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Postgraduate

MA Graphic Branding and Identity

Computer-generated image of grey and white objects.
Julie Van Milders, MA Graphic Branding and Identity, London College of Communication, UAL.
College
London College of Communication
Start date
October 2020
Course length
1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

On MA Graphic Branding and Identity, you’ll explore the strategic thinking underlying brands and look at how that strategy can drive creative expression.

Applications closed 2020/21

We are no longer accepting applications for 2020/21 entry to this course.

Coronavirus updates

All our courses starting in 2020/21 will be running as a mix of on-campus and online activities and will follow UK government safety advice. It may be necessary to make some adjustments to course delivery as a result of this. We will notify applicants and students of any changes directly.

For more information, read our guidance for prospective students during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Why choose this course at London College of Communication

  • Industry links – Collaborative opportunities with a range of international practices are built into the course, with past creative partners including Channel 4, NASA, United Nations, Wolff Olins, Southwark Council, Euromonitor and London College of Fashion. You’ll work with designers and strategists from industry. Past agencies include Pentagram, Superunion and Grey.
  • Flexibility/personalisation – Masters-level study is, by its nature, a highly-personal mode of delivery and study. Your own working practice as design-researcher is encouraged, and we’ll support your requirements as a practitioner and worker throughout the course.
  • International opportunities - MA Graphic Branding and Identity supports students in their ambitions to work in international contexts. Whilst we don’t offer an integrated internationalised program, many of our students have worked and interned in a wide range of countries during the summer period, as well as within collaborative projects. These include Korea, the USA, China and Japan, as well as within the EU.
  • Where graduates have gone on to work – Our graduates have had a high degree of success in further employment and study. Recent graduates have worked at Accenture, Publicis LifeBands, McCann Worldgroup, Sagmeister & Walsh, BrandCap, Superunion, Atelier and the BBC. A number of our students have progressed to PhD study, developing their research practice into deeper, more sustained academic pathways. We also encourage students to teach in higher-education, and many of our students now successfully integrate teaching into their practice.
  • Facilities – One of LCC’s greatest assets is its outstanding range of old and new technologies, including printing and binding facilities and digital and post-digital skillsets, led by world-class technicians and teachers. MA Graphic Branding and Identity works effortlessly within these areas to build sustained and supportive relationships with our technical facilities; this ensures you have opportunities to immerse yourself in craft knowledge, develop new technological skills, and widen your capacity as a graphic branding specialist.

Open Evenings

The next online Open Day for this course will be on Tuesday 23 February at 4pm. Book your place now

An introduction to postgraduate courses in the Branding and Design Innovation programme is available online. Watch now

Student work

Student Voices

Student voices | Marilia Rojas

Maria talks to us about her final year project on museology and the city.

Course stories

Facilities

A close-up of the moveable type available in the Letterpress area.
Image © Lewis Bush

Printing and Finishing

Discover our printing techniques, from Lithographic Printing to Print Finishing and Bookbinding.

A tutor in the process of producing a print.
Image © Lewis Bush

Printmaking

This workshop offers a wide-range of expertise in everything from etching to lithography.

The Digital Space, London College of Communication.
Image © Ana Escobar

The Digital Space

The Digital Space is an open-plan, creative hub with computers set up with specialist software.

Course overview

MA Graphic Branding and Identity is a course for designers, by designers. Together, we’ll explore the capacity of the graphic designer to construct and deconstruct powerful brand narratives through design research, visual experimentation and written evaluation.

MA Graphic Branding and Identity encourages you to challenge what is understood about the meaning of graphic branding.

You’ll have a graphic design or visual communication background, and will be looking to develop a wider range of skills, build a research profile and enhance your capabilities and offer to potential employers.

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.

What can you expect?

MA Graphic Branding and Identity will challenge you to deconstruct your experience and design education in new and unexpected ways. You’ll develop a brand from the ground-up, using old and new strategies to push your design practice in new directions.

You’ll take part in a weekly lecture or workshop series on the principles of design and branding, learn new research techniques and connect these to rigorous methods of design exploration.

Your study will be based on personal project work, augmented with critical and contextual debate, culminating in an industry-focused portfolio of graphic brand expressions.

You’ll integrate visual practice with written evaluation critical discourse, which will be embedded into your weekly seminars and tutorial contact.

