Shillington is the Original Graphic Design Bootcamp Graphic Design Bootcamp

10 Best Design Colleges in Ontario for 2023

Looking to become a graphic designer in Ontario? The Heartland Province is a great place to study graphic design. As Canada’s second largest province, Ontario has so much to offer: the province is home to 250,000 lakes, the largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany, the world famous Niagara Falls and the world’s most multicultural city, Toronto. On top of this, there’s also some amazing places to study graphic design

We’re going to take you through 11 great options for studying graphic design in Ontario to help you make the best decision to start your career in graphic design

1. Shillington Education

Location: Online (including an US West Coast option—perfect for students in Canada)

Course Duration: 9 months

Shillington’s graphic design bootcamp was founded in Sydney, Australia in 1997 and has been providing high quality graphic design education ever since. Shillington’s online graphic design course is unlike any other. Over three nights a week for nine months, Shillington’s dedicated, experienced teachers (who are also working graphic designers!) guide you through Shillington’s unique course in real time. With Shillington’s online graphic design course, you’ll learn all the essential skills and programs—Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop and Figma—used by graphic designers, as well as an in depth understanding of how to work as a designer, in l online studios that perfectly replicate a working studio environment. 

Shillington online students graduate as talented, well-rounded graphic designers ready to work in a design studio or take on the world of freelance graphic design. What’s best is that the Shillington online graphic design course is offered live in four different time zones—UK (GMT/BST), US East Coast (EST), US West Coast (PST) and Australian East Coast (AEST)—with the US East Coast offering ideal for becoming a graphic designer in Ontario!

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2. University of Toronto Mississauga

Location: Mississauga

Course Duration: 4 years

The University of Toronto (U of T or UToronto), the biggest university in Canada, was founded in the city almost 200 years ago in 1827. In 1998, UToronto merged with Erindale College to create UToronto satellite campus University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM). Nowadays, UTM is home to between 15,000 and 16,000 students across 155 programs. One of these programs, offered by UTM’s Department of Visual Studies, is a Design course which helps to make UTM one of the best colleges for graphic design in Canada.

Across the four year program, UTM students are taught a grounding in design history, which is then built upon with skills in typography, identity, branding, color and more. Students also build up a skill set in Adobe CC, namely InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop, as well as After Effects, Adobe’s motion graphics software and Wix, where students learn web design. UTM also encourages students to learn how to individually express themselves through their work and develop critical skills when thinking about how they work.

3. McMaster University

Location: Hamilton

Course Duration: 4 years

Located in Hamilton, in Southern Ontario near the border with New York State, McMaster University was founded in 1887. Mac, as it is known for short, is home to over 37,000 students across its six academic faculties and sports teams, the Marauders. One of the faculties at Mac is the Faculty of Humanities, which has a Media Arts program within its Communication Studies and Media Arts department.

One of the best graphic design schools in Ontario, Mac’s Media Arts program is a great way for students to launch their career in graphic design or another related field, including audio visual, coding, filmmaking or even journalism. The first year of the course is a more general look at the field of media arts as a whole so that students are able to experience a wide range of disciplines to properly inform their choice of major within the program—and also be able to use certain skills and knowledge from other disciplines in their practice. 

4. George Brown College

Location: Downtown Toronto

Course Duration: 4 years

George Brown College, or give it its full name the George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology, is one of the best schools for graphic design in Ontario. Established in 1967, George Brown is a public applied arts and technology college located in Downtown Toronto. It offers 170 full-time programs to its 27,000 students. Amongst these programs is one in graphic design—graduates of which earn a graphic design certificate, namely an Ontario College Advanced Diploma. 

George Brown’s graphic design program is described as an ideal training ground for the design profession—preparing students to work in the graphic design industry. The start of the course is angled towards giving students an overall understanding and foundation design, before moving on to choose a major in either communication design or advertising design. Either major prepares students for a career in either industry. George Brown students can also choose to learn illustration, web design and more—which all makes the college one of the best colleges for graphic design in Toronto. 

5. University of Waterloo

Location: Waterloo

Course Duration: 6-8 weeks

The University of Waterloo (UW) was established in 1959 in Waterloo, a city around 100 km south-west of Toronto. As well as the degree programs offered by UW, its satellite campuses and affiliated university colleges, the University of Waterloo also has a professional development initiative called WatSPEED that offers short online courses to help people learn new professional skills. WatSPEED includes two six week courses in InDesign—an introductory course and an intermediate one. These help to make UW one of the best schools for graphic design in Canada. 

