• CollegeCSM
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length3 years
  • UCAS codeW215

BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design

This course equips you to become a versatile graphic communication design practitioner in a wide range of media and contexts, from paper to screen, from digital environments to public spaces.

Taking this broad perspective, you’ll develop not only technical and conceptual skills but engage socially and culturally, understanding the power of design to shape human behaviour.

This course is part of the Graphic Communication Design programme.

Great reasons to apply

  • BA Graphic Communication Design supports students interested in developing hybrid practices, specialist approaches and those looking for a more general and strategic graphic communication design education
  • Choose from areas of study to develop professional approaches in, for example, typography, coding, illustration, interaction, moving image and branding
  • Develop collaborative and team-working skills and hybrid practices across disciplinary boundaries
  • Co-design your curriculum for final year study, developing themes and issues for exploration and experimentation
  • Elect to tackle live briefs engaging local government, non-profits and companies
  • Gain support and feedback from a larger community of professional design practitioners.
Rebecca Ross and Peter Hall in conversation

Rebecca Ross and Peter Hall in conversation

"One of the biggest challenges is to work out how graphic design can confront environmental, political and social crises without making the problems worse."

<b>Johnny Hardstaff, BA Graphic Communication Design alum</b>

Be dangerous. Be subversive. Be unique. Confound and confront. Have an agenda. Have a mission and stick to it. Be ready for a fight.

Johnny Hardstaff, BA Graphic Communication Design alum

Graphic Communication Design on Instagram

    Course catalogues

    Course detail

    Graphic communication design is the art of generating and diffusing visual culture. Its practice is as old as cave painting but with the advent of mechanical, photographic and then digital means of reproduction, graphic communication design became a dominant and ubiquitous force in the world, disseminating the ideas and norms of our visual culture. As a means of recording, informing, promoting and persuading, graphic communication design is responsible for shaping the ways people see and act in the world.

    This course aims to develop your technical and conceptual skills and situate your practice socially and ethically, so that you emerge with strong technical skills, creative abilities and an understanding of the power of design to influence and shape human behaviour. This is particularly important amid unprecedented social, political and environmental changes.

    The accelerating pace of transformation raises important questions about the future forms the world will take and, as a consequence, the future aims and possibilities of graphic and communication design. Such challenges demand that practitioners envisage and direct change, and accept responsibility as managers of material and cultural resources, data and information.

    During their studies, BA Graphic Communication Design students:

    • Choose disciplinary areas of focus and build strengths in specific technical skills
    • Co-create content based on student-initiated themes and issues
    • Acquire skills and process knowledge based on both the historical tradition of the graphic communication design discipline and the potential and pitfalls of new technology within the systems and structures of society, providing a practical expression of the connections between meanings and audiences
    • Join a large, diverse design student community spread across five continents while enjoying direct access to London, one of the world's great capital cities of design
    • Have easy access to London’s vast cultural and social resources.

    The ability to think critically about the purpose of what we do is crucial in developing a strategy of sustainability within our discipline and beyond. The future belongs to those responsible and reflective practitioners who understand the extended potential of graphic design and possess the creative openness to explore its possibilities.

    We support and encourage all BA Graphic Communication Design students to imagine, express and communicate responsibly the new, the exciting and the different.

    BA Graphic Communication Design runs for 90 weeks full time over three years, and is divided into three Levels (or Stages), each lasting 30 weeks. The whole degree course is credit-rated at 360 credits, with 120 credits at each Level (Stage).

    Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the Levels for a BA are: Level 4 (which is stage 1 of the course), Level 5 (Stage 2) and Level 6 (Stage 3).

    There's a progression point at the end of each Level and, in order to progress, all units of the preceding Level must normally have been passed.

    If you're unable to continue on the course a Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) will normally be offered following the successful completion of Level 4, or a Diploma in Higher Education following the successful completion of Level 5.

    To gain a BA (Honours), students must successfully complete 360 credits. The final award consists of marks from Level 6 units only, weighted according to their credits.

    Course outline

    The BA Graphic Communication Design curriculum is delivered through a mix of project work, lectures, seminars and assignments in discrete units.

    BA Graphic Communication Design offers you a common introductory diagnostic experience during the first year, followed by two years of selected and more specialised study driven by your interests and preferences. The degree programme includes a contextual studies (Context) element and gives access to a comprehensive range of technical workshops and resources, both digital and analogue.

