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BA (Hons) Graphic Design Communication

College
CHELSEA
Start date
September 2020
Course length
3 years
UCAS code
W216

BA Graphic Design Communication at Chelsea College of Arts actively engages you in the creation and understanding of the rich visual culture that now surrounds us.

Student work

Molly Burdett.

Rosie Howe.

BA Graphic Design Communication Stories

Ones to watch

Chelsea's BA Graphic Design Communication graduates are using their skills and talent to highlight some of today's global issues.

BA Graphic Design Communication Instagram

Course overview

This course aims to help you develop a practical and conceptual set of creative tools, while introducing you to the community and practice of graphic design communication. It places a strong emphasis on live projects in collaboration with the creative industries. You will develop your digital and technical skills as well as defining your own practice. 

What to expect

  • To be able to create outcomes using lens-based media, or build immersive experiences and make 3D work, in addition to learning the traditional crafts of type and layout
  • To explore moving image, motion graphics, documentary, experimental and fashion film
  • To understand both the creative and cultural world that surrounds you and creatively contribute to forming their future
  • To be supported to create an outwardly facing practice and build a network and bridge into the professional design world
  • Through our established network of industry influencers, alumni designers and associate lecturers gain additional knowledge and understanding. This will be done by using live projects designed to open your creative potential and develop your skillset
  • To develop your confidence and grow your skills in an environment where you will have the freedom to take creative risks and learn
  • To have access to Chelsea's shared workshops. These include ceramics, casting, laser cutting, photography, audio-visual editing suite, metal and woodwork. View the Chelsea facilities

Work experience and opportunities

The course has strong links with the creative industries. Our BA Graphic Design Communication students gain commercial experience through exclusive commissions, award schemes and live projects. Many of these lead to job offers on graduating.

Mode of study

BA Graphic Design Communication is offered in full-time mode. It is divided into 3 stages over 3 academic years. Each stage consists of 30 teaching weeks. You will be expected to commit an average of 40 hours per week to your course, including teaching hours and independent study.

Course units

A short description of each unit and what you can expect.

Year 1

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 on-line 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

Year 2

Unit 5 - Professional practice

Enables you to investigate and engage with contemporary professional practice. You will grow your skills in collaboration, group-working and collective practice.

  • Introduction to contemporary studio practice and culture 
  • Being challenged to make creative responses to fulfill the needs of a professional brief
  • How to work within creative, time and material constraints
  • Different audiences and their needs
  • Interaction with, and presentation to, clients and external agencies
  • Developing an understanding of the professional brief and how to break it down
  • Understanding the range of roles and areas of professional practice
  • Further technical workshops
  • Awareness of mediums and media
  • What is a methodology?
  • 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

Year 3

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 an industry-linked, collaborative live project.

  • To work on a live project individually or as a small group
  • 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
  • Exhibition design and practice concept building sessions
  • 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

  • Participation, either collaboratively or as an individual, in a national or international design competition
  • Development of your self-proposed project that you started in unit 9
  • Further workshops for your self-proposed project
  • Personal research and development tasks for your self-proposed project
  • Network building and portfolio preparation
  • Exhibition design and practice concept building sessions
  • Participation in the college degree show exhibition

Optional Diploma between year 2 and 3

Between year 2 and 3 you can opt to undertake the Diploma in Professional Studies or the Diploma in Creative Computing.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Academic, production, presentation skills and technical workshops
  • Analogue and digital demonstrations
  • Exhibition, studio and other visits and trips
  • Focused research
  • Group and individual crits, tutorials and feedback
  • Group work
  • Lectures and seminars
  • Live projects
  • Online learning
  • Portfolio surgeries
  • Presentations to clients and peers
  • Project briefings
  • Research methods and analysis exercises
  • Self-directed learning
  • Simulated work-based learning
  • Studio group teaching
  • Team projects
  • Technical orientations, demonstrations and inductions to workshops

Assessment methods

  • Essays, reports and final dissertation
  • Peer assessment, seminars and project blogs
  • Presentations
  • Self-initiated project and individual portfolio submissions
  • Student self-evaluations
  • Tutorials and mid-year reviews

Staff

  • David Barnett - Course Leader
  • Nigel Bents
  • Peter Chadwick - This Brutal House
  • Kieron Dennis
  • Sakis Kyratzis
  • Paula Nessick
  • Danilo Piga
  • Anna Rhodes - Reference Bank
  • Eva Sajovic

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 standard minimum entry requirements for this course are one or a combination of the following qualifications:

  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • 2 A Levels at grade C or above
  • Merit, Pass, Pass (MPP) at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • Or equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • And 3 GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*-C)

Entry to this course will also be determined by the quality of your application, looking primarily at your portfolio of work, personal statement and reference.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) 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
  • A combination of these factors

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

English language requirements

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Selection criteria

We look for:

  • Evidence of a critical engagement with visual communication concepts and products
  • An aptitude for developing communication ideas based on extensive research
  • Applicants that can communicate an enthusiasm for the subject

Making your application

Portfolio advice

Portfolios should show the following:

  • A concise portfolio that shows a selective approach
  • Use of words, type and image, in a variety of media and formats including still and moving image
  • Evidence of an understanding of the broad range of the subject
  • Self-initiated as well as project or course work
  • Evidence of research and development of ideas
  • Clear documentation of work that’s too large
  • Evidence of recent written work

Please remember:

  • The quality of the work is more important than the quantity
  • Where possible, large or 3-dimensional work should be photographed and scanned
  • To organise your work by project, with supporting work presented alongside final outcomes

You must apply through UCAS, where you’ll need the following information:

  • University code - U65
  • UCAS course code - W216

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January for equal consideration.