You’ll meet a personal tutor on a regular basis, who will help guide you through a challenging, highly-satisfying period of personal and professional development.

You’ll work with a wide range of designers and practitioners, as well as an experienced core team of tutors and researchers.

You’ll collaborate with other students, staff and external clients in a guided collaborative unit, allowing you to develop new approaches to design and brand projects.

You’ll be welcomed into one of University of the Arts London’s most diverse communities of practice, meeting designers and thinkers from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, and from this will develop a globalised, sustainable design practice that should position you as an engaged, thoughtful, intelligent and highly-skilled design-thinker.

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 Branding and Design Innovation programme of the Design School.

Mode of Study

MA Graphic Branding and Identity is in Full Time mode which runs for 45 weeks over 15 months. You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study.

Course units

In 2019 UAL declared a Climate Emergency and pledged to ‘make sustainability a required part of the student learning experience’. In response to the climate and ecological crisis the Design School set in place an ambitious Sustainability Action Plan to fully embed responsible practices within the curriculum and in everything we do. As part of this initiative we have updated our course handbooks against a set of social and environmental sustainability principles to ensure that learning outcomes reflect the urgent need to equip students with the understanding, skills and values to foster a more sustainable planet. Our aim is to change the way students think and to empower them to work towards a sustainable future.  

MA Graphic Branding and Identity consists of 5 core Units. Units 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 run concurrently, whilst Unit 5 (your major project) runs independently. The course is split into 4 terms with a summer break of 8 weeks.

Autumn, Term 1 

Brand and Design Principles (40 credits)

You’ll 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.

This culminates with a substantial visual summary (a process book of your design experiments) and a designed brand output.

Field of Study Report (20 credits)

You’ll undertake a scoping and profiling project called the Field of Study Report. 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.

This will culminate with a piece of design writing of 2500 words.

Spring, Term 2 

Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

The Collaborative Unit encourages you to seek opportunities to work as graphic brand designers with external clients and organisations, form small design teams and report on the process of working with a diverse community of designers and thinkers.

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.

This will culminate with a piece of critical writing of 2500 words and a portfolio of designed brand assets for your chosen client / project.

Major Project Proposal Part 1

Summer, Term 3

Major Project Proposal Part 2
Major Project Part 1

Autumn, Term 4

Major Project Part 2
Major Project Proposal (Part 1 and Part 2) (40 credits)

Your Major Project Proposal builds on the work conducted in both Units 1 and 2 to move your study proposal forwards through a series of practical and contextual stages to plan a clearly defined and evaluated research inquiry.

This process focuses on an experimental exploring through design and research methodology, testing and designing new approaches to your intended brand and design project work.

This Unit will culminate in a critically- and design-focused written proposal of 3500 words and a substantial body of visual experiments and brand design strategies. This unit positions the direction of your Major Project.

Major Project: Practical and Report / Thesis – (Part 1 and Part 2) (60 credits)

Your major project develops from the rationale stated in the Major Project Proposal. These elements are then tested and applied in the creation of an original brand design-research project.

Your Major Project will be based on extensive research and a rigorous methodological approach, drawing together your learning from across the previous four units. You will develop a programme of investigation and analysis that supports you in the further development of your personal research project.

This will culminate with either:

A practical design resolution, supporting visual process work and a 5000-7000 word written report

or:

A designed MA thesis of 12000 – 15000 words.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Lectures/large group learning
  • ​Workshop and seminars 
  • Academic tutorials
  • Self directed learning
  • Outside speakers and visits
  • Assessed assignments

Assessment methods

  • Practical project work and computer based activities
  • Prepared writing
  • Responses to case studies
  • Oral presentation
  • Personal presentations of prepared work
  • Simulations and role plays
  • Workshop based activities
  • Written research projects
  • A portfolio of work
  • Thesis

Staff

Paul  Jackson

Paul Jackson

Course Leader, MA Graphic Branding and Identity

Robert  Mowbray

Robert Mowbray

Lecturer, MA Graphic Branding and Identity

Eugenie  Dodd

Eugenie Dodd

Associate Lecturer, MA Graphic Branding and Identity

Associate Lecturer

Peter Stimpson, Sunita Yeomans, Eugenia Martinez, Mat Denney,Émilie Loiseleur

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on disability@arts.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

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 in a field relevant to graphic design, product design or architecture, or those with other, equivalent qualifications.

