BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media is not defined by a medium, material or style, but fuelled by a desire to communicate by whatever means are appropriate, be they sculptural, typographic, photographic, filmic, print based or a combination of all of these. As the course philosophy suggests: Nothing is off limits.
London College of Communication
|Study Mode||Full time|
|Course Length||3 years full time|
Standard tuition fee for 2014/15: £9,000.
Standard tuition fee for 2014/15: £15,180.
|Start Date||September 2014|
|Autumn Term Dates||Monday 29 September 2014 – Friday 12 December 2014 (Starting with Freshers Week)|
|Spring Term Dates||Monday 12 January 2015 – Friday 27 March 2015|
|Summer Term Dates||Tuesday 27 April 2015 – Friday 26 June 2015|
Through UCAS. Please see the apply tab for more information.
|Application Deadline||Priority consideration is given to applications received by 15 January deadline. However, applications submitted beyond this point will still be considered.|
Content and Structure
This studio-based course aims to produce creative and innovative illustrators who are equipped to succeed in roles across the industry. You will explore the design principles of contemporary media while learning valuable traditional skills and gain a broad and distinctive range of visual languages working with animation, computing, photography and printmaking.
This course capitalises on the heritage of graphic design education at LCC by acknowledging traditional values and specialist skills while recognising the changing and dynamic nature of design and illustration.
Students have graduated from the course to work in a diverse range of creative companies and organisations, including: Airside, Alexander McQueen, Pentagram, D&AD, John Brown Publishing and more. Graduates from this degree have also set up their own companies, operated as freelance Illustrators or become exhibiting artists and designers.
The BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media course at LCC seeks to challenge existing preconceptions and definitions of illustration and encourages students to view themselves as thinkers as well as image makers. Taught by a team of practicing artists, designers, researchers and academics, all the tutors on your course are actively involved in scholarly investigation, graphic design and art related professional practice.
The course fosters an understanding of contemporary creative practice, critical debate and scholarly responsibility. The course offers you the intellectual and creative space to examine existing definitions of illustration whilst exploring future directions. This enables students to work in a broad range of media, processes and techniques. Nothing is 'off limits'.
Students are supported in negotiating individual routes of study in response to a series of set, live and self-initiated briefs. Emphasis is placed on developing a range of practical, conceptual, research and decision-making skills that are transferrable from the academic environment to the world of creative practice beyond university. LCC illustrators make intelligent, well informed, critically-engaged work that goes beyond stylistic aesthetic concerns and graduate as self-motivated individuals equipped to shape the future of art and design practice.
This course is taught within the School of Design at London College of Communication.
Learning and Teaching
Courses in UAL span a broad range of art, design, communication, business, media, science and communication subjects. So the ways in which you learn and how your time is used will vary according to the specific course you are studying; this may be in studios, labs, classes, involve working alone, learning from peers in pairs or groups, or with external partners. Most importantly, no matter which course you enrol on, you will learn not only about your subject but also about how you learn and how to increase your knowledge base.
Our courses will guide you to take increasing responsibility and ownership of your work and your learning. We do this so that you will be ready and able to take full advantage of the full range of opportunities offered by the creative industries in the global economy.
Assessment always sounds austere and foreboding, but it is not. We see assessment as a very real part of learning, rather than just a means of looking back at past work and measuring achievement; we believe that assessment helps you plan future work and develop new ideas.
Your work will be assessed through projects or portfolios, with written papers or research journals, and, on some courses, examinations. You will be graded according to a set of marking criteria that relate to such things as research, subject knowledge, methodology, and your capacity to analyse and reflect on your achievements. So don’t be afraid of assessment - it is the way to progress.
- Introduction to HE
- Exploration 1
- Application 1
- Contextual and theoretical studies 1
At the beginning of your journey on year one you will be introduced to a range of mediums and media to give you a firm base of skills to help you realise your ideas for set projects. You will also take part in educational visits to museums and exhibitions to inform your project work and you will be involved in group projects and cross year projects to increase your skills in negotiation, collaboration and time management. These are vital key skills needed for pursuing a career in the creative industries.
The year will include introductory sessions to animation, computing, photography and printmaking. The Introduction to HE unit will involve a series of tutorials, seminars, and workshops to help you build on the thinking, analysis and production essential for the creative process.
In the Exploration unit you will be taken through all aspects of subject research, data collection, documentation, ideas generation, and material experimentation. Workshops in the Application unit will involve you in how to layout text and image and consider hierarchy of information, typographic structures and image composition. You will start to develop an understanding of narrative and sequence for a range of multimedia outputs.
- Collaborative Project
- Exploration 2
- Application 2
- Contextual and theoretical studies 2
In Year 2 students are encouraged to experiment and explore an individual and personal approach to their Illustration and design work. You will be supported in developing your own visual language and philosophy. Students are encouraged to choose from a range of live projects, take part in organized study trips and exhibit both internally and externally.
