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Undergraduate

BA (Hons) Graphic Design Communication

Apple Mac moulded keyboard layover featuring Russian language characters some of which their use is dying out by Polina Hohonova - BA Graphic Design Communication.
Polina Hohonova.,
BA (Hons) Graphic Design Communication, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL
College
Chelsea College of Arts
Start date
October 2022
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.

Applications closed 2022/23

We are no longer accepting applications for 2022/23 entry to this course.

Visit the Courses with places available page for a full list of UAL courses that are open for application.

Watch our online open day recording

Student work

  • chelsea-ba-graphic-design-communication-mabel-dilliway-2-1000.png
    Mabel Dilliway - BA Graphic Design Communication
  • chelsea-ba-graphic-design-communication-hide-nogawa-2.jpg
    Hide Nogawa - BA Graphic Design Communication
  • chelsea-ba-graphic-design-communication-Polina-Hohonova.jpg
    Polina Hohonova - BA Graphic Design Communication
  • chelsea-ba-graphic-design-communication-Jonny-Holmes.jpg
    Jonny Holmes - BA Graphic Design Communication
  • chelsea-ba-graphic-design-communication-tinder.jpg
    My Boys of Tinder poster - BA Graphic Design Communication

Film

Molly Burdett

Course overview

This course at Chelsea College of Arts 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 upon 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.

Contact us

Register your interest to receive information and updates about studying at UAL.

Contact us to make an enquiry.

Course units

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 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.

Year 2

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.

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 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. 

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

Technical staff

How to apply

Information for disabled applicants

UAL is committed to achieving inclusion and equality for disabled students. This includes students who have:
     
  • Dyslexia or another Specific Learning Difference
  • A sensory impairment
  • A physical impairment
  • A long-term health or mental health condition
  • Autism
  • Another long-term condition which has an impact on your day-to-day life
Our Disability Service arranges adjustments and support for disabled applicants and students. Read our Disability and dyslexia: applying for a course and joining UAL information.

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 at 24 points minimum
  • 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

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 large work
  • Evidence of recent written work

Please remember:

  • The quality of the work is more important than the quantity
  • To organise your work by project, with supporting work presented alongside final outcomes

Making your application

Applications closed 2022/23

We are no longer accepting applications for 2022/23 entry to this course. Applications for 2023/24 entry will open in Autumn 2022.

Apply

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 26 January 2022 at 18:00 (UK time) for equal consideration.

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

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.

Please add ccw.ukeu@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates about your application to UAL.

Initial application check and selection

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system. These will be reviewed by the academic team. We aim for all on time application reviews to take place by end of February 2022.

Following the review of the digital portfolio, we select a small number of applicants to move on to the next stage of the process. These applicants will be invited to attend an online interview. For the on time selected applicants, we aim for the interviews to take place during February-March 2022.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

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

Feedback requests:

This course receives a high number of applications. Unfortunately, we can’t provide feedback to everyone who is unsuccessful. We can only provide feedback after you’ve had an interview. 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. If you would like to request feedback please email ccw.ukeu@arts.ac.uk.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner.

Read our Admissions Policy for details, including how to request a deferral and by when.

Transfers

If you are currently studying somewhere else on a course in an equivalent subject area and would like to transfer to this course, you can transfer to:

  • Year 2, if you’ve completed 120 credits in Year 1
  • Year 3, if you’ve completely 240 credits in Years 1 and 2

Apply via UCAS and choose Year 2 or 3 for your POE (Point of Entry).

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information.

Be ready to provide us with:

  • Your current course handbook
  • Year 1 / Year 2 unit transcripts

Applications closed 2022/23

We are no longer accepting applications from international students for 2022/23 entry to this course. Applications for 2023/24 entry will open in Autumn 2022.

Apply

There are 2 ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course:

Applying through UCAS you will need the following information:

  • University code - U65
  • UCAS course code - W216

Read our immigration and visa information to find out if you need a visa to study at UAL.

You can only apply to the same course once a year. 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 26 January 2022 at 18:00 (UK time) for equal consideration.

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

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.

Please add ccw.international@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates about your application to UAL.

Immigration history check

You will be asked to complete an Immigration History Check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL. We will not be able to proceed with your application until you have submitted your completed Immigration History Form.

Initial application check and selection

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

Once we have received your digital portfolio it will be reviewed by the academic team. A decision will be made on your application which may include - offer, offer alternative, recommend to alternative course, reject or invite to interview.

We aim for all on time application reviews to take place by the end of March 2022.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

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

Feedback requests:

This course receives a high number of applications. Unfortunately, we can’t provide feedback to everyone who is unsuccessful. We can only provide feedback after you’ve had an interview. 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. If you would like to request feedback please email ccw.international@arts.ac.uk.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner.

Read our Admissions Policy for details, including how to request a deferral and by when.

Transfers

If you are currently studying somewhere else on a course in an equivalent subject area and would like to transfer to this course, you can transfer to:

  • Year 2, if you’ve completed 120 credits in Year 1
  • Year 3, if you’ve completely 240 credits in Years 1 and 2

Apply via UCAS and choose Year 2 or 3 for your POE (Point of Entry).

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information.

Be ready to provide us with:

  • Your current course handbook
  • Year 1 / Year 2 unit transcripts
  • An official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed

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 and funding

Home fee

£9,250 per year

This fee is correct for 2022/23 entry and is subject to change for 2023/24 entry. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£23,610 per year

This fee is correct for 2022/23 entry and is subject to change for 2023/24 entry. Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

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.