The course team also welcomes students with relevant experience or those who may have previously worked in industry.

Educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • Honours degree (named above);
  • Possession of equivalent qualifications;
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required;
  • Or a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required.

APEL (Accreditation of Prior Learning)

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • OR a combination of these factors

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

Language requirements

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 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.

  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the four skills.
  • If your first language is not English, you can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

For further details regarding international admissions and advice please visit the International Applications page.

Selection criteria

Offers will be made based on the following selection criteria, which applicants are expected to demonstrate:

  • Sufficient prior knowledge and experience of and/or potential in a specialist subject area to be able to successfully complete the programme of study and have an academic or professional background in a relevant subject.
  • Willingness to work as a team player, good language skills in reading, writing and speaking, the ability to work independently and be self-motivated.
  • 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) and a grounded understanding of the world of sonic, visual and networked culture as well as the ability to engage with and contribute to critical discussion.
  • In the project proposal a description of the area of interest, field of study and the particular focus of their intended project. This should include an overview of how you intend to go about producing the project and the methodology.
  • Portfolio should be conceptual and research-based, you must show your thinking and making process and a curious nature to explore, test and experiment

Making your application

We are no longer accepting applications for 2020/21 entry to this course.

Applications for 2021/22 entry will open in Autumn 2020.

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:

  • First, they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results).
  • Secondly, they will review your personal statement, portfolio and study proposal/major project proposal.
  • There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

Deferring your place

This course allows offer holders to defer. If you have an offer of a place, but you would like to defer starting for a year, please contact our Admissions Service as soon as possible via your UAL Portal. Make sure you check our Admissions Policy before requesting a deferral.

If you are an EU offer holder, it is important to consider that, from 2021-22, you may be charged International fees, which are higher. Read our Coronavirus guidance for prospective students for details.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing 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.
  • CV.
  • Personal statement.

Extra information required for applications to this course

  • Portfolio.
  • Study proposal/project proposal.

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, you can apply to transfer.

The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Further information about the external student transfer policy can be found on the Office for Students Information page.

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education, 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.

Personal statement advice

You'll be asked to complete a personal statement (maximum 200 words) which explains why studying on the MA Graphic Branding and Identity course is important to you.

Your personal statement is a vital part of your application. It should demonstrate to the course team that you have a critical understanding of graphic branding and identity, and that you’re able to express how the area intersects with your own art or design practice.

This can be demonstrated through work experience, previous studies and your personal experience of brand design, as well as through references to subject-specific literature and even previous MA Graphic Branding and Identity projects.

Ensure that your personal statement is expressive and gives a clear idea of both who you are as a designer and who inspires you. You should also make sure that it’s well-written and free of any spelling mistakes.

Study proposal advice (maximum of 1000 words, with references)

As part of your application, you’ll need to provide a Study Proposal. Your proposal can be quite broad as we realise that your ideas will inevitably develop and change throughout the course. At this stage, these ideas will simply serve to inform your application.

Your proposal should consider the following aspects:

  • Subject area: Outline a topic or subject area that might be the focus of your study. How does this subject area relate to branding? How do other brands or designers operate in this area? What is unique about your approach to design?
  • Context: We’d like to understand the context of your project - this means your sense of how the project fits within cultural, historical and theoretical frameworks. Try to use references in this section.
  • Aims and objectives: What do you hope this project can achieve? What smaller, specific steps do you intend to take in order to achieve these aims? Can they be achieved in 15 months?
  • Methodology: How will you carry out your project? How does design research work for you? What kinds of processes might you use? Are there examples of your own work or the work of other designers that might demonstrate these methods?
  • Evaluation: Why is this subject important to you? What do you hope to gain from the experience of studying it on this MA? Why does this research need to be done?

You don’t have to fully address all of these prompts, and you can adjust them where you see fit. We encourage you to use illustrations and images in your proposal - particularly examples of your own practice, as well as the work of others.

Application deadline

15 May 2021

We recommend you apply as soon as possible before this date, for equal consideration. We may still be able to accept applications after this date, depending on availability.

When you’ll hear from us

We receive lots of applications for this course. We consider each one equally, so we review them all after the application deadline date. This means you won’t hear from us about any next steps until after this date. Find out more about what happens after you apply.

We are no longer accepting applications for 2020/21 entry to this course.

Applications for 2021/22 entry will open in Autumn 2020.