External industry links form a key part of this year in relation to exhibiting and responding to live commissions, (From organisations including: Faber and Faber, John Brown Publishing, Time Out, ICA and the V&A) publishing your work professionally, taking part in cross year workshops and learning to curate, negotiating professional problems, visual languages, networking, self and group promotions and considering your place in professional practice.
In the exploration unit you will increasingly broaden your understanding of illustration and visual communication through workshops, text as image experimentation, sequence and narrative workshops and the Application 2 unit will involve the examination of professional structures and opportunities outside of university.
A wide range of set projects and external projects (Penguin, D&AD, YNC) will help you consider the role of the contemporary illustrator, professional life and its relation to your own practice. Students can also apply to take an industry placement year out called the Diploma in Professional Studies, as part of their course.
Diploma in Professional Studies
The Diploma in Professional Studies (DPS) is an optional industry placement year between the second and fourth year of the course. The Diploma in Professional Studies is a managed year of professional experience, largely undertaken in the design profession in a variety of national and international locations. Students are selected during the second year on the basis of their portfolio, studentship and a detailed proposal. Please see the Diploma in Professional Studies Programme Specification (PDF - 124KB) for more detail.
- Contextual and theoretical studies 3 Major
- Self - Initiated Project or Major Project Studio
- Contextual and theoretical studies 3 (Minor)
- Self - Initiated Project
- Major Project Studio
Year 3 is the culmination of your studies and focuses on your individual development and the synthesis of previous teaching and learning into the production of a body of work that can be assessed academically and be taken to industry. Via workshops, tutorials, lectures and seminars students will be helped to form a plan and to position themselves professionally and apply their previous experience to a range of course set subjects you originate should you wish to.
The final year is a culmination of your journey on the course and the start of your realization as a professional practitioner and marks a beginning and not an end. You can choose to weight your final degree award towards your dissertation or your studio work. Year three is designed to help you position yourself towards a direction and career you want and enable you to build a body of work to help you achieve this aim. You will also be helped to consider further study at postgraduate level; this will include aid with references, and folio preparation.
Year 3 units
When you reach the final year it may be that you have developed an interest in your dissertation topic and want to place greater emphasis on it. Option A allows you to do this. If on the other hand you wish to place greater emphasis on studio work by doing a smaller dissertation you can do so in option B.
Our staff and students are involved and committed to teaching and learning across a diverse range of areas in illustration, art and design. Our key intentions are to push the boundaries and the understanding of the term illustration and produce students who can engage with a whole range of creative disciplines.
We do not only look for hand drawing skills or natural illustrators, although they are really welcome but perhaps more importantly, we look for students with the ability to investigate subjects both through research and making. As well as encouraging illustrators, the course is helpful to students who are cross-disciplinary, from graphic design students leaning towards visual communication, to students with an artistic flare who want to incorporate design into their work.
Course Leader: Paul Bowman
On graduation students from the course enter a wide and varied range of professional practices working in art, illustration and graphic design, for international and UK based companies including: Alexander McQueen, Airside, Pentagram, John Brown Publishing, Vault 49 (New York) and Prologue (LA). Students also set up their own companies, operating as freelance illustrators or exhibiting artists and designers, or go on to further study at MA level.
Emphasis is placed on developing a range of practical, conceptual, research and decision-making skills that are transferable from the academic environment to the world of creative practice beyond university. Given the breadth of the course you will not only learn new skills relating to image generation but also expand upon those that you may already possess. You will engage with a range of media from print to digital and a variety of outputs including editorial design, sculpture and moving image.
LCC illustrators make intelligent, well informed, critically engaged work and graduate as self motivated individuals equipped to shape the future of Art and Design practice. Our graduates have gone onto great success within industry, highlighting the diverse, transferable skills and breath of expertise they take with them into an increasingly diverse and interdisciplinary market.
- Ben Reece, Apple and Research Studios
- Anna Francescutti, Alexander McQueen
- Jonathan Kenyon, Vault 49 NY
- Lauren Necati, Thames and Hudson
- Clare Willis, John Brown publishing
- Niall Thompson / Nils Pormann, Dandelion and Burdock
- Cecilia Carlstedt, Freelance Illustrator
- Anne Harild, Illustrator / Artist
- Jacqueline Ford, Rob Ryan studios
- Abigail Aked, The Spectator
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. Student Enterprise and Employability (SEE) are dedicated to helping you build up work-relevant skills, knowledge, experience and networks throughout your time here. You will also benefit from our many relationships with industry, which give our students exclusive opportunities and access to networks and funding.
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.
