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






(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 (only available to Domestic students)
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 (only available to Domestic students)
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.


CATC Vocational Education Training (VET), courses are delivered by Think: Colleges Pty Ltd ACN 050 049 299, Provider

Registration Code: 0269. HEP No. 4375. CRICOS Provider Code 00246M.


To enter this qualification, people must be able to demonstrate graphic design skills to support learning at Diploma level. In particular they must be able to provide evidence of their ability to:

  • produce multiple examples of graphic design work that respond effectively to different design challenges
  • engage with the design process by developing design solutions through research, reflection and the generation and refinement of ideas
  • produce typography that supports the overall design solution
  • show examples of computer skills using graphic design industry software, which may include multipage layout and digital manipulation
  • apply knowledge of graphic design trends and technologies. Those skills and knowledge may have been acquired through personal or work experience, or through formal study.

Those skills and knowledge may have been acquired through personal or work experience, or through formal study.

Domestic students seeking VET Student Loans

  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



Estimated Maximum Course Cost: AUD 21,022 (domestic students)

Upfront payment

This means tuition fees will be invoiced each trimester and payment is required on or before the due date.

VET Student Loans

VET Student Loans is a Government loan program that helps students pay for their tuition fees up to a set amount (known as a loan cap).

Further information about VET Student Loans, including eligibility, is available at:

VET Student Loans website

But wait, you have more 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

Austudy and Abstudy

Students enrolled in this course may be eligible for government assistance, such as Austudy or Abstudy.


Upfront payment

This means tuition fees will be invoiced each trimester and payment is required on or before the due date.


Students studying at CATC (full time, part time or online) are required to have a computer throughout their studies. On-campus students are required to have a laptop, online students - a laptop or desktop computer as well as a printer, scanner and phone.

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

We recommend students purchase a subscription membership with Adobe Creative Cloud (Student and Teacher Edition). We suggest the ‘Complete — Student version’, which is heavily discounted and provides full access to all Adobe applications.

Australian Adobe site: https://creative.adobe.com/plans?store_code=au

Please Note: Internet access is required for software activation and validation of subscription, as well as to online services.

Art Kits

All students commencing this Graphic Design course (on-campus or online) will require art materials for their studies. You can buy an Art Kit in full or make purchases as needed throughout your course from anywhere you choose. For a detailed materials list, please get in touch with a Course and Career Advisor



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This subject incorporates both an introduction to the advertising industry and effective creative thinking and critical analysis skills. Students produce a range of print advertisements and emphasis is given to concept and audience interpretation.

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

This subject builds on the previous Design industry subject and looks at freelance work and how to charge and market yourself effectively. In the later half students begin developing their portfolio ready for promotion.

Units of Competency:
CUFDIG304A Create visual design components
CUVPRP503A Present a body of own creative work

This subject explores the many techniques of drawing and how they fit into the graphic design working practice. It also explores the many facets of light and colour, the history and how students can use this understanding to their advantage. Activities are made up of a series of short exercises that build to a comprehensive technique portfolio that students can draw upon as part of their 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 2nd term Illustration subject.

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

This subject builds upon the 1st term subject of Visual communication and looks at the structure of studios and agencies within graphic design and advertising. They build an understanding of working relationships, career paths and salaries. It also allows for career planning. This subject is further built upon during the 3rd term Career preparation subject.

Units of Competency:
CUVGRD506A Develop graphic design practice to meet industry needs

This subject teaches basic understanding of the Adobe Creative Suite Standard software. The emphasis during this subject is on building comprehensive familiarity with the design software so it becomes second nature and can treated as a part of the overall creative toolkit. This subject is further explored in the 2nd term with Finished Art.

Units of Competency:
CUVGRD504A Create and manipulate graphics

This subject builds on the previous Design software subject but focuses more on pre-press, effective finished art technique, printing and file management.

Units of Competency:
CUVGRD502A Produce graphic designs for 2-D and 3-D applications

This subject builds upon the 1st term subject of Drawing and colour and allows the student to develop an area of illustration they are particularly interested in while increasing their familiarity with the elements and principles of design. It identifies the difference between drawing, art and illustration and explores commercial avenues for illustrators.

Units of Competency:
CUVILL501A Develop professional illustrations

This subject explores the interactive canvas and assists students in understanding basic digital publishing techniques and user interface. Activities are based on a number of exercises that build essential knowledge of the program and its use.

Units of Competency:
CUFDIG401A Author interactive media

Editorial design is focused on during this subject while building on the previous Typography subject. Students explore a range of multipage documents and the design processes specific to them. Students learn how to set up documents to enable easy editing and modifications and learn how to send something to print to ensure what they see on their screen is what they get back in print. Towards the end of the subject digital publications are looked at in depth and students are taught how to start thinking with a digital mindset.

Units of Competency:
CUVGRD505A Design and manipulate complex layouts

This subject explores the packaging specialisation and introduces students to 3D design. Students are asked to develop a range of packaging concepts with increasing complexity.

Units of Competency:
CUVACD507A Refine 3-D design ideas and processes

This subject introduces semiotics and identity design. Students study the history of symbols and develop an identity. Particular attention is given to simplification and appropriate design process and documentation. Audience interpretation is also introduced here and students are encouraged to start seeing how the customer sees.

Units of Competency:
CUVGRD607A Develop graphic designs for branding and identify

This allows the student to develop an area they are particularly interested in. They explore the history, key people of the area before developing their own skills and producing a piece of work based on their findings. In the final part of this subject students seek out and receive feedback from the key people they previously identified.

Units of Competency:
CUAIND401A Extend expertise in specialist field

This subject looks at the history of typography, founders, elements, creation and identification of fonts and styles. It looks at appropriate use and pairing of fonts and starts to develop the students trusted font selection. Exercises are broken into a number of assessments where students steadily get more confident with understanding and using type.

Units of Competency:
CUVGRD503A Produce typographic design solutions

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 enabling the student to start seeing and thinking like a designer. This is followed by an in-depth historical look at the graphic design industry. Students research the beginnings of design and how they impact contemporary working practice. Students finish by developing a strategy to begin working out their career path. This theme is taken up again in the 2nd term with Design Industry.

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

This subject builds on the previous software subjects and introduces web design and coding. The student will learn the programs and technique through the production of a website.

Units of Competency:
CAWEB505A Develop complex web page layouts


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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