Graphic Design

Kingston Campus | Program Code: 0309 | Open for International Students
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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:

  1. The creation of a personal portfolio that demonstrates an understanding of design fundamentals using advanced software skills.
  2. The process and application of design thinking to solve complex communication problems.
  3. 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.

Program Details

Code 0309
Start Date September
Credential Ontario College Advanced Diploma
Campus Kingston
Program Length 3 Years
Delivery Full-Time
Open for international students

Program Highlights

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

Program Outline


The aim of this course is to introduce the design and conceptual fundamentals used by graphic designers. The course emphasizes both the visual forms used to create design compositions, as well as the concept development process. This studio course uses hands-on projects, and incorporates terms and techniques that are taught in other courses including typography, colour, photography and writing. Course content is delivered using a lecture/discussion format, and develops the students’ critical thinking/analysis skills through group critique sessions.
An introductory course the fundamentals of digital photography, elements of composition, and basic image editing. Also examined are photography's role in society, and a brief overview of the history of photography. You will learn the practical side of digital photography by exploring the various camera parts, functions and photographic techniques that will lead to producing technically sound images. Digital workflow, including image editing and optimization for various purposes is also covered. There will be series of photographic assignments, which will be edited and optimized in our computer lab, culminating in the production of visually compelling images. You will also gain an appreciation of aesthetics and composition, through discussions, critiques and writing an artist statement.

This course will introduce you to industry techniques of graphic design and provide you with the practical and manual skills used in the profession. The application of manual tools and a mastering of precision are the major objectives.

Co-requisite(s): DESI 191

This course is the first of two drawing courses in the Graphic Design program. Students will learn observational skills required for accurate visual rendering and gain the technical abilities to visualize two and three-dimensional subject matter. Students will be introduced to the process connecting an idea to the expression and development of a finished image. The course will prepare students to conduct research from a variety of sources then synthesize and develop original art pieces and designs. Using various drawing tools, media and surfaces, students will learn several drawing approaches to represent natural and inorganic objects.

This course will introduce the basic principles of colour theory and perception and give the student the understanding to wisely choose and use colours in a variety of media to achieve desired results.

This course provides an introduction to typography and typesetting as they apply to graphic design problems and solutions. Through the study of type anatomy, history, composition and basic typesetting you will develop your ability to identify the visual characteristics of letterforms and manipulate basic typesetting variables to develop skills required for more complex typographic compositions in subsequent project work within the program.

This course introduces the fundamental software skills necessary for the graphic design industry. Graphic design principles will be reinforced through projects and exercises using these software skills. Students develop a foundational knowledge of file management and organization that is critical to successful professional graphic design practice. Basic file management principles will be identified and demonstrated in class assignments. The majority of course content is delivered through in class lab demonstrations that allow students to practice each skill. The students complete assignments and projects by applying software techniques for creating detailed page layout specifications and digital illustrations as well as industry standard file management processes.

Co-requisite(s): DESI 191

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.

This course is designed to build on the communication skills developed in COMM 78 by providing the opportunity to apply practical business theory and skill to both the students' written and verbal communication, specifically as they apply to the field of graphic design. Students will complete various types of written assignments integral to a career in the graphic arts that illustrate their ability to write with clarity, conciseness, completeness, accuracy, and precision. Students will also develop their public speaking and interpersonal skills.

Prerequisite(s): COMM78

This course further develops basic design fundamentals for a professional graphic designer. Students learn fundamental design concepts through the completion of hands-on projects. The topics include steps in the design process, the development of design layouts, and the role of the critique process.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 101 + DESI 131 + DESI 151 + DESI 181

In this introduction to the discipline of interaction design, students evaluate forms of digital communication and create design solutions for various types of user interfaces. Students develop usable, functional designs based on evolving interaction design and usability principles.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 151 + DESI 191

This course is designed to improve the skills acquired in DESI 120 Digital Photography, and introduce studio, lighting, and intermediate photography techniques. The fundamental processes learned in DESI 120 will be refined and a more critical approach to the photographic medium will ensue. The focus will be on exposure and studio lighting as well as intermediate use of industry standard image editing software.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 120