Find out more about Student Jobs and Careers
what our alumni say
“The illustration course at LCC was brilliant because I felt like I really learnt how to utilise graphic design as well as illustration. Looking back now it’s easy to see how the projects that were set were so applicable to the design and illustration industry and therefore an invaluable learning experience – because it is all-round training to apply yourself in the ‘real world’. Also learning to communicate and break down ideas at that stage was great training to deal with the clients I have now.”
“I was interested in the definition of illustration as image-making and that illustration should include: photography, typography, information design and have a strong conceptual basis. This holistic approach corresponded with my feelings abou the intersection between design and art. I was also really impressed with the output of the collegeand inspired by the balance of intellectual and artistic practice in the college. LCC was a limitless playground for ideas and artistic expression.”
Designer at Apple, California
“The Illustration Pathway was an obvious choice, as despite the title it seemed the most open, not solely fixed on typography, or motion, but allowing me to answer a brief in whatever way I wanted. To make an image, to solve a problem but not limited by the medium or format. I remember being instructed to make 100 images in a week, then to throw them out of the window from the 11th floor of the tower block. That thought still allows me to not feel precious about a frame or an image.”
Freelance Film Director and Film Titles Designer
“Vault49’s studio foundation is in craft, tactile design, and applied illustration, and it was at LCC that I first learned my craft. LCC’s focus on craft and application helped me understand the importance of the artist in the design process – the importance of the human touch to help distinguish our work in what is an increasingly digital environment. LCC instilled in me the importance of journey and exploration, not just the finished design.
I’ve visited colleges all around the US and given lectures around the world and I’ve rarely come across a creative environment either in business or education that compares with the culture at LCC. Whenever I’m asked about my education, I’m always proud to say I studied Illustration at LCC.”
I learned not to be precious with my work, to take risks, to understand my strengths and weaknesses and to embrace collaboration where it could enhance my own work. That same spirit of collaboration led to a chance meeting in the print rooms of LCC where the Vault49 studio was conceived with another student at the time, and we’re still going strong.
Creative Director Vault49, New York
“I think that the course was excellent for me, as it made us think about illustration as visual communication. And the responsibilities and possibilities that come with the visual communicator’s role as a public voice in the public sphere. The course takes the illustrator seriously and views illustration as so much more than just style or the hand that draws on command. Here the illustrator is a social actor that takes part in affecting and changing society. The strong focus on research and sketchbooks makes the work process driven and experimental. Critical discussions and tutoring brings out the best in dedicated students. I use the course as a role model and inspiration in my own teaching.”
Founder and Director NU Agency, Illustration agent, Sweden
“The illustration course at LCC was incredibly diverse and allowed me the opportunity to explore not only drawing, but graphic design, video, sculpture and photography. I learnt an incredible amount throughout my four years on the course – entering with crude skills in illustration and leaving with a portfolio full of graphic design, art direction and branding. I still draw on these skills in my professional life today and look back on my time at LCC with very fond memories.”
Designer, Teo Connor Studio
“The course gave me great confidence to continue studying and working in the field of design, I like the discipline and endurance that you taught us. I enjoyed the flexibility within the course, not just illustration as a solution, but rather an expression of ones’ favourite medium and interests.”
Design Director, Winkreative
Recruitment and admissions
The BA Illustration and Visual Media Course team recognise applicants come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds from across the world. The course in the main attracts students who apply direct from A level or other equivalent qualifications but it also welcomes students from Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and other art courses as well as mature students who may have worked in industry.
Entry Requirements (Home/International/EU)
For admission to the BA Illustration and Visual Media course applicants normally need:
- 160 UCAS tariff points (gained at GCE Advanced level) will be considered, supported by passes in three other subjects at GCSE Grade C or above.
- Alternatively, you will be considered if you have achieved 1 subject at GCE Advanced level and Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, supported by passes in three other subjects at GCSE Grade C or above. In addition, the University of the Arts London Awarding Body Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design will be considered.
- We also accept people with the equivalent qualifications obtained through a National Diploma, Access, NVQ and a variety of other pre-University level qualifications including International and European Baccalaureate. Other qualifications, including overseas, may be considered.
- We also accept those with relevant professional and vocational qualifications.
- The subjects the Course Team will be looking for in your application are wide ranging: your A levels (or equivalents) would ideally be achieved at grade C or above.
Other entry routes
We also welcome applicants such as mature students who do not have formal qualifications but may have relevant experience. Students applying to this course will be expected to demonstrate a specific interest in this area of study and should have a commitment to engaging with Illustration and Visual Media Theory and practice. In such cases students applying on the basis of their previous experience or who wish to enter the course with through Accreditation of Experiential Learning (AEL) or Accreditation of Certificated Learning (ACL) processes should apply via UCAS and will be guided by the admissions staff on the AP(E)L processes.
