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Communication Design: Illustration MA

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year 2 days a week September 2020
Full time 2 years including professional placement 2 days a week plus placement year September 2020
Part time 2 years Contact the course leader for details September 2020

Choose Kingston's Communication Design: Illustration MA

We were ranked No. 1 in the UK for design and crafts* (Guardian University Guide league tables 2020) *which covers graphic design, interior design, illustration, animation and product and furniture design.

The Communication Design Illustration MA course is structured to challenge you and your preconceptions about both illustration and design. The course place an emphasis on the patterns of research you develop and the visual methods you employ to explore and unravel briefs. You will be expected to demonstrate how you research and develop your ideas. In this context, research is not only a working process it can also be considered an outcome in its own right. This programme asks you to examine: what, how, why and who as key factors in design thinking. This represents a shift from the traditional definition of design and illustration as a problem solving activity to a placing the focus on problem finding. The course encourages the exploration and understanding of the methods and processes at work in contemporary illustration.

Watch this video to see more about Kingston School of Art's Communication Design: Illustration MA:

Key features

  • This award winning course has been designed to enhance students long-term employment possibilities through an appreciation of the changing global, technological and social context of illustration and design.
  • The course is taught by academics who are also practising illustrators, designers and researchers in design. This is supported by studio visits and visiting tutors from industry, live projects, competitions, lectures and workshops.

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 illustration, words, pictures and their means of communication and transmission.

Assessment

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

Work placement scheme

Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to do a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the work placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's tier 4 visa.

Invoicing on the placement courses is split into two stages. The standard course fee is payable in year 1 with the placement fee invoiced in year 2. Therefore, students starting in September 2018 would therefore be charged the placement fee of £1,230 in September 2019. Students commencing the course in September 2019 will be invoiced the placement fee in 2020 (provisionally £1,350).

This amount will only be charged to your account after you find a placement and are enrolled on the module. You will not be charged this fee if you do not manage to secure a work placement.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

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 and Sustainable Design MA – enables you to explore your individual specialist interests in illustration 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 illustration and the creation of images. 

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.

     
  • The aim of the module is to give you understanding of the design research tools and methods that are available to you, to inform and support the development of your practical study, and to provide the basis of your further study on your course. Practical research methods are explored, with an emphasis on the development of creative and evidence-based approaches to experimentation, and critical reflection on practical design work.

     

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 is based on the assumption that the best jobs/careers in the creative industries do not exist – they are invented from individual creative ambitions. The module 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 how this can inform the development of your individual major project for the Major Project.

     

Teaching block 3

  • The Major Project – the capstone project – consolidates the knowledge gained in earlier modules, and is informed by your prior learning within the Design School's postgraduate interdisciplinary framework and course-specific specialist study. You will extend your work on the course thus far in the form of a practical design proposal, defining and developing a substantive solution to an individually defined design-related problem. In so doing, you will demonstrate advanced understanding and application of contemporary design practice as it can be brought to bear on a specific challenge of sustainability.

     

Professional placement year

  • The Professional Placement module is a core module for those students following a Master's programme that incorporates professional placement learning, following completion of 120 credits. It provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in an appropriate working environment, and to develop and enhance key employability skills and subject specific professional skills in their chosen subject. You may wish to use the placement experience as a platform for their subsequent major project module, and would be expected to use it to help inform their decisions about future careers.

     

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.

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.

Regulations governing this course are available here

Details of term dates for this course can be found here

Contact our admissions team

Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9930*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.

Location

This course is taught at Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

View Kingston School of Art, Knights Park on our Google Maps

Contact our admissions team

Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9930*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.

Location

This course is taught at Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

View Kingston School of Art, Knights Park on our Google Maps
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