Bachelor of Design in Graphic Design for Marketing


Graphic designers function as creative problem solvers, design planners and strategists, as well as skilled communicators and technologists.  They demonstrate a passion for design and creativity, have design and critical thinking skills, a solid understanding of business and marketing, well-developed research capabilities, and a broad based understanding of the social, cultural, and environmental implications of design.  They are team players, team leaders, and can be employees, freelancers, or self-employed entrepreneurs.

Today, the visual communications field (aka graphic design) is broader than ever before, providing graphic designers with wide-ranging career opportunities.  Graphic designers create visual identities for corporations, marketing campaigns for businesses, fundraising campaigns for non-profit organizations, layouts for publications, promotional posters, websites and interactive applications, product packaging, advertising campaigns, retail displays, marketing communications design, and much more.

Why Study Graphic Design for Marketing at KPU?

What makes the GDMA Degree different?  In addition to developing skills in design and technology, graduates of GDMA acquire a solid marketing edge that sets them apart from other design school graduates.  They know how to create effective marketing communication designs that reach specific target audiences, strategically plan a marketing campaign to meet their client's needs, brand a company, design eye-catching packaging, and create websites and apps to promote businesses and not-for-profit enterprises in the marketplace.  GDMA graduates have the know-how to successfully and effectively get the job done!

Who Studies Graphic Design for Marketing?

GDMA applicants come from diverse backgrounds and demonstrate a keen interest in design, particularly visual communications. They will have explored various aspects of art and design through such things as drawing and illustration, typography, photography, computer-based projects, video production, painting and sculpture, or perhaps through different types of crafts. Some applicants may also have communications, marketing, public relations, or business-related experience.

Applicants may come directly from high school, or transfer from other post-secondary institutions, or they may already hold a degree from a non-design field. They may also be mature individuals who want to make a career change, or they may have experience in the graphic design industry and want to upgrade their credentials.

It is strongly recommended that applicants have solid English language communication skills, some computer and word processing experience, basic mathematics, an awareness of the graphic design profession and its significance locally and nationally, as well as an understanding of how graphic design and marketing fit together.

Credit for Previous Learning

Students may obtain transfer credit for course work taken in other programs at KPU, or at other institutions. All applications for transfer credits are assessed on an individual basis. For information about transfer credit applications, please visit

Applicants with experience in the graphic design industry may acquire credits through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA).For further information, please visit

Part-time Studies

Graphic design professionals may 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 available seats in courses. Industry professionals may contact the Program Coordinator to discuss access to individual courses of interest without applying for the complete four-year degree program.

Career Opportunities

The field of visual communications design is fast-paced, exciting, continually changing and expanding, and today, it is broader based than ever before. The GDMA degree program prepares graduates for a wide range of 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 that may include such things as the creation of marketing strategies, 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

Throughout the curriculum, GDMA students are exposed to a range of specialty areas within the graphic design industry. Professional graphic designers might choose to specialize in such things as marketing communications strategies, interactive design, packaging design, advertising design, display design, or the design of integrated media.

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 large corporations or institutions with their own marketing communications 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 self-promotional materials and marketing that will help them to effectively market their services to various types of clients.

Faculty's website:

Department's website:

Admission Requirements

In addition to the Faculty's Admission Requirements, which consist of KPU's undergraduate English Proficiency Requirement, the following program admission requirements apply:

  • Portfolio Review and Interview Session

The Wilson School of Design holds Open House/Information Sessions twice per year, usually in October and February. These information sessions provide prospective applicants with an opportunity to learn about the GDMA program, meet faculty and students, 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 applying for admission. For more information, visit the department's website at:  For further information about portfolio submission and the review process, visit GDMA's website at:  Applicants who successfully satisfy the required portfolio review will be invited to an interview session.

Continuance Requirements

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

Seat availability is based on priority for students who continue in all courses as per the prescribed program plan. Students who are unable to meet course requirements to continue with the program plan or who decide to take a break from their studies may be removed from program. Re-admission into the program will be based on seat availability and approval by the program.

Curricular Requirements

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

Students may take their general education and some non-GDMA 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 elective courses are usually offered during the summer semester.

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Term 1Credits
ENGL 1100 Introduction to University Writing 1 3
GDMA 1100 Typographic Design I 3
GDMA 1110 Image Development 3
GDMA 1121 Graphic Design Software Applications 1 3
GDMA 1140
Graphic Design and Society I
or Design History: 19th Century Onward
Term 2
GDMA 1200 Typographic Design 2 3
GDMA 1215 Concept Development 3
GDMA 1220 Graphic Design Software Applications 2 3
GDMA 1240 Graphic Design and Society 2 3
MRKT 1199 Introduction to Marketing 1 3
Year 2
Term 3
GDMA 2100 Editorial Design 1 3
GDMA 2110 Introduction to Advertising Design 3
GDMA 2120 Print Technologies 3
GDMA 2140 Communication Design and Popular Culture 3
Elective 2 3
Term 4
GDMA 2200 Editorial Design 2 3
GDMA 2210 Web Design 3
GDMA 2222 Video and Animation 3
GDMA 2230 Introduction to Marketing Communications 3
Elective 2 3
Year 3
Term 5
GDMA 3100 Information Design 3
GDMA 3110 UI/UX Design 1 3
GDMA 3122 Interactive Technologies: Design and Development 3
GDMA 3130 Marketing Communications Design 1 3
GDMA 3140 Interactive Technologies and Society 3
Term 6
GDMA 3200 Branding 1 3
GDMA 3210 Packaging Design 3
GDMA 3220 UI/UX Design 2 3
GDMA 3225 Typographic Design 3 3
GDMA 3230 Marketing Communications Design 2 3
Year 4
Term 7
GDMA 4100 Branding 2 3
GDMA 4120 Capstone Project 3
GDMA 4130 Small Business Essentials 3
MRKT 4177
Contemporary Issues in Marketing
or Entrepreneurial Visioning
or Technology for Entrepreneurs
or The Future of News
or Media and Diversity
or Sports, Media and Audience
Elective 2 3
Term 8
GDMA 4200 Advertising Design 3
GDMA 4221 Strategic Portfolio Development 3
GDMA 4222 Special Topics in Interactive Technologies 3
GDMA 4230 Mentorship for Professional Practice 3
GDMA 4240 Contemporary Issues in Graphic Design 3
 Total Credits120

Note: Students must successfully complete ENGL 1100 and MRKT 1199 prior to commencing their second year in GDMA. Note that a minimum grade of C (60%) is required to fulfill course prerequisites.


Electives: Students must complete 9 credits of elective courses at the undergraduate level, including at least two different subjects. Students may choose courses from any subject aside from those offered by the Wilson School of Design, CMNS and MRKT. To ensure all program requirements are met, students should review course selections prior to registration with an Academic Advisor.

Other Information

Students are required to supply their own laptop and subscribe to specific software. Students are advised NOT to purchase a personal laptop computer until specifications and requirements have been provided to successful applicants.

Credential Awarded

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

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