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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Learn about Graphic Design and how to apply it commercially across a range of disciplines
Graphic design involves technical, creative and management skills. Art and design are both conceptual processes. Both aim to communicate ideas to an audience.

Some consider the differences between art and design to be minimal if any, but for most artists and designers, there is a clear distinction:

  • Art work is intending to communicate ideas that have originated with the artist.
  • Design work is intending to communicate ideas from a client to deliver a message from someone other than the designer.



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Learn Graphic Design!
  • Foundation Course for Designers and Artists
  • Professional Development Course for people working in I,T., Marketing, Publishing or any other industry where a knowledge of Graphic Design is desirable.
  • This course is a great introduction to Graphic Design for those who are starting a new career or for those who are wanting to enhance their career opportunities.
  • Course Duration: 100 hours of self paced study. Start at any time, study where you want to, and work at your own pace.
The course comprises 10 lessons, as follows:

1. Scope and Nature of Graphic Design
  • Scope of Graphic Design.
  • Where Do Designers Work?
  • Careers in Graphic Design.
  • Skills Required.
  • General Roles of a Graphic Designer.
  • Nature of the Work.
  • Art Director.
  • Graphic Designer.
  • Brief History of Graphic Design.
  • The Language (Graphics Terminology).
  • Application Software.
  • Examples of Software.

2. Design Fundamentals - line, tone, colour, etc.

  • Design Elements.
  • Design Criteria.
  • Theories of Composition.
  • Practical Devices of Composition.
  • Gestalt Principles of Perception.
  • Choosing Images.
  • Choosing Computer Formats.

3. Colour Theory and Applications

  • Colour Formats.
  • Hex Colours.
  • The Difference between Coloured and White Light.
  • Differences in Colour.
  • The Meaning of Colours - Emotional Response.

4. Typography

  • How Much of an Impact?
  • Typography (Lettering) Size.
  • Typography Weight.
  • Typography Colour.
  • Typography Location.
  • Typography Styles.
  • Choosing Fonts.

5. Illustration - methods & techniques

  • Traditional Illustration.
  • Illustration Today.
  • Illustration - Methods & Techniques.
  • Processing Images.
  • Tonal Zone System.
  • Sketching an Initial Design.
  • Digital Illustration.
  • Raster Graphics.
  • Vector Graphics.

6. Logotype Design

  • What Is A Logo?
  • Creating Logos.
  • Designing Business Cards.
  • Designing Letterheads.
  • Designing Banners.

7. Layout Design

  • Getting the Message Across.
  • Effective Organisation.
  • Attract Attention.
  • General Guidelines.
  • Key Elements & Principles of Layout.
  • The Design Process.
  • What Software Does A Graphic Artist Use?

8. Design Systems and the Design Industry - design briefs, how to bid for jobs, etc.

  • Significant Design Sectors.
  • Primary Design Areas.
  • Scope and Nature of the Graphic Design Industry Today.
  • Design Systems.
  • Designing to Persuade.
  • Design to Inform.
  • Design to Educate.
  • Design to Entertain.
  • What Is A Design Brief?
  • Example Layout of a Design Brief.
  • Web Page Design.

9. Comparative Design - lessons from other designers

  • Important People in The History Of Graphic Design.

10. Design Project - a practical project applying what you have learnt

  • Important People in the History Of Graphic Design.
  • What Is PBL?
  • Problem Definition.
  • People you work with and Mode of Interaction.



Learn all about the art of graphic design and how it is used This course aims to expand your understanding of graphic design and build practical skills that develops your capacity to work to a design brief, as you are likely to encounter in industry. 

A design brief is a written document which sets out the client's design needs. Sometimes a client will present a design brief to the designer at the outset. In other cases the client and designer may work together to write the brief. If a client approaches a designer without a brief it can be beneficial for the designer to have a template of questions they can work through with the client to establish a brief. Typically, the focus of the brief is on the outcome of the project i.e. what the client wants. It is not usually concerned with the aesthetics of the design. They are almost exclusively used when an independent designer or design business undertakes work on behalf of an external client, and are rarely used for work in-house.

A design brief is very useful because it ensures that the client has a clear idea about what they want from the project and serves as a reference for designers working on the project.  The brief is beneficial to the client because once they have established what they want, the designers will spend less time trying out different ideas and more time delivering to meet the client's needs. 

Example Layout of a Design Brief

There are different ways to lay out a design brief and you will encounter quite varied examples. The following example may be amended to suit the company, designer and/or project. For instance you may not require a contents page for a small project, and you may prefer to leave out section 7 - solutions since these are likely to evolve once the project is underway. The sections you might consider including are as follows:  

1) Title of Project.

2) Table of Contents.