This course is the second of two drawing courses in the Graphic Design program. Students learn fundamental drawing techniques and explore a variety of materials and tools. Students develop skills of observational drawing, with emphasis on proportion, composition and style. Students refine ideation sketches into original designs through brainstorming and testing multiple alternatives of a single concept. They learn drawing strategies enabling them to visually develop ideas and concepts as part of the process of producing effective artworks.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 141

Students develop skills in composition, technique and aesthetic sensitivity to execute professional quality illustrations using digital and hand rendered techniques. They analyze illustrations and their relationship to graphic design, as well as the relationship between professional illustrators and graphic designers. Students also learn how to select illustration styles and techniques appropriate to the content and message of a project.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 131 + DESI 141 + DESI 151 + DESI 191

This course provides an understanding of basic typographic composition and foundational typesetting as they apply to graphic design problems and solutions. You will develop a greater command of typographic form and meaning through projects based on the formulation of display type, phrases, sentences and paragraphs. Projects will gradually increase in scope and complexity with the application of multiple levels of typographic hierarchies. Through the study of basic typesetting and you will develop your ability to use typography to communicate intended messages in more applied design project work in multiple media.

Prerequisite(s): DESI181 + DESI191 + DESI151 + DESI131

This course will continue to develop technical software skills that were introduced in DESI 191 Digital Tools 1, with a focus on digital publishing, page layout and typesetting using industry standard software. The student will learn how to create professional-quality, full-colour documents suitable for reproduction by printing press and digital media. Students will learn terminology and software skills through lab demos and workshops and demonstrate knowledge by completing a series of skill building assignments.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 191

In this course, students learn to document the process of creating design solutions. There is a strong focus on client objectives and audience needs as an integral part of the design process. The course will continue with Gestalt theories and introduce the role of semiotics as part of the design process. Students also learn to plan out the scope of their projects, resulting in effective presentations of their final design solutions.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 102 + DESI 182 + DESI 192

Students develop an intermediate level knowledge of information architecture, user experience design and interaction design principles. They practice their interaction design knowledge by learning technologies used to build working prototypes of user-interfaces. Students learn industry standard software to create functional interfaces.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 111  + DESI 192

This course investigates the development of graphic design history from the mid 5th century to present day with an emphasis on the 18th to 20th centuries. Topics covered will include the following but are not limited to:

  • Illuminated Manuscripts
  • Block Printing and Movable Type in Europe
  • Graphic Design and The Industrial Revolution
  • Art Nouveau
  • The Genesis of 20th century design
  • The Modernist Era: Cubism, Futurism, Dada, Pictorial Modernism, Surrealism, Expressionism, Suprematism, Constructivism, DeStijl, The Bauhaus, The Modern Movement in America.
  • The New York School
  • The Conceptual Image
  • Postmodern Design
  • The Digital Revolution
  • Exploring Contemporary Canadian Graphic Design Firms

This course provides an introduction to the field of information design. Information design involves the process of making complex information understandable and transforming data into meaningful information in a variety of media. Students identify the specialized knowledge required for the discipline, such as how people read and learn as well as the impact of various media on communication. They apply this knowledge and the information design principles they learn to a variety of project types in order to create successful information design solutions.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 171 + DESI 192 + DESI 102 + DESI 182

This course enhances students’ knowledge and skills of typography in relation to the field of Graphic Design through the completion of a number of investigative projects at an intermediate level, which gradually increase in scope and complexity. Through development of projects in various media students learn how typographic principles of accessibility, hierarchy, grids and organizational structure can be manipulated to meet different audience needs and project objectives. The course emphasizes the development of intermediate-level strategic documents such as project briefs and rationales as the basis to inform design decisions. Course content is delivered using a lecture/activity/ discussion format, and students participate in critiques, both in-class and online.

