Billy Blue College of Design
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Bachelor of Communication Design

Billy Blue College of Design

The Bachelor of Communication Design is a comprehensive design qualification that was developed and is now taught by leaders in the visual communication design world; from brand and design consultants, to graphic designers and creative directors.

In this degree you will focus on the creation of visual messages, ideas and information for a range of audiences. You will develop broad visual communication design knowledge informed by theoretical and technical knowledge and to apply those skills to real world graphic design outcomes.

Throughout the course you will explore essential areas of communication design including; typography, image generation, branding, information design, packaging and branded environments. An emphasis on creativity, design thinking, collaborative practice and problem solving will add depth to your practice.

In your final year, the Bachelor of Communication Design will provide you with the opportunity to complete an internship with one of our industry partners giving you fantastic studio experience, fresh contacts, and material for your CV and portfolio.

Careers in Communication design

  • Art Director
  • Creative Director
  • Branding & Identity designer
  • Brand Manager
  • Graphic designer
  • Packaging designer
  • Publication designer
  • Social Media designer
  • Typographer
  • Brand Strategist
  • Brand Architecture
  • Studio Manager



Study Options – Domestic Australian students

Full-time Blended*

Part-time Blended*

*Blended (face to face on campus plus facilitated online)

Study options – Overseas students

Full-time Blended*

*Blended (face to face on campus plus facilitated online)

Start Dates

See Key Dates below

Course Length

Full-time: 3 years (accelerated 2 years)

Part-time: 4-6 years (depending on study load)

Entry Requirements

Year 12 equivalent with ATAR 60.

For international applications IELTS 6.0 (Academic) with no skills band less than 5.5

Special Entry Requirements:

Demonstrated ability to undertake study at this level:

  • Work experience, and/or other formal, informal or non-formal study attempted and/or completed, OR

  • Design portfolio (6-10 pieces of original creative work)

Finance Options - Domestic Australian students


For full fee paying students, payment options are also available.

Course study requirements

Each subject involves 10 hours of study per week, comprising 4 timetabled study hours and 6 personal study hours.


Practical assignments, research projects, presentations


Sydney Campus

Brisbane Campus

Melbourne Campus

Delivered by

Billy Blue College of Design at Torrens University Australia

Accrediting body

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA)

CRICOS Course Code


Key Dates

2016/17 course dates for all Billy Blue classes held at our Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane campuses.

Start Dates Census Dates Last Day Breaks
Mon 20 Feb 2017 10 Mar 14 May 15 May - 4 Jun
Mon 05 Jun 2017 23 Jun 27 Aug 28 Aug - 17 Sep
Mon 18 Sep 2017 6 Oct 10 Dec 11 Dec - 18 Feb

Billy Blue may offer mid-term intakes throughout the year which are subject to availability. For more information please speak with one of our course and career advisors on 1300 66 11 11

COURSE SUBJECTS - bachelor of communication design

Core Subjects
Students take all 5 core subjects for Year 1.

This introductory subject places design process and practice within the context of a chronological survey of major historical eras of influence. Students are encouraged to engage with the historical socio-political movements influencing design trends of each era through research and reflection. Academic skills (research, referencing, essay writing, and sentence structure) and design software skills are taught in weekly lessons. Students use the academic and software skills to document historical research and generate creative responses to the themes of historical eras.

The subject introduces the student to various aspects of the elements of design, e.g. materiality, form and shape, colour, positive and negative space etc. utilized in creative problem solving. Initially students are introduced to a design development process, from the tangible to the digital; through paper model making with its inherent skills development and risk taking, then on to further digital development using newly introduced software. Concurrent, weekly, individual homework tasks focus on understanding and appreciation of materials, their many varied uses, properties and the manufacturing processes related to them.

Students will make incremental progress towards choosing a material in which their individual design can be realized. The submission will include a material and colour folio.

The final submission will be a model executed in an appropriate material with its function/usage contextualized with all relevant information gleaned throughout the trimester.

This subject serves as an introduction to communicating with imagery, from initial concepts and quick sketches through to more sophisticated visual responses, utilising a variety of media. With an emphasis on exploration within historical, practical, and technical parameters, 'Thinking Visually' aims to enable the student to effectively articulate ideas through both drawing and photography. Students will develop skills in observation, idea generation, and effective visual communication through a combination of theoretical studies, observational drawing and material experimentation.

