, you will learn first-hand why Fredericton is a Cultural Capital of Canada. The galleries, boutiques, universities and many cafés make the College’s downtown location an inspiring and supportive learning environment and an ideal place to obtain an education in the visual arts.

Click here for more information on this program or to enjoy an on-site tour of our facility. 

Areas of Study
• Graphic Design
• Typography
• Visual Design
• Drawing
• Communications
• Digital Media
• Desktop Publishing
• Portfolio Development
• Web Foundations
• Production

Career Possibilities
You will be prepared for employment as a graphic designer, illustrator, web designer, art director or as self-employed freelance designer and design consultant.

Target Jobs (including NOC codes)
• Painters, Sculptors and Other Visual Artists (5136)
• Graphic Arts Technicians (5223)
• Graphic Designers and Illustrators (5241)
• Theatre, Fashion, Exhibit and Other Creative Designers (5243)
National Occupational Classification (NOC)

Articulation Agreements
Graduates receive two full years credit towards a Bachelor of Applied Arts (BAA) at the University of New Brunswick. Click here for more information.

Diploma - Graphic Design Course Descriptions

Semester 1

Digital Imaging for Graphic Design
In this course, students create artwork by investigating the basic tools and techniques used in creating pixel-based imagery. They learn to acquire and create digital imagery on their own through the use of digitizing devices such as cameras and scanners. In addition, they learn to control the technical aspects of the digital image by formatting images for various purposes and media destinations while exploring the creative possibilities that pixel based imagery provides.

Digital Illustration for Graphic Design
In this course, students create imaginative illustrations with the basic tools and techniques used in creating vector based digital imagery. Emphasis is on controlling line quality as well as the tonal, color and textural characteristics of graphic objects. In addition, they explore the context and purpose of the illustrative work by combining images with text based elements and adjusting the physical form.

Graphic Design Seminar
In this course, students investigate the nature of Graphic Design. They create a number of discussion papers and presentations that give meaning to the term Graphic Design. In addition, students compare career opportunities and possibilities within the Graphic Design industry and domain, utilize online resources available to Graphic Designers and identify organizations helpful to and associated with the industry.

Structure and Content: Page Layout Fundamentals
In this course, students work with software used in the design of the printed page. They complete a number of technical and creative projects using the software package Adobe InDesign which leads them to familiarity with the basic software functions that control document form and format, as well as typographic and image control.

Introduction to Typography
In this course, students explore type by creating designs that utilize type as both a communicative device and as visual image using the text tools found in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. Through a series of projects they acquire a fundamental understanding of how to design and construct letters, create designs with type and use type as image. In addition, they examine the history of typography and explore contemporary trends in the world of type and type design.

Communication for Visual Artists
In this course, students tap into the world of social media, in the form of blogging, to initiate their professional communications. They create an online archive of professional documents including digital images of their work, biographical information and artist statements. Learning activities are designed to enhance student’s confidence providing skills to critically, concisely, and competently evaluate their artistic work and the work of their peers. Students write responses to pertinent topics and in so doing learn to communicate their ideas about visual art. In addition, they become acquainted with the steps to apply for a relevant scholarship.

In semester one, students choose one of the following electives:

Directions in Drawing: Traditional and Contemporary
In this course, students expand their observational abilities and drawing skills. Initially, they engage with traditional principles of spatial and compositional organization, and then explore a variety of material-based approaches to expressive drawing. In addition, students explore new directions and interpretations by examining work of significant contemporary artists through guided self-directed projects that align with their personal sensibilities.

Life Drawing: Structure and Form
In this course, students enhance their capacity to see, interpret and draw the complex three-dimensional form of the body. They develop their ability to draw the life model with attention to proportions, shape and general anatomy. Students increase facility with essential strategies such as gesture, massing, mapping and sighting as applied to figure drawing. In addition, they address expressive and intentional strategies in depicting the human form.

Watercolour: Exploring Water-based Materials
In this course, students make paintings, largely from observation, using the traditional techniques of watercolour, gouache and inks. They become familiar with the properties of various materials, tools and methods of handling them. In addition, they engage in painting exercises that address issues of colour and formal relationships of visual art with an emphasis on stylistic concerns. Students also experiment with mixed media collage and various other directions.

Approaches to Drawing: Style, Materials and Techniques
In this course, students produce drawings, as a means to communicate relevant concepts, through the application and exploration of various styles, materials and techniques. Basic visual principles are re-examined as abstract concepts capable of conveying information. Assignments focus on composition, expression and the development of personal imagery and reference material for the purpose of communicating ideas.

