CUA40720 Certificate IV in Design
The government accredited CUA40720 Certificate IV in Design is recognised by employers and industry groups Australia wide. This qualification is part of the national vocational education and training (VET) system.
The course ethos
Online but Intensive
Yes intensive. We know what you need to know in order to be a designer, a smart one. So we don’t take any short cuts. Others may teach from a text book, or from a stream of videos. We don’t.
Design training designed by industry experts
We have designed our CUA40720 Certificate IV in Design course to be a comprehensive qualification in graphic design. You will cover 12 modules during the course and be issued a CUA40720 Certificate IV in Design qualification after successfully completing the course.
More than just software learning
We teach a mixture of what we call ‘OLD SCHOOL’ meets ‘NEW SCHOOL’ techniques that get to the core of what it means to be a real designer: an understanding of the culture of design combined with the techniques of a solid design process, from design brief to idea generation, sketching, layout, comp and finishing in the Adobe suite.
Portfolio & Qualification
This course is ideal for someone who wishes to obtain a qualification for their skills. Being a portfolio based industry; we feel your skills are the most important aspect to your design training. Whether you need the qualification or not is entirely a personal choice. That’s why we run the qualification and the non-qualification courses!
Some of the Reasons Our Students Have Cited
Some students have no immediate plans to undertake further study, yet think it wise for them to keep their options open. Courses teaching specialisations within the design sector may require a qualification in design as a pre-requisite of entry.
A qualification is required by their employer. As we are Austudy approved, students wishing to obtain Austudy, may only do so if enrolled in the qualification. We are happy to have a chat to you about the differences in the courses in more detail too.
Some design employment opportunities lie within a branch of the government sector, where qualifications may be a necessity for employment.
Self Paced Course
Setting a schedule. Students have up to 15 months to complete the 12 modules. As the course is self-paced, you can decide how many hours a week you wish to concentrate on your study. An approximate guide is 750 hours to complete the 12 Modules.
The 12 modules within the course have been holistically designed around the 15 units of competency comprised in the CUA40720 Certificate IV in Design training package.
Module 1 offers an overview of what graphic design is and the immense professional opportunities it provides. Students will be inspired and enlightened whilst being taken on a journey to the great works of past and present iconic graphic designers. You will be introduced to the most popular designer sites encompassing work within the various industries that designers work in.
Definition: A definition of graphic design and its specialised industries.
History: The history of written communication from ancient to present times with visual examples of pivotal movements and designer work.
Specialities: Explanation of the various specialities within the industry of graphic design. An understanding of graphic design’s role in future industries.
Social Networks: Introduction to professional organisations and affiliations that will enrich the student’s understanding of the profession.
- A definition of graphic design.
- An introduction to pivotal historic and contemporary designers.
- An introduction to the various specialities included in the graphic design profession.
- Introduction to online design resources that will inspire and enrich student’s education throughout the module.
In this module, students will begin putting design elements and principles into practice. Students will begin to make decisions using the visual language of a designer. By doing simple studies, this module will introduce students to Adobe Illustrator™ software.
Vocabulary: Design elements and principles.
Studies: Illustrated studies reinforcing the concepts and vocabulary of design. Refinement of final studies using Adobe Illustrator™ software.
Software: Introduction to vector-based computer software Adobe Illustrator™.
- A working knowledge of design elements and how to use them.
- A working knowledge of design principles and how to use them.
- An introduction to design vocabulary needed to evaluate solutions and communicate as a designer.
- Ability to manipulate space to communicate specific objectives.
Typography is a critical skill to the graphic designer. In Module 3, students will get an overview of what typography is, and the integral role it plays in graphic design. They will learn the history and evolution of the alphabet and typographic design and will advance into basic theory and practice.
History: Students will be introduced to the evolution of the alphabet and letter-form design.
Vocabulary: Students will learn type families, type anatomy and type principles.
Studies: Students will learn how to illustrate the basic type families and apply tools to them.
Software: Students will learn typographic tools available in Adobe Illustrator™ software.
- A knowledge of the evolution of the alphabet & letter-forms.
- A knowledge of the history of typographic design.
- An introduction to typographic vocabulary needed to communicate as a typographic designer.
- Ability to classify the different classifications of typography.
