for BA (Hons) Graphic & Digital Design

Year 1

Design Thinking and Media

This module introduces you to the fundamental principles and practices used in Graphic and Digital Design, including: design research skills, basic visual literacy skills, the Design Process, (creative research, idea generation and development, visualisation/communication, realisation, and evaluation) and teamwork. You will start to apply these principles as you devise your own solutions to visual communication briefs set by your tutor that engage you with current debates and issues.

Type and Image

You will continue to build your knowledge and understanding of the interrelationship, principles, and processes of typography and the use of text and image, while starting to develop your knowledge of contemporary graphic design. To achieve these aims you will learn about key landmarks in the development of contemporary typography and experiment with text and image in exploratory exercises and briefs.

Designing User Experience

You will develop an understanding of the graphic designer’s part to play in engineering the most effective experience for a proposed product, device, interface, place or event. The module aims to develop knowledge, understanding, and skills within the newly formalised, design-related practice of user experience (UX) as it pertains to both the freelance and in-house graphic designer.

Research and Context

This module aims to develop your ability to research into a topic relevant to graphic design practice, apply your research to support a perspective or point of view, and to communicate your findings clearly in visual and written format. You will also be familiarised with the evolution of contemporary graphic design and how historical context and key theories have influenced its development.


Year 2

Narrative & Sequence

This module builds on introductory skills, both technical and conceptual, and develops your understanding of sequential design and narrative in visual communication. It aims to increase your autonomy and ability in the production of exciting and original design. You will also develop your team-working skills, and deepen your engagement with your learning as you participate in assessing your peers in a group project.

Design in Context

This module aims to increase your knowledge and understanding of the importance of context and audience in design, while allowing you to apply and develop your knowledge and creative skills within your chosen area, through a selection of visual communication briefs, in part self-initiated. You will be encouraged to enter external competitions and opportunities to pitch your skills and imagination against your peers, for example in competitions like the RSA Student Design Awards which challenge emerging designers to tackle pressing social, environmental and economic issues through design thinking.

Graphic Design Theory in Context

This module develops your knowledge and understanding of some of the main theoretical issues, key to the context of graphic design practice. You will be asked to research and consider social, economic, political and cultural perspectives within these debates. You will work within a group on a chosen research project that will result in a presentation of your findings to your peers.

Creative & Professional Development

This module provides you with the opportunity to prepare for the final self-managed classes Dissertation or Research Report, Major Project and Final Portfolio, by requiring you to research, develop and realise, with support from your tutor and peers, a self-promotional design project. You will also develop your entrepreneurial skills and an understanding of the career structure, job responsibilities, and employment opportunities (including how to establish a freelance practice) within the working field. You will reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, your progress achieved and your ambitions for the future, in a self-reflective review paper.

Graphic Design Research in Context

This module provides the analytical tools for the investigation of your practice discipline from a social/economic/political and cultural perspective. These tools will support depth and relevance to your final year work. You will deepen your knowledge of research and analysis methods as you apply your learning in a research project into a topic relevant to the module and your design area. The brief for this project will be developed by you, with support from your tutor, and will result in a 3,500 word research paper.


Year 3

Major Project – Development

This final year module provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills attained throughout the degree and to prepare you for the level of complexity and self-management involved in professional graphic design. To achieve this you will undertake and negotiate a sustained period of study, researching and developing an ambitious, largely self-initiated and managed project focused within your chosen area within graphic design. You will also develop the essential skills in communication and presentation of design ideas to an audience.

Major Project – Realisation

In this module, you will revise, plan and complete the design project you proposed at the end of the module Major Project – Development. You will also demonstrate your skills in communication and presentation of design ideas, and to this end you will, on the last week of term, communicate the design process of the whole project from research to realisation, in a formal presentation.

Final Portfolio

This module allows you to develop and demonstrate skills that indicate your readiness to enter the professional world not only in the design work itself, but also in its communication and to this end you will be asked to design a ‘portfolio’ of work that holds and communicates the projects. This may be in the form of a website, physical portfolio pdf or other, but should be designed to communicate your range of projects within a coherent, engaging structure relevant to your audience(s).

Curation and Connection (Reflection and Self-Promotion)

This module allows you to take stock of all you have learnt in your degree path, to reflect on what you have achieved; to extend your team-working skills as you communicate your work to an audience of your peers and outside industry professionals; and to plot a path that will help you succeed in the future. You will co-curate a final year exhibition, and be part of the team that delivers this to the public, with accompanying publicity events, materials, social media campaign etc. You will also develop self-promotional materials (CV, online blog/website, personal statement, showcase design work etc.) and edit, improve and publicise this material on a range of relevant platforms in a coherent strategy.

Optional Modules


In this module, you will research the contextual background (or a connected issue) to your Major Project creative design brief. You will explore and clearly define a subject or area of theoretical interest of your choice that supports your Major Project, negotiated with your tutor who will guide your selection. The subject will be related to design and communication, and may be something you have touched upon earlier in your studies that you want to explore in depth. You will choose a topic, gather and evaluate research and set the parameters of your enquiry, enabling you to structure and write the dissertation successfully. You will then complete a 6,000-word dissertation that examines your subject critically and builds an argument or perspective on your topic supported by references and research.

Research Report

The aim of this module is to complete a piece of work that not only supports, through its depth of reference and analysis, the design work in Major Project module, but communicates the argument or narrative of the research in a more visual way than the Dissertation option. You will develop and submit a written text for this module, at 4,000 words. In this module, non-verbal elements for example images, layout, pace etc. play a key role and will affect the success of the communication of your research.