Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design


Program Description


Cambrian’s award-winning Graphic Design faculty will challenge you through course work and diverse, real-world projects to help you develop your creative talents and become a professional visual communication designer. The Graphic Design curriculum is career-focused and rigorous, with attention given to both traditional skills and new technologies. In addition, you will develop skills in critical thinking, creativity and concept driven work, allowing you to be agile in the evolving and demanding industry of professional communication.

Using current industry software in the College's state-of-the-art graphic design labs, you will learn how to creatively develop ideas and manipulate space, type, images, and colour to take your work from concept sketch to strategically-designed printed, web-based, or digital form. Projects provide you with applied experience in branding, identity (logos & trademarks) and environmental design, website design/development, print-production, advertising design, illustration, photography, typography and much more.

You’ll also graduate with a professional-grade portfolio that will be invaluable as you meet with potential employers and/or freelance clients.

Check out the 2018 graduate exhibition & charity fundraiser, “Hearts of Oak” to see what you’ll get up to as a student in Cambrian’s Graphic Design program.

Program Highlights

  • 3 years – 6 semesters
  • 5-week placement in the third semester
  • Multiple opportunities for paid design-related work through our close relationship with Cambrian's Applied Research division
  • Strong focus on website & UX design and development using HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript
  • Annual field trip to attend the DesignThinkers Conference in Toronto to see world-class industry professionals present on topics related to the design field
  • Students are automatically registered as student members of the Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario (RGD Ontario) and can participate in professional seminars, studio tours, and events organized by the association’s Sudbury chapter
  • Access to a variety of classrooms and labs along with the latest technology and software, including:
    • Multiple iMac studios featuring 27” iMac computers, running Mac OSX and Adobe Creative Cloud, and an extensive Font Library
    • Professional photo and video studio with boom lighting
    • Complete printmaking shop with etching, lithography, and silk screening presses
    • Full art and painting studio with a student lounge and natural lighting

4D Learning Opportunities

  • Students will have opportunities to work directly with practicing professionals and community clients. These opportunities are provided through Applied Research and are based on the student's ability to demonstrate professionalism and performance.
  • Students will have the opportunity to participate in Portfolio Review Day. Each student can discuss their portfolio with 15-20 practicing professionals, each within in 15-minute session. This highly efficient review allows each student to get ample feedback for improving their portfolio, prior to graduating and their employment search.
  • Fifth-Semester work placement allows students to work side-by-side with industry professionals. Students are encouraged to seek out industry leaders. Graduates have been accepted to work placement opportunities in Amsterdam, Chicago, Toronto, Victoria, and many other competitive locations around the world. Many graduates have been offered full-time work at the host organization after they graduate.
  • Each year, students will have the opportunity to join their classmates and teachers on a trip to Toronto to attend the RGD DesignThinkers conference (please note: students are responsible for covering costs of accommodation).
  • Sustainability Initiatives – Students have the opportunity to participate in various environmental activities that support the program’s dedication to sustainable design education, such as the annual tree planting excursion that to date added over 12,000 trees to Sudbury to help offset the carbon footprint of the graphic design program.
  • Throughout the year, students will be able to participate in a variety of extra-curricular events hosted by the Sudbury Design Society and The Associate of Registered Graphic Designers. These events range from Sudbury & Toronto Studio T

Please note that the academic curriculum is continually reviewed and revised to ensure that Cambrian's programs and courses remain relevant. The College reserves the right to cancel or make changes to any course or program, fee, procedure, or campus location at any time.

