For over forty years, our acclaimed program has trained highly-skilled, creative individuals for the growing profession of Graphic Design. This three-year advanced diploma program prepares graduates for direct entry into dynamic and rewarding work environments including design studios, ad agencies, interactive web and game design studios, publishing houses, marketing firms, and film & television production studios, to name a few.
Our program of study develops the creative potential of each student in three specific ways:
- The creation of a personal portfolio that demonstrates an understanding of design fundamentals using advanced software skills.
- The process and application of design thinking to solve complex communication problems.
- Direct, hands-on experience with professional clients representing a broad range of industries.
We train our students in the foundations of composition and layout, typography, colour, interactive and accessible design principles, and the use of industry-standard software. Our project-based learning approach ensures that students are directly involved in shaping their learning experiences and that principles and best practices are applied in portfolio-driven work across different media.
By working directly with clients throughout their final year of study, students develop their knowledge base with real-world challenges. SLC Graphic Design graduates excel in creative problem-solving, design thinking, and approaches to user-centred design that are required by the growing creative economy.
With dedicated studio, lecture, and Mac lab spaces, SLC Graphic Design gives students the opportunity to collaborate on projects and develop social networks in a supportive learning environment.
SLC Graphic Design student Natasha Delrosario designed the poster for the 2018 Kingston Canadian Film Festival. Check out this video about her experience.
Connect with the SLC Graphic Design program on Facebook
In this course, students are introduced to the basic principles of colour theory and perception. Learners use industry-standard concepts and terms to explore the use of colours in a variety of media and how colour and colour format selections impact the audience. Learners apply concepts and terminology to achieve project objectives and the needs of the client/audience.
In this course, students learn fundamental software skills necessary for the graphic design industry. Learners strengthen their use of graphic design principles through the application of software skills and techniques for the creation of detailed layout specifications and digital illustrations for both interactive and print media. Students develop a fundamental knowledge of file management and organization that is critical to successful professional graphic design practice. Learners experience demonstrations in the lab and work in the lab to develop their competence in each skill.
This course is designed to help students develop and practice the communication skills needed to succeed in college and workforce environments. Emphasis is placed on improving foundational communication strategies-reading, writing, listening, and speaking—and on developing research and critical thinking skills.
In this course, students learn observational skills required for accurate visual rendering and gain the technical abilities to visualize two and three-dimensional subject matter. Students explore the process of connecting an idea to the expression and development of a finished image. Learners conduct research from a variety of sources and then synthesize and develop original art pieces and designs. Using various drawing tools, media and surfaces, students learn several drawing approaches to represent natural and inorganic objects.
In this course, learners explore digital imaging and photography techniques (e.g., working with light, learning camera parts and functions, etc.) and elements of composition to support their artistic vision and produce technically sound images. Students learn digital workflow, including image editing and optimization for various purposes and specifications using industry-standard software. In support of communication skills, students will use imagery and text to produce visual narratives that communicate meaning to a target audience.
In this course, students apply practical business theory and skills to both written and verbal communications in the field of graphic design. Students refine their ability to write with clarity, conciseness, completeness, accuracy, and precision. Learners also develop public speaking and interpersonal skills.
In this course, students continue to develop their basic design fundamental skills towards competence as professional graphic designers. Students explore how various conceptual approaches communicate meaning to an audience by completing hands-on projects. Learners focus on research, ideation and iteration as components of the design thinking process, the development of design layouts, and the role of the critique process. Further topics of professional practice are also explored, including communicating design to other designers, self-direction, and self-care.
In this introduction to the discipline of interaction design, students evaluate forms of digital communication and creative design solutions for various types of user interfaces. Students develop usable, functional designs based on evolving interaction design and usability principles.
In this course, students develop skills in composition, technique, and esthetic sensitivity to execute professional quality illustrations using digital and hand-rendered techniques. Learners analyze illustrations and their relationship to graphic design as well as the relationship between professional illustrators and graphic designers. Students learn how to select illustration styles and techniques appropriate to the content and message of a project.
In this course, students gain an understanding of basic typographic composition and foundational typesetting as they apply it to graphic design problems and solutions. Learners develop a greater command of typographic form and meaning through projects based on the formulation of display types, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. Students develop their skills through increasingly complex projects that require the application of multiple levels of typographic hierarchies. Learners develop the ability to use typography to communicate intended messages in more applied design project work in multiple media.
In this course, students develop increased proficiency in technical software skills. Learners use industry-standard software to focus on production, layout, and typesetting. Learners experience demonstrations in the lab and work in the lab to develop their competence in terminology and in technical skills.
