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Graphic Design

BA (Hons)
Graphic Design
UCAS W210
3 years (full-time)
4 years (with placement year and/or overseas study)

Graphic Design is a hands-on, ideas-driven studio-based course where you will learn a variety of approaches to visual communication. Distinctive creative personalities are nurtured and the unconventional is actively encouraged. 

After developing your creative visual language in Year 1, you will be able to apply your skills to a range of personal and industry-related projects in Year 2. Your final year will see you develop a professional portfolio that reflects your personal interests and individual career aspirations.

At all stages of the course we focus on contemporary and relevant design that embraces intellectual curiosity and design as an experience. You have the opportunity to connect with industry, either through visiting speakers, live briefs or work experience.

Special Features

  • Opportunities for work placements throughout the UK.
  • Students' successes include awards in regional, national and international arenas including D&AD Global Student Awards, ISTD, Young Creative Network, Openad Talent and the Global Spin Awards. 

Course Content

At all stages of the course we focus on contemporary and relevant design that embraces imaginative thinking. You have the opportunity to connect with industry, either through visiting speakers, 'live' briefs or work  experience.

Recent destinations for work experience have included The Designers Republic, Love Creative, The Chase, True North, Bert Agency, Dinosaur, Wired magazine, Penguin Books, Truth, Code Computer Love, Modern Designers, Hope for Justice, Creative Concern, Topman, Liberty, Havas Lynx, Men's Health magazine, Design By Day, The Mill, Gyro, Elle magazine, Condé Nast, BBC, ITV, Hinterland (NY), Mike Perry (NY), Eskimo Creative, Instruct Graphics, Saatchi & Saatchi, TBWA and Vogue magazine.

Year 1

In Year 1 you will be introduced to the studio-based culture of the course through a series of design projects encouraging the development of ideas, experimentation with visual language and acquisition of technical skills. This is supported by a contextual programme that places practical elements into a wider cultural, critical and social context.

Visual Thinking 2 : Persuasion

An introduction to visual communication that establishes the importance of a defined audience in the creative design process.

Students are asked to engage with the tools and basic techniques used in the origination of graphic design. Relevant digital skills are taught alongside lateral thinking and basic semiotic theory. Teaching is based around a series of creative opportunities that will require students to undertake research, develop ideas, present final outcomes and reflect upon their activities.

Tutor group seminars and on-going open-studio sessions are supported by induction activities, workshops and a series of lectures. The unit is primarily based in a studio situation with laptop trolleys as the primary means to deliver IT-based workshops.

Unit X

At Level 4, this unit encourages some collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience. There are lectures and talks from key research staff, students and external experts. Teaching will be in the form of tutorial groups, weekly meetings and presentations. The set projects will vary from year to year and are designed to be responsive to current creative opportunities. 

Contextualising Practice 1: Critical Analysis

Students are allocated to a pathway according to their programme to introduce ideas relevant to their studies. The unit introduces some of the broad over-arching themes and concepts – historical, cultural, social, political, and economic – that affect and inform the production of art, design and/or craft.

Contextualising Practice 1: Critical Reflection

This unit is delivered and assessed by individual programmes and relate directly to students’ personal practice and the contexts that inform making in professional art, design and/or craft practices. The unit asks students to begin to form a critical understanding of their own practice.

Year 2

In Year 2 you will study more specific areas of graphic design practice. A programme of workshop projects develops both technical and conceptual skills. Studio content is developed in liaison with industry and offers opportunities for work experience.

Contextualising Practice 2: Critical Analysis A

For ‘Contextualising Practice 2: Critical Analysis A’, students can choose to study up to two thematic sub-units to develop their contextual studies in new directions. The CP2 Critical Analysis units encourage students to develop their critical analysis skills gained in L4 to further investigate the broad over-arching themes and concepts – historical, cultural, social, political, and economic – that affect and inform the production of art, design and/or craft.

Visual Communication 2 Part 1 : Specification

This unit introduces the professional environment of the graphic designer and explores the impact of external factors on graphic design.

Practical studio projects analyse the influence that external considerations have on the development of graphic design ideas and introduce a vocabulary of professional specification. Coursework is based around applying a range of creative print and digital solutions within a variety of technical, professional, social & ethical constraints and specified audiences. The main projects are supported by a range of seminar and workshop activities that include opportunities for developing technical skills, engaging in research, typography, making verbal presentations, visual proposals, preparing work for portfolio presentation and working in small groups.

Tutor seminar groups and on-going open-studio sessions are supported by workshops and a series of lectures. The unit is primarily based in a studio situation using projectors and laptop trolleys as the primary means to deliver IT-based workshops.