This subject introduces students to the building blocks of typography. It develops students' experience and understanding of the issues involved with communicating through a typographic framework. The subject will look at the fundamental elements of typeface design and analysis, categorisation and usage, in conjunction with introductory design concepts such as balance, composition and hierarchy. This subject requires students to design and construct a publishing outcome that displays their ability to structure visual content through consistent typographic settings and composition, working with short and long body text settings, grid structures and page architecture.

This subject explores the ways that we view the world, our collective understanding and acceptance of visual iconography and how this perception influences our response to brands, advertising and visual communication. It examines the processes and behaviours that drive our interaction with others and how we interact with our world. Students are challenged to re-examine their preconceptions and design thinking methods: to address what makes us communicators and what gives us the right to assume that role? Themes include essential perceptual theory; signs, symbols and meaning; lateral thinking and problem solving; advertising theory; tactics of manipulation, research and focus testing.

Students choose 3 electives in level 100. Popular electives are listed below but others may be available. Ask a Course and Careers Advisor.

This subject advances students’ understanding of publishing design in both traditional and contemporary applications. Students will use their understanding of basic typographic settings, page composition and layout to explore advanced typographic setting, workflow and content editing. Students will be challenged to consider the 'voice of type' and develop a greater appreciation and understanding of how content is read and viewed through a variety of mediums. They will embrace traditional bookbinding and construction methods alongside screen based, digital applications to realise design outcomes.

Students will work both individually and in small teams, reflecting the experiences and structure of a publishing team. Through lectures, workshops and tutorials, students will investigate methods and techniques central to publishing design, considering content generation, document sequencing, publishing terminology and advanced typographic settings crucial to a comprehensive understanding of contemporary publishing design.

This subject seeks to develop conceptual and practical frameworks for the generation of visual images, enabling students to create innovative visual responses in their work. It will encourage students to expand their frame of visual understanding and explore idea generation as well as historical approaches to visual representation, resulting in developing skills in the practical interpretation of ideas. This is achieved through sketching, photography, and experimenting with analogue and digital materials.

This subject focuses on developing the students’ understanding of the fundamental theories of brand management, and the critical relationship of the branded environment to this strategy. Students will explore the application of brand management strategies through a range of case studies, applying this knowledge to the development of an environment that meets the objectives of a brand management strategy.

This subject introduces students to the theory and practice of Information Design. Students will visualise both quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of sources via linear and non-linear typography, signs, icons, pictograms and mapping techniques. They will explore theories and practical approaches that examine instructional systems, methods to convey instructions and complex information systems.

This subject provides an introduction to the fundamental theory and practice of interaction design. Key concepts including experience, interface and interaction are explored, along with fundamental technologies, services and platforms pertinent to the design and production of interactive digital media. Students will also investigate the social, cultural and technological frameworks that inform interaction design and identify the relationships between each.

This subject provides an introduction to the fundamental theory and practice of moving image and 3D design and production. Students will be familiarised with a basic set of tools and techniques for creating moving image sequences and 3D visualisations. Fundamental moving image, screen language and spatial design concepts are introduced, and students will use these concepts in conjunction with basic production techniques to communicate and convey narrative. The subject also introduces concept development techniques and materials specific to the development of motion and 3D design outcomes.

Core Subjects
Students take 1 core subject in Year 2.

This subject expands the understanding of symbols, signs and semantic conventions within communication systems and media. Students are introduced to the history and application of semiotics and encouraged to review, relate and re-evaluate design and communication strategies within the context of de-constructing conventional thinking and design practices. There is particular reference to the cultural shift from words to pictures and the role of meaning in an evolving creative and technological environment. Students present individual and group solutions for the development of a system of symbols and information graphics.

Students choose 7 electives in Level 200. Popular electives are listed below but others may be available. Ask a Course and Careers Advisor.

This subject develops students’ experience and understanding of text and image within the framework of contemporary visual culture. It explores the role that visual communication plays in capturing the ‘zeitgeist’ and how and why particular stylistic approaches deliver their message to specific audiences. In considering the audience: commercial, political, corporate and social, students are encouraged to investigate visual appropriation and identify how authentic graphic approaches capture an era. Students will be expected to move beyond mere aesthetics, technology and materials to discover how visual approaches evolve, are reapplied and re-appropriated within the contemporary communication landscape, in order to enhance their own design outcomes. Through practical workshops, lectures and tutorials, students will experiment with creating a range of text and image outcomes across two and three dimensions, both static and dynamic. They will apply historical imagery, visual languages and alphabets, to deepen their cultural understanding of how literal and metaphorical messages are encoded and decoded, adopted and propagated.