Language requirements (International/EU)
International and EU students: In the case of applicants whose first language is not English, then IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent) 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 International Applications page.
International applicants, please visit our International Applications page for further details regarding International Admissions.
Study Abroad applicants
International undergraduate students can apply to join this BA course for a period of up to three terms as a Study Abroad student. Please visit the Study Abroad website for details on how to apply or contact the Study Abroad office:
T: +44 (0)20 7514 2249
For Home/EU applicants, the Course Leader will determine whether deferred places are available for the course. If you wish to defer your place, it is advisable to indicate this on your application form and/or discuss this with the admissions team and course leader before/after applying at the earliest opportunity. In all cases, deferred places will only be held for one year.
International applicants are normally permitted to defer entry to any programme of study for one year only, after which they will be asked to re-apply.
The selection procedures for the course adhere to the Equal Opportunities policy of the University of the Arts London.
Applications are normally made through UCAS. Applications for this course are assessed on the basis of qualifications and the personal statement.
If more information is required, a member of the course team may contact the applicant and in some cases, may request the candidate to attend an interview.
Student Selection Criteria - what do we look for?
All applications will be considered by the course team and offers will be made based upon the following selection criteria.
The team will consider three key elements when making a decision on your suitability to join the course:
- Firstly they will look at your qualifications (or projected results).
- Secondly, they will review your academic or personal reference.
- Then they will scrutinise your personal statement (maximum of 300 words required) and a portfolio.
The personal statement is a very important part of your application and should demonstrate to the team that you are interested in Illustration and Visual Media and that you have thought very carefully about why you want to study on this course.
You should take great care when writing your personal statement to ensure that it is well written, clear and free of any spelling mistakes. It is your biggest chance to impress the team by demonstrating your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it might help you in the future. It is also an opportunity for you to state what you feel you would bring to the course. Through their personal statement, applicants should show a strong interest in Illustration and Visual Media. This can be demonstrated through work experience, studying and personal experience and their ambitions for personal development as a student at the LCC.
Apart from the academic qualifications all students are required to present a portfolio of work which must evidence the following:
- Visual vocabulary. Quality of compositional skills and use of line, shape, form, scale, space, light, colour, texture and time.
- Ideas generation. Quality of ideas and expression of conceptual thinking.
- Research and its application (including sketchbooks)
- Systematic identification and investigation of appropriate resources.
- Materials and media exploration and experimentation. Experimentation and testing of materials in realisation of concepts.
- Contextual awareness and its influence on the portfolio. Understanding and application subject knowledge and context.
Submissions on CD / DVD or in the form of an A4 printed publication: please include your name, email, home address and current course and institution, and ensure this information is clearly displayed.
If digital, ensure your portfolio submission can be viewed on an Apple Macintosh computer. The examiners will not have access to any other computer.
You have reviewed and checked that your submission works when viewed on a different computer to the one that it was generated on (i.e. check that your files view properly on a computer other than your own).
The examiners will look at your work for a maximum of 15 minutes. Make sure that you pace your work so they will be able to judge your submission in the way that you wish to present yourself.
You are asked to provide a personal statement of a maximum of 300 words.
You may show 25 – 40 slides / images in your portfolio. You must have a project divider between each project with the projects title and a brief description of the project. A maximum of 50 words description for each project.
You can include:
- Links to websites, such as your personal work site.
- Photographic evidence of sketchbooks, research and analysis work.
- Evidence of final pieces.
- Personal work / one day projects please put in a separate section.
You must send your work or deliver it on a CD as a PDF / PowerPoint (none bigger than 7 megabytes), Moving image format or a Printed A4 publication to:
BA (Hons) Illustration and visual Media
Faculty of Design
London College of Communication
Elephant and Castle
Unfortunately we are unable to return submissions.
We are particularly interested in seeing your roughs, ideas and visual analysis. The ideas and experimentations that lead up to your final designs. We are not purely focused on finished pieces and styles so please do add a visual thoughts, research and analysis and evidence of your interests.
All applicants are invited to submit a portfolio of work and 300 words Personal Statement which is assessed by members of the course team.
Normally, students are not interviewed as part of the application process.
Students are admitted to the course having fulfilled the necessary entry requirements and on the basis of their potential to benefit from the programme.
Minimum UAL entry requirements
Find out more about the University's Regulations on Admissions.
How to Apply
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 application form. London College of Communication (LCC) courses are listed under University of the Arts London.
- University code: U65
- Course code: WPF3
- There is no 'campus code' for LCC.
The UCAS annual deadline for applications is 15 January.
There are three ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at LCC:
Follow the steps on the UAL International Application page for advice of how to apply.
Study Abroad Applicants
International undergraduate students can apply to join BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media for a period of up to three terms as a Study Abroad student.
Visit the Study Abroad page for details of how to apply.
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.