- Start dateSeptember 2017
- Course length30 weeks part time
Postgraduate Certificate Design for Visual Communication
An intensive, vocational route into the graphic design profession that can provide a portfolio for further study at postgraduate level.
About this course
Available in both Part-Time (Certificate) or Full-Time (Diploma), these courses are designed to build confidence in those seeking to switch career, to return as a mature student, or wanting a bridge to Masters study.
You will be taught design theory and practical skills in visual language, typography, colour and information design, delivered through a set and self-initiated projects.
Student films and profiles
The introduction of the 2017 publication also includes articles on the course curriculum and philosophy.
The 2016 publication also contains two special design activism articles, one of which features guest contributor Ian McLaren.
This publication represents the work of students studying the Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma Design for Visual Communication course in 2015.
- LCC invites public to free design exhibitions, workshops and talks as part of London Design Festival
- LCC Postgraduate Shows 14 // Spotlight on MDes Service Design Innovation and PGDip/Cert Design for Visual Communication
The programme is ideal for those from diverse academic backgrounds who wish to extend and develop their prior experience through visual communication. Students on the course have previously studied subjects from molecular genetics to English. The course is a confidence-building bridge to Masters study as well as providing the foundations for professional career development.
You can expect
You can expect to become part of a unique learning community made up of staff, guest speakers and fellow students from a diverse range of creative disciplines and cultures. Through tutorials, set and self-initiated projects, workshops and group discussions, you will gain a deeper understanding of the design process that will enhance your practice. Visual language and grammar, typographic hierarchy, symbol design, graphic representation, identity and information visualisation are just some of the areas you will explore.
Personal projects will provide you with a foundation in the principles of visual communication whilst engaging with postgraduate level research methods and conceptual development. Examples of personal projects include: mapping directional devices in the city; the promotion of a typeface; visual analysis of people flow and visual surveys of lettering. Graduates from this course have found employment within high profile international creative agencies, design management, teaching and professional practice. Some have established their own design studios, while others have gone on to achieve highly at Masters level.
What our students say
As an Architect I was quite familiar with the idea of design but I felt the need to build good foundations to progress in the graphic design field. The course at LCC has been fundamental for my career development. Thanks to the portfolio of infographics projects built at LCC, a few months after the end of the course I started freelancing for Sidan Media, a sport publishing company visualising football statistics.
Former student, Grazia Trisciuoglio, now Information Graphic Designer at Live Nation
This was such a valuable course that gave me so much – I'm forever grateful.
Former student, Geoffrey Dahl, now a freelance Graphic Designer
Thank you for everything. The course has changed my life.
Former student, Valentina Verč , Intern at the award-winning OPX studio.
The Postgraduate Certificate Design for Visual Communication has three components:
- Research and Development
- Design Resolution
- Professional and Academic Context
These units aim to achieve an integrated approach to your learning and to avoid the notion that research and application are aspects of design that are experienced in isolation.
- Research and Development (20 credits) introduces you to the key methods of investigating subject matter employed at postgraduate level.
- Design Resolution (20 credits) will investigate and re-examine the main themes of graphic design such as visual language and grammar; hierarchy; structure; navigation; identity; etc. This unit will enable you to experience research and development methods in practice.
- Research and Development (continued)
- Design Resolution (continued)
- Professional and Academic Context (20 credits) offers you an opportunity to undertake a choice of projects that places emphasis on your future professional or academic direction. The following are indicative subject areas: information design, typo/graphic design and image-based design.
- Professional and Academic Context (continued)
The course is currently running in part-time mode only and fits within the University credit framework. It is comprised of tutored study and self-directed study with access to facilities. You will embark on both course-set and self-initiated projects.
You will also engage in debate exploring a multitude of subjects, from design fundamentals to notions of cross-disciplinary thinking.
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.
How to apply
You can begin your application for this course using our online application form – the link to this is below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the course Entry Requirements section to learn about the application process, including detailed guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide later in the process.
Required information for all postgraduation course applications
You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:
- Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
- Current and/or previous education and qualification details
- Employment history
Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.
Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will need to contact you separately to ask for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).
Extra information required for applications to this course
Once you have submitted the online application form, we will send you a confirmation email.
From January 2017 you will be emailed a link to our online application tool, where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:
- Personal statement
The course leader will then review your work, may invite you to interview, and will then make a decision on your application, from January 2017.
The admissions team will be in touch after that to let you know the outcome and to guide you through the next steps.
Start your application now
Applications are accepted, and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.
The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.
We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.
Recruitment and admissions
Applicants will normally have a first degree or its equivalent. We welcome applications from non-traditional backgrounds and in particular mature students. We can assess prior experience as part of our selection criteria. 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 and Experiential Learning (APEL) i.e. professional experience or a combination of courses and work experience.
