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BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design

College
CSM
Start date
September 2021
Course length
Three years full-time
UCAS code
W215

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

  • Platforms and communities: You can specialise in a guided selection of platforms based on disciplinary areas of expertise: Narrative and Voice; Strategy and Identity; Time and Movement; Information and Systems; and Experience and Environment. Later in the course, these lead to communities of practice, based on themes and issues.
  • Co-design your curriculum: In your final year of study, you will directly influence the curriculum by developing subjects for exploration and experimentation.
  • Wide-ranging and specialist practice: The course structure allows you to balance the relationship between breadth and specialism.
  • Live projects: You can elect to tackle live briefs engaging local government, non-profits and companies. Recently, this has included work with organisations such as the BBC, the British Library, Lightvert, Louis Jadot, Mother, NHS Camden Clinical Commissioning Group, Tezenis and Transport for London.

Open days

Virtual Open Days:

At Central Saint Martins, the safety of staff, students and visitors is our priority. Following government guidance on social distancing due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, we’re currently unable to run physical open days at the College.

Instead we will offer virtual open days during the week of the 9 - 13 November 2020. You’ll be able to find out more about any undergraduate course that interests you, as well as the support we offer to prospective and current students.

How to book:

To register your place on any of our undergraduate virtual open days, simply select the relevant virtual open day listing.

Virtual Tours:

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

Scholarships, awards and funding

Mead Scholarships and Fellowships
Fung Scholarships

Learn about BA Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins

Student work

  • Dom-Biddulph-VRchway.jpg
    Dom Biddulph | VRchway
  • Winni-Jarvis-A-Water-Fight-for-Palestine.jpg
    Winni Jarvis | A Water Fight for Palestine
  • Thomas-Moore-Gin-Lane-2016.jpg
    Thomas Moore | Gin Lane 2016
  • Ben-Hutchings-Processes-of-Translation.jpg
    Ben Hutchings | Processes of Translation
  • Berta-Vallo-Paraphrase.jpg
    Berta Vallo | Paraphrase
  • Aidan-Zamiri-Sky-Sanctuary.jpg
    Aidan Zamiri | Sky Sanctuary

BA Graphic Communication Design stories

Facilities

Course overview

Graphic communication design practice is changing. The wide availability of design software and digital production tools has resulted in a re-evaluation of what the trained, skilled designer can offer. In response, design professions have developed more sophisticated consultancy models. Design thinking, marketing, branding and strategy are now offered as a central part of their services. Graphic communication design is also increasingly carried out in a diverse range of contexts. These range from large commercial and governmental departments to independent practitioners and small enterprises.  

BA Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins takes into account this current industry climate. It explores graphic communication design as an expanded practice. It will provide you with a solid grounding in the discipline's core languages, contexts and applications, while also encouraging you to test and stretch its boundaries. The course structure 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 

The course curriculum places emphasis on five core processes: typography, digital, context, image and print. These are taught throughout the course and will provide a foundation for your studio work and theoretical studies. Led by staff specialists, you will also be introduced to areas such as photography, printmaking and bookbinding.  

The course structure enables student mobility across five platforms and communities of practice. The platforms are an investigation into the multiple disciplines of graphic communication design. They are formulated in correspondence to areas of contemporary design practice. The platforms give focus to the intentions and values of your practice. They also offer points of departure as you develop your identity within a community of practice in Stages 2 and 3. Overall, this unique structure will allow you to be directly involved in the co-creation of the course curriculum. 

Course units

The BA Graphic Communication Design curriculum is delivered through a mix of project work, lectures, seminars and assignments in discrete units. The project brief is the main vehicle for learning and teaching. Briefs usually require an individual response to a problem, theme, issue or provocation. You will produce an outcome which considers content, form, communication and audience. The course also aims to provide regular opportunities to engage with client-led, live briefs. In the past, this has included work with organisations such as Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide and Camden Council.  

Stage 1 

Unit 1: An Introduction to Graphic Communication Design 
Unit 2: Media and Methods  
Unit 3: Core Processes  
Unit 4: Introduction to Platforms
  

Stage 1 will introduce you to design methods through a complex or “wicked” problem. This will immerse you in an intensive graphic communication design project. You will begin with skills in research, collaboration and idea generation. This will be followed by an introduction to the media and methods of graphic communication design practice. You will undertake projects which involve processes such as photography, printmaking, letterpress and digital media. In the latter half of Stage 1, you will be introduced to the five platforms of the course. The platforms are: 

  • Narrative and Voice: Keywords include illustration, storytelling, image-making, photography, visual language, pacing and framing 
  • Strategy and Identity: Keywords include branding, advertising, visual identity, marketing and persuasion 
  • Time and Movement: Keywords include moving image, animation, sound design and performance 
  • Information and Systems: Keywords include information design, typography, data visualisation, mapping and publishing 
  • Experience and Environment: Keywords include exhibition design, social design, digital media, interaction design, event design and service design 

The platforms act as a departure point for the skills and approaches associated with a specific area in graphic communication design. Each platform corresponds to an area of professional practice, but is open-ended. This reflects the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of graphic communication. In Stage 1, you will study in three of the five platforms. You will be placed in these platforms based on a survey of your preferences.  

