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Graphic Design BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time W210 2017

Why choose this course?

Graphic Design is based in the Design School. On this course, you will be encouraged to be a ‘breakthrough design communicator', to be innovative, inventive and inspire change. Whether you choose to remain broadly based or decide to specialise, you will develop a highly individual portfolio to reflect your career aspirations.

We were ranked at number 8 in the UK (out of 74) for design and crafts in the Guardian University League Tables 2018.

Watch a video featuring some of our students talking about the Graphic Design BA(Hons):

What you will study

Central to this course is an outward-facing approach to what design does and how it is used. Kingston has well-established industry links and opportunities for ‘live' projects. You will use our studios and facilities to experiment, exploring new ways to push the boundaries of visual communication.

Year 1 encourages an open-minded, flexible and exploratory approach to design within a supportive learning environment. You will be introduced to key areas of communication design through individual and team projects. You will develop your knowledge of the design process, visual language, typographic principles and conceptual ability.

Year 2 helps you develop high-level creative and interpersonal skills, used to explore imaginative and innovative ways to communicate. You will develop a particular area of graphic design through self-initiated projects, complementing your studio work. You will learn about the wide social and cultural context in which graphic designers work, and will collaborate with students from other courses in multidisciplinary projects. You will also gain useful career management skills and will have the opportunity to take part in our Erasmus exchange and work placement programmes.

In Year 3, you will choose from a range of projects, or develop your own, to reflect your personal interests and career aspirations. Some students remain broadly based; others choose to specialise in areas such as branding, social design, editorial design, film and moving image, photography, advertising and promotion, typography or interactive design. Your interests and self-directed work will inform the written element of the course. Your professional portfolio and graduation shows will form an essential foundation of your future career.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1

  • This module focuses on the generation of concepts and ideas. The aim of the module is to develop conceptual ability and creative confidence in responding to a range of design and communication challenges. It introduces you to different ways of thinking and generating ideas, with emphasis on currency, appropriateness and dynamism of approach and solution. Project briefs encourage you to expand your knowledge and experiences, challenge assumptions, subvert norms and learn about the role of risk within the creative process.

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  • The aim of this module is to introduce you to the fundamental principles and components of graphic design and visual communication, through a range of projects, workshops, experiments and exercises that explore the relationship between materials, methods, messages and meaning. Key areas include typography and layout, hierarchy and composition, visual thinking and visual language, process and production techniques and context. The emphasis in this module is on developing core competencies that underpin graphic design practice.

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  • The aim of this module is to introduce you to how the designer can engage, interact with and respond to different contexts and varied audiences. These include the personal and professional, geographical and environmental, social and political, commercial and educational, local and global. The emphasis in this module is on developing experience and understanding of how design and communication function in the wider world.

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  • This module presents a chronological history of illustration and graphic design production from the middle of the 19th century to the present day in Europe and North America. In doing so, its aim is to consider the different factors that have affected and influenced the production of imagery during this period. The first part of the module focuses on issues of processes and practices, and seeks to chart the developing relationship between the illustration and graphic professions, whilst conveying the overarching attitudes and ideas that have coloured artistic and design production and discussion. In the second part of the module you will consider the professional development of design for communication and media, the evolution of 'popular' mass imagery and the role of changing technologies and techniques, including the moving image and animation, in the development of image and text production and reproduction. Key themes relating to graphic arts and imagery, including the consumption of mass media and imagery, image and consumer culture and the emergence of 'new' media in art, design and communication, will be explored. The module engages with critical texts to allow you to examine the relationship between theory and practice in design and to gain an understanding of the development of graphic design and illustration as a cultural response to modernity. This module will provide a historical and critical framework through image-based lectures, screenings and study visits.

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Year 2

  • The emphasis in this module is on exploring and understanding the design process, with particular focus on the relationship between research, development and the successful realisation of ideas. The module introduces you to a range of methodologies including design thinking, prototyping and iteration and through varied briefs, workshops and project work, examines how these methods inform design process and effective solutions. Projects are designed to extend design vocabularies and knowledge of materials and visual languages (including typography, photography and moving image) as vehicles for communication and to hone analytical and critical evaluation skills in the resolution and realisation of ideas.

