11 Top Graphic design schools in Canada| Tuition & Details

There are a lot of graphic design schools in Canada, but today, we will discuss in detail the graphic design schools in Canada and some top facts about graphic design schools in Canada.

graphic designers use visual elements to convey ideas. They are responsible for the logos, product packaging, layout of brochures, books and websites.

Therefore in these graphic design schools in Canada, students learn design theory fundamentals while they go on to hone their skills using the latest design software and digital tools.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for graphic designers will increase by 3% between 2020 and 2030, which is slower than average.

However, the BLS also projects that the number of jobs in related fields, such as web development and digital design, will increase faster than average during this period.

According to PayScale, graduates with a BFA in graphic design earned an average salary of about $56,000 per year, as of September 2021.

What are graphic design degrees?

Graphic design degrees teach students how to communicate a message through visual content. They present the basics of visual hierarchy, topography and pictures, to create messages that are very much visually appealing and quite easy to understand.

During their time in the graphic design schools in Canada, students discover how to optimize the user experience through the known interactive design elements and layout techniques which are essentially adapted to user needs.

Is Canada good for graphic design?

If you have a creative flair for design and you want to earn up to $79,950 per year, then Canada is the right place to think of.

There are job opportunities for students in Canada because Canadian employees are retiring earlier, and young professionals relocating to bigger cities in search of new job opportunities.

Therefore, from time to time, a big gap is created which needs individuals to fill it up. Therefore Canada is the perfect place to learn and practice graphic design.

Alberta for instance is currently in need of graphic designers and that includes those for graphic logo design, due to its thriving tourism, interactive digital media sectors, manufacturing, etc.

They are therefore in need of fresh talents to help in promoting rapid growth through their innovative and creative conceptual designs.

How long does it take to obtain a graphic design degree?

As you have known, earning a degree in graphic design is the first step towards a creative career.

Graduates of an associate program can pursue entry-level graphic design, web design, and desktop publishing positions.

Students can also obtain experience as junior designers to eventually pursue a bachelor’s degree.

If you are plan to go for a bachelor’s degree, then you must prepare to spend between three to four years in the graphic design schools in Canada.

However, if you want an associate degree, it usually takes just two years to complete. There are online, as well as offline graphic design degrees.

What will you learn in a graphic design program?

The curriculum of most graphic design programs is designed to help students develop artistic and professional skills and are more often known to introduce students to concepts like:

  • Topography
  • 3D design
  • Computer Illustration

Associate Degree in Graphic design

Earning an associate degree in graphic design undoubtedly serves as a big step towards a very creative career.

Most graduates with an associate degree in graphic design become freelance artists, photographers or even desktop publishers.

Associate degree holders can enter the field as junior designers to gain experience and eventually can decide to pursue a more advanced degree.

Associate degree holders may also work as assistants to most production managers in Canada, as well as creative directors on the path towards their own anticipated graphic design career.

Bachelor’s in Graphic Design?

As most people would say, a picture is worth 1,000 words. A well-designed ad, website, or poster can provide information to a target audience.

This is why it is essential that students pursue a bachelor’s degree in graphics design. Earning a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from any of the graphic design schools in Canada is essential, as it teaches students how to use creativity to communicate.

Graduates seek careers in graphic design, animation and computer design.

A bachelor’s degree in graphic design helps you build your skills in technology, art and communication.

A bachelor’s degree in graphics design requires four years of full-time study, however, some programs may offer accelerated options.

Students can also think about pursuing concentrations or certifications that complement their creative work with technical expertise.

Once in the workforce, professionals need to stay updated on industry trends and technological advances to remain competitive in the job market.

There are many different types of graphic design bachelor’s programs for students to choose from.

Depending on the school, graphic design students can earn a bachelor of science (BS), bachelor of arts (BA), bachelor of fine (BFA), or a bachelor of science in design (BSD

You can find this degree in most liberal art colleges, large universities and schools that focus on creative pursuits.

Best Online Graphic Design Programs

As you all know, earning your degree online can be less expensive and more affordable than attending school on Campus.

You will be able to save costs, especially those related to travel and on-campus student’s fees.

Most graphic designers are creative and most importantly they are comfortable with technology and most likely familiar with the latest software applications and coding languages.

Some online graphic design programs offer concentrations in programs such as:

  • 3D modelling
  • web design
  • motion graphics
  • Interactive design

Some equally offer internship opportunities that allow students to gain valuable experience in the field.

List of Best Online Graphic Design Programs

  • Motion Design
  • Fundamentals of Web Design
  • Publication Design
  • Branding
  • Logos and Symbols

Motion Design

Here students learn how to create motion graphics for film, television, video games and the web.

Fundamentals of Web Design

Here students learn stylesheets, web design, user interface design principles, markup languages such as HTML, CSS etc and pattern libraries to create digital products.

