MA Graphic Branding and Identity

Please note

Applications for September 2016 entry to this course have now closed. 

We hope that you will take the time to consider one of our other postgraduate courses.

Understanding, translating and communicating brand stories graphically: it's what today's key branding designers do. Driven by intelligent enquiry and evaluation, MA Graphic Branding and Identity challenges the whole meaning of graphic branding. Explore the strategic thinking underlying brands and look at how that strategy can drive the creative expression.

We will update this webpage from time to time with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact a member of the course team.

Additional costs: In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. We strongly suggest you read the information on our Additional Costs page. 

Student Nikolai Garcia Gamarra wins competition to design the visual identity of the Ibero-American Theater Festival of Bogotá, Colombia.
© Nikolai Garcia Gamarra

Student Work // Sabela Ros – Between. Creating actual connections.

Funding opportunities

Find out about the range of funding options available for postgraduate study.

Use UAL's fees and funding calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for eligible UK and EU students. A full list of eligibility criteria and information on applying can be found on the postgraduate loans webpage.

Facts

Course Leader

Grant Rose

Course Location

London College of Communication 
Elephant and Castle
Find Us

Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)
Home/EU Fee

£8,250 (2016/17 fees)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount
Course fees may be paid in instalments

A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL. 

International Fee

£17,230 (2016/17 fees)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount
Course fees may be paid in instalments

A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL.

Start DateSeptember 2016
Term DatesSeptember 2016 - December 2017
Application Route

Direct to College - See the How to Apply tab

Application DeadlineApplications are accepted, and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Content and Structure

Content

Driven by intelligent enquiry and evaluation, MA Graphic Branding and Identity encourages students to challenge what is understood about the meaning of graphic branding. It explores the strategic thinking underlying brands and focuses on how that strategy can drive the creative expression.

Look around you and you will see examples of the power of brands; on the high street, within organisations and in the media. From Coca Cola to Virgin, the most successful brands are worth billions. This MA course focuses on the role of visual identity within branding, with the aim to produce versatile and creative practitioners who understand design within a business, social and cultural context.

MA Graphic Branding and Identity addresses the subject from a broad perspective, covering individual, group, cultural, national, international, corporate and commercial identities. You will be encouraged to look critically at the graphic elements which make up a contemporary visual identity. The emphasis is on practical design, supported by theoretical components and the application of clear research methodologies.

As well as developing a deeper knowledge of branding and graphic design, you will gain an understanding of how to develop brand strategies and propositions. An important part of the course involves developing an independent personal project that investigates these principles and their application.

Learning at this level will be about intellectual engagement, discovery, interaction and change. The final product for us is not in itself the goal - it is the research, evaluation and understanding of branding and identity that makes this MA distinctive.

This course is taught within the Design School.

Structure

Each course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits. The MA course structure involves six units, totalling 180 credits.

Autumn, Term One

Unit summary:

  • Unit 1 - Brand & Design Principles (40 credits)
  • Unit 2 - Field of Study Report (20 credits)

These two units involve a process of reflection, broad exploration and understanding of the brand and design process itself, through a practical project exploring the fundamental principles of brand and design literacy and visual grammar.

You will work on identifying your own practice in relation to common approaches and develop a deeper understanding of the techniques required to produce effective graphic, brand and design communication. A series of lectures, workshops and seminars will be available covering research methodologies in theory and practice and the wider contextual framework for contemporary graphic branding.

In addition, you’ll undertake a scoping and profiling project called the Field of Study Report in order to establish a working rationale and focus for your Major Project Proposal. This will help you to develop an appreciation of current debates that are shaping the future of the subject and gain an informed view of your own practice.

The skills and knowledge developed during this unit will provide you with a firm foundation from which to undertake design research and are a platform for your personal graphic branding and identity practice.

Spring, Term Two

Unit summary:

  • Unit 3 - Major Project Proposal (40 credits)
  • Unit 4 - Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

Summer, Term Three

Unit summary:

  • Unit 3 - Major Project Proposal (continued)
  • Unit 5 - Final Major Project: Practical and Report (60 credits)

OR

  • Unit 5 - Final Major Project: Thesis (60 credits)

The Major Project Proposal moves your Field of Study Report forwards through a series of practical and contextual stages to find a clearly defined and evaluated research question for the Major Project Proposal. This question will then be answered in the Final Major Project in the last unit of the course.

For unit three you will write, design and produce a re-evaluation of the intentions and methods outlined in the Field of Study Report submitted in unit one in order to strategically plan the development of the Major Project towards its final resolution.

During this unit you may choose to refocus or even change your project. At this point it is also advised to consider the type of final project (Final Major Project: Practical and Report, or Final Major Project: Thesis). These decisions will need to be discussed and agreed with your tutor prior to the completion of the Major Project Proposal.

