Festival branding app by Max Littledale (IDEA18)

Festival branding app by Max Littledale (IDEA18)

IDEA School of Design—Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication at Capilano University

A career-oriented program for the next generation of creative professionals, with concentrations in branding, illustration and interactive design.

Launched in 2014, Capilano University’s Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication in the Faculty Of Fine & Applied Arts at IDEA School Of Design is a 4-year degree program with exciting career outcomes for a new generation of creative professionals. The curriculum is rigorous and industry-focussed; students graduate with highly relevant knowledge and skills.

We are a Vancouver Art & Design school ranked #1 of the most mentioned post-secondary Western Canadian design schools.

Capilano University’s IDEA School of Design has always had a strong connection with the creative industry in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

In 2018 we deepened our involvement through the launch of our fourth-year practicums. The final course in our four-year degree program is an eight-week full-time placement in a local company.

IDES 490 Industry Practicum is an experiential learning course that takes place primarily off campus. Students work within a studio/agency environment or with a personal mentor in a capacity related to visual communication.
 Students in the IDEA School of Design work on projects on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017.

The degree replaces, and builds upon, the successful IDEA (design and illustration) diploma program, which has gained a reputation throughout Canadian art and graphic design schools for effective, career-ready graduates.

Our students win many industry awards and scholarships every year. New for the degree are opportunities to specialize in branding, illustration or interactive design beginning in third year, and a two-month practicum in fourth year. All-day classes in dedicated studios provide students with an intense learning experience, a close peer-support network, and a high level of faculty feedback.

 Students work on projects in Jeff Burgess' Survey and Principles of Illustration class on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018.

Students in first and second year have personalized desk spaces. The cost of laptops, cameras, professional association memberships, colour printing, an art materials kit, and other tools are built into tuition fees.

Entry is competitive. Portfolio reviews, interviews, and tests of drawing, writing and creative abilities form part of the selection process.


The IDEA Experience—A Close-Knit Cohort

Students become part of a close-knit cohort as they move together through the program. The commitment level is high, and the IDEA School of Design supports this commitment with dedicated labs and professors who go the extra mile for students. This makes for a distinctly demanding – and rewarding – learning environment.

Students are expected to work long hours and to become totally immersed in developing skills and learning new ones in a professional, collaborative studio environment. The reward is that graduates are superbly trained, highly employable designers and illustrators, ready to begin successful and exciting careers in the creative industry.

Students have come from across Canada to attend our program, and we’ve welcomed international students from the United States, Mexico and further abroad—including Kazakhstan and Indonesia. To get an idea of what your costs would be to attend our program, check out the University’s Tuition & Fees Estimator.


Career Opportunities in Visual Communication

Grads are working in a wide range of fields in both the public and private sectors, such as:

  • communication design

  • illustration

  • advertising

  • branding

  • interface and UX design

  • book and editorial design

  • publishing

  • marketing

  • in-house design

  • fine art

  • digital media

  • environmental design

Latest Grad Spotlight Stories

IDEA helped nurture a desire that has been in me for many years – to start my own company. It was only through IDEA that I discovered my love for illustration and realized it was a viable career. The main reason that I’ve been able to make a career for myself is because of IDEA. The skills and portfolio I left with have let me find a job in any city in the world I want.
— Maria Centola—Junior Digital Designer at Sennep in London (IDEA Grad 2016)
Every year IDEA produces top quality talent ready for battle.
— Sean Carter / Principal / Carter Hales Design Lab

Graduates are highly sought-after in the industry and can be found in many top studios and agencies, both in Vancouver and around the world. Others form start-up companies or enjoy their own freelance practices. Vancouver companies that employ our grads include:

Entrance Applications

Entry to the Bachelor of Design program at Capilano University is competitive, and applicants must submit a portfolio and other documents through the online portal SlideRoom.

Please submit no fewer than 15 images of recent work, which may be self-generated or assignments from school or another program. We suggest a minimum of 3 drawings. The remaining submissions can be any combination of photography, painting, design, video, 3D work (e.g. jewellery, sculpture), collage, animation or interactive design (e.g. website, app). The purpose of your portfolio is to demonstrate your creative potential. We assess portfolios on drawing skill, design and creativity.

Not sure what to include in a portfolio? See Portfolio Requirements for additional guidelines.