    Main study - stage one

    Stage one will introduce the landscape and languages of graphic communication design and welcome you to a community of designers. You will be inducted into the core languages of graphic communication design– reading and writing, typography and digital – through lectures, workshops, seminars and individual and collective projects. This stage will include introductions to the history of design and theories of communication. You will have the opportunity to experience different specialist areas of design before making a negotiated choice of focus in which to begin stage two. Teaching will be intensive, timetabled across 2.5 days.

    Main study - stage two

    You will begin stage two in your chosen specialist area and will have the opportunity to begin to collaborate with students across the course and across the college, with options to shift focus at key points as the year progresses. The course encourages you to explore hybrid practices through projects where different specialist areas meet and mix and discipline boundaries are expanded and explored. This stage will focus on communication skills: how to communicate verbally, visually and in writing as an integrated practice. You will be mapping the field, thinking through making, exploring practice and working collaboratively. As you move towards stage three, you will be involved in co-designing the content and curriculum for your final year and will be supported in making a negotiated choice of Community of Practice. You will explore notions of collaboration, participation and the relationship with audiences. Communities of Practice will be supported by lectures, workshops and seminars that will explore cultural, social and theoretical contexts of contemporary graphic communication design practice.

    Main study - stage three

    Stage three will address problem finding, problem solving and problem setting. The focus will be on depth of knowledge, and situating practice around student-initiated issues and themes. This is an outward-facing stage designed to facilitate students in making connections and building networks. You will work in Communities of Practice based around thematic areas that have been arrived at

    through the co-creation conference in stage two. You will be tutored by a group of staff that will bring studio and writing together to facilitate and support the production of a body of work that situates all aspects of the student’s practice.

    Developing your skills - external activities

    There are opportunities to engage with live briefs led by local government or clients such as LVMH, Camden Council and Sony, and to participate in national and international student design competitions, such as RSA and D&AD. The course is a member of D&AD - BA Graphic Design students gain from discounts on submissions to the D&AD Student Awards and other benefits.

    Arrangements for work experience or internships are encouraged and facilitated on an informal basis. Study trips, student exchanges, studio visits and collaborative projects (either within UAL or with partner institutions at home and abroad) offer further opportunities to study within a broader context. During stage two a number of 'Study Abroad' students from the USA and other countries join the course for one, two or three terms.

    The course has a strong history and a reputation for thinking through making. You will have opportunities to learn prototyping, craft and production skills through workshops and projects that explore the synthesis between thinking and making as an essential part of the design process. You will explore what making means in relation to both traditional and contemporary practice – for example, you will be able to explore code as a material and at the same time choose to do bookbinding; you might experiment with analogue printmaking alongside physical computing; stop-frame animation and augmented reality. This approach extends beyond making into ‘breaking’ – you will be encouraged to challenge, experiment, disrupt and subvert and to make your own tools.

    BA Graphic Communication Design Programme Specification 2018/19 (PDF, 278KB)

    Industry collaborations

    Working with paying clients on live briefs will give you valuable commercial experience which may mean your work being taken forward for production or, if so desired, in the purchase of your intellectual property. All paid projects are conducted within a carefully developed legal framework, which includes student agreements to protect your work and help you realise its commercial value. 

    Recent client projects in the Graphic Communication programme include: TetraPak | Karstadt | Sony Music | Beefeater Gin | Fabriano | Kagome | Hewlett Packard | Tod's | Fresh. Find out more about the Lacoste client project. 

    Once you’ve graduated, you may be picked as part of a small team to work on a live creative brief, organised by our Business and Innovation department, under the supervision of an experienced tutor. This can be a valuable first step in working professionally in a chosen discipline and has resulted in graduates being hired by clients.

    CSM Graphics graduate designs stunning Foyles building wrap

    In a competition curated by Futurecity, ten recent BA Graphic Design graduates were selected to develop artwork proposals that would celebrate the character of both Central Saint Martins and Foyles, exploring the status of the two institutions as cultural icons and bringing their heritage to life for this large-scale temporary artwork.

    BA Graphic Design graduate and current MA Communication Design student Rebecca Hendin’s playful illustration was selected by a panel of judges from Futurecity, Foyles and Saint Martins Lofts and unveiled earlier this month.

    Visit the News section to find out more.

