What is the Certificate IV in Design?

You know you want to take the steps toward a creative career. Our new online learning platform makes it even easier to fit study around your busy lifestyle.

Just like our on-campus studies, you will first study the Certificate IV in Design (CUA40715) to explore your natural style and learn the fundamental elements and principles of design.  The Certificate is a nationally recognised course providing the essential foundation studies for a career in the design industry.

Upon completing the Certificate IV in Design you can then specialise in your Industry Diploma of choice. Immerse yourself in a world of patterns with Surface Design, Colour Psychology and application with Colour Design, or create perfect scenes with the Diploma of Styling.


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Online Study Details

  • Simple interface with lots of visuals and videos.
  • Great online community with lively, inspiring, discussion boards with educators + peers
  • Academic calendar + simple assessment submission keeps all your information in one place to easily track your progress.
  • Quick turnaround on assessment marking + regular contact with your educator.
  • Pop up campuses throughout the year for you to connect to our community. Meet peers, educators + have one-on-one sessions.
  • 12 hours / week and up to 12 months to complete (but you can go faster)

“Certificate IV has been a great foundation course – I have thoroughly enjoyed experimenting, painting learning in a nurturing environment and getting my hands dirty. I look forward to undertaking the Surface Design Diploma and am very excited about continuing my creative development and discovering my own style.” Rachel Grimes – Carmichael.

Course Overview

Our Certificate IV in Design is the prerequisite course to iscd’s specialised Design Diplomas in Surface Design, Colour Design or Styling.

Upon completion you will have 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

Certificate IV in Design is the foundation studies for many design careers. You can go on to specialise in:

  • Styling
  • Surface Design
  • Colour Design

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

  • Learn the process to generate conceptual ideas
  • An extensive knowledge of colour theory and application
  • Sound understanding of the elements and principles of design and composition techniques.
  • Learn the processes to generate conceptual ideas
  • Examine 2 and 3 dimensional design through applying colour, hand drawing techniques and creating a prototype
  • Identify design movements and historical influences and apply design industry knowledge to various design disciplines and products
  • Know how to document design development and produce drawings by hand to represent and communicate concepts
  • How to research and apply techniques for graphic design and typography
  • How to professionally present a project in spatial design and product design
  • Know how to interpret and respond to a commercial brief
  • Build presentation and communication skills to present design ideas
  • Introduction to the elements and principles of design
  • Abstract and semi abstract design
  • Conceptualisation and mind Mapping. Plus Elements and principles of design
  • Drawing Techniques
  • 3D lighting design
  • Colour effects, colour psychology and symbolism
  • Developing monochromatic colour schemes
  • Introduction to graphic design & typography
    • Explore and apply the creative design process to 2D forms
    • Develop and extend critical + creative thinking skills
    • Explore the use of colour – introduction to colour and its application
    • Generate design solutions
    • Explore and apply the creative design process to 3D forms
    • Establish, negotiate and refine a design brief
    • Source and apply information on the history and theory of design
    • Realise a creative project
    • Interpret and respond to a design brief – cushion design
    • Contribute to health and safety of self and others
    • Generate design solutions
    • Integrate colour theory and design processes
    • Source and apply design industry knowledge
    • Develop and extend design skills and practice
    • Use typography techniques
    • Research and apply graphic design techniques
    • Research and apply techniques in product design
  • Colour Wheel Tool
  • Conceptualisation and Mind Mapping
  • Abstract and Semi-Abstract Design: Applying Related & Contrasting Colour Schemes
  • Create a contemporary illustration
  • 3D Lighting and Spatial Design
  • Paint a cushion design ased on an historical style in range tertiary colour
  • Colour Inversion: Apply colour inversion to a design
  • Christmas Card
  • 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.

First Wednesday of every month

Course Length: 
Approx. 10 hours per week | 1 year (includes assessments/homework)

Certificate IV in Design – Nationally Accredited.


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

Industry Partners

  • Designer Rugs
  • Little Paper Lane
  • 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


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.

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