However, this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Entry to Year 2 or Year 3:

If you have successfully completed 120 credits (year 1) or 240 credits (year 1 and 2) in the equivalent units or modules on a degree course at another institution and wish to continue your studies at Chelsea College of Arts, you can apply to transfer to year 2 or year 3 respectively. The Admissions Tutor will consider applicants for entry to year 2 and 3 on a case by case basis, subject to places being available on the course. You must apply through UCAS and indicate POE 2 for entry to year 2 or POE 3 for entry to year 3 on your application. Further information can be found in our UAL External Student Transfer Policy.

Deferred entry application:

This course will consider deferred entry applications.

What happens next

Communicating with you

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you’ll be invited to or asked to book onto a suitable date to attend an interview selection event.

Interview selection event

You will be expected to bring your portfolio, which will be reviewed by the academics conducting the event.

Please be prepared to talk about your work, what inspires you and your influences. We may not discuss all of these topics at the event.

The event will also give you a chance to meet current students, take a tour of the college and see the facilities.

More details about your interview selection event will be emailed to you once you have chosen or been allocated your date.

Selection for Home/EU applicants happens in a variety of different ways:

  • In person at Chelsea College of Arts
  • By phone or Skype

If you choose phone or Skype, you will be sent an email requesting that you upload a digital portfolio using UAL’s online portfolio review system.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through UCAS track.

Please note that applicants for this course may be given an alternative offer. This decision will be based on our assessment of your creative and potential interests.

There are 3 ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at Chelsea College of Arts:

If you are applying via UCAS you will need the following information:

  • University code - U65
  • UCAS course code - W216

You can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UCAS, UAL representative or using the UAL online application system. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn. Read the UAL international application advice for further information on how to apply.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January for equal consideration.

However, this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Entry to Year 2 or Year 3:

If you have successfully completed 120 credits (year 1) or 240 credits (year 1 and 2) in the equivalent units or modules on a degree course at another institution and wish to continue your studies at Chelsea College of Arts, you can apply to transfer to year 2 or year 3 respectively. The Admissions Tutor will consider applicants for entry to year 2 and 3 on a case by case basis, subject to places being available on the course. You must apply through UCAS and indicate POE 2 for entry to year 2 or POE 3 for entry to year 3 on your application. Further information can be found in our UAL External Student Transfer Policy.

Deferred entry application:

This course will consider deferred entry applications.

What happens next

Communicating with you

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Immigration history check

Whether you’re applying online via UCAS, through a UAL representative or by direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History Check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL. If you don’t complete the check we won’t be able to proceed with your application.

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you will be asked to upload a digital portfolio. Once you have uploaded your portfolio, you’ll be invited to or asked to book onto a suitable date to attend an interview selection event.

Interview selection event

You will be expected to bring your portfolio, which will be reviewed by the academics conducting the event.

Please be prepared to talk about your work, what inspires you and your influences. We may not discuss all of these topics at the event.

More details about your interview selection event will be emailed to you once you have chosen or been allocated your date.

Selection for international applicants happens in a variety of different ways:

  • By phone or Skype
  • In your country, if your application was made through one of our official representatives
  • In person at our international office based at Chelsea College of Arts

If you choose phone or Skype your portfolio that you uploaded via UAL’s online portfolio review system will be used during the interview.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

  • If you applied through UCAS you will receive the final outcome of of your application through UCAS track
  • If you applied directly or through an agent, we will notify you through the UAL portal

Please note that applicants for this course may be given an alternative offer. This decision will be based on our assessment of your creative and potential interests.

Study Abroad

Through the Study Abroad programme international students can apply to join an undergraduate course.

For information on how to apply visit the Study Abroad section.


Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£9,250 (2020/21).

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our undergraduate tuition fees page for more information.

International fee

£22,920 (2020/21).

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

Use our search tool to find out more about the scholarships and awards available to students.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

The course's links with the creative industries provides our students with opportunities to engage in work-based learning, and often leads to job offers on graduation.

Many of our former students are freelance designers, art directors and moving image specialists. Others have worked for companies including:

Adidas, AKQA, ASOS, Bench, Bompass & Parr, Bradley & Pablo, Burberry, Canon Europe, David James Associates (DJA), Dazed Media, Ditto Press, Dream Works TV, Forth Studio, GFSmith, Glamour magazine, Grey London, Guerrilla Games, Harper Collins, Hato Press, INT Works, It's Nice That, Koto, LEGO Interactive, LOVE magazine, Liquid TV, M&C Saatchi, MSL group, MTV, Mario Testino, Matter Productions, Mother, Net-A-Porter, Nice & Polite, Nike, ODD, Ogilvy & Mather, Orlebar Brown, Passion Pictures, Pentagram, Puma, Radley Yeldar, Rankin Photography, Rattling Stick, Rogue Films, SHOW studio, Sky Arts, Someone, Studio Moross, Suburbia, Temperley London, The Mill, The Office of Optimism, VIACOM, Village, WGSN, Wednesday, Wolff Olins, Wonderland magazine, BBH, Channel 4, Elle magazine, IDEO, Spring Studios, Vogue magazine.

Alumni

Find out how careers and employability helps our students and graduates start their careers.

View college guides

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