Stage 2

Unit 5: Exploring Practice 1  
Unit 6: Bigger Picture  
Unit 7: Exploring Practice 2  
Unit 8: Identifying Communities of Practice  

In Stage 2, you will develop your skills through the platform structure. Although they are distinctive in character, there are commonalities and shared experiences. This allows students to see the interconnections in the landscape of design practice. You will have the opportunity to both specialise and collaborate with students across the course. You will explore notions of collaboration, participation and the relationship with audiences. This stage is delivered through lectures, workshops and seminars. These explore cultural, social and theoretical contexts of contemporary graphic communication design practice. You will also have opportunities to engage further in the techniques and skills introduced in Stage 1.  

Stage 3  

Unit 9: Situating Practice  
Unit 10: Communities of Practice 
 

Stage 3 addresses problem-finding, problem-solving and problem-setting. You will focus on depth of knowledge and situating your practice. You will work in student-initiated communities of practice, based around ideas arrived at in Stage 2. Communities of practice are led by tutor teams with relevant experience in theory and practice. This is an outward-facing structure, allowing you to make connections and build networks. The aim is to broaden your practice in relation to wider socio-cultural issues and to support your professional practice after graduation.  

The final unit is focused on the development of a substantial body of work and written critical reflection. This should have a clear direction, strong rationale and demonstrate your priorities as a creative practitioner.  

Exchange opportunities 

Students enrolled on BA Graphic Communication Design have the opportunity to spend time studying outside of the UK at a partner institution. Studying overseas allows you to experience a new culture, an alternative perspective on the course’s subject discipline and different learning and teaching methods. Alongside this, BA Graphic Communication Design is actively engaged in the University’s Study Abroad scheme, with the incoming international students bringing an important additional dynamic to the course.

Currently only a small number of places are available, which will be subject to Government guidelines on travel abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mode of study 

BA Graphic Communication Design 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 Arts 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

Your primary means of learning will be through studio practice. During your course you will engage with learning and teaching that includes both online and face-to-face modes. Typically, this will include:

  • Unit and project briefings 
  • Set and self-initiated project briefs 
  • Inductions, lectures and seminars 
  • Workshops and interdisciplinary study teams 
  • Event-based teaching (e.g. publications, showcases) 
  • Learning by doing (thinking through making) 
  • Peer learning 
  • Self and peer assessment 
  • Guest speakers 
  • Group discussions, reviews and critiques 
  • Working with clients on live projects and competitions 
  • Essay writing and supervision 
  • Independent study 
  • Platform-based teaching  
  • Communities of practice (working student groups based on student-initiated themes). 

Assessment methods

  • Evidence of participation in taught activities 
  • Presentation of a completed set of projects 
  • Portfolio and verbal presentations 
  • Individual written reflections 
  • Learning agreements 
  • Written and visual documentation 
  • Essays 
  • Critical reports  

Staff

Peter  Hall

Dr Peter Hall

Course Leader, BA Graphic Communication Design

Catherine  Dixon

Dr Catherine Dixon

Stage 1 Leader, BA Graphic Communication Design

Jaap  de Maat

Jaap de Maat

Stage 2 Leader, BA Graphic Communication Design

Kira  Salter

Kira Salter

Stage 3 Leader, BA Graphic Communication Design

Platform Leader, Experience and Environment: Abbie Vickress
Platform Leader, Information and Systems: Paul Finn
Platform Leader, Strategy and Identity: Dr David Preston
Platform Leader, Narrative and Voice: Andrew Hall
Platform Leader, Time and Movement: Michelle Salamon

Typography Subject Leader: Professor Phil Baines
Lead Tutor Print and Production: Simon Goode

Contextual Studies Subject Leader: Dr Paul Rennie
Contextual Studies Tutor: Andrea Lioy

Photography Subject Leader: Gary Wallis
Course Lecturer: Mikael Calandra Achode

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 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

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 cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

IELTS score of 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

Applicants are selected according to their demonstration of potential and current ability to:

  • Work imaginatively and creatively in graphic and visual media
  • Apply original thought to any given problem and not mimic prevalent styles
  • Demonstrate a range of skills and technical abilities
  • Provide evidence of intellectual enquiry within their work
  • Demonstrate potential to experiment, to test the parameters of design
  • Demonstrate relevant research and reflect critically on their learning
  • Demonstrate cultural awareness and/or contextual framework of their work
  • Identify historical and contemporary graphic design practices
  • Articulate and communicate intentions clearly.

