Communication Design: Illustration MA
Facts about Communication Design: Illustration
|Qualification||MA (a specialism pathway of the Communication Design MA programme)|
|Duration||Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 year
|Attendance||Full time: 2 days per week
Part time: 1 day per week
|Assessment||Specialist practical project work, core module practical project work, masters specialist major project
|Please note: this course was previously called Illustration and Animation MA|
Choose Kingston's Communication Design: Illustration MA
In recent years illustration has grown to accommodate a range of ambitions and opportunities for those concerned with image making and visual storytelling. The convergence of technology, the emergence of complex cultural networks of communication and the impact of new media on traditional communication channels requires design skill sets that are based in thinking in wider, more interdisciplinary modes based upon communities of practice. The course has a focus on problem finding and the role of research, investigation, creativity and imagination in the process of making illustration and design in general.
What will you study?
The course encourages you to look critically at the practice of illustration; in particular the understanding of the fundamental processes at work in the application of the constructed image essential to negotiate an enduring and sustainable career in the changing communications industries. The practice of illustration continues to adapt and to develop new approaches to the mediation of information, messages and the origination of content as well as form. This understanding has never been more important to the role of the contemporary image-maker and to what and how we communicate. The course builds on this knowledge and aims to provide a deeper understanding of how illustrators can utilise both old and new methods and technologies to build new and challenging forms of communication.
This specialist pathway of the Communication Design MA course is part of the Design School's postgraduate programme. The structure – shared with students from Product + Space MA, Design for Development 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 Design School.
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 illustration and the creation of images.
Teaching block one
Visual Grammar, Literacy and intelligence (Specialist Study)
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 (Core)
Designing Research lectures and seminars are intended to enable you to rationalise and focus on thematic approaches to problem finding and problem solving. The aim of this module is that, through knowledge of existing conventions and the continued development of your personal visual vocabulary, you will be able to make practical use of your ideas, perceptions and discoveries, and to work effectively and creatively with reference to a wider inter-disciplinary and cultural context.
The programme of study undertaken with students from across the Design School's postgraduate framework enables you to develop a personal and critical point of view through the recording, documentation and evaluation of ideas from within your own discipline and from the wider interdisciplinary design environment, and to apply those findings within practical project work.
The module introduces and develops a range of analytical tools with which to interrogate designed objects and artefacts, and makes links between analytical and propositional methods – creating a framework within which to structure self-initiated project proposals. Practical research methods are explored, with an emphasis on the development of creative, rational and effective approaches to visual experimentation and critical reflection on practical design work within a logical, and measurable, framework. The aim of this module is to provide understanding of the wide ranging methods and tools that are available to inform and support the development of your practical study and to provide the basis of further study on the course.
Teaching block two
Visual Storytelling (Specialist Study)
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.
Creative Futures (Core)
Creative Futures lectures and seminars are designed to enable you to develop an approach and focus to your future career and ongoing personal and professional development. The aim of this module is that through the understanding of the key disciplinary and inter-disciplinary skills and attributes required for a career in the creative industries you will be able to develop an informed and focused Major Project proposal and project during teaching block three. This module builds upon the notion that the best jobs/careers in the creative industries do not exist, that they are invented and created from individual creative ambitions and understanding, and 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 your individual major project.
The Creative Futures module introduces and develops a range of practical methods by which the foundations of a sustainable and successful design practice and career can be understood and built upon. Lectures, Seminars and workshops will introduce and explore key issues and areas that help you to build their understanding of how to develop your own approach to professional career planning. You will also be expected to engage in a range of activities that include: professional competitions, live project work, studio visits and professional practice lectures.
Teaching block three
The Major Project consolidates the knowledge you have gained in earlier modules and is informed and supported by your prior learning within both the Design School's postgraduate interdisciplinary framework and course specific specialist study.
The purpose of this module is to enable you 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 your advanced understanding of contemporary graphic 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. This module can be submitted as either a practical project or as a thesis.
The Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture teaches this course. Find out more...