Diploma of Graphic Design


  • Prepare yourself for a broad range of roles including Graphic Designer, Illustrator, or Junior Art Director, with a Diploma of Graphic Design (CUV50311)
  • Learn from industry professionals with connections to top design associations
  • Choose to study online or in-class

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At a glance

Study mode



CATC Design School (RTO 0269)
Career Opportunities
  • Graphic Designer
  • Junior Art Director
  • Brand and Identity Designer
  • Illustration and Concept Artist
  • Packaging Designer
  • Corporate Designer
  • Advertising Designer

Nationally recognised - meets Australian Qualifications Framework standards.
Recognised by the Australian Graphic Design Association.


Year 12 or successful completion of a Language Literacy & Numeracy (LLN) test.
Examples of artwork.


NSW - Sydney

QLD - Brisbane

VIC - Melbourne


Course length
Mixed mode: 1 year full time (3 trimesters) | Mixed mode: 2 years part time (6 trimesters) | Online: 1 year full time or 2 years part time
Study mode




Study from anywhere, when it suits you best and graduate with the identical qualification as an on-campus student.


Study part of the course online. Combine your online learning with classes or practical sessions on-campus at a college or university.


Attend classes on-campus at a university, TAFE or college and interact face-to-face with teachers and fellow students.

Written & practical assignments, competency-based assessments
Start date

Six start dates per year.

CATC Design School (RTO 0269)

CATC Design School produces skilled designers who are ready to work.

Their courses in photography, graphic design and interior design are highly regarded in the design industry. The specialist college is well known for delivering award-winning graduates with the right skills.

CATC’s flexible study options mean you can finish your course more quickly than you would studying a similar course at a university - and step into your design career sooner.

Think: Colleges Pty Ltd (RTO 0269) trading as CATC Design School


The course price can vary depending on a few factors, including whether you are an Australian resident or your chosen payment option. To find out more, contact the course provider.


  • Year 12 or successful completion of a Language Literacy & Numeracy (LLN) test.
  • Minimum of 3 pieces of design artwork

What you'll learn

Become trained in:

  • Meeting design challenges
  • Developing design solutions
  • Basic typography
  • Using graphic design software
  • Basic knowledge of graphic design trends and technologies
  • Commercial illustration
  • Strengthening your creative voice

Course structure

14 units


  1. Advertising

    This unit is a three-parter: an introduction to the advertising industry, effective creative thinking and critical analysis skills. You'll produce a range of print advertisements, with emphasis given to concept and audience interpretation. Don Draper impressions discouraged.

    Units of competency:
    BSBCRT301A - Develop and extend critical and creative thinking skills
    BSBADV509A - Create mass print media advertisements

  2. Career Preparation

    Design Industry was part two of the "Career" trilogy of units, and this is the grand finale, looking at freelance work in terms of how to charge and market yourself effectively. In the later half, you'll begin developing your portfolio ready for graduation.

    Units of competency:
    CUFIND401A - Provide services on a freelance basis
    CUVPRP503A - Present a body of own creative work

  3. Design Industry

    This unit follows on from first-term's Visual Communication, looking at the structure of studios and agencies within graphic design and advertising. You will build an understanding of working relationships, career paths and salaries. It also allows for some specialisation and career planning. This unit gets a third leg in third-term's Career Preparation subject.

    Unit of competency:
    CUVGRD506A - Develop graphic design practice to meet industry needs

  4. Design Software

    The Adobe Creative Suite Standard software is the core of this unit. Activities are made up of 24 short two-hour exercises, with an emphasis on building comprehensive familiarity with the design software. Once it becomes second nature, you can treat it as a part of the overall creative toolkit. Drill deeper in the second term with Finished Art.

    Unit of competency:
    CUVGRD504A - Create and manipulate graphics

  5. Drawing & Colour

    Exploring the many techniques of drawing throughout history, this unit builds an understanding of how they fit into the graphic design working practice. You'll also look at the many facets of light and colour, learning how to use this understanding to your advantage. Activities are made up of a series of short exercises that build to a comprehensive technique portfolio that can be drawn upon as part of an overall creative toolkit. Emphasis is given to building speed, clarity of capturing a concept and losing the fear associated with drawing. This unit is further explored in the second term Illustration unit.

