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Visual Communications Design Certificate (formerly Digital Graphic Design)


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This program prepares students for a career in the field of graphic design. Students explore the graphic design industry, the role of the designer, design theory, industry standard tools and practical hands-on design techniques and challenges.

Print and web media are explored as students learn to develop concepts and solutions to graphic design problems through traditional design processes. Students produce a multitude of graphic design applications and work together to plan and deploy a public showing of their work completed.

Program Status:
Accepting applications

Start Length Credentials Campus Part- or Full-time
September 2017 and January 2018 9 months Certificate Downtown Full-time

Apply Now

Apply Now

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If you're ready and know the program you want, apply now. Download and complete the (PDF) application/registration form and mail it to VCC Registrar's Office Visit us at one of our campus locations.

After you apply, you can check application status to see if all of the requirements have been met or to update contact information. Please use the temporary login ID and Personal Identification Number (PIN) that you used to complete your original online application.

Program Description

Program Description

The goal of this program is to prepare students for a career in the visual communications design industry. Students will study the visual communications design industry via seven key foundational pillars. These include: conceptual thinking, workforce, studio practices, client interaction, client-centered project, curriculum, and flexible pathways.

The Conceptual Thinking pillar combines brainstorming, research and problem solving with creative and critical thinking. This allows students to work both collaboratively and individually to produce applicable and unique solutions for design problems via a group critique process.

The Workforce pillar ensures students graduate with the skills necessary to gain employment in the three common areas of graphic design practices:

    working freelance
    working in in-house corporate environments
    working in advertising, marketing and interactive agencies

The Studio Practices pillar provides students an opportunity to train in a program built around a true studio experience.

The Client Interaction pillar requires students the opportunity to work directly with clients to experience a diverse range of expectations. Working directly with clients reinforces student understanding of audience and provide opportunities to enrich communication skills to meet client expectations.

The Client Centered Project pillar allows students to work on projects that emphasize both conceptual understanding of modern design as well as production skills. The student projects serve as exemplars that will be integrated into a professional portfolio.

The Curriculum pillar provides students with built-in complimentary courses to help enhance understanding of graphic material; each block compliments the other concurrently and consequently.

The Flexible Pathways pillar affords students the option to gain a solid foundation in visual communication and exit with a certificate after nine months. Other students who may wish to cultivate their skills and ascend to a higher level, can continue to second year and be provided with an enriched client experience paired with advanced courses for a diploma.

Program Duration

The Visual Communications Design Certificate consists of 18 courses totalling 56 credits offered over a nine-month duration. This is a full-time, daytime offering. The maximum allowable completion time is four years.
Instructional Activities, Design and Delivery Mode

Both the Visual Communication Certificate and Diploma curricula are designed to provide context and mimic the real-world graphic design industry. Courses in this face-to-face program are delivered through a combination of instructional activities including, but not limited to; lectures, practical labs, seminars, demonstrations, guest lectures, videos, team activities, production simulations, computer labs, and field trips. To support the development of motivation and self-discipline, some of the theoretical and technical aspects of the program involve independent learning components.

The Digital Graphic Design lab, located at the downtown campus, is equipped with Apple iMac workstations with the latest software and OS. Students will use modern drawing tablets, digital cameras, and colour printers. The ratio of students to workstations is one-to-one and all classes in the program take place in a modern computer lab.

Evaluation of Student Learning

Students are evaluated through the completion of assignments and projects, critiques and quizzes (both written and performance based). Most assignments and projects include the process of initial concept stage, work in progress, and final submissions which can include reflections and client feedback. Professional conduct, which includes collaboration and teamwork, time management, organization, communication, participation and attendance, will also affect the final grade in each section. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required to achieve a passing grade in each course and to receive a certificate and/or diploma.

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

General

VCC welcomes applications from Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

As Vancouver Community College is a post-secondary institution committed to educating adult learners, applicants should be 18 years of age or older or a graduate of a secondary school.

Please note that you must submit official transcripts and educational documents to support your application; unfortunately, we cannot accept photocopies or fax versions.

Program Specific

Missing prerequisites? VCC offers courses in Adult Upgrading and English as an Additional Language to help you meet your goals.
  1. English 12 with a C grade or equivalent
  2. Interview with Selection Committee.
    • Prior to interview students are required to provide:
      • Personal portfolio*
      • Resumé and letter of intent clearly listing reasons for pursuing the certificate*

*For further information on the above, please view the Visual Communications Design Selection Guidelines available on the VCC website.


Recommended Characteristics:


  • Ability to work well in a fast paced deadline driven environment
  • Ability to work effectively in a team and independently with confidence
  • Customer service-oriented outlook and ability to work well with a wide variety of people
  • Ability to give and receive feedback
  • Motivation, curiosity, and research-orientation
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Enthusiastic, positive attitude
  • Initiative and self-starter work habits
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • A basic understanding of Mac computers is strongly recommended

Fees and Other costs


Application Fee $35
Tuition Fee $8075.20
Student Union Fee $59.54
College Initiative Fee $141
Student Union Health Plan Fee $146.04
Student Union Dental Plan Fee $146.04
U-Pass Fee $369.00
Other Costs Graduation Fee - $21.22
Campus Resource Fee - $161.50 Textbooks and Supplies - $900

For book lists and prices, check Bookstore.


Fees are approximate and subject to change without notice. Students are responsible for any increase in fees if advanced payments are made. The application fee is non-refundable. Fees are refunded according to the refund policy. For further clarification, see withdrawals and refunds information page.

Info Sessions

Info Sessions

VCC’s Visual Communications Design certificate program (formerly Digital Graphic Design) concentrates on conceptual thinking, understanding audience, problem solving, design theory, technical expertise in Adobe Creative Cloud, and both print and web development.

This nine-month, full-time program takes place at VCC’s Mac lab overlooking beautiful downtown Vancouver. Courses are taught by experienced professionals using a practical curriculum relevant to today’s fast-changing graphic design industry.

Date Day Time Room Location
September 27, 2017 Wednesday 4 - 5 p.m. 819 Downtown
October 19, 2017 Thursday 5 - 6 p.m. 819 Downtown


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Course Schedule

Courses Schedule

Term 1

(VCDP 1110) Design Foundation
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits
(VCDP 1111) Adobe Creative Cloud
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits
(VCDP 1120) Image Foundation
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits
(VCDP 1121) Photography Foundation
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits
(VCDP 1130) Typography Foundation
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits
(VCDP 1131) Intermediate Image
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits
(VCDP 1140) Composition
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits
(VCDP 1141) Client Designer Management
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits


Term 2

(VCDP 1250) Brand Identity Foundation
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits
(VCDP 1251) Print Production Foundation
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits
(VCDP 1260) Brand Design Intermediate
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits
(VCDP 1261) Print Production Intermediate
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits
(VCDP 1270) Web Design Foundation
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits
(VCDP 1271) Web Development Foundation
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits
(VCDP 1280) Interaction Design Foundation
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits
(VCDP 1281) Wordpress Foundation
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits
(VCDP 1290) Certificate Portfolio
course schedule schedule
4.0 credits
(VCDP 1291) Personal Promotion Foundation
course schedule schedule
4.0 credits