During this stage, you will also be able to undertake the Collaborative Unit, where you can work within the branding industry, collaborate with another course or organisation on a chosen branding project or brief. The Collaborative Unit allows you to be directly in touch with the realities of a professional branding practice, and to examine these techniques, approaches and theories in a professional context. (Examples of previous collaborative partnerships at LCC include: Pentagram, Wieden + Kennedy, SCOPE, Channel 4, One Show New York, Mother, Blue Marlin and Interbrand).

Autumn, Term Four

Unit summary:

  • Unit 5 - Final Major Project: Practical and Report (continued)

OR

  • Unit 5 - Final Major Project: Thesis (continued)

The Final Major Project builds on the knowledge and skills acquired during the earlier units, together with the defined and tested rationale developed in the Major Project Proposal and definition stages of the course. These elements are then applied in the creation of an original brand design research project.

This involves the completion of an independent Final Major Project on the basis of extensive research and a firm methodological approach. You will develop a programme of investigation and analysis that supports you in the further development of your personal research project.

As you move towards the submission of your Final Major Project, you will be required to qualify and evidence your design development; exploring the context of your project as well as identifying key issues in the work such as appropriate discourses, your strategic thinking, branding ‘touch points’, materials and media through which you can effectively communicate your branding ideas.

If you are unable to continue or decide to exit the course, there are two possible exit awards. A Postgraduate Certificate may be awarded on successful completion of the first 60 credits and a Postgraduate Diploma may be awarded on successful completion of the first 120 credits.

Course Structure

The information outlined is an indicative structure of the course. Whilst we will aim to deliver the course as described on this page, there may be situations where it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, for example because of regulatory requirements or operational efficiencies, before or after enrolment. If this occurs, we will communicate all major changes to all applicants and students who have either applied or enrolled on the course.

Please note that due to staff research agreements or availability, not all of the optional modules listed may be available every year.

In addition, the provision of course options which depend upon the availability of specialist teaching, or on a placement at another institution, cannot be guaranteed. Please check this element of the course with the course team before making a decision to apply.

Staff

Course Leader:Grant Rose

Associate Lecturers: John BatesonEugenie Dodd

Programme Directors: Jamie Hobson and David Sims

Careers

Student Jobs and Careers at UAL

We know what it takes to be successful in your chosen field. Your tutors are professionals in their own right and understand what you need to help you establish your career. 

Careers and Employability is dedicated to helping students build up work-relevant skills, knowledge, experience and networks throughout your time here. 

Creative Opportunities is the UAL job and work placement website for students and graduates, advertising hundreds of creative opportunities each month. This includes ArtsTemps in-house recruitment agency, placing students and graduates in paid temping roles within the University.

UAL houses a number of organisations which promote aspects of career development in the arts and media, and which hold regular workshops and careers fairs. These include:

  • Own-It (intellectual property issues)
  • ArtQuest (career development resource for artists and designers)

Entry Requirements

Recruitment and Admissions

The course team welcomes applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, from all over the world. MA Graphic Branding and Identity attracts students who apply direct from an Honours Degree course or those with other equivalent qualifications. The course team also welcomes students with relevant experience or those who may have previously worked in industry.

Entry Requirements (Home/International/EU)

Applicants will be considered for admission who have already achieved an educational level equivalent to an Honours Degree in a field relevant to graphic design, product design or architecture.

This educational level may be demonstrated by one of the following:

  • Possession of the qualifications named above. 
  • Possession of equivalent qualifications.
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required. (As indicated by at least three years experience which has led to a demonstrable level of expertise in the understanding and use of graphic design).
  • A combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required. 

Alternative Entry Routes

We welcome applicants with relevant professional and vocational qualifications, or from mature students who do not have formal qualifications but may have relevant experience in industry.

If you do not have the required qualifications, but do have professional experience you may be eligible to gain credit for previous learning and experience through the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning AP(E)L system. Your experience is assessed as a learning process and tutors will evaluate that experience or currency, validity, quality and sufficiency.

Language Requirements (International/EU)

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 when you enrol.

  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the four skills.
  • You can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

Portfolio Advice

You will be required to submit a portfolio of personal work and commercial work if appropriate, supported by a short description of the project and your involvement if commercial.

Your portfolio should be supplied on a memory stick or link to your website or online portfolio. A short summary of 200 words should also be submitted stating the reasons for taking the course and your understanding of graphic branding.

Please remember that this course is both conceptual and research based, it is important to show your process and how you explore, test and experiment, as well as your commercial and finished projects.

Major Project

All candidates will be expected to outline their major project ideas in the application.

Your outline should describe your area/s of interest, your field of study and the particular focus of your intended work across the year. You should also include an overview of how you intend to go about producing the project and your methodology.

It is important to recognise that these ideas will inevitably develop and change across the year of study on the course and only serve to inform your application at this stage.

Funding

Home / EU and International students

Funding opportunities available for this course:

Any questions? Please email funding@arts.ac.uk or visit Postgraduate Funding page.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

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