2012-13 University Calendar
 Kwantlen Polytechnic University  Calendar  2012-13  Faculty of Design  Graphic Design for Marketing: Bachelor of Design

Graphic Design for Marketing: Bachelor of Design


In the contemporary marketplace, graphic designers function as creative problem solvers, design planners and strategists, and skilled communicators and technologists. They are team players, team leaders, and can be employees, freelancers, or self-employed entrepreneurs. They require a solid understanding of business and marketing, high-level visual and critical thinking skills, well-developed research capabilities, as well as a broad-based understanding of diverse social and cultural groups. Graphic designers are involved in projects ranging from the design of visual identities for corporations, retail stores, and institutions, to specialist projects involving skateboard and sports-related graphics. Today, graphic designers have more wide-ranging career opportunities than ever before. They may design websites, lifestyle and fashion magazines, hospital and shopping mall wayfinding systems, fundraising campaigns for non-profit organizations, packaging for all manner of products, advertising campaigns on billboards and bus shelters, and even television and film title credits.

The Graphic Design for Marketing (GDMA) program has worked closely with industry to design a curriculum that meets the needs of the marketplace. GDMA graduates graphic designers who have well-developed design skills, understand the connection between design and marketing, and have a wide range of complementary and interdisciplinary knowledge and abilities.

The Graphic Design for Marketing program offers students two options for their studies:

  1. Bachelor of Design, Graphic Design for Marketing. This is a selective-entry, four-year Bachelor's Degree program that is eight semesters in length consisting of 120 credits of coursework.
  2. Diploma option. The three-year diploma is embedded within the degree. It allows students who do not wish to pursue a degree in graphic design to have an optional exit point after six semesters of study and 90 credits of coursework.

The Degree

Graphic Design for Marketing (GDMA) is a four-year, selective entry degree program consisting of 120 credits of coursework organized into eight semesters of study. The GDMA program provides a balanced education that encompasses skills, knowledge and capabilities relating to, graphic design, marketing, business and general education.

Students in the GDMA degree program will develop knowledge, skills and abilities from learning domains as diverse as graphic design process, marketing, and business; media, technology, and production; conceptual development and image development; and an understanding of the social, cultural, and historical contexts of graphic design. They will be skilled in applying design theory and processes, with an emphasis on critical thinking and creative problem solving, and will be able to originate and produce marketing and promotional concepts for a wide range of products and services, including the promotion of corporate, institutional, and social initiatives.

The program works closely with the graphic design community and its professional associations in order to ensure students develop career readiness and graduate with the best possible chance for success as employed or self-employed practitioners.

Visit the program's website at kwantlen.ca/gdma or attend an information session for design programs at Kwantlen - held twice yearly in mid-October and mid-February.

Credit for Previous Learning

Students may obtain credit for segments of the program with results from course work (i.e. general education courses) taken in other programs at Kwantlen, or at another institution. All applications for credits for previous learning will be assessed on an individual basis. Graduates from a two- or three-year graphics program who wish to pursue a degree in graphic design will be assessed on an individual basis.

Applicants with experience in the graphic design industry may acquire credits through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA).

Graduates from Kwantlen's Graphic and Visual Design program (GRVD) may apply for degree completion. Applicants who completed the GRVD program in the year 2000 and after may apply for entry to Year 3 of the degree. All applications will be assessed individually.

Part-time Studies

Graphic design professionals may also wish to take specific courses on a part-time basis to complement their job skills. Some requirements for course prerequisites may be waived based on work experience. Opportunities for part-time studies will depend upon the number of seats that are available.

Industry personnel may contact the Program Coordinator to access individual courses of interest without applying for the complete program. Access is determined by permission of the Coordinator and an availability of space.

Student Profile

Applicants come from diverse backgrounds and age groups, and demonstrate a keen interest in visual communications expressed through design and art explorations; particularly through activities involving drawing, illustration, typography, photography, computer-based projects, video, painting, sculpture, or various types of craft work.