Publication Design

This program is for those who plan to go into the book, magazine, newspaper or digital publishing. Here they learn page layout and other important aspects of publication design.


Here students learn how they can develop branding strategies and effectively apply them in their work. They research and study various research methods that can be used in addressing design problems in branding.

Logos and Symbols

Here students learn how to make well-designed logos and how to combine typography and graphic elements to leave a lasting impression on their clients/consumers. Read on to see the list of graphic design schools in Canada.

List of Graphic design schools in Canada

Below is the list of the top graphic design schools in Canada.

  • George Brown College| Toronto
  • Northern Alberta Institute of Technology | Edmonton
  • OCAD University | Ottawa
  • University of the Fraser Valley | Mission
  • Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) | Vancouver
  • Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) University.
  • Nova Scotia Community College| Halifax
  • Toronto Film School | Hamilton
  • SAIT Polytechnic | Calgary
  • New Brunswick Community College | Moncton

George Brown College| Toronto

Duration: 3 Semester(s)
Entry Score: 6.5 IELTS

This is one of the top graphic design schools in Canada that offers an ideal training ground for the design profession.

They give you a strong overall understanding of design while also allowing you to select a major that prepares you for a career in an advertising agency.

In addition, design electives allow you to gain skills in areas such as illustration, motion, interaction, web, book and environmental design.

Domestic Tuition: $4,153.00

Find out more about international tuition fees

OCAD University

OCAD U’s Graphic Design program teaches you the skills you need but also encourages you to use graphic design as an art form, to challenge barriers and create work for social good.

You will learn, how graphic design impacts society and generates dialogue. You will gain a lot from the hands-on training, as well as theory courses that explore design as a form of expression.

Their hands-on courses include:

  • Design Process
  • Editorial and Publication Design
  • Typography
  • Interactive Communication
  • Packaging Design
  • Motion Graphics

It is a four-year duration program and at the end of your program, you earn a Bachelor of Design degree.

OCAD U’s undergraduate entrance scholarships and awards range from $500 to $5000.

In-study scholarships recognize overall academic achievement and are given at the 1st, 2nd and 3rd-year levels of your program. These scholarships can range from $100-$4000.

See details about tuition.

University of the Fraser Valley

This is one of the top graphic design schools in Canada that has a graphic design and digital program that are purpose-driven.

Students get to build their design portfolios through experimental learning. At the end of your stay, you are sure to be perfect in:

Communication Design  // Turn ideas into action. Create smart concepts, develop strategies and utilize critical thinking skills for powerful visual communication.

Brand Identity  // Go beyond the logo. Design brand identities and visual language that create value, and connect people to places, products, services, and cultures. 

Interactive Design  // Design digital experiences – web and app design, coding, and UX.  

Dynamic Media  // Create motion graphics, kinetic 
visual communication, and moving brand narratives. Activate type, sound, image, and storytelling for screens and mobile devices.

Core Skills  // From research and art direction to execution. Create impactful photography and illustration, and apply beautiful typography. Get proficient in digital production with Adobe’s big 3 – Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator.

Tuition for international students: $7,716 (12 credit minimum)

Student & Ancillary Fees: $440

See details about their tuition and fees:

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology prepares you for entry into the creative and rapidly evolving digital, print and publishing industry.

This is one of the graphics design schools in Canada where students are sure to get hands-on experience with industry-standard software and equipment.

During your stay, you will complete a wide range of projects that you will likely encounter in the industry.

Tuition ranges between $133.00 to $200 per credit unit for domestic students.

Tuition fees for international students are about $18,630.00 per year.

See full details about their tuition fees.

(SAIT) Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

As the needs of industry change, so do SAIT programs — it’s what makes SAIT a global leader in applied education.

The Graphic Design Certificate is currently being revised to better align with changing industry standards. Their revised courses makes them one of the top graphic design schools in Canada.

From magazines and billboards to packaging and snowboards, print media is everywhere.

Using the most recent software, you’ll learn page layout and design, graphic manipulation and how to work as a contractor or consultant.

You’ll receive quality training from experienced instructors who are active in the industry.

Students must take eight courses to complete the program — seven mandatory and one elective.

Some of their programs include:

  • Graphic Design: Concept to Completion
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe In Design
  • Photoshop
  • Graphic Communication Studies

International Tuition: 21,491
Tuition deposit: $250

See full details about tuition and fees.

British Columbia Institute of Technology


graphic design schools in Canada: British Columbia tuition

This is one of the graphic design schools in Canada that is meant for students who have an artistic spark.

The BCIT Graphic Design associate certificate program is one of the fastest ways to build a solid foundation of knowledge that will prepare you for a perfect career in the industry.

Their program is an intense, 6 months training program. However, you can take your program part-time on your own schedule.

You get to learn creative software, strategic design, and digital composition which employees consider relevant.

