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  • Visual Merchandising Arts

    Visual Merchandising Arts

Program Code:VMA
Duration:4 Semesters (2 Years)
Start Dates:Fall,
Start dates are subject to change
Credential Awarded:Ontario College Diploma

Program Description

The Visual Merchandising Arts diploma program will teach you design and display techniques to create effective visual presentations. You will learn merchandise co–ordination, mannequin presentation, photo styling, and drawing techniques. You will develop the ability to transform design ideas into practical creative displays that support retail sales. Your experience is further enhanced by 110 hours of field placement that provide you with an opportunity to improve your skills, expand your portfolio and network with industry professionals.

Program Learning Outcomes:

This Seneca College program meets the system-wide standards as set by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

As a graduate, you will be prepared to reliably demonstrate the ability to:

  • Present and coordinate merchandise so that related goods are shown in a unique, desirable and saleable manner.
  • Use both written and oral English that emphasizes good organization, clarity, correct grammar which is appropriate for communication purposes in the business environment.
  • Apply sound practices in financial decision making.
  • Work with a wide variety of materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic, foam core, wood, laminate, fabric, colour and lighting to solve two and three dimensional design problems.
  • Apply layout, design principles and techniques, and colour theory to the development of promotional displays and advertising.
  • Integrate photography effectively into advertising, promotional material and display design.
  • Recognize influences of past, current, and emerging trends, issues and perspectives on merchandising.
  • Explain the basic functions of retail store operations including store location and layout, shopping centre analysis, retail market segmentation and strategies, and the merchandising mix.
  • Communicate promotional themes through effective displays.
  • Integrate basic personnel functions such as interviewing techniques, basic supervisory skills, motivation, and written and non-verbal communication.
  • Develop basic promotion and advertising including various media for retail advertising.
  • Design and build scale models and props suitable for use in displays and exhibitions.
  • Use industry standard tools and techniques.

Essential Employability Skills:

Graduates of this program are also expected to demonstrate the essential employability skills learning outcomes as outlined on the Ministry of Training, College and Universities website.

Admission Requirements

Program Eligibility:

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent with:
    • Grade 12 English: ENG4(C) or ENG4(U)
  • OR Mature Student Status (age 19 or older) with the above prerequisite course(s), their equivalent(s), or appropriate Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) Certificate program credits (see Academic Upgrading).


  • Portfolios may be presented at Program Information sessions.
  • Although not required for admission, Grade 11 or 12 Art is considered an asset.

The Importance of Learning Skills:

Student success in college requires well developed learning skills (such as being able to work independently, participate in a team, be well-organized, develop good work habits, and show initiative). These skills are as important as prior academic achievement. While it is expected that applicants would have developed these skills through previous education and life experiences, Seneca offers support to assist students with further development of these important skills. Seminars, workshops and tutoring are available at Seneca's Learning Centres.


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Your Career

As a Seneca Visual Merchandising Arts graduate, you’ll transform design ideas into practical creative displays that support retail sales. Career opportunities exist in the display departments of stores, in visual merchandising companies, in exhibition design, as a freelance display designer, or with special event and promotion companies.

Field Placement

The 2nd year 110–hour Field Placement is an excellent opportunity to connect with our industry partners. This important work placement provides you with key job skills that will improve your employment opportunities upon completion of the program. The Field Placement must be completed prior to graduation.

Diploma to Degree ...and Beyond

Through transfer agreements and institution partnerships, graduates of this Seneca College program may be eligible for credit at the following post-secondary institution(s):


University/CollegeDegrees Available
Wilfrid Laurier University - Brantford Campus• Honours Bachelor of Arts


University/CollegeDegrees Available
Athabasca University• Bachelor of Professional Arts in Communication Studies
Concordia University• Bachelor of Fine Arts
University of New Brunswick• Bachelor of Applied Management (General Business)

Important Academic Dates

Please take a few moments to view Important Academic Dates for your relevant semester.


Semester 1 Course Name Hrs/Wk
DDV133 Drawing & Design for Visual Merchandising I 3
DSG133 Design Fundamentals 3
DSP131 Display Techniques I 4
EAC150 College English 3
VML131 Lighting for Visual Merchandising 3
Semester 2 Course Name Hrs/Wk
DDV234 Drawing & Design for Visual Merchandising II 4
DSP232 Display Techniques II 4
DSP238 Menswear & Mannequin Styling 4
FSM232 Materials & Prop Construction I 4
RET201 Retailing Trends 2
XXXXXX General Education Option 3
Semester 3 Course Name Hrs/Wk
DDV301 Drawing & Design for Visual Merchandising III 3
DSP333 Window Installation I 5
FSH330 Evolution of Design 3
FSM334 Materials & Prop Construction II 3
PSD335 Photo Styling & Digital Imaging 3
XXXXXX General Education Option 3
FPL Field Placement
Semester 4 Course Name Hrs/Wk
DDV401 Drawing and Design for Visual Merchandising IV 3
DSP435 Window Installation II 5
FPS436 Portfolios and Personnel 3
FSM433 Materials & Prop Construction III 4
XXXXXX General Education Option 3
FPL Field Placement

Contact Us

For more information, please visit our website at
Admissions Advisors:
Domestic Admissions Advisor: Maureen Massicot
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 22014
International Admissions Advisor: Simona Cojanu
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 22758
Registration & Records Advisor:
  Eric Kiely
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 22465
Program Contacts:
Program Coordinator: David McDermid
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 26146
Program Chair: Gitte Hansen
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 22160
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Seneca's Fashion Resource Centre

Seneca's Fashion Resource Centre is a collection of more than 10,000 garments and fashion accessories dating from the mid-1800s to present day. Everything in the collection, from the Victorian corsets to the designer originals, is used as teaching aids for student in Seneca's Visual Merchandising Arts program. Video


"I am a recent graduate of the Visual Merchandising Arts diploma program at Seneca College. This program taught me the skills I need to be a strong and valuable employee in the arts industry. I really enjoyed the Display and Material workshops. They gave me the basic principles of colour and design. I found the field placements to be extremely helpful in preparing me for "real world" projects. Since graduation I have worked as a Visual Stylist at Holt Renfrew and I am currently working as a senior artist at Moss & Lam. Moss & Lam provides commercial arts and special finishing for hotels and retail stores across the world."

Jin Kim

“As the Visual Merchandising Co-ordinator at Polo Ralph Lauren - Hong Kong, I would like to say thanks! I would not have reached my goal without the first-hand knowledge and experience I gained during my two years at Seneca.”

Jennifer Chang
VM Co-ordinator, Ralph Lauren

“The Visual Merchandising Arts program taught me to expand my creativity and develop the technical skills needed in order to enter the field. The program at Seneca College was a great foundation for an exciting, successful career.”

Faye Payne
Visual Presentation Specialist, Sears,
Fairview Mall, Toronto


Visual Merchandising Arts

Highlights from Visual Merchandising Arts on flckr


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