Unit 1 - An introduction to Graphic Design Communication
This unit is an introduction to your course, the college and the university.
Unit 2 - Designers toolset
The aim of this unit is to define what a designer’s toolset can be beyond technical skills and approaches to media. You will become aware of a set of creative attributes for you to position and apply to your thinking and making in answering the designer’s brief.
- Introduction to graphic design practices and process.
- Theory and its relationship to practice.
- Set project briefs will introduce different approaches to play and thinking through making.
- Lectures, workshops, seminars and exhibition visits will broaden your knowledge and inspire and inform your creative practice.
- Technical inductions to analogue and digital technologies.
- Role of an online journal and reflective practice.
Unit 3 - Designers voice
How to develop your own voice and begin to express it. This unit focusses on you as a designer, your skills and your choices.
- Explaining and communicating information through sequencing and narratives.
- Using graphic design communication to explore context.
- Exercises and application of academic thinking and writing models.
- Further development of skills through technical workshops.
Unit 4 - Designers choice
Introduction to professional practice and the range of models for communication.
- Set projects will explore an opportunity to craft, refine and test a deeper engagement with briefs and outcomes.
- Insights into studio practice and studio culture.
- The role of social media and networks.
- Technical workshops.
- Applying academic thinking to writing.
Unit 5 - Strategic and creative practice
In this unit, you will be introduced to the notion of strategy and creative practice. The unit will allow you to place branding in the context of graphic design.
- Introduction to current concepts on brand creation.
- The process and development of a brand strategy.
- The process and development of a brand verbal and visual identity in accordance with the brand strategy.
- Understanding the needs of an audience – how can I identify who I am communicating with?
- Being challenged to make creative responses to meet the needs of the professional brief.
- Understanding of working within creative, time and material constraints.
- Understanding the range of roles and areas of professional practice.
- Awareness of mediums and media.
- Presentation and debating skills.
Unit 6 - Collaborative and collective practices
This unit aims to introduce you to different ways in which collaborative practice can focus and enhance your own creative strengths. The unit has 3 core purposes:
- To engage with fellow students with different practices and interests in a collaborative project.
- To engage with external audiences, participants or institutions to consider new contexts for your work.
- To develop your creative attributes to enable you to take on future challenges in a variety of contexts.
Unit 7 - Experimental practice
This unit encourages you to further develop your visual literacy skills and knowledge. It will expose you to a wide range of material culture and its use in design and society. It will give you an understanding of the function of the designer as both an encoder and decoder of meanings. It will help you to develop the critical skills needed to operate as a flexible practitioner in our fast-changing world.
- A deeper understanding of what the term ‘research’ can be.
- Understanding the qualities of physical and digital craft and how to achieve them.
- Selecting, testing and refining material choices.
- Semiotics and the construction and deconstruction of meaning.
- Experimental methods and practices - making creative and conceptual experiments.
- Selecting appropriate media for differing audience needs.
- Recording and mapping experiments.
- Understanding the role of objects in our society.
Unit 8 - Building a personal practice
During this unit you will be exploring personal approaches to design.
- Mapping your interests, skills and strengths.
- Defining your practice and tools.
- Understanding and developing critical arguments.
- Writing as practice.
- The creative role of problems in design and how to find them.
- Understanding emerging practices and the contemporary role of the designer in society.
- Devising a brief from your personal research.
- Creating audience-relevant outcomes.
Unit 9 - Enquiry and reaction
This unit consists of a major critical project based around a contemporary argument relevant to the themes of your developing practice and a ‘live’ project challenge, devised with an aspect of the design community outside the studio context.
- Preparation development workshops for your self-proposed project.
- Project planning support and seminars for your major critical project.
- Interaction with, and presentation to, clients and/or external agencies.
- Research tasks to introduce a range of methodologies.
- Introduction to building a network.
- Now and next - how to anticipate the needs of a changing society.
- Building messages as narrative - support for the outcomes of the major critical project.
- Written work.
Unit 10 - Expressing your practice
This unit consists of a major practice project based around the themes of your developing practice and entry to a national design award.
- Practice-based activities including participation in an international competition and development of your self-proposed project.
- Development activities for the self-proposed project.
- Guidance on network building and approaching industry or further education.
- Exhibition design primer and approaching outward facing practice.
- Mapping your graduate skills and strengths using the UAL Creative Attributes Framework.
Optional Diploma between year 2 and 3
Between year 2 and 3 you can opt to undertake the Diploma in Professional Studies or the UAL Diploma in Creative Computing. Whilst these Diplomas are an optional aspect of the course, they are designed as an integrated and assessed part of your journey through the course.