CUA51120 - Diploma of Visual Arts

If you dream of spending your time creating beautiful artworks and designs, then a career as a Surface Designer is for you!

An exceptionally unique experience tailored to you

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Course Duration

The course runs 39 weeks, 3 days full time

Term Dates

Please note that term dates are subject to change, please contact us to confirm future dates if required.

Cores/ Electives

Core Units: 5

Elective Units: 10

If you dream of spending your time creating beautiful artworks and designs, then a career as a Surface Designer is for you!

Extend your creativity and learn painting and drawing techniques with a range of mediums to enable you to create exciting and unique artworks and designs which can be turned into a range of products. Through learning digital manipulation of your hand created artworks, you can make your art suitable for digital printing on a range of products from homewares, fashion products, gift items and more.

The Diploma course will prepare you with the skills to create exciting designs created from your paintings and drawings or designed on computer exclusively. You will learn how to create repeat prints, various colourways, coordinating prints, colour separations for printing and product specifications.

This qualification reflects the role of visual artists and combines specialised technical, creative and conceptual skills to develop an emerging arts practice. It focuses on developing skills in art forms such as drawing, painting, illustration, textile design and digital surface design.

As well, you will develop skills and knowledge of art theory and history and be able to critically analyse and synthesise information from a range of sources. Some business skills are also covered so that you will be able to realise your dream of becoming a creative arts practitioner.

Your designs can be applied to a range of products, such as:
  • Paintings
  • Art Prints
  • Cushions
  • Scarves
  • Floor Rugs
  • Towels
  • Bed Linen
  • Gift Cards
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Stationary
  • Phone Cases and Skins
  • Crockery – Mugs, Plates etc
  • T-Shirts
  • Wallpaper
  • Fabrics for interiors (i.e. upholstery, curtains etc)
  • Fabrics for fashion garments, accessories, handbags, shoes etc
  • So much more! The list is endless…

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Do you have 2 or more years industry relevant experience? Have your experience recognized and increase your employment prospects by applying for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Through RPL you could reduce the duration of your studies. RPL is assessed on a case by case basis, so it is only available upon application.


*Students will be charged an administration fee of $200 per unit of competency.


Course Outcomes

On successful completion of the course, students will receive the nationally recognized CUA51115: Diploma of Visual Arts qualification. This course is accredited under the Australian Qualifications Training Framework.

Career Opportunities

  • Artist
  • Surface Designer
  • Textile Designer
  • Product Designer

The Australian Institute of creative Design offers intimate classes to cater on a personalised level for your learning experience.

Our trainers have industry current qualifications and experience, to prepare you for success in your future. We offer a range of additional short courses and workshops to support and develop your specialised skills and interests.

We offer Prepare for Success and Dress for Success workshops as well as arrange for guest speakers who are leaders in their industry. In addition to preparing our students with hands on experience within our courses; there are often events and opportunities for internships, work experience or volunteering within the creative industries which are given to us to pass on to our students.


To enrol into the Diploma of Visual Arts the applicant must be able to demonstrate the technical and organisational skills to conceptualise and create works in selected medium which may have been acquired through experience in creative practice or through formal study, bring in a body of work to discuss, have good computer skills, be able to use the internet for research, and use a range of software such as word and presentation software such as PowerPoint as well as answering yes to most of the questions below:

  • Do you love colour and design?
  • Have you worked with some form of creative media such as photography, painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture or some other artistic media?
  • Do you have a body of creative work that you have put together?
  • Have you kept visual diaries and documented your work?
  • Can you talk about the creative process, your inspiration and what your work communicates?


There are no prerequisites for entry into this qualification.

  • Students will need to provide the following equipment:
    • Student ID ($25)
    • Equipment Kit ($170 + $18/month for cloud services)
    • Basic stationary
    • Fabric or product printing costs (varies depending on the items ordered)
    • Students will require a laptop/notebook computer with the Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office installed- see below for details.
    • Travel Expenses (fuel, car, bus, train)
    • Exhibition Costs (Frames, materials, Venue)
    • List of required student resources provided upon enrolment
  • Students accepted into the program will be required to have a laptop computer with a wireless network connection. The following minimum specifications are required:
    • Wireless 802.11n
    • Minimum 4Gb RAM
    • 2Ghz or faster processor
    • Internet Explorer 7 or better (free online)
    • Anti Virus – Students are not permitted to connect to our network without Anti Virus installed.
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader (free online)
    • Microsoft Office 2003 or better with Word, Excel and Powerpoint.*
    • Adobe Creative Suite Design Standard – Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.*
    • A mouse is required.

    * Please check software manufacturers minimum system requirements.


Full Course Cost (Payment Plan): $13,500.00

We understand that studying can be a big financial commitment. With this in mind, we urge our students to investigate potential financial support they may need throughout the course. Eligible students may be able to apply to Centrelink for either Youth Allowance (for full-time students aged 16 to 24) or Austudy (for full-time students aged 25 years or over).

Unit Listings

Core Units
CUAACD531 Refine drawing and other visual representation tools
CUAPPR511 Realise a body of creative work
CUAPPR512 Develop sustainability of own professional practice
CUAPPR513 Present a body of own creative work
CUAPPR515 Establish and maintain safe creative practice
Elective Units
CUARES503 Analyse cultural history and theory
CUADIG518 Refine digital art techniques
BSBESB404 Market new business ventures
CUAIND412 Provide freelance services
CUAACD523 Make mixed media artworks
CUAACD536 Refine 2-D design ideas and processes
CUADES412 Interpret and respond to a design brief
MSTGN2013 Identify fibres, fabrics and textiles used in the TCF industry
CUATEX501 Refine techniques for textile work
CUATEX502 Investigate materials and processes for textile work