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Communication Design: Graphic Design MA

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year 2 days a week September 2017
Part time 2 years Contact the course leader for details September 2017

Please note: this course was previously called Graphic Design MA.

Choose Kingston's Communication Design: Graphic Design MA

This course encourages the exploration and understanding of the methods and processes at work in contemporary visual communication, and will further develop your personal practice and approach to graphic design. It focuses on individual research and inquiry and helps you to develop your understanding of the significance of the wider cultural role of the visual designer. In addition, you will be introduced to disciplinary and interdisciplinary models of thinking that will underpin your own focused study on the course.

View work from students on this course.

Key features

  • The emphasis on problem finding, research methods and critical thinking is intended to enhance your long-term employment possibilities through an understanding of the changing global, technological and social context of design.
  • The course is taught by academics who are also practising designers and researchers in design. This is supported by studio visits and visiting tutors from industry, live projects, competitions, lectures and workshops.
  • Core modules are studied with students from across the Design School's postgraduate community.

What will you study?

Project work will challenge you to develop and enhance your existing ways of working. You will explore the importance of research in underpinning your practice and will be encouraged to build your own visual language and ‘tools' in response to set briefs within each module. In the final stage of the course, you will propose and develop your independent major project. You will be taught by experienced academics and specialist tutors from industry who encourage you to develop your understanding of the relationship between words, pictures and their means of communication and transmission.

Assessment

Project work: visual research, written project report/summary, exhibition, and final major project.

Course structure

This specialist pathway of the Communication Design MA course is part of the School of Design's postgraduate programme. The structure – shared with students from Product & Furniture Design MA, Sustainable Design MA and Fashion MA – enables you to explore your individual specialist interests in graphic design within an integrative learning environment that provides a comprehensive understanding of the value and role of interdisciplinary methods and ways of working. The influences and impact of thinking from other related design subjects on your own specialist study is an important aspect of the identity and the community of interdisciplinary practice at masters level in the School of Design.

This structure is designed to help progress and develop your independent learning, encouraging you to construct and explore projects concerned with areas of particular personal interests. The overarching course philosophy, based upon an emphasis on research, methodology and design thinking, allows individual and personal concerns to be explored through focused study in graphic design.

The two shared modules of the School of Design's Postgraduate Framework both commence with a symposium, in which high-profile external speakers present their work and contribute to a debate on a topic of relevance to all courses in the Framework. View the promotional flyers from the following recent symposiums:

Teaching block 1

  • This module explores the fundamental and underpinning aspects of communication design and the key skills related to visual thinking and is intended to introduce you to the expected ways of working whilst undertaking study on the course. The module places an emphasis on the nature of individual enquiry and the process of questioning. The primary focus of the module is problem finding, and simply put at this stage of the course: the point of a good research question is a better research question. You will be required to revisit the fundamental aspects of your practice through the exploration of form and context and their relationship to how meaning is established and importantly, communicated. This will build upon your existing ways of working and is a building block in the further development of your field of operation as designer on the course and your future career. The focus during this first module is upon visual grammar and how the essential elements of visual communication are related to the relationships between objects, patterns, and processes: the manner in which things relate to each other and the viewer/user.

    Your understanding of form and the (inter)relationship between word and image; how meaning is established and communicated (context) will be explored through a process of de-thinking and re-thinking whereby established ways of working and developing ideas are challenged and (re)built upon. You will be expected to demonstrate through the visual documentation you produce how you have explored and tested your ideas.

     
  • Designing Research lectures and seminars are designed to enable students to rationalise and focus on thematic approaches to problem finding and problem solving. This module will teach you to:

    • make practical use of your ideas, perceptions and discoveries; and
    • work effectively and creatively in a wider inter-disciplinary and cultural context.

     

    It will do this by helping you to understand existing conventions and developing your personal visual vocabulary.

    The integrative programme encourages you to develop a personal and critical point of view by recording, documenting and evaluating ideas from within their discipline and from the wider interdisciplinary environment, and applying those findings within project work.

