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Graphic Design

This 2-year laptop program providing 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 identity, 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.

With a focus on entrepreneurship, you will be prepared for a professional future in your studio specialty. Through applied research, critical discourse and self-reflection, you will engage in creative problem solving and 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.  

Graphic Design Portfolio Requirements

  1. We value all of your life experience in assessing your application. To do this, please provide us with a copy of your resume.


  1. Please write a one-page letter of intent which includes your:

·       Reasons for wanting to study with us,

·       Interests in the arts (contemporary or historical), and

·       Plans and goals for the future.


  1. To ensure that you are well prepared for direct entry into this program, we need to get an idea of your creative abilities. To assess this, please provide:

·       Three drawings or illustrations, one of each of the following:

o   a human figure

o   an object

o   a building


·       Five images of things that you have created that show originality, imagination and creativity.


These could be, but not limited to: collage, woodworking, ceramics, painting, photography, knitting, poetry, creative writing, music, video, sewing, illustration, etc.

Please don’t submit actual examples. Three-dimensional work should be photographed and presented digitally. For good digital image quality, your image files should be high resolution images. For video clips, please post on Vimeo or YouTube and send us the link, keep them 2 to 3 minutes each. For each image, please include a written description, a notation of the media used in producing the work and the date of completion. Be sure to label your portfolio with your name, contact information, and return address.

  1. For a full experience at our College, it is best to have an appreciation of the history of visual culture. Please identify a piece of art/craft/design from a particular historical period (include a picture of this work). In a one-page essay, describe the work in your own words, what is significant about this work and what it says about visual culture.


Once you have completed your portfolio, it can be mailed, emailed, or delivered in person to Nancy Beaulieu, Registrar.

Mature students with previous experience and/or post-secondary education should contact the coordinating instructor prior to submitting an application.

Click here for more information on how to apply.

You will be working with celebrated instructors in fully-equipped studios, graphic production 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)

For information on the Graphic Design Diploma Program contact Coordinating Instructor contact Dale McBride at 506 444 2686 or dale.mcbride@gnb.ca. If you are looking for more information on application procedures, other program options, continuing education evening classes or scheduling a tour, please see contact details below.

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

Fall 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, colour 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. 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 critical opinions and professional communications. They create an online archive of professional documents including digital images of their work, biological information and artist statements. Students write responses to topics pertinent their practice communicating their ideas about visual art. In addition, they learn the steps to apply for a relevant scholarship.

In Fall 1, 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.

Winter 1

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.

Students select one of:

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.


Spring 1

3D Digital Design: Shaping Space 

In this course, students produce projects that explore both spatial relationships and the broader world of “design” through using computer aided design (CAD) and 3D printing applications. By engaging in lectures and discussions that examine the theories of computer based 3D design, they will learn the tools and concepts, as well as develop a design aesthetic. Students will create a variety of objects, designed for use in their own disciplines, emphasizing peer presentations and critical visual analysis.

Applied Design for Digital Imagery and Digital Media

In this course, students will learn to capture digital images in a variety of situations that are properly exposed while being compositionally sound. Through a series of exercises and projects, students will be asked to capture digital images while learning how to utilize a digital camera as a graphic design tool. Students will also analyse the standards utilized in the creation of interactive structures and digital media content and apply that knowledge in the design of web and online content.

Fall 2

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 info graphics (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.

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 a range of skills to enable them to present themselves effectively in the professional world of their discipline. They create a toolkit by becoming familiar with the language of business and how businesses work whether their goal is to be an employee or an entrepreneur. 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, creating a process in which they clarify their career path.

Winter 2

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 labelling 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 Winter 2, students choose one of the following electives:

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.

3D Digital Design and Production

In this course, students use sophisticated 3D modelling and texturing techniques building on skills learned in 3D Digital Design: Shaping Space. These skills will be used to prepare and render complex 3D components that could either become intricate printed objects be utilized as elements or models in other courses.

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.

Designing Bodies

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.

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.

Spring 2

Students choose either:

Senior Practicum

In this course, students engage in a real life experience by participating in a workplace environment in a business or organization. They develop a professional level of conduct as they further their interpersonal workplace skills. In addition, they actively participate in the specialized activities of their practicum.


Senior Project

In this course, students produce a significant piece or series that becomes the focal point of their portfolio. They submit a proposal that will determine the form and scope of their final project. This project will require students to integrate their creative abilities, design knowledge, personal aesthetics with technical prowess.