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  • The aim of the module is to explore different modes of communication and dissemination. The focus is on the interactive nature of graphic design and visual communications, with emphasis on the way in which designers engage audiences and participators in their practice. The projects in this module encourage you to experiment, embrace risk and develop innovative approaches and solutions. They introduce you to strategies for extended research and collaboration and develop interpersonal and communication skills. The module requires you to consider how your ideas can be meaningfully applied in appropriate contexts and to relevant audiences. It includes opportunities for you to develop interdisciplinary projects and explore the possibilities of participatory practice.

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  • The aim of this module is to develop understanding of the role of the designer and enable you to contextualise your personal design vision and ambition. This includes developing understanding of how to present work in a dynamic and appropriate manner and equipping you with the ability to develop and express opinions and adopt different perspectives in relation to a range of issues and contexts (social, commercial, cultural, environmental and political). The emphasis in this module is on developing knowledge, awareness and a growing confidence in articulating ideas verbally and visually and includes the design of a positioning portfolio in preparation for Level 6 (Year 3).

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  • This module builds on the historical and thematic content introduced at Level 4 (Year 1) and emphasises the theorisation of contemporary graphic design practice. A series of lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials, screenings and visits informs and support your own emerging research interests and the development of independent visual and academic research skills that cross history/theory and design practice. Lectures and seminars will deepen critical and theoretical engagement with contemporary issues in graphic design. Seminar tasks and assessments are carefully designed to foreground projects that support the location of graphic design as a discipline. Research methodologies are introduced through case studies and practical activities that reflect the issues explored through the module's contemporary content.

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Year 3

  • This module is concerned with the continued exploration and refinement of techniques, themes and tools that will inform an innovative approach to idea generation and insight gathering. The module places emphasis on the completion of a significant body of creative work that strategically reflects the individual's interests, achievements and ambition at Level 6 (Year 3). It requires work which demonstrates diversity of content and imaginative and appropriate realisations of design-led solutions to a professional standard. It requires you to consider how your ideas can be meaningfully applied in appropriate contexts and to specific audiences. The module builds transferable skills as it presents opportunity for you to collaborate with external partners and to seek insight directly from relevant communities and organisations via course set, self-initiated, 'live' and international competition briefs. The module encourages you to place emphasis on establishing an individual voice and point of view.

    Consolidation and realisation of project work undertaken for this module will be evidenced in comprehensive project logs which explicitly show insightful research, analysis, evaluation and idea development processes and application of innovative visual communication design.

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  • This module is concerned with creative ambition, making ideas happen, harnessing media and materials, meaningful application of ideas, strategic management and the production of a display of imaginative work that communicates and reflects the individual's achievements and ambition at Level 6 (Year 3). In addition to a degree show presentation this module comprises a digital submission and a verbal presentation to provide the opportunity to further refine and evidence skills through verbal and visual methods. This includes consideration of audience and context and reflects the range of modes of presentation within contemporary graphic design practice. This module will establish confident management of complex design tasks, and will develop effective interpersonal and transferable skills.

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  • This module is concerned with supporting the practical and strategic development of a professional 'portfolio of work' that accurately reflects the consolidation of an individual's design practice endeavour at Level 6 (Year 3). Providing the opportunity to identify personal attributes and strengths, to critically edit and select from project work, to manage, organise and refine that work as required, for effective portfolio presentation. In addition preparation for employment or postgraduate study will be undertaken, informed by industry professional talks and seminars on relevant self-promotional techniques and approaches.

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  • Building on the links between research and practice embedded at Level 5, this module focuses on in-depth research, critical enquiry and reflection on questions and critical issues emerging in your own practice, and pertinent to the practice of your own discipline.

    During the module, you will initiate and develop an individual research topic; identify and evaluate appropriate archives, bodies of critical literature, visual/material sources and research methods; manage their study time; engage with and respond to tutorial dialogue and peer feedback, and apply critical and analytical skills to produce a 6,000-word written dissertation, supported by a series of lectures, seminars and tutorials.

    Following the submission of the dissertation, and to support the realisation of studio capstone projects, you will be assisted with the conception and development of an individual statement that enables self-reflection and locates students within the contemporary contexts of their discipline. Consolidating the research, reflexive and critical skills acquired throughout students' programme of study, the statement engages and applies learning undertaken within previous modules to studio practice, supporting your self-presentation at Degree Show, in future postgraduate study, and/or professional practice in a variety of art and design contexts.

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You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

A copy of the regulations governing this course is available here

Details of terms dates for this course can be found here

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