What is the Certificate IV in Design?

Focusing on the foundation skills in design you will learn design techniques, colour application and the ability to create clever and inspiring designs by applying the creative process.

You will graduate with a comprehensive design portfolio and the essential knowledge to continue your studies in your chosen specialised area of design.

This nationally recognised qualification is our most popular course and your first step towards a specialised iscd Diploma.


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Why study Certificate IV in Design?

With this detailed and thorough foundation course in colour and design you’ll learn the elements and principles of design and their application in the contemporary design world. It is a hands-on and creative course.

At iscd, the Certificate IV in Design is the prerequisite course to our specialised Diploma courses:

  • Styling Diploma
  • Surface Design Diploma
  • Colour Design Diploma

Throughout your Certificate program you will work on real-world briefs from our design industry partners, including Designer Rugs who have partnered with us for over 15 years.

Our fundamentals course gives you extensive understanding of the creative process, elements and principles, & colour development. It is the first step to then continue on to our Industry Specialised Diplomas.

Course Overview

Our Certificate IV in Design is the prerequisite course to iscd’s specialised Diplomas.

You’ll graduate with a holistic understanding of the design industry and a skill set that can be applied to all areas of design.

What you’ll learn:

  • How to develop colour palettes and apply colour principles
  • How to develop your illustration/drawing techniques to represent concepts across all design disciplines
  • How to interpret and respond to industry design briefs
  • How to professionally present a major project in spatial and product design

Career Outcomes

After you complete the Certificate IV in Design you’ll be able to secure an industry position through internships and support roles in;

  • Property Staging
  • Visual Merchandising for retail
  • Surface Design
  • Colour Design
  • Interior Styling for photographers and events

You can keep up to date with current job that are available now in the design industry on our job board

Certificate IV in Design (CUA40715)
Certificate IV in Design (CUA40715)
Certificate IV in Design (CUA40715)
  • How to apply colour principles and theory in response to a design brief
  • How to produce drawings to represent and communicate concepts
  • How to interpret and respond to a design brief
  • How to effectively apply the design process to 2D and 3D work
  • The ability to source and apply design industry knowledge
  • How to create concepts and conduct critical discussions
  • How to research and apply techniques for graphic design
  • How to professionally present a major project in spatial design and product design
  • How to document the design work process and manage your own work
  • How to apply skills and knowledge to sample projects from our four Diplomas
  • Introduction to colour theory
  • Introduction to the elements and principles of design
  • Conceptualisation and the design process
  • Composition and basic order of design
  • Developing monochromatic colour schemes
  • Abstract and semi abstract design
  • Development of colour schemes
  • Drawing inspiration from the natural environment
  • Exploring texture
  • Chroma reduction
  • Tertiary colour applied to a design
  • 2D and 3D design
  • Colour inversion
  • Colour effects, colour psychology and symbolism
  • Introduction to graphic design
  • Typography
  • CUAPRP401 Realise a creative project
  • BSBDES305 Source and apply information on the history and theory of design
  • BSBDES402 Interpret and respond to a design brief
  • BSBWHS201 Contribute to health and safety of self and others
  • BSBCRT301 Develop and extend critical and creative thinking skills
  • BSBDES401 Generate design solutions
  • CUAACD401 Integrate colour theory and design processes
  • BSBDES301 Explore the use of colour
  • BSBDES302 Explore and apply the creative design process to 2D forms
  • BSBDES303 Explore and apply the creative design process to 3D forms
  • BSBDES304 Source and apply design industry knowledge
  • BSBDES403 Develop and extend design skills and practice
  • CUAGRD302 Use typography techniques
  • CUAGRD401 Research and apply graphic design techniques
  • CUADES402 Research and apply techniques in product design
  • Assessment 1a: Colour Wheel Tool
  • Assessment 1b: Grey Scale Tool
  • Assessment 2: Conceptualisation and Mind Mapping
  • Assessment 3a: Abstract and Semi-Abstract Design: Linear Design Teachniques; 3 x abstract; 3 x semi-abstract
  • Assessment 3b: Abstract and Semi-Abstract Design: Applying Related & Contrasting Colour Schemes
  • Assessment 4: Design History Research
  • Assessment 5a: Illustration: Research 3 x tradtional and 3 x contemporary illustrators
  • Assessment 5b: Create a contemporary illustration
  • Assessment 5c: Mix 2 ranges of intermixed complementary colour (one range to include 1 row tints)
  • Assessment 5d: Paint the illustration in one range of intermixed complementary colours
  • Assessment 6: 3D Lighting and Spatial Design
  • Assessment 7a: Industry Reference File: Resource Design Specialisations
  • Assessment 7b: WH&S and Copyright
  • Assessment 8a: Tertiary Colour: Research motifs from 3 historical design styles
  • Assessment 8b: Tertiary Colour: Creative 3 ranges of tertiary colour chips
  • Assessment 8c: Tertiary Colour: Paint a cushion design ased on an historical style in range tertiary colour
  • Assessment 9:  Colour Inversion: Apply colour inversion to a design
  • Assessment 10: Papier D’Amour Christmas Card
  • Assessment 11: Designer Rugs 
  • Assessment 12: Colour Style Book

There are no entry requirements for the CUA40715 Certificate IV in Design, just an open mind, love for design and the motivation to learn new skills in design

  • Certificate IV in Design (CUA40715)

    With over 30 years of design industry experience and a forward-thinking focus and creative and supportive environment.

  • Certificate IV in Design (CUA40715)

    We cater for your needs and lifestyle with campuses located in Sydney and Melbourne.

  • Certificate IV in Design (CUA40715)

    Work with our industry partners on design briefs and graduate with real-world experience.

This course includes industry briefs and awards to provide you with strong foundations of working within the design industry.

Industry Partners

  • Designer Rugs
  • Papier D’Amour
  • Hardie Grant Publishers
  • Eckersleys Art & craft
  • The Heartful Travellers

Industry Awards

  • Rug Design: Develop and design a rug for leading rug brand Designer Rugs. The winning designs are produced for retail sale and the top 3 designs are featured in Inside Out Magazine.
  • Christmas Card Design: Develop and design a card design for Papier D’Amour. The winning card design will go into production as part of Papier D’Amour card collection
  • The Heartful Travellers: Through presentation of student board, Prue Royal; our founder will select a graduate to mentor and guide on their design journey
Certificate IV in Design (CUA40715)

Study Options

Study from just one day a week and choose from four intakes each year. February / May / July / October


Contact us on 02 8355 3838 or 03 8372 0000 to chat with a specialist course advisor about your study options, or let us know a little bit about you and we can call you back.

Request a call Back

Campus Tours & Open Days

Join us at an up coming Open Day or book a Campus Tour with one of our student advisors and see how you can turn your passion for design into a career opportunity.

Learn More

iscd News

Want more about iscd? Read our blog posts to find out what is going on at our campuses and find out about study insights from our educators
and students.

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The school’s strong industry connections and flexible study options are integral to helping students achieve their goals. “Whether students attend our North Sydney or Melbourne CBD campus or study online, everyone receives the support they need to realise their potential.”


Is this course not quite right for you?

Short Courses & Workshops

We have a number of workshops and short courses that run throughout the year. Here are some courses and workshops that relate to this course.

Upskill your current qualifications

Already qualified in most of these course subjects? You might like to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning and expand your current skill set with one of our specialised diplomas.