Semester 2

Image Creation: Media, Method and Technique
In this course, students are introduced to creative illustration through the exploration of common media, methods and techniques utilized by conventional illustrators. In their assignments, students manipulate a number of mark-making media on a variety of 2-dimensional surfaces as they are exposed to the work and style of a broad range of traditional and contemporary image-makers. In addition, they will also look at important historical achievements in the field.

Pixel meets the Vector
In this course, students learn to integrate the use of pixel-based and vector-based software tools necessary for effective results in digital illustration. They analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each as well as techniques and processes that allow them to integrate content created in one with content from the other. Through the integration of the pixel and the vector, students extend their creative and technical potential as they realize the synergy offered by this combination.

Website Fundamentals
In this course, students learn the fundamental concepts of web site construction and design such as Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). They properly format and process imagery as they explore the integration of imagery into their web designs. Students are also introduced to the web design planning process as the sites they build become more complex.

Structure and Content: Form Follows Function
In this course, students explore the creative potential of the printed page by designing a variety of common products while they learn to apply a set of rules and guidelines that will ensure good design and compositional choices. Students engage in a thought process that guides design and compositional choice by looking at the size and purpose of a project in a manner that helps fulfill its functional potential (form follows function). By combining this thought processes with personal creativity; students develop layout designs that are both creative and functionally effective.

Text, Image and Meaning
In this course students create typographic and image based artwork by exploring the complex interplay that occurs between text and image. Students examine techniques and methods of combining type and image that illustrate how they can function as a communication device, a visual idiom, or both. In addition, students analyze how text and image alter and transform the meanings of one another when placed in either a supportive or conflicting relationship.

Graphic Design History: From Gutenburg to Apple
In this course, students explore the rich history of graphic design from the creation of the printing press to the development of digital technology. Students study significant people, events and technological developments that transformed the graphic design industry into what it is today. As well, students become aware of how these people, events and technologies have transformed the world at large.

3D Design: Shaping Space
In this course, students combine a wide range of materials to produce projects that explore both spatial relationships and the broader world of “design.” By engaging in lectures and discussions that examine the theories of historic and contemporary 3D design, they develop a design aesthetic which is accompanied by research and documentation. Combining various aspects of “the making of objects,” students are encouraged to use mixed media, and materials from their own disciplines, emphasizing peer presentations and critical visual analysis.

Semester 3

Design and Composition for the View Finder
In this course, students will learn basic photographic technique. Students will learn to use a camera to capture imagery to be used as source material for illustration purposes and as imagery that will be incorporated into pixel-based composites. Students will learn basic techniques for lighting objects and people, allowing them to create their own basic content. This knowledge will give the student an understanding of how to work and communicate with photographic professionals.

Information Design
In this course, students develop the ability to visually interpret statistical information, numerical data and defined information sets. Students create technical illustrations, schematics and infographics (charts and graphs) using a variety of media. This content will then be used in the design of documents that communicate specific technical and informational concepts.

Structure and Content: Design for the Interface and Screen
In this course, students will learn about the screen environment as a layout medium by designing a number of items such as presentation slides, web interfaces and content pages, DVD menus and gaming and software menus. By excluding the need to make working prototypes of items such as websites, DVD interfaces, etc., students will be able to concentrate on design theory and compositional issues relating to this unique layout medium. Students will study, analyze and learn how to design typographic, iconographic and metaphorical interfaces. They will also concentrate on the design and composition of content while learning about issues unique to this layout environment.

Semester 4

Image Creation: Interpretation, Style and Theme
In this course, students create editorial images that connect to specific audiences and texts by developing their visual problem solving abilities. Students find suitable, appropriate and effective visual solutions using cartoon, caricature and other approaches. They compare styles from a broad range of contemporary imagery and use various combinations of media to learn how illustrators give visual substance to thoughts, stories and ideas.

Graphic Design for the Corporate Environment
In this course, students develop the ability to address the diverse needs of a corporate environment by designing various corporate documents such as office templates, stationery, presentations, signs and ad campaigns. This content and acquired knowledge is applied through a series of assignments where they learn about the specifics of brand identity in the corporate environment.

Website Design
In this course, students apply design concepts to their web sites using more advanced CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) constructs to control the layout of their pages. In addition, they include elements such as audio, video and animation in their pages as well as more advanced interactivity.

Structure and Content: Form and Format
In this course, students learn to design a variety of document formats from business cards to billboards. Through a series of assignments they develop knowledge of grid design and notions of negative space and variables such as document types, dimension constraints, design consistency and varied content. Emphasis is placed on how to deal with both the creative opportunities and challenges arising from the design process.

The Art of Typography
In this course, students design a variety of contemporary design products where the anatomy and functional application of typography is the key component. Students examine the complexity, importance and role of typography in communicating information and ideas as they research the history, anatomy and functional application of typography as both a unique art form and as a key component to graphic design. In addition, students learn how to design letterforms, fonts and font families.