    CSM Graphics work with Beefeater on #MyLondon photography campaign

    Central Saint Martins BA Graphic Design students had the opportunity this autumn to work alongside the Beefeater Gin #MyLondon campaign, which invited people to send in photos of what London means to them.

    Winner Natalie Braune had the IP of her winning photo purchased by Beefeater and received £1000. Her photo captured the interaction between iconic London monuments and the patterns they make on the people around them.

    Facilities

    Staff

    Programme DirectorRebecca Wright
    Course LeaderDr Peter Hall
    Stage 1 LeaderEmily Wood
    Stage 2 LeaderKira Salter
    Stage 3 LeaderDr Catherine Dixon
    Senior Lecturer (Advertising)Clive Challis
    Senior Lecturer (Moving Image)Esteban Gitton 
    Senior Lecturer (Illustration)Andrew Hall
    
Senior Lecturer (Design & Interaction)Kira Salter (Stage 1 & 2) and David Preston (Stage 3)
    Professor of Typography & Senior LecturerProfessor Phil Baines
    Senior Lecturer (Context)Andrea Lioy 
    Senior Lecturer (Context)Dr Paul Rennie
    Senior Lecturer (Photography)Gary Wallis
    Senior LecturerCath Caldwell
    Lecturer: Jaap de Maat
    Lecturer: Luise Vormittag
    Visiting Fellow: Lucienne Roberts
    Visiting Fellow: Jack Schulze
    Practitioner in Residence: Paul Elliman
    External Liaison Co-ordinator: Kate Pelan

    How to apply

    When to apply

    The UCAS deadline for all applications (Home, EU and International) is 15 January 2018

    Please note that not all courses are able to consider late applications. Applicants may only change their course choice within 14 days of submitting an application. Any changes made to your application after 15 January 2018 will result in the application being marked as late.

    Applying and how your application is considered

    You will need to apply through the UCAS online application system.

    Go to ‘Apply’ from the UCAS homepage, where you will be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your online application form. Central Saint Martins (CSM) courses are listed under University of the Arts London. 

    • University code: U65
    • Course code: W215
    • There is no 'campus code' for CSM
    • This course does not accept Year 3 Entry.

    After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

    What happens next

    If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit a mini portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

    Mini portfolio

    The mini portfolio should be no more than 10 pages comprising of your best work showing your skills and thinking. You can create the pages in any layout (For example: presentation boards) but they should be uploaded as jpeg images. It should include:

    • Primary and secondary research, ideas development and experimentation with a different range of materials, techniques and media as well as finished pieces
    • Your work could be the result of set projects and self-initiated work. We like to see images from sketchbooks or notebooks, working drawings, life-drawing, photography and media manipulation, 2D or 3D work.
    • Demonstrate your ability to tackle visual problems and find inventive and creative solutions.
    • It is useful to organize your portfolio into categories to make it easier to view. Avoid repetition and demonstrate a wide range of your skills. Include brief (one-sentence) explanatory captions. 

    Following a review on your mini portfolio, you will either be invited for a full portfolio review or your application will be rejected via UCAS Track. 

    Full portfolio review

    • If you have been successful with your mini portfolio, we will invite you to a full portfolio review at college, normally taking place between February and March.
    • If you are unable to attend the full portfolio review in person, you will be asked to submit a FULL digital portfolio (up to 30 pages) through UAL’s online portfolio review system.
    • Please note that we do not accept portfolios by post.

    Please remember:

    • The quality of the work is more important than the quantity.
    • Where possible, large or 3-dimensional work should be photographed and scanned
    • Please organise your work by project, with supporting work presented alongside final outcomes.

    As part of the selection process you may be invited to a group interview at CSM. Be prepared to talk about the work in your portfolio - for example, which work you consider to be your best and why? You should also be able to explain your motivation for choosing Graphic Communication Design at CSM or perhaps your intentions with regard to your future ambitions within the field. It may be useful to consider who or what is your inspiration, etc. Be assured that we endeavour to keep the group interviews as informal and relaxed as possible.

    How we notify you of the outcome of your application

    You will receive the outcome of your application through UCAS track and UAL Applicant Portal.

    Deferred entry

    Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry. 

    When to apply

    The UCAS deadline for all applications (Home, EU and International) is 15 January 2018.

    Applicants may only change their course choice within 14 days of submitting an application. Any changes made to your application after 15 January 2018 will result in the application being marked as late. 

