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.
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.
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.
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.
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).