Prerequisite(s): DESI102 + DESI182 + DESI192

This course will continue to develop technical software skills that were introduced in DESI 192 Digital Tools II, with a focus on digital publishing, page layout, typesetting and creating AODA compliant accessible documents using industry standard software. You will learn how to create professional-quality, full-colour documents suitable for reproduction by printing press and digital media (PDF) as well as an E-pub (electronic publishing) book. Terminology and software skills will be reinforced through lab demos and workshops knowledge will be and demonstrated by completing a series of skill building assignments.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 192

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. The course explores all phases of the design process, from gathering inspiration to integrating typography, transitional elements, colour, and sound into final projects. Course content is delivered using a lab-based demonstration and workshop format.

Prerequisite(s): DESI182 + DESI102

In this course, you will learn to develop design solutions with a focus on research, client objectives, and audience needs. You will continue to develop your design skills and knowledge, while using critical thinking skills when evaluating your own design work and the work of others. The range visual design fundamentals incorporated into designs will grow as you learn to develop a creative and personal approach to your design solutions. These projects will be the starting point for building your design portfolio.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 201 + DESI 272 + DESI 281 + DESI 291

Co-requisite(s): DESI 292

Students apply intermediate knowledge of interactive design and usability principles. Students structure and plan websites using information architecture strategies and user-centred design methodologies. As part of the course students learn techniques for managing modular and dynamic content on the web. Students learn the fundamentals of designing for multiple devices and for gestural interfaces.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 211

This course introduces students to the field of brand identity and logo design, and examines the strategic, conceptual and technical processes of creating professional-level logos and identities. This course explores 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. Course content is delivered using lecture/discussion format, and incorporates guest lectures, student presentations, peer critiques and written strategic documents.

Prerequisite(s): DESI171 + DESI281 + DESI291

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.

Prerequisite(s): COMM79 + DESI 251

This course focuses on various workflows utilized in the preparation of computer files for offset and digital printing. Emphasis is placed on industry practices and terms, including advanced printing techniques, spot colours, special finishes, die-cuts and folds. Students will learn how to communicate with print suppliers, prepare print specifications to obtain cost estimates, and develop efficient timelines for print production management.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 291

This intermediate level course will concentrate on a number of investigative projects intended to enhance the student's knowledge and skills of typography in relation to the practice of graphic design. Students will primarily focus their efforts towards developing a greater command of typographic form and meaning through projects of greater complexity, across media and with multiple levels of hierarchy.

Prerequisite(s): DESI281 + DESI291

This course introduces students to current web technologies and software used to produce basic web applications. Students apply this knowledge by creating working prototypes that target various devices and screen sizes. In addition to the ability to create working prototypes the knowledge acquired in this course provides students with the ability to create visual designs that meet industry standards for web applications. Students learn correct terminology to successfully communicate their design objectives to colleagues and clients.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 211 + DESI 291


This course explores the range of skills and knowledge required to execute a successful career search. A practical approach to the fundamentals of career research, self-reflection, and professional level written and verbal communication are explored. Students become aware of their non-verbal signals and utilize techniques of professional communication through speeches, presentations and employment correspondence.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 2020 + DESI 273 + DEI 282 + DESI 292 

The aim of this course is to prepare students to work independently while working directly with actual clients to solve a specific problem. Group work (in-class and online) will also play an important part of the research and concept development process. Students present their final design solutions to the client’s selection committee. Documentation of design process work and final solution will form the basis of the student’s final design portfolio.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 202 + DESI 273 + DESI 282 + DESI 292 + DESI 331

In this course, you will learn the fundamentals of Design Thinking as a methodology for creative problem solving. Though a series of exercises, you will learn how to apply different Design Thinking strategies as the basis for working on client and user centered problems. The solutions you generate will vary depending on the needs of the users and the context. The Design Thinking process is an integral skill for professional designers.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 251

In this final interaction design course students create projects that demonstrate the culmination of knowledge gained in previous interaction design courses. Emerging technologies in the discipline of interaction design are incorporated into projects. Students research and design an interface to solve a specific design problem and create a professional presentation of their interface.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 212 + DESI 292

This senior level course further develops students’ understanding of the field of brand identity design and examines the interaction of technical, strategic, and creative processes in the development of brandmarks, logos and identity applications for clients in various industries. In researching the client’s business needs, competition, and target audience, students learn that many different factors contribute to the development of effective brand identities including the limitations of the various media applications where they are applied. The course emphasizes a client-based and strategic approach for developing and designing logos and brand identity systems. Course content is delivered using a lecture/discussion format. In order to enliven concepts and discussions, this course incorporates guest lectures, student presentations, and written strategic materials.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 231