In Module 4, students will learn the critical elements and principles of colour that create meaningful design. Students will be introduced to the relative theory of colour and will learn the vocabulary and tools needed to create and talk about colour design.
Vocabulary: Students will learn the vocabulary associated with colour theory.
Studies: Students will display a working knowledge of the concepts in this Module by completing several computer based colour studies using templates provided.
Software: Students will learn the colour tools available in Adobe Illustrator™ software.
- A knowledge of different types of colour perception.
- An understanding of the colour vocabulary needed to communicate as a designer.
- An introduction to the colour theories needed to work with colour.
- Ability to manipulate colour using basic colour tools.
In Module 5 students will advance their knowledge of typography by learning how to apply graphic design elements and principles to typographic design. All studies in this Module will be computer based.
Vocabulary: Students will learn advanced typographic theory and vocabulary.
Studies: Students will display a working knowledge of the concepts in this Module by completing several computer based typographic studies using templates provided.
Software: Students will learn advanced typographic tools available in Adobe Illustrator™.
- An expanded knowledge of type anatomy, tools and vocabulary.
- An introduction to the elements, principles and theories of design as they apply to typography.
- The ability to create letterforms, lines of type and body copy, using Adobe Illustrator™ software.
In Module 6 students will get an overview of photography. They will learn the basic tools they need to shoot photography as a graphic designer, will learn how graphic designer’s work with professional photographers and will learn how to source online stock photography. They will be introduced to pixel-based graphic design programme Adobe Photoshop™.
Vocabulary: Students will learn the tools and vocabulary associated with printing and photography.
Studies: Students will display a working knowledge of the concepts in this Module by completing a studio style photoshoot. They will also create their first advert design.
Software: Students will learn basic photo manipulation tools Adobe Photoshop™ software.
- An understanding of the basic tools for photography.
- An understanding of vocabulary, resolution and file formats.
- The ability to create an impacting photographic compositions.
- The ability to crop and manipulate photographs to enhance meaning.
- An introduction to layout and advert design.
In Module 7, students will use the tools they have learnt to create typographic systems. This is how dynamic logotypes are made. Students will be introduced to the creative process and will learn how to use it to create, analyse and manage concepts. They will also learn how to manipulate letterforms to create legible, well crafted, dynamic and meaningful word-marks.
Process: Students will learn the processes and tools associated needed to create meaningful design concepts.
Studies: Students will display a working knowledge of the concepts in this Module by completing several computer based typographic projects using templates provided.
Software: Students will use illustration and Adobe Illustrator™ software to illustrate, design and refine projects.
- An understanding of the creative process.
- The ability to generate, analyse, edit and refine concepts.
- The development of a dynamic unified mark.
- The development of a typographic logotype.
Module 8 is all about systems. Students will begin to show a command for design principles by creating a graphic interpretation of an organic subject. This project reinforces the creative process and the integral part that research plays in concept and design. Students will use illustration and Adobe Illustrator™ software to develop their marks.
Process: Students will follow the creative process to define their own goals for the projects in the Module.
Studies: Students will conceptualise, develop and refine design systems based upon an organic form of their choosing. They will further this knowledge by creating an iconic system.
Software: Students will use advanced Adobe Illustrator™ software knowledge to illustrate, design & refine projects.
- The ability to create, identify and refine advanced design systems.
- The ability to evaluate design decisions to enhance communication and simplify graphic systems.
- The development of a dynamic, unified organic form.
- The development of a unified series of icons.
- Working with the Adobe Illustrator™ tools in a more advanced way.
In Module 9, students will learn the essential elements of composition and layout design. Students will create dynamic typographic compositions in multi-page layout programme, Adobe InDesign.
Vocabulary: Students will reinforce vocabulary from earlier modules that applies to typographic layout.
Studies: Students will learn how to manipulate typographic principles to create dynamic layout design.
Software: Students will be introduced to Adobe InDesign™.
- Advanced understanding of proportion and its application in layout design.
- The ability to create unified systems out of dissimilar elements.
- The ability to manipulate typographic tools to create dynamic layout.
- The development of a type and image project.
- An introduction to multi-page layout planning, design and software.
- The development of advanced typographic layout.
- The development of a multi-page magazine layout.
In Module 10, students will begin to make their own decisions to create professional quality, self-guided work.