This section includes all the information you need on how to apply and how your application is considered, and what happens next.

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:

  • First, they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results).
  • Secondly, they will review your personal statement, portfolio and study proposal/major project proposal.
  • There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

Deferring your place

This course allows offer holders to defer. If you have an offer of a place, but you would like to defer starting for a year, please contact our Admissions Service as soon as possible via your UAL Portal. Make sure you check our Admissions Policy before requesting a deferral.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing 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.
  • CV.
  • Personal statement.

Please note: we will ask you for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page. International applicants can alternatively apply through one of our official representatives in your country.

Extra information required for applications to this course

  • Portfolio.
  • Study proposal/project proposal.

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, you can apply to transfer.

The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Further information about the external student transfer policy can be found on the Office for Students Information page.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History check. If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education, 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.

Personal statement advice

You'll be asked to complete a personal statement (maximum 200 words) which explains why studying on the MA Graphic Branding and Identity course is important to you.

Your personal statement is a vital part of your application. It should demonstrate to the course team that you have a critical understanding of graphic branding and identity, and that you’re able to express how the area intersects with your own art or design practice.

This can be demonstrated through work experience, previous studies and your personal experience of brand design, as well as through references to subject-specific literature and even previous MA Graphic Branding and Identity projects.

Ensure that your personal statement is expressive and gives a clear idea of both who you are as a designer and who inspires you. You should also make sure that it’s well-written and free of any spelling mistakes.

Study proposal advice (maximum of 1000 words, with references)

As part of your application, you’ll need to provide a Study Proposal. Your proposal can be quite broad as we realise that your ideas will inevitably develop and change throughout the course. At this stage, these ideas will simply serve to inform your application.

Your proposal should consider the following aspects:

  • Subject area: Outline a topic or subject area that might be the focus of your study. How does this subject area relate to branding? How do other brands or designers operate in this area? What is unique about your approach to design?
  • Context: We’d like to understand the context of your project - this means your sense of how the project fits within cultural, historical and theoretical frameworks. Try to use references in this section.
  • Aims and objectives: What do you hope this project can achieve? What smaller, specific steps do you intend to take in order to achieve these aims? Can they be achieved in 15 months?
  • Methodology: How will you carry out your project? How does design research work for you? What kinds of processes might you use? Are there examples of your own work or the work of other designers that might demonstrate these methods?
  • Evaluation: Why is this subject important to you? What do you hope to gain from the experience of studying it on this MA? Why does this research need to be done?

You don’t have to fully address all of these prompts, and you can adjust them where you see fit. We encourage you to use illustrations and images in your proposal - particularly examples of your own practice, as well as the work of others.

Application deadline

15 May 2021

We recommend you apply as soon as possible before this date, for equal consideration. We may still be able to accept applications after this date, depending on availability.

When you’ll hear from us

We receive lots of applications for this course. We consider each one equally, so we review them all after the application deadline date. This means you won’t hear from us about any next steps until after this date. Find out more about what happens after you apply.


After you apply

Communicating with you

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 add @arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.

Please log into the portal, as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, and you can contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

What happens next

Portfolio and interview information

You’ll be expected to submit an electronic portfolio as part of your application. Featuring a maximum of 20 images, you should include personal work and commercial work if appropriate, supported by a short description of the project (and your involvement if commercial).

Your portfolio can be conceptual, academic or commercial. Mostly, it should be research-based, highly visual and clearly evidence your thinking and making processes. It should also demonstrate your ability to explore, test and experiment.

Applicants are usually interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will be held online, and details will be sent via the UAL Portal.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

Requesting feedback

This course receives a high number of applications, and we can’t provide feedback to everyone who is unsuccessful. We can only provide feedback after you’ve had an interview.

If you would like to request feedback – please email lcc.ukeu@arts.ac.uk if you are a Home or EU applicant, or lcc.international@arts.ac.uk if International. We are only able to provide feedback to you directly, or to someone you have told us in writing can receive it on your behalf.

Fees and funding

Home fee

£11,220 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Home fees are currently charged to UK resident nationals. However, the rules are complex and you can find out more on our tuition fees pages.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, although this may depend on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020  or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage

International fee

£22,920 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course.  For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

International fees are currently charged to students from countries outside of the UK. However, the rules are complex and more information can be found on our tuition fees pages.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, although this may depend on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage

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