This course enhances students’ knowledge and skills of typography in relation to the field of Graphic Design through the completion of a number of investigative projects at an advanced level of scope and complexity. Through development of projects in various media, students learn to apply typographic principles of expressive and experimental type, hierarchy, grids and organizational structure in multi-component systems to meet audience needs and project objectives. The course emphasizes the development of professional level strategic documents such as project briefs and rationales as the basis to inform design decisions. Course content is delivered using a lecture/activity/discussion format, and students participate in critiques, both in-class and online.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 282

Portfolio and Practice provides students the opportunity to use the rules of professional conduct for graphic designers to refine their portfolios. They apply project management skills to write professional contracts, documentation and estimates. Students' portfolios of design work are critically analyzed and revised based on feedback from peers and industry mentors. Students develop a case study from a featured piece of work culminating in a professional presentation.

Prerequisite(s): DESI301 + DESI311 + DESI331 + DESI381 + COMM85

This course assists the student in making the transition from their academic training to a professional design environment. This course is a four-week unpaid practicum on-the-job-training for students in their final semester. It is a requirement for graduation.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 301 + DESI 311 + DESI 331 + DESI 381 + COMM 85

In this course students photographically document their work for their final portfolios. Techniques in studio lighting and photography will be demonstrated and utilized, as well as advanced image editing methods and digital workflow. There is a series of photographic and image-editing assignments specifically targeted to their own portfolio development.

Prerequisite(s): DESI 121 + DESI 301 + DESI 311 + DESI 331 + DESI 381 + COMM 85

Agency Capstone is the culminating course in the graphic design program. Students work in consultation with faculty on a self-directed project that provides the opportunity to showcase the 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. Students 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.

Prerequisite(s); DESI301 + DESI311 + DESI331 + DESI381 + COMM85

In this introductory course, students explore the range of skills and the knowledge required to become successful entrepreneurs. Course content focuses on the development of business ideas, business types, and business planning including feasibility studies and competition analysis, branding, promotion, and an overview of financial tracking.


Admission Requirements

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.


  • 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
  1. Design Studios, Interactive Agencies
  2. Advertising Agencies, Brand Agencies
  3. In-house Design departments at larger corporations or institutions
  4. Non-profit organizations



Program Fees
Ancillary Fees
$4,398.06 CAD
Program Fees
$0.00 CAD
Ancillary Fees
$1,287.52 CAD
$5,685.58 CAD

Fees are estimates only.  Tuition is based on two semesters.

Program Fees
Ancillary Fees
$16,950.00 CAD
Program Fees
$0.00 CAD
Ancillary Fees
$1,978.85 CAD
$18,928.85 CAD

Fees are estimates only.  Tuition is based on two semesters.


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.

Kingston Campus

Career Opportunities

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


"The Capstone Project allowed us to go into the community to solve a real problem. Often with school projects, we generate these great ideas that only exist in the studio. It was an amazing experience to interact with real clients and offer real solutions."
Brad Duffy, class of 2015 Design Entrepreneur, Four Degrees
"The best advice I could give any student entering Graphic Design is: Lean into it and be present. Commit 100% of your passion, mind and will, and this program will show you how to take part in some of the amazing, forward-thinking ways design is changing the world."
Samuel Campbell, class of 2015 UI/UX Designer, Front-End Developer, Entrada Team, Queen’s University

Other Information

Additional Costs

The cost of books and supplies for Semesters 1 and 2 is estimated at $1,200. This covers graphic design equipment and ongoing production materials. Students are expected to provide their own laptop computers and designated software when starting Semester 1. As models and configurations change frequently, students will be advised about the most suitable equipment for future course work.

Program Contacts

Program Contact
Sarah McLean Knapp 

Admissions Information
Click here to message Recruitment.

Click here to schedule an appointment with Recruitment.

International Students Contact
+1 613.544.5400 ext. 5514

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 to search for options relevant to your program area of study.