This subject encourages students to analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of contemporary corporate identity and branding systems. Students will develop a deeper understanding of the elements that make a successful brand, challenging the misconception of identity marks as the sole component of a modern brand. Typography and its applications are central features within this subject, providing a level of consistency within a myriad of often, unrelated components. Through lectures, tutorials and practical workshops, students will explore alternative brand touch points and create unique visual expressions within a diverse framework. These strategies and developments will manifest themselves in a variety of environmental and communication pieces, including stationery, advertising communications, signage, way-finding and vehicle livery. Students will work individually to investigate methods and techniques that can be used to establish a coherent visual language across a variety of mediums. Central to their experience will be the notion of what a brand is and how the designer can add value to business through visual and non-visual components. Students will embrace the function of typography as a vehicle to communicate in literal and abstract terms, developing their understanding of tone of voice, hierarchy structures, and material selection and specification.

This subject is concerned with generating typographic letterforms and systems that are expandable in form and application while addressing issues of legibility, readability and versatility. Students will experiment within the frameworks of technical and typographic innovation. Through the creation of key characters, a systematic approach and the context of a cultural framework, communication through abstract shape and image, while still retaining necessary considerations towards readability and accessibility is established. Students will be encouraged to adopt a mindset of innovation in the production of an original alphabets and to consider commercial applications by designing and producing promotional pieces to market their typographic creations.

This subject examines ideas and techniques within the practice of narrative photography. Through lectures examining historical milestones in photography and camera and lighting practical tutorials in understanding the accepted rules, students will gain the confidence to make innovative choices in their creative photography production processes. Students will develop creative narrative photography. Through the production of a multi-panel photo sequence, informed creative choices will be demonstrated.

This subject illuminates the potential that visual communication has to act as an effective, questioning system within culture, encouraging people to rethink society’s culturally accepted norms. It examines practical and theoretical approaches to creating imagery that can communicate to audiences, express viewpoints and comment on social and ethical attitudes towards issues such as globalism, alienation, technology and the relationship between the individual and contemporary society, with a view to affecting positive change.

Students will explore the construction methods of sequencing information within historical, technical and cultural contexts. They will take a story or set of instructions and engage a variety of audiences – undertaking a process of ordering, editing and progressively disclosing ideas. Through analysis of innovative short films, animations, film titles, film previews, TV ads and informational films students will adopt an experimental approach to their assignments.

This subject continues the exploration of the theory and practice of interaction design for digital media. The subject covers core research and concept development methods for interaction design. Students will focus on interpreting and structuring information content for interactive non-linear presentation and delivery, and will also focus on visual aspects of interface design and the ways in which visual design affects end-user experience.

This subject introduces the foundational theory and practice of motion graphic design and live action camera production. The unit introduces basic skills in concept development, asset creation, 2D animation and compositing suitable for motion graphic production. The process of developing a live action video piece is also introduced, from pre-production through to post-production, and including fundamental sound design principles. Students will gain basic skills in camera-based production including basics of lighting, sound recording and editing.

This subject introduces the practical and conceptual skills and knowledge required to design and produce online user interfaces. Students learn how to use compliant standards-based markup and scripting language to develop interfaces. The subject covers concept development, prototyping, development, testing and troubleshooting concepts and techniques typical to interface development. Students also learn how to produce animated elements suitable for online interactive media.

This subject covers the use and customisation of content and technology systems for the delivery of online content. Students learn how to generate flexible design solutions to present and manage complex and variable content. The subject introduces online content management systems and specialist development tools, and students will learn how to use and customize these systems and tools to meet specific design and project requirements. Students will also learn about hosting platforms, performance measurement and metrics systems for online content.

This subject explores the theory and practice of live action camera-based moving image production. The subject introduces an expanded set of production planning concepts and techniques for video production. Creative and technical aspects of working with cameras, lighting and sound are explored in greater detail. The investigation of film, TV and media theory and history is continued with an emphasis on enrichment of the idea generation and concept development process. Students will also explore the use of video editing and post-production techniques to communicate mood, narrative and information.