Applicants may also have communications, marketing, public relations or business-related experience. They may come directly from high school or may transfer from other institutions, or they may be former graduates of design, fine arts, or related programs.

Applicants may be mature individuals who want to make a career change, or may have experience in the graphic design industry and want to upgrade their credentials.

It is strongly recommended that applicants have basic skills in English communication, word processing, basic mathematics, plus an awareness of the graphic design profession, and its significance globally and in Canada.

Career Opportunities

The graphic design marketplace is rapidly changing and fast-paced. The degree program prepares graduates with broad-based experiences as graphic designers in order to compete for entry-level graphic design positions.

Generalist Graphic Designers

GDMA degree graduates will qualify for entry-level positions as graphic designers in firms providing corporations, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and others with services which may include marketing strategy, interactive media design, publication design, advertising design, direct marketing design, and display design. Understanding consumer behaviour and end-user needs will also qualify the graduate for employment in marketing, advertising or public relations firms that offer graphic design as one of their services.

Specialist Graphic Designers

GDMA degree graduates will have been exposed to various specialty areas within the graphic design profession in order to begin to develop a specialist design career for themselves. The population and industry growth necessary to support graphic design specialists is already occurring in the Lower Mainland.

In-House (Resident) Graphic Designers

The diverse skills acquired by graduates of the GDMA program will equip them to work as in-house graphic designers in corporations or institutions with their own graphic design departments.

Self-Employed, Freelance or Entrepreneurial Graphic Designers

The GDMA graduate will have a solid understanding of the graphic design industry and marketplace through field studies and a mentorship, as well as business and marketing courses. They will have prepared a comprehensive portfolio along with a self-promotional and marketing strategy in order to effectively market their services.

Program Admission Requirements

In addition to Kwantlen's General university admission requirements, including the undergraduate-level English Proficiency Requirement, the following program admission requirements apply:

* Successful applicants will receive an invitation to the required Portfolio Review and Interview session. Alternative arrangements are possible for students who live outside the Greater Vancouver Region and who cannot attend in person. It is, however, in the best interest of applicants to make every effort to attend in person.

Admission decisions to this program are based on interim grades therefore proof of grades must be submitted in accordance with the following deadlines:

Any applicant who has not submitted proof of grades by the specified dates will be removed from the list of eligible applicants.

Applicants who are not admitted into the program may be interested in taking courses toward degree credits via the Foundations in Design (FIND) program. Interested applicants should consult with an Educational Advisor or with the Faculty of Design prior to applying to the FIND program.

Portfolio Review and Interview Session

The portfolio review will include a review of the following:

For further more information about the portfolio review process, including submission details, visit the department's website at: kwantlen.ca/design/gdma/portfolios.

Upon successful completion of the portfolio review, applicants will be invited to attend an interview with faculty. The Office of Admissions will notify students of the results of the portfolio review and/or interview process.

The Faculty of Design holds information sessions twice yearly in mid-October and mid-February. These information sessions will provide prospective applicants with an opportunity to view examples of student portfolios, and discuss portfolio and program admission requirements. It is highly recommended that applicants attend one of these sessions prior to submitting their portfolios for review by faculty.

Program Continuance Requirements

Students must successfully complete ENGL 1100 and MRKT 1199 prior to commencing their second year in GDMA.

A cumulative GPA of 2.67 (B-) is required by the end of Year 3 to progress into Year 4. Students with a GPA below 2.67 (B-) but who wish to continue to Year 4 should contact the Program Coordinator to discuss the next course of action.

Program Requirements

The Bachelor of Design, Graphic Design for Marketing (GDMA) program consists of 120 credits, organized into eight semesters, over a four-year period.

Successful applicants may take their general education and non-discipline specific courses prior to entering the program and/or during the summer semester in order to lighten their workload during the term. Courses such as ENGL 1100, MRKT 1199 and others are usually offered during the summer semester.

