Graphic Communication Design BA (Hons)

Key Facts

  • UCAS Code:

    BA: W210
    BA with Foundation:
    W211

  • Level:

    Undergraduate

  • Duration:

    Full Time: 3 years
    Full Time Foundation: 4 years

  • Starting:

    September

  • Fees UK 22/23

    Full Time: £9,250
    Integrated Foundation Year: £9,250

  • Fees International 22/23:

    Full Time: £14,000
    Integrated Foundation Year 22/23: £14,000

  • Location:

    Waterside

Get in touch


For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

UK/EU Students enquiries

study@northampton.ac.uk
0300 303 2772

International Students enquiries

international@northampton.ac.uk
+44 (0)1604 893981

Overview


This programme was previously titled Graphic Communication BA (Hons)

Graphic Communication Design BA (Hons) explores the communication of ideas and messages to diverse and evolving audiences through a dynamic range of media that highlights the potential of what design can achieve.

Studio culture is at the heart of the Graphic Communication Design programme, naturally fostering the creativity, collaboration and debate that inspire personal perspectives on design. Students experiment with a range of traditional processes and emerging technologies to challenge established conventions of image-making and meaning.

Through engaging with real-world problems, social issues and commercial scenarios students develop critical, reflective and professional skills that will prepare them for the ever-changing creative industries.

Updated 21/07/2022

Highlights


On Graphic Communication Design BA (Hons) you will have access to specialist resources, regular guest lecturers and industry contact, as well as the opportunity to work with live briefs and competitions. In recent years, several of our students have either been shortlisted or have gone on to win international design competitions, such as Penguin Random House Design awards, You Can Now (YCN), and Design and Art Direction (D&AD).

Display and showcase your work during your Graphic Communication Design degree. We have had students participate in D&AD’s industry graduate degree show ‘New Blood’ in London.

Course Content


  • Graphic Communication Design BA (Hons) provides you with the vital skills and knowledge needed to further your understanding of communication design, working in the creative industries, or even progressing onto postgraduate study. You will learn through studio practice, specialist media workshops, lectures and seminars to help you understand contemporary graphic design practice. Our dedicated studios are designed for efficient learning and practice in digital media, printmaking and photography.

    As well as active learning and studio practice, this Graphic Communication Design course delivers a selection of design briefs; some will be set by your tutors, some you will decide yourself and others will be real-­world design competitions. There will be opportunities to work on live industry projects throughout the course, attend design conferences, receive industry feedback on your work and develop portfolios, as well as the opportunity to travel with us on our international cultural trips. We regularly host visiting speakers, industry specialists and creative agencies giving you practical learning and advice from the professionals.

    Student Success

    For the fourth year in a row, our students have been listed in the Penguin Random House Design award and in 2019 our very own Toby Clarke beat hundreds of fellow designers to win the prestigious national prize.

    Toby Clarke - Graphic Communication student award winner

    Toby was named winner of the Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award at the Penguin Random House Design Awards 2019. He was chosen as the winner by judges who were impressed with his inspired new cover design for Owen Jones’ bestseller, The Establishment and How They Get Away With It. Read the full story here.

    Students, Matthew Barnard, Elliot Lee and Carly Ayre were three of the only 30 students listed for the Penguin Random House Design award 2017 in the Adult Non Fiction Cover and Children’ Cover shortlists. Matthew and Elliot have come up with striking covers for Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’, while Carly has created a bright design for The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend. You can find out more on the Penguin Design Award Website.

    Students on this course are regularly shortlisted and commended through the multiple international design competitions we enter – including in  You Can Now (YCN), Design and Art Direction (D&AD), and Penguin Random House Design awards. D&AD also provides students with a London-based industry graduate degree show opportunity, New Blood. We have strong industry partnerships with companies such as Stocks, Taylor Benson, The Met police, Whitworths, Engine Creative, Silverstone, Verto, Toxic Creative, The NN Gallery, The Northampton Music Festival and Creative Folks.

    D&AD Pencil

    DandAD Wood Pencil logo

    The New Blood Awards are an invaluable introduction to the reality of working in the creative industry and gets your work seen by some of the biggest names in the creative industry. Winning students get awarded the highly coveted D&AD Pencil. Students on our Graphic Communication ba (Hons) course have been regular winners over the last four years.

    Please note the modules shown here relate to the academic year 22/23. The modules relating to the academic year 23/24 will be available from June 2023.