In this course, students learn to document the process of creating design solutions. Learners focus on client objectives and audience needs as an integral part of the design process and learn to document findings in strategic briefs and written rationales. Students also learn to plan out the scope of their projects resulting in effective presentations of their final design solutions. Exploration of professional practice includes industry expectations and strategies for communicating to clients.
In this course, students apply their knowledge of interaction design and usability principles to create digital interfaces for the web. Learners use industry standard coding languages to create a website and apply the fundamentals of designing for multiple devices.
In this course, students explore the context and development of the field of visual communication as an important part of their journey to becoming graphic designers. Course content focuses on the communication, production, reception and intention of the design. Students explore the political, social, and ideological, factors involved in the history of design and consider their role as a designer within it. Students use visual analysis skills to understand what meaning their work might convey and how to produce inclusive, professional, and ethical designs.
In this course, students are introduced to the field of information design. Learners explore the process of making complex information understandable and transforming data into meaningful information in a variety of media. Students learn specialized discipline knowledge such as how people read and the impact of various media on communication. Learners apply this knowledge and the information design principles they learn to a variety of project types to create successful information design solutions.
In this course, students enhance their knowledge of and skills in typography through the completion of several investigative intermediate-level projects. Learners explore typographic principles of accessibility, hierarchy, grids, and organizational structure and how they can be manipulated to meet different audience needs and project objectives. Students develop strategic documents such as project briefs and rationales as the basis to inform design decisions and refine their skills through critiques.
In this course, students develop increased proficiency in technical software skills. Learners use industry-standard software to create professional-quality, accessible media for print and interaction design. Students experience demonstrations in the lab and work in the lab to develop their competence in terminology and in technical skills.
In this course, learners explore visual media technologies to motion-based (video) content and their application to the practice of Graphic Design. Students learn creative applications of digital imaging and photography and experiment with video capture and production. Learners explore strategic communication objectives through media story-telling techniques that can be used to develop video content that communicates meaning to a target audience.
In this course, students learn to develop design solutions with a focus on research, client objectives, and audience needs using the Design Thinking process. Learners continue to develop design skills and knowledge while using critical thinking skills when evaluating personal design work and the work of others. Students develop a creative and personal approach to design solutions through the incorporation of a range of visual designs which will form the basis of their personal portfolios. Professional practice topics include project management, communicating design to clients, and self-care for designers.
In this course, students develop increased proficiency in the principles of interactive design and usability. Learners structure and plan websites using information architecture strategies and user-centred design methodologies. Students learn techniques for interactive media and the fundamentals of designing for multiple devices and for gestural interfaces.
In this course, students are introduced to the field of brand identity and logo design and examine the strategic, conceptual, and technical processes of creating professional-level logos and identities. Learners explore a variety of conceptual and graphic approaches to logo design as well as techniques for stylization and refinement, colour application, and typographic considerations. Students design logos for assigned clients and extend design decisions into policies that apply across different media.
In this intermediate-level course, students concentrate on investigative projects intended to enhance their knowledge and skills of typography in relation to the practice of graphic design. There is an emphasis on choosing typefaces, constructing effective hierarchies, and applying accessible and responsive typesetting conventions for screen-based and interactive media. Students focus their efforts on developing a greater command of typographic form and meaning through projects of greater complexity, across media, and with multiple levels of hierarchy.
In this course, students are introduced to current web technologies and software used to produce basic web applications. Learners create working prototypes and visual designs that meet industry standards for web applications.
This course introduces students to the processes, workflow and software used in the design and development of motion graphics. By learning the foundational principles of animation, and the technical and creative considerations for designing for time-based media, students create a number of motion projects using industry-standard software. Course content is delivered using a lab-based demonstration and workshop format.
In this course, students explore a practical approach to the fundamentals of career research, self-reflection, and professional-level written and verbal communications. Students become aware of their non-verbal signals and utilize techniques of professional communication through presentations and employment correspondence. Students create a professional written and visual portfolio that will assist in seeking placement opportunities.
In this course, students work independently and with clients to solve a specific problem. Learners collaborate through the entire design thinking process, including research, ideation, user testing and iteration. Students present their research and final design solutions to the client's selection committee, building on professional practice skills such as project management, communicating design to clients, and industry expectations for designers. Documentation of the design process in written documents such as research reports, briefs, competitive audits, schedules, rationales, and presentations, will form the basis of the student's final design portfolio, in addition to the final design solution.
In this final interaction design course, students create projects that demonstrate the culmination of knowledge gained. Emerging technologies in the discipline of interaction design are incorporated into projects. Learners research and design an interface to solve a specific design problem and create a professional presentation of their interface.