This subject explores the theory and practice of motion graphic design. Idea generation and concept development techniques for motion graphic sequences are explored and practical and conceptual skills in asset creation, kinetic typography, 2D animation and compositing are developed. The history of motion graphic traditions such as broadcast and film title design are investigated as a means of enriching the design process.

This subject focuses on developing students’ understanding of the impact of the branded environment on the consumer, and its relationship to the quality of the consumer’s experience. Students will explore the theoretical and practical elements of branding through case studies, research and creative investigation. Contemporary branded environments will be analysed in accordance with design principles and the relationship of the environment to merchandise and planning systems. The use of materials and the elements of sound and lighting will also be explored. This knowledge will then be applied in the creative branding of nominated environments.

This subject expands practical and theoretical understanding of Information design and introduces concepts of wayfinding systems. The challenge of navigating three-dimensional spaces, in conjunction with the consideration of time-based issues are also introduced. Screen-based interfaces and environmental contexts form a key part of this unit as students explore the role of the narrative within the sequenced delivery of information.

Core Subjects
Students take 6 core / compulsory specialisation subjects in level 300.

The purpose of the subject is to develop the student’s knowledge and understanding of generic and key concepts in managing a professional design practice. Emphasis is placed on the operation of the professional design studio including project management, client management, studio management and production processes. In addition to the examination of management concepts through lectures and tutorials, students will participate in site visits and conduct research to critically analyse methods used in professional practices. The subject promotes the understanding that integration of general management and professional knowledge and skills are essential to the success of any designer in today’s competitive environment.

This subject examines the effect design has on instigating social innovation and change. Students are introduced to the reality and constraints of working with a real-world client on a major live project. Students will utilise holistic, people-focused methodologies to investigate the social, ethical and human impact of design, whilst ensuring emphasis is placed on the positive effect and critical influence of design on society. By identifying an emotional and authentic core to the project they will be required to demonstrate a critical understanding of the design process so as to move beyond purely commercial and brand centered practices.

This subject examines how new ideas and end-user experiences are translated into marketable products or services and how design driven innovation creates new meaning to deliver competitive advantage. It also looks at the seductive power of design thinking to match necessity to utility, constraint to possibility, and need to demand. Working in small collaborative teams students are required to embrace the multifaceted challenges we encounter everyday in society, and describe and define an innovative and sustainable solution to a user experience problem.

This subject requires students to respond to criteria set within the context of a group exhibition or live project. An understanding of research methodologies appropriate to professional practice and the documentation of personal creative investigation will be explored. Students will also further investigate and examine entrepreneurial and commercial opportunities through collaborative work practice. The subject is delivered from a cross discipline perspective and draws on both discipline specific and common design practices. Students are required to work both independently and as part of a collaborative team in order to conduct research, analyse and define project parameters and deliver innovative solutions that expand the notion of a group exhibition or live brief.

This subject focuses on developing a broader understanding of design portfolios and presentations within the context of current industry directions. Students will participate in self-directed research and evaluate contemporary styles and methods of presentation. Students examine target markets, identifying the specific needs and preferences of the design industry by analysing self-promotional, print and digital portfolio materials. This subject provides a framework for students to create a dialogue between themselves and the design industry. Working independently, students will explore their own design philosophy and use this to compose an effective self-promotional presentation targeting potential employers or clients. Additionally, students will create a design portfolio appropriate to their chosen field, demonstrating an understanding of effective self-branding, page-sequence and personal narrative.

This subject focuses on defining the value of design in modern business. It embeds a systematic process for leveraging relationships between design and business processes and encourages students to think through design to exceed user’s needs. Students must understand and influence how people give meaning to things, by transforming ideas from conception to innovative business strategies. Students can generate unique user-centred offerings, build emotional brand engagements and gain insight into all aspects of establishing a unique and viable business. Students are required to conduct research, analyse and define an entrepreneurial and commercially viable opportunity.

This subject focuses on developing an understanding of contemporary theories of entrepreneurship, design thinking and disruption, through the lens of social entrepreneurship.

Students will explore the application of entrepreneurship business strategies and apply this knowledge through a philanthropic context, by developing their own start-up business.