      • Module code: 2DD1038
        Status: Compulsory
        This module introduces the fundamentals of Graphic Communication Design principles and process in a playful and open environment where risk taking is actively encouraged. Students explore traditional and experimental skills for digital and analogue processes. Lateral thinking, ideation and creative responses are at the heart of the module.
      • Module code: 2DD1039
        Status: Compulsory
        The module introduces the students to challenging issues within contemporary Graphic Communication Design conversations. The conversations encourage students to explore the practitioner?s responsibilities, sensory experiences, social tensions and critical ideas that underpin creative practice.
      • Module code: 2DD1040
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to put the principles of Graphic Communication Design into action, using creative and technical skills in real-world applications. Project briefs focus on understanding varied themes and the role of audiences and other stakeholders in the creation of targeted design solutions.
      • Module code: 2DD1041
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to explore and understand how the creative industries work and are continuously adapting to contemporary cultures. Students will define the essential characteristics of a professional graphic communicator and be introduced to the variety of roles within the creative sectors.
      • Module code: 2DD2028
        Status: Compulsory
        This module develops students? ability to creatively respond to Graphic Communication Design challenges through real-world problem solving exercises. Students apply professional practice skills to live projects and competition briefs, navigating the needs of different audiences and the complex demands of commercial design practice.
      • Module code: 2DD2029
        Status: Compulsory
        Through this module students encounter different perspectives about the changing processes and politics of cultural and creative institutions. The module enables students to navigate multiple conceptual positions in order to identify their creative and personal matters of concern within their practice and wider dialogues.
      • Module code: 2DD2030
        Status: Compulsory
        This module focuses on Graphic Communication Design?s role as a force for positive change through projects that explore social, ethical and environmental concerns. Students are encouraged to develop empathic and mindful approaches to communication using their creative skills for progress and transformation in local and global contexts.
      • Module code: 2DD2031
        Status: Compulsory
        This module explores the boundaries of the ever-changing and contemporary creative industries, including design as a speculative practice. Students experiment and take creative risks through new and emerging ways of working, challenging conventions to define new personal visual languages and environments in which innovative communication design can be experienced.
      • Module code: 2DD3012
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is for students to confidently define their post-graduation trajectory. Students will develop and apply interpersonal skills and industry knowledge to a range of work models from the evolving creative industries. This module concludes with a detailed presentation outlining the students? professional intentions.
      • Module code: 2DD3013
        Status: Compulsory
        This module enables students to establish a professional graduate portfolio through a series of industry-related briefs covering a range of contemporary design practices. Impactful ideas targeted at defined audiences are central to this module, with students encouraged to take risks and explore new and emerging ways of working and communicating.
      • Module code: 2DD4007
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to develop a progressive and impactful body of practice and writing, based on thorough critical research into an area of personal interest within contemporary visual culture. Outcomes will form a significant part of the graduate?s portfolio, showcasing specialisms within contemporary graphic communication design.

    Schedule

    Your taught study will be a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and technical demonstrations, usually for 15 hours per week, depending on your level of study. In addition, we recommend that you spend around 10 hours per week in self-directed study time. You will have access to technical facilities and studies outside of taught time.

    Assessments

    You will be assessed through a range of graphic design assignments, including portfolio presentations, essays, dissertation and self-assessment.

  • Standard entry requirements apply. A typical offer would be BCC at A-Level or DMM at BTEC. A Foundation Diploma in Art and Design will also be accepted.

    Applicants are interviewed and are requested to provide a portfolio of their own work in Art and Design. International students may submit their portfolio electronically. Students with a relevant HND or Foundation Degree with a suitable profile of achievement may be admitted onto year two or three.

    For more more information on how to make an application, please visit our How to Apply page.

    If you are an International student and would like information on making an application, please see our How to Apply page.

    Integrated Foundation Year Entry Requirements

    Admission to this foundation programme is normally DEE at A-Level or MPP at BTEC. However, we would also like to hear from you if you have professional or industry experience instead, a range of other qualifications or self-developed subject knowledge that relates to the programme you wish to study.

    English Language Requirements

    All International and EU students applying for a course with us must meet the following minimum English language requirements:

    • IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent) with a minimum of 5.5 in all bands
      for study at undergraduate level

    For information regarding English language requirements at the University, please see our IELTS page.