Nova Scotia College of Art and Design

This is one of the graphic design schools in Canada that has programs that prepares students to participate in almost all aspects of design.

Students focus on their creative and conceptual skills while learning to communicate and solve problems in a range of media and contexts.

NSCAD Design graduates are recognized in the industry for the complexity of their thinking and the broad perspective they bring to every project.

Tuition for domestic students: $3,620

Tuition for International students: $11,690

Toronto Film School

This is one of the graphic design schools in Canada that will prepare you to think critically and be able to execute visual solutions across print, digital platforms and motion graphics.

You will learn from a faculty of industry-active designers who have a portfolio of communications, marketing, and branding solutions designed for brands such as Hudson’s Bay, Canada Post, TTC and Indigo Books & Music.

You will explore multiple perspectives on the design process from a variety of guest speakers and outside creative professionals.

You will graduate with a well-rounded portfolio and the creative and technical skills to launch your career.

See the full details of their tuition

New Brunswick Community College

Graphic and Communications Design specialists are creative experts who produce memorable content.

These design specialists value innovative visual aesthetics and excel at business communications and marketing.

You’ll learn how to plan, produce, and present graphics and text-based design solutions that will engage your chosen target audience.

In a world where billions of images are uploaded each day, businesses hire trained and talented designers who know how to stand out and capture attention.

Their program courses include:

  • Motion Graphics
  • Information Design
  • Print Production
  • Publication Design
  • Branding
  • Packaging Design

Check other programs.

Tuition for Domestic Students: $1,690.00

Tuition for International Students: $4,734.00​​

Nova Scotia Community College.

Nova Scotia Community College

This is one of the graphic design schools in Canada that gives you a thorough understanding of how to convey information and be able to promote ideas through visual communication design.

Their graphic design program lasts for two years.

Tuition (Domestic):$3,620

Tuition (International):$11,690

How to become a graphic designer in Canada

This is what you typically need for the job.

A university degree in visual arts with specialization in graphic design, commercial art, graphic communications or cartooning or Completion of a college diploma program in graphic arts is required.

Experience or training in multimedia design at a post-secondary, college or technical institution may be required.

In addition to the arts, training in biology, engineering, architecture or a scientific field is usually required for medical, technical and scientific illustrators.

Creative ability and artistic talent, as demonstrated by a portfolio of work, are required for graphic designers and illustrators.

Graphic designer duties and responsibilities

Graphic designers may also combine different design elements to create decorative effects that are crucial in producing magazines, corporate reports, and brochures. Their role typically includes the following:

Collaborating with clients to identify the scope of the project.

Recommending customers for the best strategies to reach out to their target audience.

Creating useful images that convey a message or identify a product.

Creating graphics, visuals or images for websites, product illustrations, or logos.

Developing design by the use of hands or computer software.

Setting colours, fonts, images, and layouts.

Presenting designs to customers or art directors.

Making changes suggested by clients in the final design.

Reviewing designs to identify errors before printing or publishing them.

A graphic designer can work as a:

  • Creative director
  • Art director
  • Art production manager
  • Package designer
  • Brand identity developer
  • Visual image developer
  • Visual journalist
  • Logo designer
  • Interface designer

Graphic designer work environments

Graphic designers work in collaboration with people who have an interest in public relations, marketing, advertising, and promotions. In most cases, a graphic designer specialises in a specific area of work, as this is a broad industry. Here are the three most common work environments for graphic designers:

In-house graphic designer

If you work as an in-house graphic designer, you typically work in an office building and your duties include in anything to do with that specific company’s brands. Graphic designers in this work environment tend to manage several tasks, as they possess a wide range of design skills to meet the creative needs of a firm.

Agency graphic designer

An agency graphic designer gets employment from outside clients who require creative works. Here, graphic designers are expected to work on different brands, and the project could be short-term and limited to a particular campaign.

Freelance graphic designer

There is more than doing graphic designing for a freelance graphic designer. These experts manage all aspects of their own business, including marketing, customer relations, bookkeeping, and invoicing. Freelance graphic designers must be self-disciplined and dedicated to completing these tasks. They can work from anywhere in the world, provided they can access the internet and remain productive.

Important skills for graphic designers

A successful graphic designer must possess the right skills. Some of these skills require training and education, but most of them build up through personal and professional experience. Here are some of the most important graphic design skills:

Creativity: Be imaginative and apply innovation to your work.

Consistency: Keep your designs consistent and follow the brand’s identity.

Communication: You must clearly communicate your ideas to clients.

Time management: Graphic designers often work on tight schedules and prioritizing tasks and observing deadlines is crucial.

Technology skills: Graphic design often relies on computer software and you must learn to use these digital tools.

Marketing skills: These skills are important for designers, especially if you are a self-employed graphic designer.

Problem-solving: A graphic designer must be ready to take on challenges and discover ideas to solve problems in their work.

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