Graphic Design

Go beyond the textbook – this unique, hands-on graphic design course teaches you advanced skills.

We’re talking typography, layout and design, colour psychology, computer graphics, advanced advertising, packaging design, promotional design and commercial illustration. Develop excellent design awareness, and strengthen your creative voice through this Diploma of Graphic Design (CUV50311).

Your qualification options

Did you know, you can complete a course with similar outcomes and graduate with a higher qualification? Studying a Higher Education Diploma of Graphic Design through our sister college Billy Blue College of Design allows you to:

  • develop key technical on-the-job skills valued by employers
  • access personal and professional development opportunities
  • graduate with a Higher Education qualification
  • pathway to a degree down the track
  • utilise a Government student loan covering all of your course fees



On 13/7/2017, this qualification code will transition to CUA50715 - Diploma of Graphic Design




(Accrediting body Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA))




Choose to study part time or full time, on campus or online. You can even mix it up with part on campus, part online with blended learning.

(Mix of online and on campus study)

Full time
3 trimesters (12 weeks each)
20 hours per week (15 hours on campus, 5 hours online)
Part time
6 trimesters (12 weeks each)
Trimester 1, 4, 6 = 8 hours per week (6 hours on campus, 2 hours online).
Trimester 2, 3, 5 = 12 hours per week (6 hours on campus, 6 hours online).


Full time
3 trimesters (12 weeks each)
20 hours per week
Part time
6 trimesters (12 weeks each)
Trimester 1, 4, 6 = 8 hours per week
Trimester 2, 3, 5 = 12 hours per week

More about online learning

Course Assessment: competency based assessment - demonstrated skills and knowledge, practical and written projects, and presentations.


CATC has design colleges in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. You can also choose to study the entire course, or part of it, online.



46 - 52 Mountain St Ultimo



595 Little Collins St Melbourne



90 Bowen Tce
Fortitude Valley




CATC Diploma courses can be studied fully online.


Entry requirements vary for Australian and International students but generally involve the presentation of a portfolio and completion of secondary education.



  1. Show basic drawing skills
  2. Show basic computer-based image manipulation skills
  3. Show basic layout skills, which may include multi-page layout and digital manipulation
  4. Demonstrated interest in graphic design trends and technologies

DOMESTIC STUDENTS (seeking VET-FEE-Help loan):

  1. A completed Australian secondary education qualification or equivalent; OR
  2. Undertake Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) testing and demonstrate competency at exit level 3 in the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) in both reading and numeracy.


  1. Equivalent IELTS 5.5 (Academic) with no skills band less than 5.0

Key Dates



Start Date Census Dates Last Day Breaks

Mon 20 Feb 2017

10 Mar

14 May

15 May - 4 Jun

Mon 05 Jun 2017

23 Jun

27 Aug

28 Aug - 17 Sep

Mon 18 Sep 2017

6 Oct

10 Dec

11 Dec - 18 Feb 2018


Fees and financial assistance

In 2017 the Government is planning to launch VET Student Loans, a new scheme giving students access to high quality VET diplomas.

However, the amount you can borrow will be capped and there is likely to be out of pocket expense.

But wait, you have options!

Our sister college Billy Blue College of Design offers a Higher Education (HE) qualification that gives you the same employability outcomes and additional personal development opportunities.

Eligible students can also access a Government student loan covering all course fees and will graduate with a Higher Education qualification valued by employers.

Read more about this course here


Minimum recommended hardware specifications:

Mac(preferred but not essential)

  • 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 or higher
  • Retina display (suggested)
  • Mac OS X Mavericks (or more recent)
  • 8GB 1600MHz RAM (minimum)
  • 500GB hard drive (or higher)
  • 2GB graphics processor (or higher)


  • Multicore Intel processor (Dual core i5 minimum) or AMD processor: 2GHz or better.
  • Microsoft Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 (Windows8.1 or more recent recommended)
  • 8GB of RAM (minimum)
  • 500GB hard drive (or higher)
  • 2GB graphics processor (or higher)


  • 1TB external portable hard drive

Software requirements:

  • Adobe Photoshop CC
  • Adobe Illustrator CC
  • Adobe Acrobat Professional CC
  • Adobe InDesign CC
  • Microsoft Office (Home and Student suite) 2010 orlater version


Expand All  |  Collapse All

This subject 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.

Exploring the many techniques of drawing throughout history, this subject 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 subject is further explored in the second term Illustration subject.

The Adobe Creative Suite Standard software is the core of this subject. 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.

This subject 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.

This subject 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 subject gets a third leg in third-term’s Career Preparation subject.

Introducing semiotics and identity design, this subject 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.

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

This subject 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.

Editorial design is the focus of this subject, 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.

Design Industry was part two of the ‘Career’ trilogy of subjects, 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.

First-term offering Drawing and Colour gave a grounding in illustration, but this subject 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.

This subject 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!

Building on the previous software subjects, 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.

This subject 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.

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 subject, seek out and receive feedback from the key people previously identified.


Graphic design influences almost everything we see!

Knowing how to communicate visually is an important skillset, and opens many career doors. Use your qualification for a career in design or stand out as a creative thinker when applying for other roles. It’s a great investment either way.

Graduate Spotlight

Jenny Liu

2011: Worked as a Fashion Designer
2014: Graduated from CATC
Now: Graphic Designer at Impact Posters

Possible careers in graphic design

  • Magazine graphic designer
  • Advertising graphic designer
  • Graphic artist
  • Multimedia illustrator
  • Junior art director
  • Brand and identity designer

Want to be a designer for a day?


Attend a ‘Day in the Life of a Designer’ workshop and get inspired by the journey of design!

See workshop dates
"I chose CATC for the flexibility of the online course."

My favourite part of studying with CATC was the relevant and industry ready information it provided. The subjects were very aligned to the industry. The course provided the relevant and current educational materials that helped me realise my strengths and areas of development. Every subject is delivered interesting and is engaging. The lecturers were also very encouraging and were very attentive to my needs as a student.


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