    The module introduces and develops a range of analytical tools that you can use to interrogate designed objects and artefacts, and makes links between analytical and propositional methods, creating a framework within which you can structure your project proposals. You will explore practical research methods, with an emphasis on developing creative, rational and effective approaches to visual experimentation and critical reflection on practical design work within a logical and measurable framework. You will learn about the wide-ranging tools and methods that are available to inform and support the development of your practical study, and create a basis for further study on the course.

     

Teaching block 2

  • This module encourages you to look critically at the role of storytelling within the practice of communication design, in particular the relationship between narrative and sequential thinking using visual means. Contemporary culture is influenced by rapid technological change and this has a profound effect on how we transmit, receive and understand messages and information. Increasingly the role and relationship between the single and serial image in sequential and non-sequential forms has become more significant.

    The existing relationship between the image and the word has become more complex as both old and new media are (re)defined by both the means of production and transmission. These changes are creating new dialogues between users and creators in both commercial and social arenas that employ narrative/storytelling devices and techniques. Storytelling is central to the many forms of visual communication that now exist whether fixed in traditional linear and sequential ways or based in dynamic and interactive screen-based environments. This presents new challenges and opportunities to designers, in particular to develop new and sustainable ways of thinking and working that are also able to transcend the technology of the moment.

    The module allows you to develop your individual practice whether you are focused on the creation of content as a key aspect of your making or whether you situate your practice in relation to the interpretation and adaption of existing 'texts' and content in the act of storytelling. It is also the understanding of the history of visual storytelling and the diverse approaches to narrativity and seriality that are influenced by culture, language and technology.

     
  • This module builds on the notion that the best jobs and careers in the creative industries do not exist – and that they are created from individual creative ambitions and understanding. It explores how this can be approached in practical terms. The programme of study encourages you to develop a personal and critical approach to your future career and its relationship to the development of their individual major project.

    Creative Futures lectures and seminars help you develop an approach to, and focus for, their future career and their ongoing personal and professional development. By understanding the key skills and attributes you need for a career in the creative industries, you will develop an informed and focused Major Project proposal and project.

    You will learn about a range of practical methods that can help you create the foundations of a sustainable and successful design practice and career. Lectures, seminars and workshops will introduce and explore key issues that help you understand how to develop your own approach to professional career planning. You will also engage in a range of activities that include professional competitions, live project work, studio visits and professional practice lectures. This work will support and inform the development of your Major Project Proposal.

     

Teaching block 3

  • The Major Project – the capstone project – consolidates the knowledge gained in earlier modules and is informed and supported by prior learning within both the Design School's postgraduate interdisciplinary framework and course specific specialist study.

    The purpose of this module is to enable students to relate the work of the course to a practical solution and to demonstrate skills in defining, analysing and developing a substantial solution to an individually defined design related problem. It will demonstrate both in content and form the students advanced understanding of contemporary design practice.

    The research and documentation of the project is an integral part of the submission, reflecting on the process, as well as the critical analysis and methodology of the research itself. The research will be conceptually integrated within the practical work. Individual project topics are expected to be wide ranging and provide the opportunity to fully investigate a practical situation, underpinned by a critical report on the work produced. Topics must allow the opportunity to position work politically, socially and culturally and identify and apply appropriate technology as a means of delivery. Project topics must demonstrate the potential necessary to achieve the level appropriate to the learning outcomes.

    Three possible forms of Major Project submission are available to students (see below):

    1/2. The Practical Project Practical (outcome supported by research, testing and developmental materials) 70% and The Project Report (3-5,000 words) 30%.

    3. The Thesis (12-15,000 words) 100%.

    4. The Design Management Project Report (10,000 words) 100%. Intended in the main as the outcome for students studying on the MA Design for Development.

    These three options are available to all students studying on the courses within the Design School Postgraduate Framework. Students will be guided and supported in their choice of mode of Major Project by course tutors and this will be informed by individual career and personal development planning undertaken during the preparation of the Major Project Proposalin DE7301 Creative Futures.

     

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

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Location

This course is taught at Knights Park

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Contact us

Admissions team

Location

This course is taught at Knights Park

View Knights Park on our Google Maps
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