Graphic Design BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)

Cambridge

September 2016

code: W200

For information about starting this year call 01245 686868


Overview

Creatively explore visual language and solve challenging design briefs using industry-standard technology. Develop your understanding of effective graphic communication and prepare for a career as a professional graphic designer.

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Full description

Careers

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This course will prepare you for a career as a graphic designer, and also for design-related roles in digital graphics, online media, communications and marketing, publishing, and advertising.

Our previous students have gone on to work with design studios or media and communication companies producing: advertising, corporate identities and promotions, packaging and branding, informational design, editorial and book design, web designs and interactive media.

Or you might enjoy your studies so much you decide to take a Masters course, like our MA Graphic Design & Typography.

You’ll have the chance to get involved with national design networks such as D&AD, New Designers, ISTD and Young Creatives Network, and get a broader taste of the creative industries at our Creative Front Futures events.

Our students regularly engage in ‘live’ projects or commercial briefs and are actively encouraged to build industry contacts to undertake freelance projects, work experience or internships - often resulting in job offers before graduation.

You’ll have many opportunities to generate a strong portfolio of graphic design projects that will help you secure a job in this rewarding, vibrant and growing industry.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Design Process 1
    On this module, you'll develop a basic level of ability in the use of digital practice media and apply this to simple design problems and tasks. Through a series of short projects that involve primary visual research and secondary information gathering, you'll examine the creative, analytical, aesthetic and interpretative decisions that determine the appearance of graphic outcomes. You'll develop a practical awareness of the design process necessary for the implementation of successful design solutions. Studio-based projects and exercises will allow you to explore legibility, scale, continuity and visual dynamics, while your self-managed coursework will involve research into historical, retrogressive and contemporary contexts of graphic and typographic communication. In our practical and inclusive lectures and critique sessions, you will present, examine and address the fundamental issues of design.
  • Design Process 2
    This module will develop your basic competence in the use of digital media, allowing you to apply this to more complex design problems. You'll examine the creative and interpretative decisions that determine the appearance of graphic material through the juxtaposition of multiple elements of type, text, colour and graphic forms within a given format. You'll develop a practical awareness of graphic composition necessary for successful communication and design. Studio-based projects and exercises will allow you to explore legibility, hierarchy and visual dynamics. Your self-managed coursework will involve research into contemporary contexts of graphic and typographic communication.
  • Introduction to Type Media
    This module will introduce you to typography and the informed use of professional typographic software. You’ll acquire the technical vocabulary necessary for the description and analysis of typographic material, and a working knowledge of industry-standard typographic tools. A brief outline of type history will give you an introduction to the classification of typefaces, the terminology used in the description of types and the specification of typeset material, identifying the key decisions that affect appearance and legibility. You'll explore the expressive scope of type in relation both to issues of functionality and aesthetic convention, and undertake a series of short projects designed to explore and demonstrate your understanding of typographic decision-making and the application of type in a range of design contexts, and present them as a portfolio for assessment.
  • Introduction to Web Design
    This module will introduce you to web design and the informed use of professional web design software. You’ll acquire the technical vocabulary necessary for the description and analysis of web material, and a working knowledge of industry-standard web design tools. You'll be introduced to the mark-up language XHTML and the principle of cascading style sheets (CSS), and you'll undertake a series of short projects designed to explore and demonstrate your understanding of web design processes and media, presenting these in a portfolio for assessment at the end of the semester.

Year one, optional modules

  • Graphic Design of the 20th Century
    On this module, you'll examine the important shifts in the theory and practice of graphic design throughout the 20th Century. This will give you a historical and cultural framework for graphic design, enabling you to place your studio work in a broader context. In addition to providing a chronological overview, this module will introduce you to a range of theoretical debates surrounding the practice of graphic design. This will allow you to examine graphic languages employed by designers and design movements using key theoretical concepts from the analysis of visual culture. You'll examine graphic design from its emergence in the early 20th century until its fracturing as a discipline at the end of the century. In covering this period, you'll discover the importance of acknowledging graphic design's international character, and you'll explore a range of examples from many different countries and cultures. You'll also learn how the discipline of graphic design itself must be contextualised and considered in relation to other media practices.
  • English for Study 1 & 2
    You'll focus on the advanced writing and organisational skills necessary for essays and other written assignments, including planning, paragraphing, and developing an argument. Your studies will have a particular emphasis on the importance of good academic practice, especially accurate referencing and the use of bibliographies. You'll also practise extracting key points from a variety of spoken or written texts and writing summaries, and develop your discussion skills so as to contribute confidently to seminars and tutorials. You'll also receive guidance about independent learning using the wide range of resources available in our University Library and Language Centre. These two modules are worth 15 credits each.

