Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication

Faculty of Fine & Applied Arts IDEA School of Design


4 year(s)

Program Highlights

Want to be part of the next generation of creative professionals? Learn your craft and develop your skill in visual expression at CapU.

The world of visual communication moves fast. In the Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication program at Capilano University, we make it our business to keep up with industry trends and innovations – and take you with us. The curriculum is rigorous, industry-focused and responsive to cultural change and technology advances.

You'll learn a broad range of design specialties such as branding, illustration, and interactive design. You'll engage with instructors who are professionals with years of experience and broad networks across the industry. Bring your talent, passion and goals to a program with a reputation for industry-ready graduates.

Vancouver Film School (VFS) educational pathway

After completing a VFS Digital Design diploma (within the past four years), you can apply for the Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication program through the VFS to CapU block transfer agreement.

Through this pathway, students with a VFS Digital Design diploma will be awarded 60 credits toward entrance into the program at CapU.

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of current visual communication practice.
  • Identify and solve communication problems using a strategic process, with an emphasis on design thinking, creativity, original solutions, and clarity of communication.
  • Describe and respond to the audiences and contexts that communication solutions must address, including recognition of the physical, cognitive, economic, cultural, and social human factors that shape visual communication decisions.
  • Demonstrate proficiency with the tools and technologies that support visual communication practice and apply concepts across a range of media platforms.
  • Utilize professional development and industry work experience to enter the field as visual communication professionals.
  • Apply visual communication expertise for societal and environmental benefit.
  • Work collaboratively with other disciplines in business, industry, and the broader community.
  • Recognize the importance of life-long learning and responsiveness to change.


CampusTermsFull/Part Time
North VancouverFallFull-Time

First Term

Total credits: 15.00

DSGN 121Design Fundamentals3.00 credits
ENGL 100University Writing Strategies3.00 credits
IDES 131Survey and Principles of Illustration I3.00 credits
IDES 133Visual Studio3.00 credits
IDES 141Survey and Principles of Design I3.00 credits


Second Term

Total credits: 15.00

DSGN 122Creative Thinking for Designers3.00 credits
IDES 132Survey and Principles of Illustration II3.00 credits
IDES 142Survey and Principles of Design II3.00 credits
IDES 151Digital Media I3.00 credits
Numeracy Elective 100-level or higher3.00 credits


Third Term

Total credits: 16.00

IDES 211Technology Intensive I1.00 credits
IDES 235Illustration Studio I3.00 credits
IDES 243Design Studio I3.00 credits
IDES 247Survey and Principles of Typography3.00 credits
IDES 252Digital Media II3.00 credits
ENGL or CMNS 100-level or higher3.00 credits


Fourth Term

Total credits: 16.00

IDES 212Technology Intensive II1.00 credits
IDES 236Illustration Studio II3.00 credits
IDES 237Digital Illustration3.00 credits
IDES 244Design Studio II3.00 credits
IDES 249Brand Identity3.00 credits
Breadth Elective 100-level or higher3.00 credits


Fifth Term

Total credits: 16.00

DSGN 325Design Thinking and Research3.00 credits
IDES 313Technology Intensive III1.00 credits
IDES 340Visual Communication Workshops I3.00 credits
Breadth Elective 100-level or higher3.00 credits


Sixth Term

Total credits: 15.00

DSGN 320Professional Development I3.00 credits
IDES 341Visual Communication Workshops II3.00 credits
Breadth Elective 100-level or higher3.00 credits


Seventh Term

Total credits: 16.00

DSGN 473Business Practices for Design Professionals3.00 credits
IDES 414Technology Intensive IV1.00 credits
Breadth Elective 100-level or higher3.00 credits
Choose 9.00 credits from the following list:
DSGN 440Professional Development II9.00 credits
DSGN 441Professional Development II: Illustration Concentration9.00 credits
DSGN 442Professional Development II: Branding Concentration9.00 credits
DSGN 443Professional Development II: Interactive Concentration9.00 credits


Eighth Term

Total credits: 15.00

DSGN 460Professional Development III3.00 credits
IDES 490Industry Practicum9.00 credits
Breadth Elective 100-level or higher3.00 credits


Total program credits: 124.00

Program Notes

Students starting in their baccalaureate degree on or after Fall 2018 and graduating on or after June 2022 must meet Cap Core graduation requirements in addition to their program requirements.

Students may obtain a concentration by completing 24.00 credits in one of the following areas:

- Illustration Concentration: 9 lower-level credits: IDES 235, IDES 236 and IDES 237; 15 upper-level credits: IDES 361 and/or IDES 381, and DSGN 441.