In this advanced-level course, students examine the interaction of technical, strategic, and creative processes in the development of brand marks, logos, and identity applications for clients in various industries. Learners explore the many different factors that contribute to the development of effective brand identities including the limitations of the various media applications. Students research a client's business needs, competition, and target audience. Learners emphasize a client-based and strategic approach to developing and designing logos and brand identity systems.
In this course, students refine their knowledge and skills of typography through the completion of several investigative advanced-level projects. Learners apply typographic principles of expressive and experimental type, hierarchy, grids, and organizational structure in multi-component systems to meet audience needs and project objectives in various media. Students develop professional-level strategic documents such as project briefs and rationales as the basis to inform design decisions.
This course introduces students to design research methods and processes. Students learn how to identify and define a design problem via research. They learn a variety of research methods including literature review and empirical research to create successful design solutions. In addition to learning how to select appropriate research strategies, students learn testing methods to evaluate the success of their design solutions.
In this course, students refine and publish their final design portfolios for entry into the field of graphic design. Students' design works are critically analyzed and revised to a professional standard based on feedback from faculty, peers and industry mentors. Students develop a case study from a featured piece of work culminating in a professional presentation and prepare work for virtual and/or in-person exhibitions.
In this placement course, students make the transition from their academic training to a professional design environment. This course is a four-week unpaid on-the-job-training practicum for students in their final semester and is a requirement for graduation.
In this culminating course, students work in consultation with faculty on a self-directed project that provides the opportunity to showcase the Design thinking skills they have developed during their time in the program. In addition to developing a strategy and process for completing their project, students apply industry-standard business practices. Learners conduct research, define a design problem, outline a design process, schedule the project, develop and test a prototype, and ensure the final outcome meets design requirements/needs.
In this course, students apply the rules of professional conduct for graphic designers to the development of business communications for clients. In addition to exploring best practices for design entrepreneurship, they apply the principles of ethical design practice to written professional contracts, estimates, and other business documents.
In this course, students learn various workflows used in the preparation of computer files for offset and digital printing, and for interactive media publishing. Learners explore industry practices and terms, including advanced printing techniques, spot colours, special finishes, die-cuts, and folds. Students learn how to communicate with suppliers, prepare specifications to obtain cost estimates, and develop efficient timelines for print and interactive media production management.
Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with the majority of Grade 11 and 12 courses at the C, U or M level including the following prerequisites:
- Grade 12 English at the C or U level
- Grade 11 Math at the C, U or M level
- Completion of a course-related Portfolio Assignment
For OSSD equivalency options, see Admission Requirements.
If you are missing prerequisite courses, enroll in the Career/College Prep program - free for Ontario residents who are 19 years or older.
Required Computer Hardware:
Starting in Fall 2023, students in the Graphic Design program will require access to a MacBook with the following specifications.
- Intel 5th Gen or newer (M1)
- OSX 10.15 or higher
- 16GB RAM
- 2GB GPU VRAM
- 1280 x 800 video display
- Internal SSD - 250Gb - 500Gb
- 1280 X 800 Display
- Intel 6th Gen or newer (M1)
- OSX 12.0 or higher
- 32GB RAM
- 4GB GPU VRAM
- 1080HD video display
- Internal SSD - 500Gb - 1Tb
- 1920 X 1080 or higher
Students should also plan to purchase a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.
- 4-week block placement at the end of third-year
- Opportunities locally and in larger design markets such as Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal
- International placement opportunities available: New York, London, and more
- Design Studios, Interactive Agencies
- Advertising Agencies, Brand Agencies
- In-house Design departments at larger corporations or institutions
- Non-profit organizations
Our Kingston campus has seen significant renovation over the past few years, including a brand new Student Life and Innovation Centre that houses a new gymnasium, fitness centre, pub, and more.
Graphic Designers are in high demand, working in design studios, interactive, branding our advertising agencies, marketing firms, television/broadcast, game design, publishing houses, and print and digital media production companies, as well as in-house design and digital publishing or media departments.
The results of the Canadian survey of salaries and billing practices in the communication design industry are available at creativeearners.ca.
Sarah McLean Knapp
Click here to message Recruitment.
Credit Transfer Opportunities
SLC graduates have many options to continue their studies with post-secondary institutions across Canada and around the world. Agreements between SLC and other institutions that are specific to this program are listed below. In addition, there are many credit transfer pathway agreements between colleges and universities within the province of Ontario. Please also visit www.ontransfer.ca to search for options relevant to your program area of study.
- Royal Roads University - Bachelor of Arts in Professional Communication
- Athabasca University - Bachelor of Professional Arts - Communication Studies
- Conestoga - Bachelor of Design (Honours)
- Lakehead University - Honours Bachelor of Arts and Science (Media Studies)