CUA40720 Certificate IV in Design

CRICOS Course Code: 105798F

Graphic design is an ever expanding industry. In the Certificate IV in Design, you will acquire the skills to create logos, magazine layout, brand identity, digital illustration, manipulate graphics and concept design. The skills gained in this qualification will prepare you for further study into a Diploma of Graphic Design, expanding your skills and capabilities as a qualified Graphic Designer.

Start Dates



40 Weeks

Study: 31 weeks // Supervised Study: 3 weeks // Holidays: 6 weeks

Delivery Mode


14 hrs / week


6 hrs / week

Potential Career Outcomes

Junior Designer // Illustrator // Freelance Designer


Gold Coast

Entry Requirements

Academic Entry Requirement:

Students must provide evidence of successful completion of:

  • Certificate IV or Diploma requires a minimum of Year 12 OR a minimum of a Certificate III level qualification or higher.
  • If there is no evidence of the above, the student must sit the Entrepreneur Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) Test and achieve a satisfactory result


Please note: home country evidence is accepted and must be translated


English Entry Requirement:

Students must pass a minimum of one of the following English Requirements:

  • Upper Intermediate Certificate or higher
  • Certificate IV level or higher qualification in Australia
  • IELTS 5.5-6, FCE Grade B or C, CAE 160-179, TOEFL 72-94, TOEIC 400-485 (listening), 385-450 (reading)
  • Entrepreneur Education English Test, achieving at least Upper Intermediate level


Please Note: To ensure that the English test score is current, the English test must have been taken either within two years before the application is made or within two years before the grant of the visa.


Course Resource Requirements:

The following resources are required to complete this course:

  • Computer Requirements: Students will require continual access to their own laptop computer during class and outside of class to meet distance education requirements
  • Adobe Creative Cloud Suite: must have a subscription to the current version.
  • Computer System Requirements:



Please note: students are required to purchase these items at their own expense


You may be eligible for Credit Transfers if you hold the same unit(s) from another provider. To be eligible; you must present your certified qualification at enrolment stage, together with the completed ‘Course Credit Form’. Once assessed, you will be notified of the outcome. Should your achieved units be equivalent, your CoE/course duration will be reduced according to the amount of time needed to complete the outstanding units.

Course Subjects

01. Designing with colour

CUAACD401 Integrate colour theory and design processes

BSBDES301 Explore the use of colour

During the ‘Designing with Colour’ unit, students will demonstrate the ability to investigate and combine colour theory into a realistic practical project. Colour theory will be demonstrated in both theoretical and practical components of this assessment across a 4-week period.

02. Typography

BSBDES401 Generate design solutions

ICPPRP2210 Select and apply type

CUAGRD302 Use typography techniques 

In this ‘Typography’ unit, students will learn about the history of typography, type styles and categories. This knowledge will be applied to a client project where students will demonstrate typesetting and layout skills. Students will also learn of finished art and print media and applying typography to a commercial project.

03. Principles of Design

BSBDES305 Source and apply information on the history and theory of design

BSBCRT301 Develop and extend critical and creative thinking skills

CUAGRD401 Research and apply graphic design techniques

This unit focuses on Graphic Design principles and the application of this knowledge to a commercial advertisement, a Billboard. Students will learn about the evolution of design, current graphic design trends, extend design industry vocabulary and gain knowledge of design principles founded by Gutenberg. The theory of design assists in conceptual underpinning for design work and rationales when pitching to clients.

04. Image editing (Photoshop)

BSBDES402 Interpret and respond to a design brief

CUAPHI403 Enhance, manipulate and output photo images

Throughout the course of the next 4 weeks, students will learn the art of image editing in Adobe Photoshop. The assessment task is to work with existing images for a client and create 3 manipulated images ready for advertisements and online materials. Students will use industry software to learn techniques like removing blemishes, changing colour (hue and saturation), etching out people and placing them on a new background in a professional manner. 

05. Health & Safety

BSBWHS201 Contribute to health and safety of self and others

This unit covers the skills and knowledge required to work in a manner that is healthy and safe in relation to self and others and to respond to emergency incidents. It covers following work health and safety (WHS) and emergency procedures and instructions, implementing WHS requirements and participating in WHS consultative processes. Students will apply this knowledge in a design studio scenario and document findings.

06. Layout design (Indesign)

ICPPRP224 Produce pages using a page layout application

During this unit, students will demonstrate the ability to design complex layouts for a specified client. Use of the Adobe Programs such as Illustrator Indesign and Photoshop will be used in a collaborative way to design a 4 page and 8-page brochure that will be imposition printed as saddle stitch document. In this unit students will also learn print and pre-press terminology to work better with printers and work with finished art methodology.

07. Project preparation

CUAPPR401 Realise a creative project (theory)

Over the duration of your studies, you will have the opportunity to work on an elected major project. This project can be either a branding style guide, an illustrative piece or advertisement design. Selecting one of three briefs, you will work on this project progressively across the 24 teaching weeks of the Certificate IV in Design qualification. This unit will prepare you for the industry considerations, preparation and research techniques required to complete the major project successfully.

08. Digital drawing

CUAACD301 Produce drawings to communicate ideas

CUAILL401 Develop and refine illustrative work

This unit covers a range of digital drawing technologies, tools, programs and techniques that a designer can apply to commercial projects. Over the course of 3 weeks you will learn how to digital draw and colour in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. The main project will be focused on designing textile designs and patterns using these newly formed digital drawing skills.

09. Elective project

CUAPPR401 – Realise a creative project (Project)

Over the duration of your studies, you will have the opportunity to work on an elected major project. This project can be either a branding style guide, an illustrative piece or advertisement design. Selecting one of three briefs, you will work on this project progressively across the 24 teaching weeks of the Certificate IV in Design qualification. You will meet with your mentor regularly to achieve milestones and receive valuable feedback to keep the project moving. This is a self directed project that will take motivation, creativity and a pro active approach to design.

Timetable Information


Please note; timetables are subject to change.

Course Terminology

Workshop (Design Foundations)

During this time your mentor will deliver planned training sessions which are aimed to give you introductory graphic design skills. Activities may include presentations and planned activities to learn how to use graphic design tools and software.


Workshop (Creative Project Foundations)

Upon completion of the introductory workshops, you will be equipped to commence management real and simulated projects. This scheduled time will focus on individual components of your assigned projects.


Collaborate (team meeting)

In collaboration with students studying Project Management, you will complete a series of projects. You will be designing real life artwork and will have access to a project manager to help meet your targets. In this allocated time slot, you will have weekly project meetings with your team to evaluate your project.


Collaborate (facilitated learning & project work)

During this facilitated time, you will work collaboratively with your project team, or complete independent research tasks that have been delivered in the workshop sessions. You will practice skills that you have been taught by your mentor.

Distance Education

Online Course Hub (on-line learning portal)
The course hub provides you with a wide range of learning resources to guide your distance education. You will be able to access a variety of quality resources in your own time.


Facebook Group (communication and conversation group)
Your mentor will lead conversations and communicate information related to your study. You will be encouraged to share ideas and collaborate with your class peers about project work.

Academic Calendars