In the first year, you’ll focus on the investigation, testing and application of the guiding principles and processes associated with graphic design, learning the fundamentals of design and associated Adobe programmes.
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.
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
This unit is presented through a series of illustrated lectures that introduce a number of key historical and contemporary contextual frameworks for visual culture and communication practices You'll be encouraged to begin to identify changing relationships between visual culture, communication and wider social and cultural concerns.
Units in the second year will give you the vital background knowledge and critical thinking skills to apply what you learn to the real world and the opportunity for work experience over the summer break.
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.
We will encourage you to research the overlap and relationships between these specialist areas, 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. The primary aim of this unit 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.
In your final year, you’ll begin to develop your practice and you’ll produce your final major project, bringing together your career aspirations and practical work.
You’ll also have the opportunity to submit your work to prestigious awards, such as Design & Art Direction, the most prestigious award in design, and exhibit at the Farnham Graduation Show.
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.
Option 1: Dissertation
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:
The course fees per year for 2019 entry are:
- UK and EU students - £9,250
- International students - £15,500 (standard fee)
- International students - £14,800 (full early payment fee)
The fees for 2020 entry have not been confirmed but will be listed here as soon as possible.
Find out more about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to:
These fees are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.
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