Graphic Design

Course CodeBIT205
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment
Learn Graphic Art and Design
Start a new career, or enhance your existing career!
Graphic Design skills are used across a wide range of industries, and what you learn through this course can be valuable for working in any of these, including:
  • Marketing
  • Publishing books, magazines, newspapers
  • Landscape design, Architectural design, Interior design
It takes more than artistic skills to convey a client's vision. Technical ability, an awareness of working to specification and budget, and the ability to apply your skills across a range of situations all play a part. Lay a strong foundation by studying a course that covers everything you might be faced with working in this role.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. All about Graphic Design
    • Tasks that a Graphic Designer may do
    • Key skills for a Graphic Designer
    • Graphic Designer Roles
    • Graphic Design History
    • Graphics Dictionary
    • Software that Graphic Designers use
  2. Basic Design Fundamentals
    • Design Elements
    • Design Criteria
    • Composition Theories
    • Practical Devices of Composition
    • Gestalt Principles of Perception:
    • Choosing Pictures and Images
    • Choosing File Type
  3. Using Colours
    • CMYK and RGB
    • PMS Colour
    • Hex Colours
    • Coloured and White Light
    • Emotional Responses to colour
  4. Typography
    • Selecting the typography for the right impact
    • Choosing and using the right font in your work
  5. Pictorial Content within your design - methods & techniques
    • Traditional use of pictures
    • Illustrations used in modern designs
    • Preparing images for use in your design
    • Rough draft of your ideas
    • Digital Illustrations
    • Raster and Vector Graphics
  6. Logotype Design
    • Use of Logos
    • Colours and Emotions
    • Shapes of Logos
    • Business Cards
    • Letterheads
    • Banners
  7. Layout Design to graphic artwork
    • Getting your message across
    • Ensuring your design is well organised
    • Attract Attention
    • Principles of Layout
    • The Design Process
    • Style Sheets
    • Designing Artwork for a Printer
    • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
    • Types of Software
  8. How the graphic design industry functions within your locality
    • Visual Communication
    • Manufacturing
    • Built Environment
    • Industrial Design
    • Interior Design
    • Graphic Design
    • Designing for different fundamental purposes
    • Design Brief
    • Web Page
  9. Comparative Design- drawing form the work of other designers to diversify your work
    • Influential People in history in the Graphic Design Industry
  10. Design Project
    • Problem Based Learning
    • Interacting with people that you work with


Graphic design involves arranging images to create visual affects that meet predetermined criteria.
The images that are arranged may be photos, drawings, or even text (ie. writing). They might be arranged for publishing in an electronic format or print.

There is purpose in design. The purpose is usually to communicate something; maybe to educate, maybe promote or inform. There can be many different purposes, and the communication may be subtle or even sub conscious


These are the things that affect your design choices, both practical and aesthetic.

  •   Function – where will it be used and what is its purpose?
  •   Cost – the cost may be too prohibitive for some designs
  •   Changeability – can you change the artwork easily, to update it for using elsewhere or repeatedly, adapting for different uses. For
  • instance, vector graphics allow for an image to be printed on a business card or an advertising poster with no loss in quality.
  •   Usability – can it only be used in one place; or several?
  •   Aesthetics - sometimes the message may be more important than the overall appearance.
  •   Accessibility - where will it be seen? On the side of a bus, in a magazine, in an art gallery?

Designers need to think like their clients, and the client's customers.

  •   Space can be two dimensional or three dimensional.
  •   Space can be negative or positive – negative is unfilled space.
  •   Space is commonly landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical) shaped rectangles; but may occasionally be other shapes.


In addition to elements and principles there are a number of different theories which have been proposed in order to try and describe how to go about putting a composition together. We shall briefly review a few of them here.

Divine Proportion

The Divine Proportion is also known by various other names, the most common being the Golden Ratio. other names include the Fibonacci Spiral or Phi, Golden Spiral, and Golden Rectangle. It is a ratio which is found everywhere in nature and was therefore originally said to have been created by God. It relates to the proportion of different things compared to one another. The ratio's numerical value is approximately 1:1.618.

A Golden Grid was created to try and replicate the Golden Ratio. When set out it resembles a spiral. Elements in a design should be set out along the lines of the spiral since it replicates how our eyes see things. When used properly, the viewer will focus on the elements the designer wishes to emphasise. We'll come to grids shortly.

Rule of Thirds

This is similar but not the same as the Divine Proportion. It uses a slightly different ration which is 1:1.667. Some regard this rule to be a sort of lazy person's version of the Golden Rule, and so it is often frowned upon by purists..

Nevertheless, it is commonly used in photography since a lot of cameras rely on inbuilt composition grids based on this rule. It is also popular in fine art where it is applied to setting out paintings and it features graphic design and web layout.

Focal Point

This theory suggests that you should always have a focal point in a design. The focal point is something which stands out from the rest of the design. It is the point which our eyes naturally focus on. When a viewer looks at a design they are immediately attracted to the focal point and begin from there.

The focal point can be an image, a piece of text - even a blank space if it relates to the message in the design. Caution should be used not to make a focal point so bold that it causes imbalance to the rest of the design.

Single Visual

This is used to create a single visual element which stands out in a design. The visual image is used as the most powerful component in the design and the rest of the design is worked around it. It is often used in printed designs but also in webpage design.

It is a relatively easy design to accomplish since the image does most of the work, but it also means that given the importance of the image it must be a good one and have the desired effect on the viewer. A poor choice would destroy what the designer was hoping to convey. The other elements of the design should support and add to the image without competing with it.

Grid Theory

There are many different approaches to grid design using different sized and proportioned grids. It is particularly popular in web design but also art and photography, and other areas of graphic design. Grid design attempts to add structure and a good proportion to the elements within a design. When a designer uses a grid to layout a design it can help to keep it sharp and well defined.  

Meet some Of our academics

John Mason

John Mason is one of Australia's most prolific writers. He saw his first work published when at secondary school, where he worked on the school magazine. In 1973 he was writing a weekly column for his local newspaper and by 1975 he was a regular contributor to Australia's national magazine "Your Garden". John was engaged by Victoria's Dept of Youth, Sport and Recreation to write a book on Fun and Fitness Trails in 1978. In 1981 he saw two more books published (one in America, another in Australia), and commenced writing regularly for the Self Sufficiency Magazine, Grass Roots. John is a long term member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Garden Media Guild (UK) and the Horticultural Media Association (Australia). He has written or contributed to over 100 books, many published by international publishers and published more than 2,000 articles across a range of genres (Gardening, Education, Business, Farming, Fitness). In addition, John has contributed to and overseen the development of more than 600 distance education courses which encompass around 20 million words. He has been an avid photographer for 40 years, building a collection of over 100,000 images, which are used to illustrate his work. His marine animal photos are even used by Legoland in England, on their Atlantis ride! Writer, 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.

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