Skip to main content

BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design

View of Graphic Communication Design banners in the Street at CSM 2023

Central Saint Martins
UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
Course length
Three years full-time

BA Graphic Communication Design supports interdisciplinary, hybrid and specialist designers.

This course aims to equip you with the creative, conceptual, technical and critical skills expected of designers in the twenty-first century. It is part of the Graphic Communication Design programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

Breadth of skills and expertise: You will engage with a range of specialist Graphic Communication Design practices and disciplinary areas of expertise. Generalist, hybrid and specialist practices emerge from the meeting and mixing of GCD Practices and Platforms that cross traditional discipline boundaries.

Contextualised practice: We use Graphic Communication Design to explore and address current environmental, cultural and social complexities and encourage a renewed consideration of consumerism, ethics and design for social good.

We ask questions: The course has a long tradition of “thinking through making” where the conventions of the discipline are challenged through rigorous experimentation of ideas, processes and techniques. This supports the development of curious, critical and reflective practitioners who are responsive to, and influential in, shifts within the discipline.

Learning together: We use learning strategies that encourage community and collaborative learning cultivated from the wide variety of individual backgrounds and cultural experiences of our international and diverse student and staff community. The course adopts an integrated approach to researching, writing and making which is enriched by collaboration as students share their ideas and interests and construct knowledge together.

Open days

There are currently no open days scheduled for this course, please check back at a later date.

Virtual tours:

You might be interested in checking out the College’s facilities and technical spaces through our virtual tours.

Scholarships, bursaries and awards

Course overview

The Graphic Communication Design Programme provides a community of conceptual and creative thinkers and makers who share a commitment to exploring the vast and ever-expanding field of graphic design. 

Our industry is led by technological transformation and driven by emerging modes of communication. BA Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins will provide you with a solid grounding in the discipline's core practices, contexts and applications, while also encouraging you to test and stretch its boundaries.

Through graphic design, we bring a diverse range of perspectives and approaches to engage actively with the ways the world is changing. As a community, we continuously remix and redefine the future of our discipline and how it interacts with environmental, cultural and social complexities. We have embedded teaching and learning practices that actively encourage you to bring your own way of working, your own way of thinking and your own practice-based interests to the table. In fact, we see the course as a space for us – a community of students, tutors and practitioners – to explore and interrogate Graphic Communication Design together.

The structure of the course enables mobility across Platforms and GCD Practices that correspond to areas of contemporary graphic design practice. The choices you make and the work you produce will give focus to the intentions, contexts and values unique to your practice. This flexible journey through the course is devised to support three types of practitioner:

  • The inter-disciplinary designer or polymath who wants to stay broad-based
  • The hybrid designer who works across a targeted combination of areas
  • The specialist who has more specific discipline focus

We are committed to developing ethical graphic communication design practices. To achieve this, we are working to embed UAL's Principles for Climate, Social and Racial Justice into the course. 

Course units

Year 1 and Year 2 is comprised of a sequence of GCD Practices and Platform Units, each structured by a combination of project briefs, independent tasks and associated workshops, seminars, and lectures. A sequence of technical, theoretical and professional skill sets is embedded within the project briefs and associated teaching and learning activities. 

GCD Practice project briefs adopt reading and writing as critical, reflective and evaluative activities which provide a theoretical and contextual framework for the practical application of traditional and contemporary media, methods, crafts and technologies used in the production of your work.  

GCD Platform project briefs are written in relation to specific themes, issues or provocations that relate to contemporary design practice and require you to make work which considers content, form, communication and audience.

As you progress through the course, the relationship between GCD Practices and Platforms becomes progressively porous, with each student connecting distinct threads of practice. Likewise, the relationship between research, writing, and making become integrated as a unified process for investigation, critical reflection and production.

By the end of the course, you will work in a Community of Practice which is organised around your practice-based interests and supports your unique approach to graphic design. Each Community of Practice supports students in bringing their ideas and values to the co-creation of the future discipline.

Year 1

Unit 1: Introduction to GCD
Unit 2: GCD Practices 01
Unit 3: GCD Practices 02
Unit 4: GCD Platforms 01

The units in Year 1 will help you to acquire and develop a range of technical, practical and theoretical skills relevant to the discipline. You will also develop the necessary skills for independent, collaborative and community-based learning.