Your experience is assessed as a learning process and tutors will evaluate that experience for currency, validity, quality and sufficiency.
Language requirements (International/EU)
All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you let us know your English language test score in your application. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please clearly indicate this in your application. When asked to upload a CV as part of your application, please include any information about your English test score.
- International and EU students: In the case of applicants whose first language is not English, then IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) with minimum of 5.5 in each of the four skills is required.
- If your first language is not English you should check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English. Further information is available on our Support for International Students page.
International Applicants, please visit our International Applications page for further details regarding International Admissions.
All applications will be considered by the course team who will consider key elements when making a decision on your suitability to join the course:
- Firstly they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
- Then they will scrutinise your personal statement, ‘portfolio’ and any previous work experience
Academic or professional references are not required for this course.
Offers will be made based on the following selection criteria, which applicants are expected to demonstrate:
- Practical creative ability and the potential to develop that ability through: visual vocabulary (composition, line, shape, form, scale, space, light, colour and texture); quality of ideas (conceptual evidence); use of materials and media
- Critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject area and capacity for research-led design, intellectual inquiry and reflective thought, through: contextual awareness (professional, cultural, social, historical); evidence of research, analysis, development and evaluation (from previous academic study and employment)
- An openness to new ideas and ability to take initiatives, through: ability to evaluate an idea and make decisions based on that evaluation
- A developed and mature attitude to independent study, and an ability to take responsibility for a project and manage this independently, and demonstration of mature approach through academic and/or professional work
As part of your application we would like to hear about your academic and professional background; your interest in the course; what you hope to achieve with it; and the areas of design you hope to pursue such as editorial design, typography or information design.
Please provide a CV detailing your education and qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If English is not your first language it is important that you also include in your CV details of your most recent English language test score.
All applicants will be asked to upload an electronic portfolio as part of their application. This should include a maximum of six projects and supporting material. These should be clearly annotated and organised.
Your portfolio should demonstrate visual acuity, conceptual ability, technical competence and personal interest. Acknowledging that applicants come from diverse academic backgrounds 'portfolio' is taken as having a broad definition. It may include: sketch/notebooks; developmental work; photographs; PowerPoint presentations; web/interactive work; diagrams; printmaking; illustrated reports; commercial work; freelance commissions; personal work; conceptual work; 3D work (photographed); textiles; and written work.
Applicants are usually interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will take place at LCC, or via Skype/telephone.
Where it is possible to offer a face-to-face interview it would be advisable to bring a hard copy version of the portfolio with you.
Fees and funding
Home / EU fee
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
Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.
Scholarships and awards
A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL.
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.
Students have gone on to find employment within high profile agencies such as Frost Design in Australia; Kenya Hara in Japan; Nick Knight Photography; Studio Myerscough; and Fallon Design. They have progressed to work as art directors in advertising agencies; interactive/digital designers; identity designers; typo/graphic designers and museum/exhibition designers.
Alumni of the School of Design include: Neville Brody (Research Studios), John Brown (John Brown Publishing), Angus Hyland (Pentagram), John Hegarty (BBH) and John Kedgley (Tomato). As well as progression onto Masters level courses, graduates of the Design for Visual Communication course find employment both as freelance designers and with high profile international agencies.
The following illustrate some of the successes of our alumni: Aidan Brown (Studio Myerscough), Matthew Hancock and Dominc Busby (David McCandles / Information is Beautiful), Rebecca May (Senior Designer – Design Council / Fallon / published author), Alison Guile (owner LMNOP shop), Annalisa Premoli (John Brown Media / MTV Nickelodeon), Emily Fox (Lewis Moberly), Caroline Nitsch (Lead Online Designer Harrods), Joanna Hopkins (Frost / CERN), Jun Tsuzuki (Nippon Design Center), Sthuthi Ramesh (Brand Union India), Laura Heeks (Pentagram, The Guardian, GQ), Nick Hearne (U-Dox / Wunderman), Ian Carr (owner Labour+Play). Recent graduates have taken up internships at: Browns, Spin and Studio8.
UAL Jobs and Careers
UAL has a number of services and networks that hold regular workshops and careers fairs developed to help you establish and promote your career in the arts, design, or media. These include:
Careers and Employability are the University's dedicated careers and professional practice service. We help UAL students and graduates embark on their professional futures in the creative industries, find jobs, set up a business, and sell their work. We run events throughout the year on all aspects of the career journey.
Creative Opportunities jobs board helps graduates and students find job and internship opportunities and connect with organisations and companies in the creative sector. We post jobs and paid internships, part-time work, freelance contracts and full-time opportunities.