3) Company Profile.  Often clients will not be familiar with the company and so a brief summary of the business operations and its history is useful. Possible subheadings include:

  • History of the Company - when it was established, goals, etc.
  • Past Successes - examples of previous work.
  • Market Position - outline of company’s products and services compared to what others in the field are doing.
4) Current Proposal.  A description of why the current project is needed. For instance, the client is moving into a new location. here you might also include the following:
  • Outline of the Situation
  • Past Projects - other use of graphic design by client relative to current project 
  • Client Needs
  • Constraints - time, budget, etc.
5) Objectives.  An outline of the client's goals - what does the client want to achieve? 
  • Goals
  • Client Message - what message does the client want to get across? Possibly include examples. 
  • Target Market - the demographics of those the client wants to target their message at.
6) Schedule.  A realistic and achievable schedule for the project considering the following processes:
  • Consultation - including research and strategy development
  • Design and Concept Development
  • Production - of artwork, print, multimedia, etc.
  • Delivery of Project - completion and handover.

Dates for accomplishment can be built into each of the above.

7) Solutions.  You may include a section which outlines possible risks and rewards and suggested solutions.

8) Synopsis. 
Evaluation - brief outline of how the project can be achieved.
Summary - brief conclusion of what the client wants, how you are going to achieve it, and when. 


Graphic design involves choices – choosing the images and the formats that those images are to be presented in.

Designers need to always consider not just what you want people to see, but also where and how it will be viewed. The context can affect all sorts of decisions; for example, whether it is monotone or colour, whether existing or imagined, and then creating those images by combining what already exists, with anything created new.

Your choices should be dictated by the communication you are trying to convey.
If you do not understand the message which you are trying to put across, you will not be able to create a graphic design to convey that message.

A good choice should be based on:

  • A definition of the product or service 
  • Who the audience is
  • The environment or context in which it will be seen
  • Resources available to process and present the image
  • The emotional response of the viewer.

This refers to the type of computer file used to store images. There are a number of different possibilities. Generally speaking, the following files are some of the more commonly used in graphic design: 

  • TIFF - these files are the choice of graphic design professionals, publishers and photographers for storing images which are going to be used in print because they can store a huge amount of information with no loss to quality. These are ideal for logos and line print keeping images sharp and exact.
  • JPEG - used for web graphics. It enables images to be reduced in size though it does compress them slightly. It is the best choice for compatibility across PC and Mac platforms. However, it is the worst choice for logos and line art is it often blurs edges, lines, and text and can add a blotchy or blocky appearance known as an artefact. It also cannot be used for transparencies. 
  • PNG - also used for web graphics. It allows for files to be made smaller without loss of image quality. It is another excellent choice for logos and line print.
  • GIF - again used for web graphics but is the oldest file technology and many consider it to be the poorest choice. Whilst it allows for small file sizes and fast uploading, it only supports 256 colours. However, it can be used to create animations and is fine for use with logos and line print. It is also a good choice for clip art and drawn graphics that do not use many colours.

Other file formats which may be used have to be opened by specific software. These include:

  • PSD - these are Adobe® Photoshop files. It is typically a raster format and used to store graphics and photographs created using this software. Files are often created in layers and used by graphic designers and printers
  • AI - these are Adobe® Illustrator files. These are also often created in layers. They are one of the more popular file formats for designers, printers, signage companies, silk screeners, and other promotional design companies. 
  • EPS - these are used for transferring images and designs into other applications. Mostly these are vector files which are scalable to any size. Files can be opened with Photoshop, Illustrator, or Freehand. Like AI files, these are enormously popular amongst a range of design professionals and commercial enterprises. 
  • PDF - this is a useful type of storage file because it can be used to preserve the content (layout, fonts, images) of any source file regardless of what application software was used to create it. The file can be opened using Adobe® Reader which is available as a free download. These files are sometimes used for digital, commercial or desktop printing.





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Meet some of our academics

John MasonWriter, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.
Jacinda ColeJacinda has expertise in psychology and horticulture. She holds a BSc (hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. In horticulture she has a Certificate in Garden Design and ran her own landscaping and garden design business for a number of years. Jacinda also has many years experience in course development and educational writing.

Check out our eBooks

Photographic TechniquesExplore how to take better photos. This is a book packed full of practical tips, from the authors own experience, coupled with a solid introduction to well established and widely practiced photographic techniques. This is a well illustrated, excellent reference for students of photography; and an equally useful source of inspiration to the amateur photographer.
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Professional WritingProfessional writing is any writing that you are being paid for. It can include fiction writing, a best-selling book, articles in a magazine, articles in a newspaper, blogs for companies, technical manuals or procedure manuals, copy for catalogues, newsletters, text books and other academic material and so on.
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