In Unit 1 you will work in collaboration with your peers on a project brief that responds to a real-world complex or “wicked” problem. This project will introduce the fundamentals of studying Graphic Communication Design at undergraduate level by orientating you to learning approaches, practices and knowledge bases needed to engage with your discipline.

This is followed by an introduction to GCD Practices in Unit 2, where you will work on a sequence of project briefs that encourage you to explore and experiment with technical and theoretical skills that relate to the five Graphic Communication Design practices – Computation, Contexts, Lens, Print Production and Typography.

In Unit 3 you will work on a sequence of GCD Practice tasks to further develop your understanding of the expanded landscape of Graphic Communication Design, conceptually, critically and in practice. 

In Unit 4 you will experience three of the five GCD Platforms. Each Platform will set fast-paced project briefs which place an emphasis on exploring and experimenting with discipline-specific media and methods and how they can be used to communicate effectively. You will make connections between GCD Practices and Platforms through the application of the new knowledge gained from your Unit 3 projects within your Unit 4 projects which run in parallel.

Year 2

Unit 5: GCD Practices 03
Unit 6: GCD Platforms 02
Unit 7: GCD Platforms and Practices
Unit 8: Creative Unions

In Year 2 the sequence of Units will encourage you to become more self-aware about the trajectory of your practice. In Unit 5 you will use writing to review, investigate and reflect on the development of your practice in relation to both the work you are producing in Unit 6 and debates in the larger context of Graphic Communication Design.

In Unit 6 you will engage with two of the five Platforms. Each Platform will set project briefs that encourage iterative experimentation and interrogation of a diverse range of media and methods appropriate to your chosen Platforms. The connectivity between Unit 5 and Unit 6, which run concurrently, will enable you to consider your practice in relation to cultural, social and theoretical contexts of contemporary Graphic Communication Design and discover emerging themes that begin to inform your creative practice.

In Unit 7 you will work with a selection of GCD Practices (Computation, Contexts, Lens, Print Production, Typography) and up to two GCD Platform preferences. The uniting of GCD Practices and Platforms will encourage you to make meaningful choices about medium, method, theme and process. You will need to consider how these decisions can be used to communicate effectively with relevant audiences and how they inform the development and location of your practice in relation to the contexts of contemporary Graphic Communication Design.

Unit 8 is a College-wide, transdisciplinary unit where you will work collaboratively with students from other courses. You will engage with a wider field of socially engaged practices for a more ethical world.

Year 3

Unit 9: Situating Practice
Unit 10: Communities of Practice

In Unit 9 you will remain in your final Unit 7 GCD Platform and will continue working with both your GCD Platform and Practices tutors. The project briefs will progressively shift the emphasis to self-directed enquiry to support you in situating your practice. 

In Unit 10 your practice and research interests are used to form Communities of Practice. Fusing your research, writing and making skills gained throughout the course you will produce an integrated portfolio of work that gives a clear articulation of your identity as a designer which will support your professional practice beyond graduation.

The working week 

The Central Saint Martins building, workshops and GCD studios are vibrant and busy working environments where students learn together by being active and giving time to their studies. You should expect to spend 40 hours per week on active participation in teaching events such as lectures, workshops, seminars, group discussions, and on independent and collaborative practice. Students get the most from the teaching and learning environment and are most productive when they are fully committed to their practice and to each other.

Mode of Study

The course runs for 90 weeks in full-time mode. It is divided into three stages over three academic years. Each stage lasts 30 weeks.   

You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study.

Credit and award requirements

The course is credit-rated at 360 credits, with 120 credits at each stage (level). On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Bachelor of Art with Honours (BA Hons degree).

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the stages for a BA are: Stage 1 (Level 4), Stage 2 (Level 5) and Stage 3 (Level 6). In order to progress to the next stage, all units of the preceding stage must normally be passed: 120 credits must be achieved in each stage. The classification of the award will be derived from the marks of units in Stages 2 and 3 or only Stage 3, using a dual algorithm.

If you are unable to continue on the course, a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) will normally be offered following the successful completion of Level 4 (or 120 credits), or a Diploma in Higher Education (DipHE) following the successful completion of Level 5 (or 240 credits).  