Admission Requirements

For graduates of the new curriculum (OSS): Ontario Secondary School Diploma (30 credits) or equivalent or mature student status, including:

  • Any grade 12 English (C), (U), or (M)


  • Credits in Visual Arts and/or Media Arts
  • Computer competency in relevant software (Adobe Creative Cloud)

Additional Requirements

Applicants are required to submit a portfolio, in hardcopy or digital format, for review. The portfolio should contain five creative and artistic works that showcase the applicant's breadth of creative and technical abilities. Pieces to be considered can be from the following disciplines: drawings (still-life, figure, landscape, technical, or interior), paintings (in colour), photographs (colour or black and white), sculptures, ceramics or three-dimensional work, computer-generated work (design, typography, animation, etc.), or web-based work. Where no portfolio exists, applicants are required to contact the Program Coordinator.

Additional Information

Additional expenses for digital photographic equipment, field trips, and portable digital storage should be anticipated. Students in the Graphic Design program are also student members of the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD), and graduates are eligible for Provisional RGD status upon graduation.

Program Delivery

This program will be delivered in the following terms:

Program of Study

Semester 1 Credits
ART 1006 Digital Design I 4
ART 1106 Design Foundations I 4
ART 1230 Intro Graphic Design 3
ART 2356 Graphic Design Photography I 3
HST 1002 History of Graphic Design 2
The following General Education course: 3
SSC 1000
Media and Current Events
Credits 19
Semester 2
ART 1240 Design Foundations II 4
ART 1246 Copywriting I 3
ART 2346 Typography I 3
ART 2351 Digital Design II 3
ART 2456 Graphic Design Photography II 3
HST 1003 History of Graphic Design II 2
Select one of the following General Education courses: 3
PSY 1125
Positive Psychology
SOC 1010
Cross-Cultural Understanding
FIT 1115
Health & Wellness
MUS 1009
Rock Music, Culture & Technology
POL 1500
Canadian Political Studies
Credits 21
Semester 3
ADV 1001 Advertising Design I 2
ART 1001 Screen Printing I 3
ART 1345 Copywriting II 2
ART 2305 Illustration I 3
ART 2310 Production Fundamentals I 3
ART 2360 Website Design I 3
ART 2375 Typography II 3
ART 2496 Digital Design III 3
Credits 22
Semester 4
ADV 1002 Advertising Design II 2
ART 1007 Editorial Design 3
ART 1002 Screen Printing II 3
ART 2415 Production Fundamentals II 3
ART 2416 Illustration II 3
ART 2461 Website Design II 3
ART 3518 Sustainable Design 3
ART 3570 Professional Practices 2
Credits 22
Semester 5
ART 1003 Website Design III 3
ART 3515 Corporate Identity 5
ART 3556 Graphic Design Photography III 2
ART 3566 Advanced Design Applications 4
ART 3595 Work Placement 5
Credits 19
Semester 6
ART 1004 Motion Graphics 4
ART 3611 Portfolio Preparation 5
ART 3685 Website Design IV 5
ART 3690 Creative Thesis Project 4
Select one of the following General Education courses: 3
PSY 1125
Positive Psychology
SOC 1010
Cross-Cultural Understanding
FIT 1115
Health & Wellness
MUS 1009
Rock Music, Culture & Technology
POL 1500
Canadian Political Studies
Credits 21
Total Credits 124

Employment Opportunities

Graduates may find employment in both the public and private sectors. These include:

  • Graphic design firms & studios
  • Web & new media studios
  • App & software start-ups
  • Advertising & marketing agencies
  • Architectural firms
  • Motion picture & television studios
  • Editorial & literary publishing houses
  • Educational institutions
  • Government agencies
  • Commercial printing industry
  • In-house marketing & design departments

College/University Degree Opportunities

Graduates from this program may continue their studies at college/university and may receive credit for their prior College education.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

Our College has a vibrant community of more than 11 000 learners, with over 4100 students in 80 full-time programs, and over 7000 students in almost 900 part-time courses and programs across three cam ... Read More

Our College has a vibrant community of more than 11 000 learners, with over 4100 students in 80 full-time programs, and over 7000 students in almost 900 part-time courses and programs across three campus locations in northern Ontario: Sudbury, Espanola, and Little Current / Manitoulin Island. Read less