Year two, core modules

  • Design Practice 1
    This module will introduce you to creative enquiry into graphic visual language by examining graphic design's relationship to contemporary communications and to popular culture and its scope as a medium for addressing issues of communication and meaning. You’ll track the design and production process, from conceptual proposition, through design presentation, to the relevant production processes; and provides a context for ideas development in relation to a range of professional design applications. You’ll have opportunities to focus upon specialist graphic practice in consideration of possible industrial career paths, within set projects and self-initiated projects (via a practice based learning contract); e.g. design for publication, packaging, brand development, advertising and promotion, informational graphics or new media design. Lectures will facilitate the generation of continual research and analysis into informed development, seeking fully resolved and original graphic communication. Seminars, group critiques and discourse will analyse and evaluate each stage of the creative design process, to establish effective functionality and appropriate communication within a given area of graphic design or related field of practice. This will include considerations of legibility, meaning and response together with the applications of appropriate media and reprographic technologies. Your ongoing research, analysis and development work, design solutions and product outcomes including all preparatory work will form the summative assessment of your work at the end of semester 1.
  • Design Practice 2
    This module continues on from Design Practice 1, examining graphic design's role within contemporary communications and its effects upon society both socially and commercially. Design Practice 2 will address the social and cultural responsibilities of graphic communication through speculative and/or experimental projects within different design contexts, and the commercial application of design and graphic communication within industry, competition or 'live' projects. You’ll learn to better focus upon specialist graphic practice in consideration of possible industrial career paths, within set projects and self-initiated projects (via a practice based learning contract). Lectures will facilitate the generation of continual research and analysis into informed development, seeking fully resolved and original graphic communication that is able to challenge graphic orthodoxy. Seminars, group critiques and discourse will analyse and evaluate each stage of the creative design process, to establish effective functionality and appropriate communication within a given area of graphic design or related field of practice. This will include considerations of social or cultural impact and response together with the applications of appropriate media and reprographic technologies. Your ongoing research, analysis and development work, design solutions and product outcomes including all preparatory work will form the summative assessment of your work at the end of semester 2. This module includes ongoing personal development planning via a PDP Progress File.
  • Debates and Practices
    On this module, you'll explore the links between critical studies and practice, enriching your knowledge and developing your articulacy about your specialism, as well as drawing on wider perspectives in relation to your own work. You will focus particularly on debates about contemporary practice. Your studies will be seminar-based and, where appropriate and possible, held in the studio. In discussions, you'll engage with theory and history alongside your own developing ideas about contemporary production, with an open agenda that will respond to current events, work and interests.
  • New Media Design - Graphic Design for Screen Based Applications
    You’ll explore the role of graphic design across new media and screen based contexts including web design and application interfaces, and to consider the implications and possibilities of new communications phenomena, social networks and viral marketing for the graphic designer. Workshops address the design of motion graphics and digital animation through Flash and After Effects software, and the development of web design skills introduced in the Introduction to Web Design module. Lectures and presentations identify both the creative opportunities and technical constraints of new media and motion graphics for broadcast and interactive applications. These include references from film and TV titling, web graphics and advertising, and consider the use of ambient, viral and guerrilla strategies. A series of individual and small group projects explore both the technical and conceptual issues involved in each of these aspects of practice, addressing the use of new media across a range of both practical and speculative contexts. These projects explore the emerging communication possibilities of new technologies, as well as providing detailed technical instruction on the presentation of the word and image on the screen. Individual and group tutorials throughout the module address the development of you practice and the progress of each project.

Year two, optional modules

  • Professional Studies in Design
    This module will develop your understanding of career paths within the field of design professions, including detailed investigation of both employment and self-employment. Seminars and lectures identify the different professional environments within which designers are employed, the business models within which they operate, and the patterns of career progression they can expect to achieve. The seminars also explore the impact of current developments in communications technology, and examine the role of the designer in a changing media environment. Workshops explore self-employment and entrepreneurship, investigating the practical considerations involved in setting up a studio or agency and the significance of small-scale enterprises within the design sector in the UK. Individual and group tutorials during the module address your personal aspirations and the reflective analysis of your individual qualities as a designer. You will then consider which sectors of the profession may offer the best recognition of your qualities, and the types of working environment most appropriate to you as an individual.
  • Information Design
    On this module, you'll explore the principal graphic communication issues and design implications involved in the practice of information design. You'll be introduced to the terminology used within visual informational systems and its design specification for production. You'll also analyse and explore the use of text and symbolic content to facilitate information delivery to a desired audience, and examine the interactive possibilities within such communication. You'll explore the use of language, type and symbols in relation to functionality and communication, and consider the context, ergonomics and environmental practicalities along with materials, structures and the specification of technology within the set projects, where you'll be encouraged to find innovative and diverse creative solutions. Central to your success in this exciting yet demanding area of practice will be ease of communication and the generation of the desired action or response(s) from your viewer / end-user. Your project outcomes may include areas of practice such as: icon or symbol design, signage, environmental graphics, site-specific promotions, exhibition design, graphical user interface (GUI) or a virtual experience.
  • Graphic Design for the Web
    You’ll develop your understanding of web design through a series of projects addressing a range of professional applications. Within these contexts, you’ll look in specific detail at the contribution of graphic creativity and visual analysis to the technical discipline of web design. A series of individual and small group projects addresses the use of web graphics across a range of commercial and self-initiated contexts including promotion, publishing, art-editorial, photographic and fine art applications. Through these projects you’ll explore both the technical and conceptual issues involved in each of these aspects of web practice. You’ll also conduct a detailed investigation of web layout and typography. Lectures address issues of navigation and legibility. Workshops provide instruction around topics such as workarounds and preparing images for the web. Seminars explore current developments in web design practice in relation to your projects, and examine the role of the designer. Individual and group tutorials throughout the module address the development of your practice and the progress of your project.
  • Anglia Language Programme
    The Anglia Language Programme allows you to study a foreign language as part of your course. You'll take one language module in the second semester of your first year in order to experience the learning of a new language. You must select a language you've never learnt before from the following: Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

