In the first year, you'll learn the technical and conceptual skills that will give you a solid foundation from which to explore the areas of specialist activity that exist under the broad definition of 'graphics'. With tutor guidance and tuition, you'll also investigate the design process itself, ensuring that creative outcomes are reached through a combination of experimentation and formula. The aim is to produce outcomes that have real purpose and that clearly communicate messages and meaning.
Guiding Principles and Ways of Working
This unit will focus on the investigation, testing and application of the guiding principles and processes associated with graphic communication. It has three main focal points: typography, creative methodology (the craft of graphic image construction) and the overarching principles of visual communication.
Principles in Practice I
We'll encourage exploration and graphical experimentation with the emphasis firmly placed upon communication. You'll focus on the practical employment of graphic principles as a means of relaying information across a variety of outcomes and media types and formats, i.e. digital and print, mainstream publishing and small press, etc.
Principles in Practice 2
You'll have the opportunity to further develop the application of principles within a broad range of graphic communication outcomes with increasing depth of enquiry and knowledge of contemporary visual communication methods and processes.
Visual Communications: Context and Theory
Through a series of illustrated lectures that introduce a number of key historical and contemporary contextual frameworks for visual culture and communication practices, encouraging you to begin to identify changing relationships between visual culture, communication and wider social and cultural concerns.
The second year focus is on finding your own specialist way of working. This will include (but won't be limited to) information design, publishing and narrative, branding, typography and print media, and digital technologies. Research into the overlap and relationships between these specialist areas will be encouraged, to seek out ways of working that reflect the needs of industry whilst simultaneously exploring the outer reaches of graphic communication.
Specialist Ways of Working
We'll encourage you to reflect on your achievements so far whilst looking forwards into the second half of the course and beyond, taking control of your design direction and giving your work a real purpose and focus.
Publishing and Narrative
This unit examines the use of story telling within our society and culture as a means of communicating to audiences or consumers. You'll explore the message you wish to communicate and to whom you wish to tell your story - this will determine how you speak to your audience. From this point onwards, you'll consider issues of communication methodology, layout, media and design.
Graphic Communication in the Professional Context
We'll introduce you to the working world of the professional designer and creative practitioner; its primary aim is to help you prepare for your work experience and to give you the opportunity to research the world of current graphic communication practice in a range of related industries and areas.
Contextual and Theoretical Perspectives
We'll help you to position your own practice by recourse to a range of theories, contextual frameworks and critical evaluations, introducing you to a variety of research methods to facilitate independent study towards coherent, self-reflective argument in written form.
Study Abroad (optional)
This optional unit is designed to broaden your educational experience and deepen your understanding of cultural diversity, enabling you to study within a different cultural context and gain fresh perspectives.
The third year will see you achieve a greater level of independence with self-managed research, study and practice, resulting in a final major project and a written dissertation.
The design industry has a number of national and international awards created specifically for students including D&AD, the International Society of Typographic Designers and YCN. This unit will offer you the opportunity to work on one of these industry-led student competitions.
Final Major Project
This will give you the opportunity to demonstrate the fluency of your design and communication skills, and to examine a subject or theme in depth through a self-determined and challenging assignment. Your final major project will benefit from your increased understanding of theoretical issues - how these inform and contextualise your practical work, your research skills and your creative/strategic design abilities.
You'll undertake a substantial period of sustained, individually negotiated research on a subject related to the contextual and/ or theoretical concerns of your discipline or chosen area of practice, towards the provision of structured written argument.
Option 2: Combined Dissertation / Critical Reflection
Two periods of sustained, individually negotiated research on subjects which are likely to be related to the contextual and/or theoretical concerns of your chosen areas of practice, towards the provision of structured argument.
This course offers the opportunity to study abroad for part of your second year. To find out more about studying abroad as part of your course please see the Study Abroad section:
Interaction with the industry is fundamental to our degree. We engage with industry through studio visits, work placements, 'live' projects and tasks either set by or co-authored by industry practitioners, as well as international competitions and collaborations. Students regularly win D&AD student awards, such as the Yellow Pencil for Best Packaging Design in 2011.
Our connections include:
- Channel 4
- Dalton Maag
- Design Bridge
- Design Museum
- The Designers Republic
- Holmes & Marchant
- Landor Associates
- Sky (television)
- The Stool Pigeon