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Diploma of Design

  • Direct entry to the 2nd year of the Bachelor of Design (majors in 3D Animation, Digital Technologies, Visual Communication)
  • Supportive learning environment provides the best possible preparation for Deakin University
  • Study on a Deakin University campus with full access to accommodation, support services

Key Information


8 or 12 months


  • March
  • June
  • October


Melbourne Burwood



Learn the tools, strategies and design thinking methodologies required to be an adaptable, multidisciplinary designer. The Diploma of Design builds the foundation for further study in visual communication, animation and digital technologies.

Employment and career options upon completing your Bachelor degree

Work in:

  • Advertising
  • Graphic design studios
  • Print houses
  • Publishers
  • Corporate companies who host in-house design services
  • Government and private practices
  • Motion design
  • Animation
  • Film and television
  • Web design
  • Motion capture performance
  • Augmented and virtual reality
  • UX design
  • Web design
  • Digital design and immersive design

Course Structure

Complete and pass 8 units.

4-6 core units:

ACF107 Principles of Animation*

In this unit students explore the making of animation through a range of techniques, methods and approaches for a variety of animation practices. Students will study established principles of 2D animation (Timing, Squash and Stretch, Staging, etc.) and story-telling, learn under-camera techniques (time-lapse and stop-motion), and develop basic project management skills to take an idea from storyboard to animated short film. The unit allows students to focus on specific interests, such as experimental non-narrative, or character and story-based animation.

Assessment: 25% Assignment 1 -Exercises; 30% Assignment 2 –Storyboard Project; 45% Assignment 3 –Short Film Project

ACI102 Digital Photography*

This unit introduces ideas and processes associated with digital photography.The construction and manipulation of photographic images is creatively and critically explored through a variety of conceptual frameworks. Workflow techniques include the fundamentals of using Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras, colour management, RAW image processing, scanning, photo compositing in Photoshop, and the production of exhibition quality prints. Assignments and lectures provide students with an overview the medium’s history and contemporary issues.

Assessment: 30% composition (capture and interpret); 30% montage; 40% conceptual strategies

ADD101 Design Thinking

This unit will investigate ‘design thinking’ as a strategic methodology and problem solving process. Taking a multi-discipline, interdisciplinary approach, students will be required to use ‘design thinking’ as a problem solving process. ‘Design thinking’ methods will require students to adopt a human-centered approach to innovation that draws on their skills to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements of business and society as a whole. Students will work individually and in workshop teams, the final assessments will be a combination of research and practice outcomes. Students will use ‘Design thinking’ methods to address a ‘wicked problem’.

Assessment: 30% Research Essay; 30% Collaborative Workshop; 40% Final Report of Process

ADD102 Design Skills and Technologies 1

This unit introduces students to the tools necessary to represent ideas through static and moving imagery. This is achieved through a combination of research and experimentation with processes on and off the computer. Students will be introduced to techniques for composition, mark making, digital imaging, storyboarding and animation.Practical and research projects will require students to: understand and apply design principles, create a digital composition, build an animated sequence. A research report will take the form of a concept plan and time based storyboard.

Assessment: 30% Practical Project; 30% Research Presentation/Storyboard; 40% Practical Project

ADD103 Design Skills and Technologies 2

This unit introduces students to the tools necessary to create digital and physical interfaces for human interaction. This is achieved through a combination of practical skills and research exploring interaction design, prototyping and creative thinking. Students will be introduced to vector graphic and 3D design software, following an idea from sketch to functional prototype.

Practical and research projects will require students to: understand user interface, create a graphic user interface (GUI), build basic shapes in 3D, and prepare an object for rapid prototyping (3D printing). A research report will address the role of these processes in solving real world design problems.

Assessment: 30% Practical Project; 30% Research Presentation; 40% Practical Project

ADD104 Design Laboratory

This unit introduces students to a range of case studies of new technology in the design process. Students are required to work in team to integrate this knowledge into a design project, apply cutting edge technology and prepare a case study on technology in the design process. The unit will feature a combination of industry research, team building, experimentation and application as students employ the concepts of agile team structures to find and apply new technology to solve a design problem.

Assessment: 30% Research/Case Study; 30% Team Pitch Presentation; 40% Practical Project

Plus 4 additional units+

ACC100 Communication in Everyday Life

This unit explores communication theory through practice, using dynamic and creative participatory learning activities to discover how communication theory ‘plays’ out in everyday life.Students examine the motivation for and consequences of communication in their daily life, exploring how we communicate changing social norms and use agency to reproduce and redefine things like ‘friends’, ‘work’ and what are ‘acceptable’ modern communication practices. The unit brings communication theory to life by drawing on a range of learning materials –reading text, newspapers, television, web-based resources and film in order to examine how individuals participate in social construction, the process of meaning making and the building of social capital. A key element of this unit is the use of the students’ own imagination to drive participatory learning; teaching materials are responsive and interactive, students will be encouraged to interact with the weekly topic and ‘learn by doing’.

Assessment: 30% interpretation of online digital objects; 30% interactive presentation; 40% digital workbook

ACF103 Writing with the Camera

This unit explores digital video camera operation and handling manual and automatic control of exposure and focus. The unit also focusses on shot framing andcomposition, camera movement, preparing to shoot. It includes topics on shooting techniques, visual language, cinematography and style the role of the cinematographer. It introduces students to concepts of recording and working with audio in digital videobasic editing techniques.