Though not as in depth as some of the other graphic design courses on our list, WatSPEED’s InDesign courses are great for someone who wants to learn specific graphic design skills quickly. The courses will teach how to use InDesign productively in your work—and how to make letterheads, business cards, brochures, reports and more. The intermediate course develops these skills, while diving more into graphics and fonts.

6. Carleton University

Location: Ottawa

Course Duration: 4 years

Established over 80 years ago in 1942, Carleton University is a public university in Ottawa. One of the best universities for graphic design in Canada, Carleton has over 30,000 members of its student body that call its 150-acre campus home. The university is split into 6 separate faculties which have 65 different degree options. One of these is a Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) in Interactive Multimedia and Design, which allows students to learn graphic design skills.

Carleton’s IMD program is for students who are both artistically inclined and technologically adept—which are both essential for a career in graphic design. They learn the skills necessary to take a range of projects through from start to finish, across graphic design, computer animation, visual effects and more. There are also optional modules in web design, user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design for students who want to go into graphic design.

7. York University

Location: Toronto

Course Duration: 4 years

Toronto’s York University (YorkU) was founded in the city in 1959. Canada’s third largest university, YorkU has over 55,000 students and 325,000 alumni across the world. This means it is able to offer over 120 different undergraduate degree programs across its 11 separate faculties. One of these faculties, the School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design, has a great degree for a budding graphic designer in Canada, a Bachelor of Design with three areas of concentration: Interaction Design (UI & UX), Information Design and Visual Communication Design, making it one of the best universities for graphic design in Canada.

The four year program begins with giving students a foundation in design—covering theories, techniques and histories of design. As the course progresses, students are encouraged to deepen their understanding of design fundamentals and develop their skills before choosing a specialization in their third year. This year also has a work experience element, so students get a chance to work in the industry before graduating. The degree then culminates in a public graduate exhibition.

8. Seneca College

Location: Greater Toronto Area/Peterborough

Course Duration: 3 years

Founded in 1967, Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology, just known as Seneca College, is one of the best schools for graphic design in Ontario. Offering a mix of both degrees and graduate certificates, Seneca College has a total of 280 program options across their full-time and part-time offerings. One of these program options, the most important to us, is an Ontario College Advanced Diploma in graphic design. 

Seneca College’s three year program takes its students through a range of skills, including design, typography, business writing and typography, to help prepare them for a career in graphic design. Students are taught how to create effective design solutions for interactive, print and experiential design projects, starting with the fundamentals and principles of design. The course culminates in a work experience opportunity and a graphic design portfolio so graduates leave ready to work in the industry.

9. OCAD University

Location: Downtown Toronto

Course Duration: 4 years

Ontario College of Art & Design University, which is known as OCAD University, is a public arts university in Toronto, Ontario. Originally founded as Ontario School of Art in 1876, the school went through various name changes before becoming a university and adopting its current name in 2008. With around 5,000 students, OCAD offers a range of arts and design related degrees through its three faculties, the Faculty of Art, the Faculty of Arts & Science and the Faculty of Design. The latter grants a Bachelor of Design degree (BDes) in graphic design.

OCAD’s graphic design courses makes the art school one of the best graphic design universities in Toronto. OCAD students are taught the design process, typography, image-making and, importantly, critical and strategic ways of thinking. The course includes time spent in the studio where students can work on courses in brand strategy, editorial and publication design, packaging design, typography design and other focused topics. The final year of the course is dedicated to a year-long project, allowing students to explore their own personal interests. 

10. Centennial College

Location: Scarborough, Toronto

Course Duration: 4 years 

Another college founded in 1967, during the province’s push to expand public arts and design colleges, Centennial College is one of the best graphic design schools in Ontario. Located in the Scarborough district in eastern Toronto, Centennial offers more than 260 programs, including degrees, diplomas, certificates, apprenticeships and post-graduate certificates across many different disciplines. One of these disciplines is a Ontario College Advanced Diploma certificate program in graphic design.

Centennial’s graphic design offering (which can also be taken fully online) aims to prepare students for a multidisciplinary design career. The course is a mix of practical knowledge, including the Adobe CC, photography and illustration, and theoretical knowledge, covering design thinking, creative problem solving, professional practice skills and more. Centennial students also have to complete an industry placement in their final semester, giving them invaluable experience and interaction with industry professionals.

Learn more about the Shillington Graphic Design Course now or chat to one of our dedicated Course Advisors to hear more about studying with us. 

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