Critical Issues: Culture, Context and Perception
In this course, students explore philosophical, moral and ethical issues that one might encounter as a designer. Since the introduction of digital technology, design has undergone a radical transformation and grown as an artistic community in size and scope. Design has its own distinct history, critical discourse and theory and is only now beginning to reach maturity. Through research, discussion, presentations as well as studio projects, students investigate and analyze some of the increasingly complex issues that confront designers.

Preparing for Professional Life
In this course, students learn basic skills to present themselves effectively and professionally in their discipline. They create a personal toolkit by becoming familiar with business vocabulary, elements of business planning, the essentials of what makes a great employee and how to be an asset to a prospective employer. Students enhance their presentation skills and build confidence in public speaking. In addition, they investigate a business by analyzing their products, location, marketing strategies, etc, a process which further clarifies their career path.

Semester 5

Image Creation: Going Digital
In this course, students generate complex illustrations as they unify traditional skills and digital technology. They synthesize a range traditional media and digital technologies that explore creative and aesthetic possibilities. In a self-directed manner students efficiently manage a variety of resources, researching content and other related materials while exploring programs and techniques.

Advertising and Package Design
In this course, students design packaging solutions for a range of products from simple labeling to folded box assemblages as they learn how to brand and relate their products to advertising campaigns. They learn to engage a competitive market place as they design retail product point-of-sale and point of purchase items for a world already full of products for sale.

Design for Large Format
In this course, Students will learn to design for the large format. From display booths to banners, from point of sale stands to vehicle wraps, they will learn the unique needs and technical concerns of creating imagery that extends well beyond the scale of posters. Students will learn to design and properly prepare documents that can be successfully produced on a large format plotter cutter and a wide format inkjet printer.

Structure and Content: Multi-paged Document Design
In this course, students design multi-paged documents that contain multiple sets of content and information. By designing items like product catalogues and annual reports they learn about the design complexities associated with multi-paged formats. Students examine the integrity of their designs and seek to create documents that apply a consistent look and feel unifying a series of parts into a cohesive whole.

Visual Art and the Digital Realm
In this course, students explore the use of digital technology as an expressive instrument for art making as opposed to the responsive tool of the designer. They are encouraged to think like artists, instead of designers, by exploring the interplay between design and art while seeking to differentiate one from the other. By studying the work of design’s leading contemporaries, many of whom approach their design work more like an artist does, they begin the development of a personal design style.

Preparing for a Professional Career in Graphic Design and Integrated Media
In this course students develop professional portfolios - interview and digital - to prepare them for a career in Graphic Design and Integrated Media. They develop a career plan to identify their career goals which informs the direction of their marketing materials. In addition they effectively cost and price jobs and explore potential employment or clients and learn the codes of professional conduct that dictate how these relationships are developed and fostered.

In semester four, students choose one of the following electives:

Painting in Acrylics
In this course, students learn the fundamental principles of painting through creating images in the medium of acrylic paint. Assignments explore both the historical and contemporary approaches of the painting process. Students have the opportunity to develop an independent body of work which is informed by experimentation and critique, and in addition, is related to a personal area of interest.

Imagery, Sources and Development
In this course, students develop imagery by exploring and refining drawing and painting methods using various mixed media and surface treatments. In so doing, they discover the associative potential between materials and imagery that contributes the constructing of meaning. Students experience traditional and non-traditional approaches to drawing through assignments, visual presentations and gallery visits. A final project encourages students to pursue personally relevant imagery and an individual stylistic approach.

Creative Design Exploration
In this course, students focus on their creative skills and innovation abilities to produce original designs that are realized into 2D/3D product prototypes. Using multiple models of problem solving strategies, students explore form, function and a variety of materials, to apply new skill sets to their methodologies. Students overcome visual and conceptual challenges by working in interdisciplinary teams interacting live, via Skype, with the design team at Umbra to produce a submission to the Umbra Design Collaborations Program.

Paper and Book Arts
In this course, students tap the creative potential of the hand bound book through an exploration of book structures, construction and deconstruction methods. Projects introduce different binding techniques as students use unique tools, materials and processes. In addition, students are encouraged to explore the aesthetic qualities of the book through 2D and 3D embellishment techniques including printed material, transfer techniques and hand stitched embellishments.

Designing Bodies: Exploring Traditional and Contemporary Body Expressions through Art
In this course, students create artwork using influences from the traditional and contemporary practices of body adornment/modification. With an aesthetic and anthropological perspective, they research specific Aboriginal practices in body art, such as tattooing, piercing, mehndi (henna), branding and scarification. Students gain a new perspective on this ancient activity, incorporating the ideologies into individual projects as well as communicating their ideas in a clear professional manner.