Assessment: 20% Topic tests; 30% Folio 1; 50% Folio 2

ACF106 Screen Practices

This unit examines the issues and practices associated with film and video production. It explores the ways in which film and video production practices have developed from their historical traditions to their contemporary practices. Topics tobe addressed in this unit include: film and video histories; forms, genres, narrative, documentary and experimental practices in relation to mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing and sound.

Assessment: Close Analysis 1 50%, 2000 words, Close Analysis 2 and Script 50%, 2000 words

ACI101 Analogue Photography

This unit provides students with an introduction to photographic practice and camera handling techniques using 35mm format. Students will study the work of Australian and international photographers with consideration to both historical and contemporary practice. The prescribed assignments will allow students to reflect the skills, concepts and ideas discussed in classes, seminars, gallery visits and readings, as well as providing the opportunity for students to develop and express their own views and concepts.

Assessment: Camera Handling 20%. The Formal Vision 30%. Thematic Series 50%

ALA101 Advertising Principles and Practices

This unit will introduce students to the theory and practice of contemporary advertising by exploring the industry’s history and rapidly changing nature in the digital era. The social, ethical and regulatory contexts of advertising are established to encourage students to become reflective future producers or consumers of advertising messages. The strategic imperatives of advertising and notions of effectiveness are examined to build students’ abilities to solve communication problems that are commonly faced by private, public and non-for-profit sector clients.

Assessment: 30% Quizzes; 30% Group Presentation; 40% Research and Planning Report

ALA102 Creative Brand Communication

Students will explore the nexus of creativity and strategy that is fundamental to successful brand communication. They will examine the nature of creativity in the communication industry and practitioner approaches to the creative process. The advertising messages produced by international brands will be analysed to help students prepare for global mobility as future practitioners. Students will be introduced to the key creative roles within communication companies and build the research, planning and ideation skills required of contemporary practitioners.

Assessment: 20% Advertising Challenge Tasks;40% Essay ; 40% Written Project

ACF104 Screen History

The unit will introduce key aspects of the history and development of film, its language, style and genres, through a survey of seminal works and influential movements and genres. This includes: Early Cinema, German Expressionism, Surrealism, Film Noir, Experimental film, French New Wave, Hong Kong Cinema, American and Italian Westerns, and Horror cinema.

Assessment: TBC

ALJ111 News Reporting 1

This unit is an introduction to the practice and theory of multimedia journalism. It sets the social, professional and legal context for journalism practice, and introduces students to the convention of news writing and reporting stories. Students will also focus on combining text with photos and audio clips to produce news stories; critically examining their own production processes, and learn to report multimedia news stories to a deadline.

Assessment: 20% research file; 40% news story for print media; 40% multimedia news story

ALJ112 News Reporting 2

This unit in the practice and theory of multimedia journalism focuses on news reporting processes. It outlines professional, social and legal factors that impact on reporting of local, regional an national news. The unit introduces students to key news beats, including reporting stories about politics, business, sport and local newsworthy events and issues. Students will build contacts in their preferred news beat/s and engage with social media tools to report and produce their news stories. They will also gain skills in reporting a news story (to a deadline) for broadcast and online media platforms.

Assessment: 20% social media for reporting; 40% photojournalism assignment; 40% video based assignment

ALM101 Making Social Media

This unit enables students to explore and experience present day digital media culture in critical and creative ways. The unit is built on multi-platformed content, delivery and assessment, providing a user-friendly engagement with social media that facilitates practical, hands-on work in micro-blogging, blogging and podcasting. Creating and sharing different forms of media content, students learn how to communicate across different online platforms as part of a highly interactive community. Highlighting the benefits of media-making for personal and professional use, the unit allows students to develop their portfolios and discover how to use social media to strategically build a dynamic online identity.

Assessment: 20% Portfolio Exercise; 40% Portfolio Output 1; 40% % Portfolio Output 2

ALM102 Making Video

This unit enables students to critically and creatively engage withpresent day digital media culture, with a particular emphasis on making videos. Highlighting the crucial importance of creating audio-visual content for different purposes and audiences, the unit guides students through various video-making practices and strategies. Emphasising the benefits of making videos in a wide range of industry settings, the unit allows students to develop their portfolios and learn how to use video to strategically build a dynamic online identity.

Assessment: 20% Video Exercise 1; 30% Video Exercise 2; 50% % Video Project with Critical Reflection

ALR103 Introduction to Public Relations

The unit provides an introduction to the field of public relations. Students learn about what public relations people do, and how they do it. Topics include planning, media relations, employee relations, community relations, international public relations, ethics and public relations law.

Assessment: 10% reader critique/participation;40% assignments, 50% final examination

ALR104 Strategic Communication and Writing

This unit sits at the nexus of theory and practice to help you understand the role of strategic communication in organisational contexts. Put simply, strategic communication refers to the ability to develop and disseminate messages that achieve specific and measurable objectives. Whether that objective is to inform, change opinion or adapt behaviour, successful strategic communication revolves around people.

Assessment: 20% online quizzes; 40% group planning and writing project; 40% portfolio

* Core units for 3D Animation and Visual Communication majors, elective units for Digital Technologies major

Second Year Entry to Deakin University*

T1 (Trimester 1 entry); T2 (Trimester 2 entry); T3 (Trimester 3 entry)

* See Diploma to Degree transfer criteria.
+ Choice of additional units is based on the Deakin University degree you wish to enter. Full details are listed on the Deakin College website.
++ Offered at Burwood (Melbourne) only.

Academic Entry Requirements

More Information

For further details about units and availability, trimester structures and more, please download the course outline below.

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