- Branding Concentration: 9 lower-level credits: IDES 243, IDES 244 and IDES 249; 15 upper-level credits: IDES 362 and/or IDES 382, and DSGN 442.

- Interactive Design Concentration: 9 lower-level credits: IDES 243, IDES 244 and IDES 252; 15 upper-level credits: IDES 363 and/or IDES 383, and DSGN 443.

Note: Breadth elective credits must include a minimum of 3 credits designated as Quantitative/Analytical and a minimum of 6 credits at the 300/400 level.

Continuation Requirements: Year 2: Successful completion of all 100-level IDES/DSGN courses with a 2.67 GPA on these courses. Year 3: Successful completion of all 200-level IDES/DSGN courses with a 2.67 GPA on these courses. Year 4: Successful completion of all 300-level IDES/DSGN courses with a 2.67 GPA on these courses.

Important Dates

Application Dates

Oct 1, 2019 - Apr 7, 2020

Course Registration & Waitlisting Starts

Jul 6, 2020

Fee Payment Deadline

Aug 24, 2020 4:00 PM

Note: Dates are subject to change.

How to apply

  1. Check the admissions requirements.
  2. Check the application and document deadlines for your program.
  3. Complete and submit your application through EducationPlannerBC.
    1. Upload all your required/supporting official documents.
    2. Pay your application fee.
  4. Admissions will review your application and contact you.

Admission Requirements

Admission Notes

Please note that ENGL 100 is a required course in the first term of the Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication program. In order to enrol in any English course, students must submit the results of the English Diagnostic Test (EDT) unless they meet the EDT exemptions listed in the Capilano University Calendar website.

Here's what you need to get started on your portfolio

Applicants must submit their portfolio and program applications through the online portal SlideRoom.

Upload to SlideRoom

Please submit no fewer than 15 images of recent work. 

We assess portfolios based on drawing, design, and creativity. We encourage work that uses a variety of mediums (e.g. acrylic, pastel, pen & ink, digital).

Mandatory items are a minimum of five drawings rendered directly from life, without using photographic reference. These can include the human form (faces/figures), still life, people sitting in a café, your dog sleeping, a tree in your yard, etc. For the human figure, you may find it useful to attend life drawing classes for a variety of models and poses. Our aim is to assess how you observe and respond to your living world.

The remaining images can be any combination of traditional or digital illustration, painting, or design. Up to one piece of photography or two videos/animations can also be included.

Please photograph your work straight-on, in clear daylight, to a size of at least 1024 pixels wide. Ensure your photos are clear, faithful to the original, and saved as jpegs.

In addition to uploading a portfolio, you will also be required to answer some questions that address your interests and reasons for applying to the Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication program, and to upload two letters of recommendation. Applicants may also have their letters of recommendation sent directly to the IDEA School of Design; have them emailed to

The SlideRoom portal for the 2020 Early Admission period will open on November 1, 2019.  Once you create your account, you can begin uploading your portfolio and other requirements. Take your time; you may edit your submission as much as you like but remember that we can review it only after you click the SUBMIT button!

If your portfolio meets the standards of the program you will be invited to attend an interview conducted by a faculty panel. In addition to the interview, you will take part in timed tests of drawing, creativity, and communication skills. You will also be required to bring a current sketchbook for review. Please be prepared to spend up to four hours at the University on interview day.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Early Admission (recommended):

  • Apply to the University before you submit your portfolio online.
  • Complete your SlideRoom submission on or before Wednesday, January 22, 2020. Note:  submissions received after this date will be considered in the Late Admission Period.
  • Interview and testing dates will take place Tuesday, February 18, 2020 and/or Wednesday, February 19, 2020. Exact date(s) TBA.  Applicants will be notified by telephone if their submission meets the standards of the program.
  • Waitlisted applicants will be notified after the Late Admission period if space becomes available.

Late Admission:

  • Apply to the University before you submit your portfolio online (applications to the University close April 7, 2020).
  • Complete your SlideRoom submission on or before Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
  • Interviews and testing will take place Wednesday, May 6, 2020. Exact date(s) TBA. Applicants will be notified by telephone if their submission meets the standards of the program.
  • Waitlisted applicants will be notified if space becomes available.

For the official publication of programs, course descriptions and admission requirements please view the Capilano University Calendar (pdf).

Apply to CapU


Have questions about this program?

IDEA School of Design

604 990 7820

Student Information Services

604 984 4900
604 984 1798 (fax)
Birch Building, room BR230