    Units of competency:
    CUVACD501A - Refine drawing and other visual representation tools
    CUVACD504A - Research and apply light and colour

  6. Finished Art

    Building on the lessons absorbed in Design Software, this unit focuses more on pre-press, effective finished art technique, printing and file management.

    Unit of competency:
    CUVGRD502A - Produce graphic designs for 2-D and 3-D applications

  7. Illustration

    First-term offering Drawing and Colour gave a grounding in illustration, but this unit allows you to specialise in a given area while increasing your general knowledge of the elements and principles of design. It identifies the differences between drawing, art and illustration, exploring commercial avenues for illustrators.

    Unit of competency:
    CUVILL501A - Develop professional illustrations

  8. Interactive Media

    This unit explores the interactive canvas and assists you in understanding basic animation techniques and user interface. Activities are based on a number of exercises that build essential knowledge of the relevant programs and their use.

    Unit of competency:
    CUFDIG401A - Author interactive media

  9. Packaging

    This unit introduces 3D design, with a special focus on the packaging. You'll develop a range of packaging concepts with increasing complexity and probably spend hours staring at supermarket shelves!

    Unit of competency:
    CUVACD507A - Refine 3-D design ideas and processes

  10. Publishing

    Editorial design is the focus of this unit, which follows Typography and builds on the skills learnt there. Explore a range of multipage documents and the design processes specific to them, learning how to set up documents to enable easy editing and modifications.

    Unit of competency:
    CUVGRD505A - Design and manipulate complex layouts

  11. Specialisation

    This allows you to develop an area you are particularly interested in. Explore the history and key people of the area before developing your own skills and producing a piece of work based on your findings. In the final part of this unit, seek out and receive feedback from the key people previously identified.

    Unit of competency:
    CUAIND401A - Extend expertise in specialist field

  12. Symbols & Branding

    Introducing semiotics and identity design, this unit covers the history of symbols, helping you develop an identity. Particular attention is given to simplification, appropriate design process and documentation. Audience interpretation is also introduced here, as you're encouraged to start seeing through the eyes of customers.

    Unit of competency:
    CUVGRD607A - Develop graphic designs for branding and identify

  13. Typography

    This unit looks at the history of typography, founders, elements, creation and identification of fonts and styles. The focus is on appropriate use and pairing of fonts - even Comic Sans - with exercises broken into a number of assessments where you'll steadily get more confident with understanding and using type.

    Unit of competency:
    CUVGRD503A - Produce typographic design solutions

  14. Visual Communication

    This unit begins with the fundamentals of art and design: balance, shape, repetition, contrast, dot and line etc. These activities are made up of a series of short exercises that build to a comprehensive understanding, helping you start seeing and thinking like a designer. This is followed by an in-depth historical look at the industry. Research the beginnings of design and how they impact contemporary working practice, before developing a strategy to begin working out your career path. This theme is taken up again in the second term with Design Industry.

    Units of competency:
    BSBDES403A - Develop and extend design skills and practice
    CUVGRD501A - Research visual communication history and theory

  15. Web

    Building on the previous software units, this one introduces web design and coding. You will learn the programs and techniques by producing a website of your own. No extra points for having a cool Facebook cover photo.

    Unit of competency:
    ICAWEB505A - Develop complex web page layouts

Support and delivery

Studying with CATC Design School

Studying online explained

When you study online with CATC Design School, you can:

  • Study from anywhere, when it suits you best.
  • Graduate with the identical qualification as an on-campus student.
  • Get comprehensive support from teachers via phone and email.
  • Access course materials online.
  • Interact with teachers and fellow students via platforms like virtual classrooms, forums and video calls.

If you study online, you’re welcome to visit your closest campus and meet with tutors for one-on-one assistance.

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