Communication Design Essentials Certificate

Delivered by BCIT and Emily Carr University of Art + Design, the Communication Design Essentials Certificate is a one-year, full-time program that provides students with a solid foundation in communication design theory as well as graphic design skills in the Adobe Creative Cloud. In this age of information, organizations are expanding their communications and marketing departments, increasing the demand for graphic designers and communication professionals. This career-focused program prepares graduates for a variety of roles in graphic design, advertising and marketing.

Program Goal

In partnership with BCIT, the Communication Design Essentials Certificate gives you an ideal combination of design knowledge and technical skills to begin your entry-level career or accelerate your continued learning to earn a four-year degree. Through this program, you’ll get the hands-on experience using the most up-to-date technology and techniques for graphic and communication design. You’ll study with working industry professionals to learn today’s challenges and skills and produce your own print and digital portfolios to help you showcase your work to your future employer.
Course content includes:

  • Brand identity, layout, typography and package design;
  • Corporate communications and project management;
  • Prepress production for print and introduction to web design;
  • Skill development in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign; and
  • Design thinking and process development.

Learning Outcomes

The courses in this one-year certificate program have been designed to give you the essential skills in graphic and communication design to begin your career or get a head start on furthering your education. All your studies, including vector graphics, digital media design, and packaging design, focus on the practical skills and knowledge you’ll need every day for a successful design career.

Program Duration

Students complete the Communication Design Essentials Certificate in one year in full-time study, with start dates in April and October. Classes run 3 to 4 times per week and may include a weekend class.

Assignments + Assessment

An assessment of the learning outcomes of each student is prepared by the instructor. Students can expect to spend approximately 1-3 hours completing homework for every 1 hour spent in class. All assignments must be completed to the evaluative standard set by the instructor to satisfy the learning outcomes of the course and program.

To receive a passing grade in each of their courses, students must:

  • complete assignments, exercises, and activities to the instructor’s stated requirements;
  • satisfy all course learning outcomes;
  • attend 85% classes in order to pass each course and successfully complete the program.
  • pass all prerequisite courses (failure to pass prerequisite courses will result in the student’s inability to complete the program in the typical one-year timeframe.)

Career + Further Education

Some opportunities in graphic and communication design include:

  • Communication Designer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Creative Director
  • Digital Communication Specialist
  • Communications Specialist
  • Corporate Communication Designer
  • Editorial Designer
  • Publication Designer
  • Package Designer
  • Brand Strategist or Manager
  • Prepress Specialist
  • Production Specialist
  • Customer Service
  • Marketing Specialist

Graduates of the Communication Design Essentials program have the opportunity to transfer 33 credits towards a Bachelor of Design, Communication Design Major at Emily Carr University. Graduates interested in this opportunity are encouraged to contact ECU’s Undergraduate Admissions office at before submitting an application.

For those students who may be interested in pursuing a degree in Visual Culture + Material Practice, Culture + Community or Graduate studies, please speak to an admissions adviser to find out how the Communication Design Essentials training may transfer into a new degree.