Certificate in Design Essentials

Pick up all the essential basics to kickstart your career as a designer! 

Level - Fundamentals

Ideal for those looking to pursue a career as a creative and to fast track their learning experience in becoming an industry-ready graphic designer!

Programme Outcome

Acquire all the necessary skill sets to conceptualise and execute design works across various range of mediums and design softwares.


About the Programme

Your Career in Design Starts Here!

This Certificate is designed to impart the most essential knowledge and skills in the area of design. Design has been an increasingly important discipline in the political-economic landscape of Singapore

At the end of the programme, you will have picked up all the essential skillsets to start your very own design projects! 


Fundamentals of Design

Understand the key elements and principles of design


Aesthetics and Function in Art and Design

Cultivate an appreciation for design aesthetics and how design functions. 


Visual Storytelling through Design

Design is more than just aesthetics. Learn how design can be used as a communication tool to tell a story! 

What will you learn? 

Module 1: Theoretical Foundations of Art and Design (Concept Creation)

This module teaches Students about the basic tenets of design theory. Students will learn about the history of the colour wheel, as well as analogous, complementary and triad colour combinations. Students will learn about the definition of “form” and how it is applied in design theory. Students will also learn about the importance (and lack of importance) given to “function” in design. Students will also learn about the basics of composition/ proportion and semiotics in design. Students will learn about the importance of colour, form and proportion from various art movements. Art movements will be classified according to their philosophies and practices regarding composition, semiotics, colour, form and proportion. These will include “Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo”, “Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Realism”, “Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the Arts & Crafts Movement”, “Impressionism and Post Impressionism”, “Fauvism and Cubism”, “Bauhaus, Art Nouveau and Art Deco”, “Dada and Surrealism” and “Abstract Art and Pop Art

Module 2: Aesthetics and Function in Art and Design (Aesthetic and Design Sensibility)

Students will be exposed to historical, cultural and theoretical frameworks to allow them to make sense of art and design, as well as to consider how they may help to understand the wider context within which art and design reside. They will be introduced to key cultural developments, practices and movements related to the history of art, design, visual and popular culture. Topics included in this chapter are: values and tastes, culture and subculture, semiotics, and the principle of “Form Follows Function”. Students will exploit idea generation techniques such as SCAMPER to explore and propose various design alterations to a design artefact that will enhance the aesthetic and sensory appeal. At the same time they will review design performance in terms of semiotics and sensory appeal with the objective of bringing positive associations,bearing in mind the various different cultural differences and considering human-centric factors.

Module 3: Culturally Sensitive Design (Cultural Sensitivity for Design)

Students will learn how to conduct research into the cultural sensitivities of different cultural groups, and subsequently analyse their research results to derive culturally sensitive insights. They will learn about the words, colours and symbols to avoid, and the semiotics that enhance a cultural group’s identity. Students will learn how to incorporate various cultural perspectives and requirements into design works. They will learn how to weave semiotics into design works so as to make the design work look culturally informed. Students will learn how to validate their works for cultural sensitivity. They will learn how to conduct research to test their design works. This validation process is intended to weed out elements in the design work that might demonstrate cultural insensitivity, and to see whether the cultural perspectives and requirements made by stakeholders appropriately and sufficiently stand out in the design work. Students will learn how to accompany their design works with a culturally sensitive message so as to enhance cultural awareness. They will learn how to craft messaging that not only represents cultural perspectives but also to enhance the understanding and awareness of those cultural perspectives.

Module 4: Using Design to tell a Story (Creative Storytelling)

Students will learn about the concept of “storytelling” as a way of conveying messages. They will learn how to set premises, about genres, how to identify central themes and how to craft character arcs. They will also learn to identify the key elements of the abovementioned so that they may conduct further research into the topic. They will then draft an outline of a story that they wish to translate into a visual story. Students will learn about the expected formats for visual storytelling. These may include, but is not limited to, paintings, videos and infographics. They will also learn about the methods and devices to convey emotions in stories, storytelling techniques, the nuances of various storytelling media and the principles of telling stories in a non-linear way that involves multiple “entry points”. They will then be asked to create a story that includes a theme, a defined plot, characters, a context and events that have multiple entry points to the subjects or themes within the story itself. Students will learn how to present their story to various stakeholders by bearing in mind the concept of storytelling, the expected format for visual storytelling and storytelling techniques.

Programme Fees

SGD $7,000 (Inclusive of GST)


January, April, July, October

Programme Duration

Full Time: 4 weeks teaching, 5 days per week, 3 hours per day

Part Time: 10 weeks teaching, 5 days per week, 3 hours per day

Intakes Yearly

Career Opportunities

  • Graphic Designer
  • Content Creator
  • Illustrators

Entry Requirements

Certificate Level


  • At least 16 years old AND 3 GCE N Level subjects including a pass in English, or equivalent

Financing Info

  • Installment and financing plans available. 
  • Do reach out to our admissions team to find out more about financing your education!
  • Course fees are subjected to 7% GST.
  • First Media reserves the right to change, modify course fees without prior notice.