Students will now have a good knowledge Adobe Illustrator™, Photoshop™ and InDesign™. They will know the strengths and weaknesses of each graphic design programme. They will also have the ability to brainstorm and create their own design and communication goals for their projects. This Module will allow students to analyse previous work and rework it into real-world projects for their first graphic design portfolio.
Projects: An instrumental module in the course. Students will deepen their knowledge of working with the design brief and idea generation. Design a complex corporate identity system, package design project and design campaign.
Software: Students will identify which programmes are right for each design task from the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite.
- The ability to define project goals.
- The ability to create a complex working design brief.
- The ability to critique, analyse and develop professional quality design.
- The development of Corporate Identity systems, packaging and design campaign.
Module 11 will teach students the importance of marketing themselves and their work. Students will begin to refine their professional portfolio; design a personal identity system, learn basic professional practices and how to further their design education.
Resources: Students will be introduced to various graphic design job resources.
Studies: Students will learn how to design a personal identity system, and create a professional graphic design portfolio with a design system in place.
Software: Students will use the appropriate software for the projects.
- An introduction to career opportunities in graphic design.
- The ability to create and design a personal identity system.
- The ability to develop a healthy professional practice.
- The ability to create a design system and impactful portfolio.
This module appears in the CUA40720 Certificate IV upgrade and full course only.
Projects: A fantastic opportunity to take you tutors feedback from the module 11 portfolio and rework and refine in the portfolio refinement project. Students will produce a resume and cover letter using a personal design system based on their identity. Students will undergo an industry consultation of a chosen work in a guided fashion. Students will also undergo Copyright in design and WHS assessments.
Software: Students will identify which programmes are right for the each design task by using both Adobe Photoshop™, InDesign™ and/or Illustrator™ for their projects.
- The ability to critique, edit and refine work at a professional level.
- Further self analysis as a designer and how to implement this into a personal design system.
- The ability to take critique from design peers and implement changes to design according to critique.
- Making contact with prospective design employers.
- Understanding of WHS and Copyright within the context of the design field.
Units Of Competency
A breakdown of these modules can be found on the Course Curriculum page of this site. The 12 modules within the course have been holistically designed around the 15 units of competency comprised in the CUA40720 Certificate IV in Design training package.
Apply critical thinking to work practices
Source and apply information on the history and theory of design
Generate design solutions
Interpret and respond to a design brief
Apply work health and safety practices
Integrate colour theory and design processes
Realise a creative project
Explore the use of colour
Explore and apply the creative design process to 2D forms
Explore and apply the creative design process to 3D forms
Source and apply design industry knowledge
Use typography techniques
Research and apply graphic design techniques
Capture images in response to a brief
Enhance, manipulate and output photo images
TGDS worked with me and took the time for me to understand the course before signing up. They made me feel like I was in good hands, they even helped me with the important decision of which Mac to buy!
The best international on-line design school you could ever ask for, especially during the lockdown. The theory is structured very thoughtful, the video tutorials are really helpful, especially if English is not your native language.
Fun & Helpful
Simply put, I would not have been able to study graphic design in depth and at this level, if the TDGS wasn’t around. I really appreciate the availability of such a program and the flexibility that it offers.
You must be 18 and over.
We like to talk to all students before they enrol, choosing the right course requires a tailored approach. Reach out to us via email or if you're a Chatty Cathy (take's one to know one) request a callback in the form found in our footer.
If you've read this website backwards and forwards and would like the more nitty-gritty stuff, our support page is where the nits and grits live.
Web design students must be qualified graphic designers or experience developers to enrol, if you are unsure about your eligibility please contact us.
There’s no need to have any prior knowledge for our graphic design courses. We'll teach you from the ground up you’ll gain all the knowledge and skills you need to become a graphic designer, as well as learning the major design software packages Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign.
Please note the Design@Work course teaches only InDesign.
Web design students must be qualified graphic designers or experience developers to enrol, if you are unsure about your eligibility please contact us.
Our tutors grade and give valuable feedback on all of your assignments. Tutors are accessible via our incredible forum, should you need a point of contact (or a few) prior to submitting your assesments.
Ready to get Started?
You can enrol any day of the year. As we are online and training is self paced, there is no pressure. Enrol when you are ready to start, from anywhere in the world.
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