BA (Hons), MPub

Instructor, IDEA School of Design
IDEA School of Design

604.986.1911 ext. 3427
Arbutus Building, room AR313


MPub, Publishing, Simon Fraser University, 2001.

BA (Honours), Graphic Design, Kingston University, UK, 1981.

"I can't top "Design is a Good Idea" by Rudy Vanderlans (Emigre). In design, aesthetics are key but strong ideas are crucial."


Carol Aitken (MPub, Simon Fraser University, 2001) has been a practicing designer her entire career. Aitken's early career was spent in various countries around the world, working in design studios and advertising agencies.

She and a partner opened their own design consultancy in London, England, when she was 26, and moved the company to Canada a few years later. The consultancy grew a client base of corporate, arts-based and publishing companies, and later expanded into writing software for the design industry and the early Macintosh computer platform.

Aitken slowly transitioned into teaching, first at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and later at Capilano University where she eventually took on some administrative positions, while maintaining a small private practice. Today, she is co-coordinator of the Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication (a program she co-authored) and chair of the IDEA School of Design.

During her academic career, Aitken has served on the Capilano University Senate and numerous University committees; advised on program design and assessment for universities across Canada; served on panels for external student competitions; and presented at various design conferences.

Aitken is currently exploring options for a new program in social innovation and still teaches two or three courses a year in the Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication program.

I have developed and taught a wide variety of design-related courses during my teaching career, with a focus on typography, design thinking and final portfolio preparation. I have scaled back my teaching in recent years and currently instruct a first-year Design Fundamentals class and some targeted third-year projects.

I set high standards for my students and employ strategies to encourage students to work to their highest capacity within their own unique learning style.