What we are looking for

We are interested in students who are prepared to question and to take a critical perspective and who show potential to develop as innovative artists.

Making your application

You should apply though Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and you will need the following information:

University code:          U65

UCAS Code:               W215

Deferred Entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry.  You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Transfer Policy

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 and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and Year 1/Year 2 unit transcripts.

Please be ready to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January 2021 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

Please add csm.ukeu@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.  Also consider altering your spam or junk mail filter to ensure that emails from @arts.ac.uk get through to you.

There are three ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at Central Saint Martins:

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.

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

University code:          U65

UCAS Code:               W215

Deferred Entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry.  You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

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 and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and Year 1/Year 2 unit transcripts.

If you are an International applicant and studying outside the UK, please complete your Direct application and then contact us via your UAL Portal to ask to be considered for Year 2/Year 3.

Please be ready to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January 2021 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online via UCAS or through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

Please add csm.international@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL  Also consider altering your spam or junk mail filter to ensure that emails from @arts.ac.uk get through to you.


After you apply

What happens next

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 invited to submit a mini portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

Digital portfolio

Your portfolio should be no more than 30 pages. It should be made up of your best work, showing your skills and thinking. You should organise your portfolio so your strongest work is shown in the first ten pages. You can create the pages in any layout (For example: presentation boards) but they should be uploaded as jpeg images.

It should:

  • Include primary and secondary research, ideas development and experimentation with a different range of materials, techniques and media as well as finished pieces.
  • Include images from sketchbooks or notebooks, working drawings, life-drawing, photography and media manipulation, 2D or 3D work. Your work could be the result of set projects and self-initiated work.
  • Demonstrate your ability to tackle visual problems and find inventive and creative solutions.
  • Be organised into categories to make it easier to view. Avoid repetition and demonstrate a wide range of your skills, and include brief (one-sentence) explanatory captions.

The only files that can be uploaded as part of the portfolio are:

  • Images: bmp, gif, jpg, jpeg, png
  • Audio: mp3, mp4, ogg, wav, wma
  • Video: avi, mp4, mpg, mpeg, mkv, mov, wmv

Following the review of the portfolio we select a small number of applicants to move on to the next stage of the process.  These applicants will be invited to an interview.

Portfolio advice

Your portfolio should demonstrate a range of skills appropriate to the subject area, containing examples of work completed within recent years, whether for a college project or personal work. It is important that the work applicants include reflects their engagement in creative practice, critical thinking and technical abilities and also that they include evidence of background research, e.g. sketchbooks, preliminary work and written material.

Ideas, visual research and experimentation are more important than finished work.

Please remember:

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

For more portfolio advice please visit: https://www.arts.ac.uk/study-at-ual/apply/portfolio-advice

Interview

Following the review of the portfolio we select a small number of applicants to move on to the next stage of the process.  These applicants will be invited to an online group interview.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

Feedback

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

If you would like to request feedback – please email csm.ukeu@arts.ac.uk. 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.

Each and every application is carefully considered by a member(s) of our academic team. With so many strong applicants to choose from, it is often a very difficult decision to make. If you are unsuccessful, you are welcome to apply to us again in the future.

Fees and funding

Home fee

£9,250 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.

Home fees are currently charged to UK resident nationals . However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, depending 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.

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.

Students from countries outside of the UK are currently charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about our tuition fees.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, depending 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.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

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.

Developing your links

At the end of Stage One you will be expected to take part in the 'End of Year Folio Show' and at the end of Stage Two, the 'Work in Progress Show'; these shows are public exhibitions and although not assessed, are seen as key learning experiences as preparation for your Degree Show.

There are regular opportunities to engage with client-led live briefs featuring brands, such as LVMH, Samsung and Sony, and to participate in national and international student design competitions, such as RSA, Lloyds TSB, and D&AD. The course is a member of D&AD - BA Graphic Design students gain from discounts on submissions to the D&AD Student Awards and other benefits.

Arrangements for work experience or internships are encouraged and facilitated on an informal basis. Study trips, student exchanges, studio visits and collaborative projects (either within UAL or with partner institutions at home and abroad) offer further opportunities to study within a broader context. During Stage Two a number of 'Study Abroad' students from the USA and other countries join the course for one, two or three terms. Context 'creative writing' groups, student clubs such as 'book club' and 'sketchbook club', exhibitions such as 'work in progress', 'pop-up shows' and the 'degree show', 'interest groups', 'guest lectures' and a school-wide 'elective' present additional opportunities for social interaction or collaboration.

For details of the wide range of careers support provided for students, please visit our Careers support page.