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BA in Graphic Communication Design (Full Time)

University of the Arts London

Bachelor Degree , Graphic Design

Course Description

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. 

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....

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Course Content

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 workshop areas and processes. These will include 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, UX, UI, 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 and College. 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.  

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...

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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.

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...

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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  

  • 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  

Additional Information

Course dates

Autumn term:
Monday 16 September 2019 – Friday 6 December 2019
Spring term:
Monday 6 January 2020 – Friday 13 March 2020
Summer term:
Tuesday 14 April 2020 – Friday 19 June 2020

Course dates

Autumn term:
Monday 16 September 2019 – Friday 6 December 2019
Spring term:
Monday 6 January 2020 – Friday 13 March 2020
Summer term:
Tuesday 14 April 2020 – Friday 19 June 2020