Learning and teaching methods

The learning and teaching methods devised for this course include:

  • Unit briefings 
  • Subject-specific briefs
  • Self-directed briefs
  • Practical and technical workshops
  • Lectures, seminars and group discussions
  • Individual and group tutorials 
  • Project reviews – project presentations, peer and tutor feedback and discussion
  • Independent and collaborative learning
  • Peer and self-reflective assessment

Graduate Showcase

Explore work by our recent students on the UAL Graduate Showcase

  • I Met Them Mid-journey
    I Met Them Mid-journey, Pauline Cassier, 2023 BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • Cult Gothic
    Cult Gothic, Fred Cochran, 2023 BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • Documentary Filmmaker and Photographer
    Documentary Filmmaker and Photographer, Joe Jordan, 2023 BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design, Central Saint Martins, UAL
    HEAR THE VOICES OF THE FUTURE, Irene Liakhovenko, 2023 BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • White Walls
    White Walls, Caitlin Powell-Page, 2023 BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • Redesigning the Anthropocene
    Redesigning the Anthropocene, Frankie Stevenson, 2023 BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • Forecast
    Forecast, Ray Chong, 2023 BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • Animated Futures
    Animated Futures, Benjamin Khan, 2023 BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • Uncovering Human Landscapes of Data
    Uncovering Human Landscapes of Data, Sarah Tabbara, 2023 BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • Radio Maria
    Radio Maria, Gaia Pierobon, 2023 BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design, Central Saint Martins, UAL

BA Graphic Communication Design stories



Platform Leader, Experience & Environment: Benjamin Cain
Platform Leader, Time & Movement: Michelle Salamon
Platform Leader, Strategy & Identity: David Preston 
Platform Leader, Information & Systems: Paul Finn
Platform Leader, Narrative & Voice: Andrew Hall

Practices Co-ordinator: Andrea Lioy
Practices Tutor, Typography: Stephen Barrett
Practices Tutor, Digital: Jazmin Morris
Practices Tutor, Print Production: Esther McManus
Practices Tutor, Lens: Gary Wallis
Practices Tutor, Contexts: Paul Rennie

Lecturer: Mikael Calandra Achode
Lecturer: Anoushka Khandwala

Fees and funding

Home fee

£9,250 per year

This fee is correct for entry in autumn 2024 and is subject to change for entry in autumn 2025.

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

£28,570 per year

This fee is correct for entry in autumn 2024 and is subject to change for entry in autumn 2025.

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

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows: 

One or a combination of the following accepted full Level 3 qualifications: 

  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3 or 4) and one A Level at grade C or above 
  • Two A Levels at grade C or above (preferred subjects include Art, Art and Design or Design and Technology) 
  • Merit, Pass, Pass (MPP) at BTEC Extended Diploma (preferred subjects include Art, Art and Design or Design and Technology) 
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma 
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferred subjects include Art, Art and Design or Design and Technology) 
  • Equivalent EU/international qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma (24 points) 

And three GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*–C). 

Entry to this course will also be determined by assessment of your portfolio. A very high proportion of successful applicants complete a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. 

AP(E)L – Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning 

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. 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.

Please note that these qualifications alone will not be sufficient to secure entry to the course.

English language requirements

IELTS level 6.0 or above, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

What we are looking for: We are interested in students who are prepared to be curious investigators of the discipline and who show a commitment to developing an innovative Graphic Communication Design practice  

Applicants are selected by portfolio and personal statement according to a demonstration of current and potential ability to:

  1. Work imaginatively and creatively with graphic and visual media
  • by engaging with experimentation with media and methods
  • by showing an interest in developing innovative Graphic Communication Design practices
  1. Demonstrate a range of skills and technical abilities
  • by showing a commitment to developing and applying a range of skills and technical abilities 
  1. Provide evidence of intellectual enquiry within your work 
  • by demonstrating curiosity and a willingness to research around themes and practices relevant to your interests 
  • by reflecting critically on your learning 
  1. Demonstrate cultural awareness and/or contextual framework in your work 
  • by identifying historical and contemporary graphic design practices 
  • by identifying social and/or cultural influences on your work
  1. Demonstrate an ability to articulate and communicate your project intentions clearly
  • by making use of appropriate and effective communication and presentation skills 

Apply now

Application deadline

31 January 2024 at 18:00 (UK time)

If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Apply to UAL

Home students can apply to this course through UCAS with the following codes:

University code:


UCAS code:


Start your application

Apply now

Application deadline

31 January 2024 at 18:00 (UK time)

If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Apply to UAL

International students can apply to this course through UCAS with the following codes:

University code:


UCAS code:


Start your application

Apply with a UAL Representative

Based across the world, our local UAL representatives can support you with your application from your home country. Check to see if there is a representative available in your country currently.