Year 1

Semester 1

All of:
  ENGL 1100 Introduction to University Writing 3 credits
  GDMA 1100 Fundamental of Typographic Design I 3 credits
  GDMA 1110 Fundamentals of Image Development I 3 credits
  GDMA 1121 Print Production Software Applications 1 3 credits
  GDMA 1140 Graphic Design and Society I 3 credits

Semester 2

All of:
  GDMA 1200 Fundamentals of Typographic Design 2 3 credits
  GDMA 1210 Fundamentals of Image Development 2 3 credits
  GDMA 1220 Print Production Software Applications 2 3 credits
  GDMA 1240 Graphic Design and Society 2 3 credits
  MRKT 1199 Introduction to Marketing 3 credits

Note: Students must successfully complete ENGL 1100 and MRKT 1199 prior to commencing their second year in GDMA.

Year 2

Semester 3

All of:
  CMNS 2140 Communications for Design Professionals 3 credits
  GDMA 2100 Publication Design 1 3 credits
  GDMA 2110 Introduction to Advertising Design 3 credits
  GDMA 2120 Print Technologies 3 credits
  GDMA 2140 Communication Design, Consumerism and Popular Culture 3 credits

Semester 4

All of:
  GDMA 2200 Publication Design 2 3 credits
  GDMA 2210 Interactive and Sequential Image Development 3 credits
  GDMA 2220 Interactive Software Applications 1 3 credits
  GDMA 2230 Introduction to Marketing Communications 3 credits
  GDMA 2240 Social Contexts for Interactive Media 3 credits

Year 3

Semester 5

All of:
  GDMA 3100 Information Design 3 credits
  GDMA 3110 Interactive and Web Design 1 3 credits
  GDMA 3120 Interactive Software Applications 2 3 credits
  GDMA 3130 Marketing Communications Design 1 3 credits
And one GDMA Liberal Education Elective.

Semester 6

All of:
  GDMA 3200 Corporate Communications Design 1 3 credits
  GDMA 3210 Packaging Design 3 credits
  GDMA 3220 Interactive and Web Design 2 3 credits
  GDMA 3230 Marketing Communications Design 2 3 credits
And one Liberal Education Elective.

Upon successful completion of the first six semesters (90 credits), students are eligible to exit the program and receive a Diploma.

Year 4

Semester 7

All of:
  GDMA 4100 Corporate Communications Design 2 3 credits
  GDMA 4120 Major Project 1 3 credits
  GDMA 4130 Small Business Essentials 3 credits
  GDMA 4115 Integrated Media Design 3 credits
  MRKT 4177 Contemporary Issues in Marketing 3 credits

Semester 8

All of:
  GDMA 4215 Display Design 3 credits
  GDMA 4200 Advertising Design 3 credits
  GDMA 4220 Major Project 2 3 credits
  GDMA 4230 Mentorship for Professional Practice 3 credits
  GDMA 4240 Contemporary Issues in Graphic Design 3 credits

Participation Required in the GDMA Degree Show

Graduating students are required to exhibit their work in the annual GDMA Degree Show, which normally takes place during May, prior to their Convocation Ceremony. They are expected to participate in all exercises related to the development of content, fundraising activities, planning and implementation of this annual event.

The GDMA program reserves the right to approve the public exhibition of graduate work in the Degree Show.


The Graphic Design for Marketing (GDMA) program requires students to take two electives chosen from the approved GDMA Liberal Education Electives in order to fulfill the liberal education requirements for degree completion.

Other Information


Students should be prepared to spend approximately $600 to $1000 per year on books and materials.

Credential Awarded

Upon successful completion of the program, students are eligible to receive a Bachelor of Design, Graphic Design for Marketing.

Upon successful completion of the first six semesters (90 credits), students are eligible to receive a Diploma in Graphic Design for Marketing.

Last Updated: Aug 9, 2012

This online version of the Kwantlen Academic Calendar is the official version of the University calendar. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy at the time of publication, Kwantlen reserves the right to make any corrections in the contents and provisions of this calendar without notice. In addition, the University reserves the right to cancel, add, or revise contents or change fees at any time without notice. To report errors or omissions, or send comments or suggestions, please email Calendar.Editor@kwantlen.ca.