    Please note that some courses will continue accepting late applications after the above deadline, subject to spaces available on the course. We recommend you apply by the end of March at the very latest to avoid disappointment.

    Applying and how your application is considered

    There are three ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at CSM:

    Go to ‘Apply’ from the UCAS homepage, where you will be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your online application form. Central Saint Martins (CSM) courses are listed under University of the Arts London.

    • University code: U65
    • Course code: W215
    • There is no 'campus code' for CSM.
    • This course does not accept Year 3 Entry.

    Please note that you can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UCAS, UAL Representative or using the UAL online application system. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn. 

    For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page.

    After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application. 

    Immigration History Check (for International Applications only)

    Whether you are applying online via UCAS or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an Immigration History check.

    Please note: If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

    What happens next

    If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit a mini portfolio through UAL's online portfolio review system. 

    Mini portfolio

    The mini portfolio should be no more than 10 pages comprising of your best work showing your skills and thinking. It should include:

    • The work that you feel is strong, that represents a range of your skills and that is relevant to the course you have applied to. 
    • Please include some development work as well as finished pieces.
    • You can create the pages in any layout or have multiple images per page but do not 'overload' each page.
    • You can also include short captions to explain your work.
    • Prepare your pages in any software, then save as bmp/gif/jpg/jpeg/png images and upload through the PebblePad system.

    Following a review on your mini portfolio, you will either be invited for a full portfolio review or your application will be rejected via UCAS Track or UAL Applicant Portal.

    Full portfolio review

    • If you currently live in the UK, you will be invited to attend a full portfolio review at college, normally taking place between February and March.
    • If you currently live outside the UK or unable to attend the full portfolio review in person, you will be asked to submit a FULL digital portfolio (up to 30 pages) through UAL’s online portfolio review system.
    • Please note that we do not accept portfolios by post

    The full portfolio should comprise of your best work showing your skills and thinking. It should include:

    • Primary and secondary research, ideas development and experimentation with a different range of materials, techniques and media as well as finished pieces
    • Your work could be the result of set projects and self-initiated work. We like to see images from sketchbooks or notebooks, working drawings, life-drawing, photography and media manipulation, 2D or 3D work.
    • Demonstrate your ability to tackle visual problems and find inventive and creative solutions.
    • It is useful to organize your portfolio into categories to make it easier to view. Avoid repetition and demonstrate a wide range of your skills. Include brief (one-sentence) explanatory captions.  

    Please remember:

    • The quality of the work is more important than the quantity.
    • Where possible, large or 3-dimensional work should be photographed and scanned
    • Please organise your work by project, with supporting work presented alongside final outcomes.

    How we notify you of the outcome of your application

    You will receive the outcome of your application through UCAS track and the UAL Applicant Portal.

    Deferred entry

    Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry.

    Study Abroad applicants

    International undergraduate students may apply to join a BA course for a period of up to three terms as a study abroad student.

    Please visit the UAL Study Abroad for details of how to apply to one of our courses or contact the UAL Study Abroad Team central offices for more information:

    T: +44 (0)20 7514 2249
    E: studyabroad@arts.ac.uk
    W: UAL Study Abroad

    Entry requirements

    Selection is determined by the quality of the application, indicated primarily in your portfolio and written statements. A very high proportion of successful applicants complete a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

    Applicants are normally expected to have achieved, or be expected to achieve, the course entry requirements details below: 

    • Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
    • 1 GCE A Level
    • 3 GCSEs grade C or above

    OR

    • Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma
    • 3 GCSEs grade C or above

    OR

    • Other University of Arts London awarded level 3 Pre-University Diploma and Extended Diploma in Art and Design
    • 4 GCSEs grade C or above

    OR

    • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Lever 3 or 4)
    • International Baccalaureate Diploma pass achieved at 28 points or above 

    OR

    • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Lever 3 or 4)
    • An equivalent high school qualification from an EU or non-EU institution

    In exceptional circumstances, applicants without Foundation Diploma qualification may be considered if they present a portfolio of equivalent standard to a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and have:

    • 2 GCE A Levels at Grade C or above
    • 3 GCSEs at grade C or above

    Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered if the course team judges the application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might be demonstrated by, for example: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement; a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.

    English language requirements

    All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The English language requirement for entry for this course is:

    IELTS Academic 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the 4 skills (on one single test)

    For further information visit the English Language requirements page.

    Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the Visa and Immigration page which provides important information about UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) requirements. 

    What we look for

    We are not only looking for people with a passion for graphic design, but also for those open to new ideas, informed risk taking and future challenges – applicants who are willing to involve themselves in disciplines and practices within the broader field of graphic communication design.

    Selection criteria

    We select applicants according to their potential and current ability to:

    • Work imaginatively and creatively in graphic and visual media;
    • Apply original thought to any given problem and not mimic prevalent styles;
    • Demonstrate a range of skills and technical abilities;
    • Provide evidence of intellectual enquiry within their work;
    • Demonstrate potential to experiment, to test the parameters of design;
    • Demonstrate relevant research and reflect critically on their learning;
    • Demonstrate cultural awareness and/or contextual framework of their work;
    • Identify historical and contemporary graphic design practices; articulate and
    • Communicate intentions clearly

    Fees and funding

    Home/EU fee

    £9,250 (2018/19). TBC

    Tuition fees for undergraduate degree courses have been set at £9,250 per year for full-time study. This applies from the 2018/19 academic year, subject to changes in the law. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our Undergraduate tuition fees page for more information.

    International fee

    £19,350 (2018/19).

    Additional costs

    In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

    Accommodation

    Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

    Scholarships and awards

    There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

    Scholarships search

    Careers and alumni

    BA Graphic Communication Design students leave with a broad and valuable understanding of graphic communication design practice in its many forms. Skills acquired enable graduates to become versatile practitioners in many exciting and diverse professions.

    Recent alumni activity demonstrates the breadth of careers within the subject, embracing interactive design, web design, advertising, graphic design, information design, illustration, photography, film & TV, animation, editorial design, typographic design, packaging design, brand development, exhibition design, book design, 3D design, as well as in fine art, writing and filmmaking.

    Course alumni include: Alan Aboud, Alan Fletcher, Andy Altman, Colin Forbes, Damon Murray, Derek Birdsall, Dylan Jones, Graham Wood, Huw Morgan, Jonathan Barnbrook, Katy Hepburn, Ken Garland, Lucienne Roberts, Michael Worthington, Minkie Spiro, Morag Myerscough, Paul Neale, Phil Baines, Platon, Richard Hollis, Sandro Sodano, Stephen Sorrell, Tom Hingston, Tony Chambers.

    Design groups or companies formed by our graduates or employing our graduates include: Aboud Sodano, Bibliotheque Design, Barnbrook Design, Fallon, FUEL Design, GTF, Johnson Banks, Moving Brands, Multistorey, Pentagram, Praline, REG Design, Sans+Baum, Studio Myerscough, Tom Hingston Studio, Tomato, Why Not Associates, Wolff Ollins.

    Developing your links

    At the end of Stage One you will be expected to take part in the 'End of Year Folio Show' and at the end of Stage Two, the 'Work in Progress Show'; these shows are public exhibitions and although not assessed, are seen as key learning experiences as preparation for your Degree Show.

    There are regular opportunities to engage with client-led live briefs featuring brands, such as LVMH, Samsung and Sony, and to participate in national and international student design competitions, such as RSA, Lloyds TSB, and D&AD. The course is a member of D&AD - BA Graphic Design students gain from discounts on submissions to the D&AD Student Awards and other benefits.

    Arrangements for work experience or internships are encouraged and facilitated on an informal basis. Study trips, student exchanges, studio visits and collaborative projects (either within UAL or with partner institutions at home and abroad) offer further opportunities to study within a broader context. During Stage Two a number of 'Study Abroad' students from the USA and other countries join the course for one, two or three terms. Context 'creative writing' groups, student clubs such as 'book club' and 'sketchbook club', exhibitions such as 'work in progress', 'pop-up shows' and the 'degree show', 'interest groups', 'guest lectures' and a school-wide 'elective' present additional opportunities for social interaction or collaboration.

    For details of the wide range of careers support provided for students, please visit our Careers support page.

    Alumni profiles

    • Ignacia Ruiz

      Ignacia is now an illustrator and reportage artist who works primarily with drawing and printmaking.

    • Charlotte Halsey

      Charlotte talks about her typographic work which saw her nominated for the Nova Awards in 2013.

    • Jean Jullien

      Jean trained at Central Saint Martins and is now a prolific illustrator, painter, designer and animator