Find your representative

How to apply

Follow this step-by-step guide to apply for this course

Step 1: Initial application

You will need to submit an initial application including your personal statement.

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement should be maximum 4,000 characters and cover the following:

  • Why have you chosen this course? What excites you about the subject?
  • How does your previous or current study relate to the course?
  • Have you got any work experience that might help you?
  • Have any life experiences influenced your decision to apply for this course?
  • What skills do you have that make you perfect for this course?
  • What plans and ambitions do you have for your future career?

Visit our personal statement page for more advice.

Step 2: Digital portfolio

We will review your initial application. If you have met the standard entry requirements, we will ask you to submit a digital portfolio.

You’ll need to submit this via PebblePad, our online portfolio tool.

Digital portfolio advice

Your portfolio should consist of recent work that reflects your creative strengths.

It should:

  • be maximum 25 pages
  • include work in progress as well as finished pieces to demonstrate your development and creative processes
  • include examples of experimentation with a wide range of materials, techniques and media
  • include primary and secondary research to illustrate your creative inspiration
  • include images from sketchbooks or notebooks, working drawings, life-drawing, photography and media manipulation, 2D or 3D work.
  • include brief captions to explain your work (1 sentence)
  • demonstrate your ability to tackle visual problems and find inventive and creative solutions
  • be organised by projects to make it easier to view your work and understand your creative processes.

For more support, see our Portfolio advice and PebblePad advice.

Step 3: Interview

You may be invited to an interview following our review of your application. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes.

For top tips, see our Interview advice.

You also need to know

Communicating with you

Once you have submitted your initial application, we will email you with your login details for our Applicant portal.

Requests for supplementary documents like qualifications and English language tests will be made through the applicant portal. You can also use it to ask questions regarding your application. Visit our After you apply page for more information.

Visas and immigration history check

All non-UK nationals must complete an immigration history check. Your application may be considered by our course teams before this check takes place. This means that we may request your portfolio and/or video task before we identify any issues arising from your immigration history check. Sometimes your history may mean that we are not able to continue considering your application. Visit our Immigration and visas advice page for more information.

External student transfer policy

UAL accepts transfers from other institutions on a case-by-case basis. Read our Student transfer policy for more information.

Alternative offers

If your application is really strong, but we believe your strengths and skillset are better suited to a different course, we may make you an alternative offer. This means you will be offered a place on a different course or at a different UAL College.

Deferring your place

You must apply in the year that you intend to start your course. If you are made an offer and your circumstances change, you can submit a deferral request to defer your place by 1 academic year. You must have met your conditions by 31 August 2024. If you need an English language test in order to meet the entry requirements, the test must be valid on the deferred start date of your course. If not, you will need to reapply. Requests are granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contextual Admissions

This course is part of the Contextual Admissions scheme.

This scheme helps us better understand your personal circumstances so that we can assess your application fairly and in context. This ensures that your individual merit and creative potential can shine through, no matter what opportunities and experiences you have received.


BA Graphic Communication Design students leave with a broad and valuable understanding of graphic communication design practice in its many forms. Skills acquired enable graduates to become versatile practitioners in many exciting and diverse professions.

Recent alumni activity demonstrates the breadth of careers within the subject, embracing interactive design, web design, advertising, graphic design, information design, illustration, photography, film & TV, animation, editorial design, typographic design, packaging design, brand development, exhibition design, book design, 3D design, as well as in fine art, writing and filmmaking.

Course alumni include: Alan Aboud, Alan Fletcher, Andy Altman, Colin Forbes, Damon Murray, Derek Birdsall, Dylan Jones, Graham Wood, Huw Morgan, Jonathan Barnbrook, Katy Hepburn, Ken Garland, Lucienne Roberts, Michael Worthington, Minkie Spiro, Morag Myerscough, Paul Neale, Phil Baines, Platon, Richard Hollis, Sandro Sodano, Stephen Sorrell, Tom Hingston, Tony Chambers.

Design groups or companies formed by our graduates or employing our graduates include: Aboud Sodano, Bibliotheque Design, Barnbrook Design, Fallon, FUEL Design, GTF, Johnson Banks, Moving Brands, Multistorey, Pentagram, Praline, REG Design, Sans+Baum, Studio Myerscough, Tom Hingston Studio, Tomato, Why Not Associates, Wolff Ollins.