Visual Communication 1 : Disruption

This unit develops creative visual thinking by exploring notions of the unconventional.

Practical projects analyse the importance of developing a questioning approach to graphic design work and introduce a graphic vocabulary to challenge conventions. Coursework is based around exploiting the creative potential and the impact of technology on the development of design work; exploring how lateral thinking, risk taking, experimentation and other processes might usefully disrupt expected channels of print and digital communication. The main projects are supported by a range of seminar and workshop activities that include opportunities for developing technical skills, engaging in research, typography, making verbal presentations, preparing work for portfolio presentation and working in small groups.

Tutor seminar groups and on-going open-studio sessions are supported by workshops and a series of lectures.
The unit is primarily based in a studio situation using projectors and laptop trolleys as the primary means to deliver IT-based workshops.

Unit X

This unit explores collaborative and interdisciplinary art and design practice.  You will have the opportunity to engage in a range of external-facing learning opportunities which will encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience; this may take the form of spending time outside of the University and working within the creative community and the public domain. You also have the option to undertake a placement in this unit.

Year 3

In Year 3 you will study a series of self-directed options designed to develop a professional portfolio that reflects your individual careers aspirations. Your work is supported by a visiting lecture programme that offers a diverse range of perspectives across the whole platform of graphic design practice.

Contextualising Practice 3: Critical Reflection

Students are allocated to a pathway according to their programme. The unit asks students to draw upon key ideas and methods encountered in their Contextualising Practice studies, as well as other aspects of their programme teaching and individual research, to support the development and critical understanding of their own practice as they approach graduation. 

Unit X

On the third year Unit X, there is a student authored final project leading to a showcase of finished work. The unit includes a brief generated by the student, which leads to the presentation of a significant body of final work. Collaborative and interdisciplinary work can be incorporated into the project in relation to the professional context and ambition of the student.

Graphic Design Practice

This unit will develop your independent, self-directed study based around graphic design projects that have real-world parallels with the professional designer and/or creative industries.  Studio based projects will extend your professional understanding and will develop your capability for self-directed learning.  Three projects look at ideas of authorship based around a given theme, responding to a live brief and initiating personal work.  A negotiated option within each project will build on your existing skill set and are described using a series of student authored learning agreements. 

Assessment Methods

Unit end assessment and coursework.

Assessment Weightings & Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A three year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be—

Study
  • Year 1 25% lectures, seminars or similar; 75% independent study
  • Year 2 25% lectures, seminars or similar; 75% independent study
  • Year 3 25% lectures, seminars or similar; 75% independent study
Assessment
  • Year 1 100% coursework
  • Year 2 100% coursework
  • Year 3 90% coursework; 10% practical

Staff


MinD sought to deliver designs for self-empowerment and social engagement

Scher is known for her innovative typographies and seminal rebrand of New York's Public Theatre

Graduates

Graduates have gone on to be designers in design consultancies and in-house teams for industry and public authorities; magazine and publication designers; art directors and creative teams in advertising agencies; digital media designers and filmmakers for creative online content.

Making an Application

How to Apply

Apply through UCAS.

We will ask you to provide a Digital Portfolio to support your application.

You will be notified of our decision through UCAS.

Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff Points/Grades Required

104-112.

A levels ­– e.g. BCC-BBC

Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma – DMM

Pass Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 106 UCAS Tariff points

Equivalent qualifications and combinations will be considered, including Extended Project (EPQ). AS levels (or qualifications equivalent to AS level) are not accepted.

Please contact the University directly if you are unsure whether you meet the minimum entry requirements for the course.

Learn more about MMU's Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

Specific GCSE Requirements

GCSE grade C/4 in English language or level 2 

Equivalent qualifications (eg. Functional Skills) may be considered

International Baccalaureate26 IB Diploma Points or 104-112 UCAS tariff points from Higher Level. Points

International Students

A minimum IELTS score of 6.0 overall with no individual element below 5.5 is required.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Tuition Fees 2021 Entry

UK and Channel Island Students

Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

EU and Non-EU International Students

Full-time fee: £17,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

See Money Matters for further information and advice.

Additional Costs

Specialist Costs

£900*  plus optional £100* Average printing costs per year. In 3rd year there could be an additional amount of £100, approximately, towards printing for the Degree Show. Core materials include an A3 portfolio the contents of a pencil case, scalpel ruler. £200 to £400 per year.

Trips and Placement Costs

Optional £1,000* Students can choose in second or third year to go on a study trip. These are optional and usually taken during self to directed time so no studio sessions are missed. £300 to £700 in both second and third year.

* All amounts shown are estimates.