Year three, core modules

  • Research Project
    The Research Project will foster your independent study with the guidance of a tutor. You'll devise your own project which will reflect on/co-ordinate with/enhance your own studio work and interests, encouraging your self-reflexivity and critical distance. Seminars will give you a forum to learn from each other's research. You will also be supported by individual tutorials with a member of staff. The Research Project may include a variety of relevant topics, including reporting on your own work experience. You can illustrate it with photographs, drawings or video, discussing your approach with your assigned tutor.
  • Graphic Futures
    This module will direct your practice within industrial graphic design and professional contexts. These may include the design for publication and print, 3D promotional and packaging material, architectural or environmental graphics, information design or new media applications. You'll solve challenging design problems using your enhanced awareness of contemporary design practice within a modern informational culture. The briefs that you undertake might include individually commissioned work, live set briefs, or national competitions (via practice based learning contracts). You'll also focus on the practicalities of work presentation and the application of self-promotion within the design industry in preparation for your employment. Through lectures, presentations, discourse and seminars, you'll examine creative innovation, design solutions and graphic communication and response within current graphic design practice. For your assessment, you will need to submit your finished project work to an industry standard in a format appropriate to the brief's requirements and/or for commercial reproduction, to schedule your design work and meet all your production deadlines. Your assessment will be based upon the submission of your preparatory work, including research, design development and analysis together with completed project briefs. This module includes personal development planning via a PDP Progress File.
  • Major Project
    The individual Major Project will allow you to undertake a substantial piece of individual research, focused on a topic relevant to your specific course. Your topic will be assessed for suitability to ensure sufficient academic challenge and satisfactory supervision by an academic member of staff. The project will require you to identify/formulate problems and issues, conduct research, evaluate information, process data, and critically appraise and present your findings/creative work. You should arrange and attend regular meetings with your project supervisor, to ensure that your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.

Assessment

Our modules allow you to demonstrate your progress by producing coursework to set projects, design tasks and formal briefs. At the end of each semester you’ll submit design work for practice-based modules, and a written document for contextual/theoretical modules. These will then be graded and you’ll receive written feedback.

You’ll also receive ongoing feedback on your design project concepts and develop your learning in taught sessions, one-to-one discussions, project reviews and group critiques.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

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Cambridge School of Art has been inspiring creativity since 1858 when it was opened by John Ruskin.

Engaging with current debates surrounding contemporary practice and with the state-of-the-art facilities, Cambridge School of Art houses light, bright studios, industry-standard film and photographic facilities, and 150-year-old printing presses alongside dedicated Apple Mac suites. Our digital art gallery, the Ruskin Gallery, exhibits both traditional shows and multimedia presentations, from national and international touring exhibitions and our own students.

We are the only university in Cambridge offering art and design courses at higher education level. A tight-knit community of artists, academics and over 900 students, we collaborate across our University, the creative industries, and other sectors. Cambridge is a centre for employment in the creative industries and there are rich opportunities for collaboration with the city’s entertainment, technological, scientific, arts and heritage industries.

Our graduates have a history of winning national and international awards and an excellent employment record. They include Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett and Dave Gilmour, Spitting Image creators Peter Fluck and Roger Law, and illustrator Ronald Searle, the creator of St Trinian's.

We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.

Where can I study?

Cambridge
Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Specialist facilities
You’ll have access to our on-campus digital facilities and design studios, and get a real understanding of digital design processes by working on industry-standard Adobe design software on Macintosh technology. But we also have dedicated facilities for traditional letterpress and printmaking for the more ‘hands-on’ designer.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)

£9,000

International students, 2016/17 (per year)

£11,000

Additional costs

Estimated costs of materials over three years £950.

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements

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Entry requirements are not currently available, please try again later.

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Interviews with portfolio

At interview, we’ll ask to see a portfolio that displays your creative abilities as an artist, graphic artist or designer, and demonstrates an awareness of visual language or graphic communication. You should also include examples of the creative thought processes you employ via preliminary visuals and sketchbooks. At Cambridge School of Art we value excellence in graphic and typographic design, but also speculative, experimental, innovative and articulate visual solutions.

If you’re invited to interview, we’ll send you a letter with more information about our portfolio requirements.

If you’re an international applicant, please host your portfolio online if possible and let us know the URL, or email it to us as a PDF. We’ll also accept CDs or hardcopy sent by post to our International Admissions Office, but please note that these will not be returned to you.

For more information, please download our digital portfolio pack.

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

Entry requirements are for September 2016 entry. Entry requirements for other intakes may differ.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online