Students will be expected to:

  • Identify a social problem that needs to be solved;
  • Progress their solution through a business development lifecycle;
  • Conduct face-to-face user interviews utilising a self-constructed questionnaire;
  • Visualise quantitative and qualitative data; learning the basics of using a business model and value proposition canvas;
  • Create and present a professional-level business deck along with a functional prototype.

Note: Some group work will be required for this subject.

Students choose 2 electives in level 300. Popular electives are listed below but others may be available. Ask a Course and Careers Advisor.

This subject offers students the opportunity to work within a professional design studio for an extended period of time. It encourages students to build long-term relationships with the design industry and exposes them to the rigour of applied design practice while building their confidence in adapting to new environments. It also provides a context in which to enhance their communication skills and work collaboratively in a professional arena. Students will undertake a series of research tasks, conducting interviews and gathering data in order to understand the key concepts in managing a professional design practice with emphasis placed on the operation of the professional design studio..

This subject introduces students to packaging design. It is concerned with creating packaging for an identified product, addressing a marketing and community need. The main focus is experimental with a strong emphasis on sustainability and an appreciation of the social responsibilities of the communication designer. Students will learn a range of fundamental hand skills. Critical exploration includes discussion and analysis of how branding and visual communication applies in the realm of packaging.

Students will produce packaging outcomes, presented in 2D and 3D forms that push the boundaries of what is currently available commercially and deliver a holistic solution from point of sale through consumer use and finally to disposal.

This subject provides a deeper understanding of packaging design with students designing and producing a complete packaging solution for a product under any brand that delivers visual identity, exceptional in-store shelf presence and user-friendly experience. Ideal solutions will address key sustainability issues while identifying contemporary trends and current industry directions. Where appropriate, suitable live packaging projects may form the basis for detailed briefs. Students are encouraged to create distinct holistic packaging solutions – not merely a refresh of a brand’s visual identity. The more cohesive and distinctive the solution the better. The packaging solution must be commercially viable from materials, printing and merchandising perspectives.

This subject introduces students to key principles of user-centered design and explores ways of thinking that develop the ability to deliver meaningful solutions for audiences or end users. The aim of the subject is to help students build a skill set that will enable them to deliver appropriate, creative outcomes in the form of experiences that engage their intended audience. Students, working in teams, must consider sustainability and present ideas that have emotional meaning for users as well as commercial viability and functionality.

This subject builds on the skill sets created in User-centered Design, encouraging students to take a holistic approach to the creation of meaningful ‘cradle to grave’ user experiences. This theoretically based subject challenges students to consider audience, purpose and context, while creating personas & stories to help deliver practical, group outcomes that fuse commercial reality with design thinking tools. It emphasizes observation, collaboration, fast learning, visualization of ideas, concept prototyping, and concurrent business analysis, which ultimately influence innovation and business strategy.

Frequently asked questions - Bachelor of Communication Design

Graphic design is now seen as just one element in a broad and evolving field of visual communication disciplines. The nature of the visual communication industry is such that designers are often required to work across a range of disciplines and media including the digital environment. The communication design stream aims to produce imaginative designers who work creatively in areas where information and ideas are primarily conveyed by visual means.

If you have previously studied or worked in the design industry, you may be eligible to receive a subject exemption that can potentially shorten the length of your Billy Blue degree or diploma. Read more about recognition of prior learning.

Billy Blue College of Design has recognised pathways to help you gain entry into the Bachelor of Communication Design based on the criteria you are able to meet. Explore your pathway options.

If you have an exciting portfolio but have not completed a High School Certificate or equivalent, we have created a pathway with one of our partners - CATC Design School. CATC is a successful vocational sector design school where students graduate with excellent hands-on, industry relevant skills. Mature aged students (aged 21 or over) are also welcome to apply directly to Billy Blue based on work experience and an existing portfolio. Read more about recognition of prior learning. For more information on the CATC Design School pathway or about applying directly please ask a Course and Careers Adviser.

We use the latest industry-standard software in all our courses. This changes all the time as industry standards and software programs evolve. Contact us for more information.

Yes, you must bring your own laptop to class. This is part of our commitment to preparing students for the mobile work practice of the 21st Century. There are also some workstations and design software on campus.

Yes, if you are an eligible Australian student you can defer your future fees. International students need to pay each trimester in full before it starts. Learn more about fees here.