Graphic Design BA (Hons)

Overview

On this multi-award winning BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree course, you'll bring your creative ideas to life using the latest software and professional tools. You’ll examine the core principles of graphic design, learning how to apply your talent using traditional and digital media.

You’ll develop creative problem solving skills and learn to use design software including Adobe InDesign and Illustrator to give your design work a professional finish. The skills you acquire will enable you to join and contribute to the constantly evolving world of media and design.

A degree in graphic design could open doors to a creative career in areas such as editorial and print design, interactive and web design, motion graphics and specialist typography.

The curriculum on this BA (Hons) Graphic Design course has a strong emphasis on research- and industry-informed design practice. Many of the course lecturers are active researchers and we have strong links with the design industry.

Past students from this course have been commended in the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA), and won the You Can Now (YCN) and British Design & Art Direction (D&AD) New Blood “Ones to Watch” awards. Students have also gained membership of the International Society of Typographic Designers, been featured in Digital Arts magazine, Blueprint magazine and Creative Boom, and won designer of the year and the Screening Prize at New Designers.

What you'll experience

On this Graphic Design degree course you’ll:

  • Access specialist production facilities to develop techniques like screen printing, letterpress, laser cutting and dye sublimation printing
  • Take Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) qualifications as part of the course – one of our final-year students won the industry-acclaimed UK Adobe Championship in 2017
  • Get an industry perspective from guest speakers – past guests have included Alan Kitching, Mark Ovenden, and industry professionals from design studios FontSmith and SomeOne
  • Be taught by a mix of academic staff and working professionals
  • Have the opportunity to enter international competitions like YCN, RSA, D&AS and achieve membership of the International Society of Typographic Designers (iSTD)
  • Have the opportunity to take part in events like SKY Creative Day
  • Choose whether to do a traditional dissertation or produce a practical project

What you'll study

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.

Year 1

Core modules

Information Design – 20 credits - This module introduces you to working with data sets and key concepts in visual representation. It highlights the importance of content-driven design and the relevance of quantitative and qualitative information.

Introduction to Graphic Design – 20 credits - This module introduces you to graphic design's historical, contemporary and cultural context, examining the purpose and uses of the practice.

Introduction to Visual Culture (Graphic Design) – 20 credits - This module introduces you to visual analysis through the framework of visual culture. 

Screen Design – Motion Graphics – 20 credits - On this module, you'll learn about design principles for motion graphic sequences through the application of industry-standard software and technological processes.

Typography and Layout – 20 credits - This module will introduce you to the key principles of typography and layout. 

Year 2

Core modules

Editorial Design – 20 credits - In this module, you'll engage with the aspects of graphic design needed for print publications, such as books and journals.

Ethical Design – 20 credits - In this module, you'll consider the cultural position and ethical responsibilities of graphic designers.

Professional Practice – Identity and Branding – 20 credits - In this module, you'll work with a small team of other students to design a brand identity in response to a given brief. You will then apply your design across a range of branded materials and communication platforms.

Screen Design – Interactive Design – 20 credits - In this module you'll design and create a digital product through problem focused design thinking.

Optional modules

CCI Self-Employed Placement – Full Year – 40 credits - This optional year-long module gives you experience in setting up and running a small business during the placement year of a sandwich degree.

CCI Work Placement – Full Year – 40 credits - This optional year-long placement module gives you relevant industrial or commercial experience during the placement year of a sandwich degree.

Art, Design and Performance Study Exchange – 60 credits - On this module you'll go on a study exchange programme at a Higher Education Institution outside the UK.

Engaged Citizenship Through Interdisciplinary Practice – 20 credits - On this module, you'll develop your creative, intellectual and interpersonal attributes.

Professional Experience – 20 credits - This module gives you the opportunity to gain credit towards your degree from paid/unpaid work, volunteering, research placements, internships and other work-related learning.

Professional Practice – Live Design Briefs – 20 credits - In this module, you'll produce and present a portfolio of work in response to a professionally-set design brief or competition. You'll also be encouraged to submit your work to design competitions.

Student Enterprise – 20 credits - This module is a problem-based learning module, which will introduce you to the basics and reality of setting up and running a small business.

Visual Culture: Cult, Taste and Collecting – 20 credits - On this module you'll address cultural taste, material culture and collecting in contemporary society.

Visual Culture: Performing Identity – 20 credits - On this module, you'll explore the construction of personal, national and cultural identity through design, fashion, illustration, photography, film, television and online materials associated with youth culture.

Visual Culture: Technology and the Image – 20 credits - On this unit you'll address the importance of technologies such as photography, lithography and digital media within theories of Visual Culture.

Visual Culture: Visions of the Body – 20 credits - On this module you'll consider how the body relates to identity, self and society, and explore how these relationships have been changed dramatically through visual culture.

Year 3

Core modules

Major Project in Graphic Design – Research and Development – 20 credits - In this module, you'll conduct in-depth research into an area of your choice, building upon the experience, knowledge and skills you acquired in level 5.

Major Project in Graphic Design – Resolution and Presentation – 20 credits - In this module, you'll transform the research you undertook in 'Major Project In Graphic Design - Research and Development' into a finished artifact.

Professional Practice – Design Briefs and Competitions – 20 credits - On this module you'll engage with internationally recognised professional societies and organisations.

Professional Practice – Design Studio Practice – 20 credits - On this module, you'll experience freelance design studio practice and build your confidence in negotiating with clients.

Professional Practice – Promotion and Employability – 20 credits - In this module you'll prepare yourself for your career by creating your CV, designing digital and real-world self-promotion material, and promoting your participation in the University's annual shows.

Optional modules

Visual Culture: Dissertation – 20 credits - On this module you'll produce a significant piece of written work on a subject that fascinates you, with the support of your supervisor.

Visual Culture: Practice Research – 20 credits - On this module you'll produce a practice-based research project combining theory and practice.

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • group critique
  • seminars
  • individual tutorials

There’s an emphasis on practical sessions, a strong studio culture and developing a creative atmosphere that will inspire you.

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

How you're assessed

Not a fan of exams? Don't worry – there aren't any on this course. Instead, you can let your designs do the talking.

You’ll be assessed through:

  • project presentations
  • research and developmental work
  • design portfolios
  • written essays or reports

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the modules you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 100% by coursework

Careers and opportunities

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry. You can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.

What can you do with a Graphic Design degree?

You could work in many areas of media, including:

  • magazine design publishing
  • branding and design agencies
  • art direction and advertising
  • website design
  • work in the television and film industries
  • further study and research

Graduates from this course have gone on to work with these companies and design studios:

  • Precedent
  • Why Not Associates
  • I Love Dust
  • Aardman Digital
  • The Light Surgeons
  • Fitch
  • 4IV
  • Rubrik
  • FHM Magazine

You could also set up your own business or work as a freelancer. Examples of businesses past students have set up include:

  • Territory Studio
  • Bright Agency
  • Debut Art
  • Strong Island
  • MWM Creative
  • Lethal Creative Studio
  • iLoveDust
BA (Hons), BA (Hons) Award
September Start
Full-time, Sandwich Study Mode
3 years Duration

Entry Requirements For This Course

104-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent. Applicants will be required to attend an interview. Applicants without art and design qualifications or experience may be asked to submit a digital portfolio in advance of an invitation to interview.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

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