Design Courses in Malaysia: A Comprehensive Guide

Design is a fast-paced and dynamically-changing landscape with new technological development. As a result, modern designers require the continuous acquisition of new skills via accreditations and certifications. These can be attained via certificate and diploma programs or even undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Let’s find out more, shall we?

What is design?

Design is simply the iterative and methodical process of finding answers to problems by envisioning and planning the creation of objects and systems. Designers work to solve problems by understanding user needs and creating products, services, and experiences that meet those needs.

It encompasses various disciplines, including interior design, graphic design, game design, fashion design, jewellery design, and industrial design. In fact, the scope of design is vast, and its interpretation becomes quite different depending on which field it applies to.

But for the most part, design affects countless applications in the lives of all people—from product health, audio engineering, simulated environments, communication, stunts with cars and video games, and novel software ideas for interacting with display interfaces and home or office interiors.

In practice, a mix of skills, such as critical thinking, creativity, and technical knowledge, is needed to achieve great designs. Designers work in various industries, including architecture, fashion, advertising, and technology.

Various fields of design

There are various fields of design, each requiring unique skills and techniques. Here are some of the most popular fields in design:

Interior design

Interior design involves the creation of functional and aesthetically pleasing interior spaces, for example, in homes, offices and restaurants. Interior designers work to understand the needs of their clients and create spaces that meet those needs while also incorporating design principles.

interior design
Photo by Ksenia Chernaya

Graphic design

Graphic design creates visual content to communicate information and ideas to a target audience. Graphic designers use a combination of typography, colour theory, and layout to create compelling designs.

Game design

Game design involves the creation of interactive digital experiences. Game designers work to create engaging and immersive experiences that keep players coming back for more.

Photo by Garrett Morrow

Fashion design

Fashion design involves creating clothing and accessories, and designers leverage their knowledge of current trends to create functional and aesthetically pleasing styles.

Jewellery design

Jewellery design involves the creation of wearable items such as rings, necklaces, and earrings. Jewellery designers combine their creativity with technical expertise to produce distinctive and aesthetically pleasing designs.

Industrial design

Industrial design principally involves the construction of practical and aesthetically pleasing items. After comprehending customer requirements, industrial designers leverage exploratory research, prototyping, sketching, and testing. Consequently, they develop products that fulfil those requirements while applying design principles.

Design course entry requirements

It is important to familiarise yourself with the entry requirements before enrolling in a design course in Malaysia. Here are some common design course prerequisites:

  • Academic qualifications: Most design courses in Malaysia require a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent for undergraduate courses. Postgraduate programs usually require a bachelor’s degree. Some courses may also require specific subjects or grades.
  • English language proficiency: As most design courses are conducted in English, institutions may require students to provide proof of English language proficiency, which can be demonstrated through standardised tests such as TOEFL or IELTS.
  • Portfolio: Some design classes may want examples of your past work to see your creativity and how well you can design. A portfolio usually comprises sketches, drawings, or digital designs that show off your design work.
  • Interviews: Some design classes may require you to take an interview to gauge your interest and how likely you are to do well in the field. The interview may be conducted in person or online.
  • Aptitude tests: Some design courses may require aptitude tests to assess your spatial reasoning, visual perception, and creative thinking abilities.

It is important to research the specific entry requirements for the design course you are interested in to ensure that you meet them. In some cases, institutions may offer “bridging” or “preparatory” courses or programs to help you. Some schools may also offer scholarships or financial aid to help with the tuition fees.

What will you learn in design courses?

Design courses in Malaysia are meant to teach students a wide range of skills and knowledge in different areas of design. Depending on the school and course level, the course may cover different topics, but in general, most design courses cover the following:

  • Design principles cover the fundamental rules of design, like composition, balance, colour theory, and typography.
  • Design software: Students learn to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign software to create visual designs.
  • Design history: Students learn about the evolution of design throughout history and the different styles and movements that have influenced design.
  • Design research: This module covers gathering and analysing data, conducting user research, and identifying design problems.
  • Design thinking: Students learn to apply design thinking principles to solve complex problems and develop innovative solutions.
  • Project management: Students learn how to manage design projects, including project planning, budgeting, and project scheduling.
  • Presentation skills: Students learn how to present their design work effectively verbally and visually.

Depending on the specialisation or area of focus, the course may have different parts. For example, a graphic design course may focus more on visual design principles and software, while an interior design course may focus on space planning and material selection.

Overall, design courses in Malaysia aim to teach students everything they need to know about the design process, from researching and coming up with ideas to making and presenting the final concept.

Who should enrol in design courses?

Anyone passionate about design can benefit from a design course. Whether they are a high school graduate looking to pursue a career in design or a working professional looking to upskill, there are courses that can meet one’s needs.

design course
Photo by Karol D

Skills needed in design courses

Design courses require a combination of technical skills and creativity. Some of the key skills needed to succeed include:

  1. Technical skills: Depending on the field of study, design courses may require proficiency in software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, AutoCAD, and 3D modelling software.
  2. Creative thinking: Design courses need students to think creatively and create unique solutions to problems.
  3. Attention to detail: Designers must pay attention to detail to ensure their designs are accurate and effective.
  4. Communication skills: Designers must communicate their ideas effectively to clients, colleagues, and other stakeholders.
  5. Time management skills: Design courses involve numerous projects and deadlines, so students must be able to manage their time effectively.

What can I do with a degree in design?

A degree in design can lead to various career opportunities, depending on the field of study. Some of the career options available to graduates of design courses include:

  1. Interior designers create functional and aesthetically pleasing interior spaces for homes, offices, and other spaces.
  2. Graphic designers create visual content for print and digital media, including logos, websites, and advertising materials.
  3. Game designers create interactive digital experiences, including video games and mobile apps.
  4. Fashion designers create clothing and accessories for individuals and businesses.
  5. Jewellery designers create wearable items such as rings, necklaces, and earrings.
  6. Industrial designers create functional and aesthetically pleasing products, including furniture, appliances, and electronics.

Design courses in Malaysia

Numerous design courses are available in Malaysia, ranging from certificate and diploma programs to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Here are some popular ones:

  1. Arts and Design courses cover a range of design disciplines, including graphic design, interior design, and industrial design.
  2. Graphic Design courses in Malaysia: Graphic design courses in Malaysia mainly cover topics such as typography, layout, and digital media. Some courses may also cover topics such as branding and advertising.
  3. Game Design courses encompass game development, principles, and programming.
  4. Interior Design courses cover space planning, colour theory, and lighting design.

For example, UOW Malaysia offers a Diploma in Interior Design that exposes students to skills like drawing, material selection, computer-aided design, technical drafting and project management. Additionally, their Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Interior Architecture prepares students for a fulfilling career in built environment.

  1. Online Interior Design courses cover furniture selection, window treatments, and colour schemes.
  2. Online Graphic Design courses cover logo design, illustration, and photo editing.
  3. UI/UX Design courses cover user research, user interface design, and user experience design.
  4. Fashion Design courses cover garment construction, fashion illustration, and fashion marketing.
  5. Jewellery Design courses teach jewellery-making techniques, gemstone selection, and metalworking.


Taking design classes is a great way to improve your skills and prepare for a design career. Whether you are interested in graphic design, interior design, game design, or another field, numerous design courses are available in Malaysia to meet your needs.

By enrolling in a design course, you can gain the technical skills and creative thinking needed to succeed in design.


12 April 2023


Education and Career