  • 22/23 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 22/23 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK Full Time: £9,250
    • UK Integrated Foundation Year: £9,250 for the foundation year; thereafter standard fees apply
    • International Full Time: £14,000
    • International Integrated Foundation Year: £14,000 for the foundation year; thereafter standard fees apply
    Additional Costs

    Materials, Events and Visits

    Materials for workshops and for Masterclasses, entry to competitions associated with your programme of study, and those visits that are necessary for your course are all made available at no additional charge.

    We recommend that you budget for printing costs (approximately £50 per year for laser and large format printing) and any specialist design materials that you may require (£50 or more depending on materials).

    There are optional trips, both within the UK and overseas: UK visits and Trips will cost approximately £50 per year. Overseas trips or visits will cost approximately £350 per trip

    Display and exhibition materials for end of year shows in years 2 and 3 will cost approximately £40 per year. Year 3 – Your end of year summer show additionally requires contributions [or your own fund raising activities] to the catalogue and marketing materials costing approximately £30, along with a further contribution to exhibit at the D&AD New Blood Industry Graduate Showcase in London, approximately £25. If you would like off site access to the Adobe Industry Standard software packages, you can opt to pay £15 per month (student rate) for Adobe Creative Cloud and you may want to buy a laptop or desktop computer (from £400 upwards). We have our own suite of MacBooks to use in the design studios and access to iMacs however, if able, buying your own is recommended.

    21/22 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 21/22 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full Time: £9,250
    • UK – Integrated Foundation Year: £6,780 as part of a four year programme (subsequent years will be charged at standard BA rate)
    • International – Full Time: £13,000
    • International – Integrated Foundation Year: £13,000 as part of a four year programme (subsequent years will be charged at standard BA rate)
    Additional Costs

    Materials, Events and Visits

    Materials for workshops and for Masterclasses, entry to competitions associated with your programme of study, and those visits that are necessary for your course are all made available at no additional charge.

    We recommend that you budget for printing costs (approximately £50 per year for laser and large format printing) and any specialist design materials that you may require (£50 or more depending on materials).

    There are optional trips, both within the UK and overseas: UK visits and Trips will cost approximately £50 per year. Overseas trips or visits will cost approximately £350 per trip

    Display and exhibition materials for end of year shows in years 2 and 3 will cost approximately £40 per year. Year 3 – Your end of year summer show additionally requires contributions [or your own fund raising activities] to the catalogue and marketing materials costing approximately £30, along with a further contribution to exhibit at the D&AD New Blood Industry Graduate Showcase in London, approximately £25. If you would like off site access to the Adobe Industry Standard software packages, you can opt to pay £15 per month (student rate) for Adobe Creative Cloud and you may want to buy a laptop or desktop computer (from £400 upwards). We have our own suite of MacBooks to use in the design studios and access to iMacs however, if able, buying your own is recommended.

     

    For information on the scholarships available to you, please see our scholarships page.

  • Our postgraduate courses are a great way to enhance the skills you have already learnt. Benefit from our 20% alumni discount on postgraduate fees to give yourself a CV that will catch the eye of employers.

    Fine Art MA

    Master of Business Administration (MBA)

  • At the University of Northampton, everything we do, from funded trips to paid internships, is to give you everything you need to make a difference when you leave.

    If you join this full time Graphic Communication Design degree at Northampton, you will receive a laptop when your course begins. The laptops are built to a bespoke custom specification ideal for use in the seminar room, collaborative group work or studying at home.

    Whatever your ambitions, we’re here to help you to achieve them. We’ll support you to identify the skills you’re learning during your course, find your strengths and secure practical experience so that when it comes to applying for jobs or further study you’ll feel confident in standing out from the crowd. We’ve created the Northampton Employment Promise because we are so confident that if you focus on your studies and complete one of our awards you’ll be highly employable by the time you graduate. Putting you in a great position to secure employment or continue your studies.

    To check out the full list of perks, visit our Student Perks page.

  • The Integrated Foundation Year (IFY) offers a new and exciting route into studying for a degree, attracting ambitious and driven students who are willing to learn and advance.

    If you have non-standard qualifications or do not quite meet the admissions requirements we can offer you a fantastic opportunity to study a four year programme which includes an Integrated Foundation Year. The Integrated Foundation Year will help you develop the theoretical/practical and academic skills you need, in order to successfully progress to the full award.

    Our four-year courses will enable you to successfully follow the degree pathway of your choice while gaining essential study skills. The foundation year of your chosen degree will be studied on a full-time basis and is aimed at supporting the transition to higher education. Years two, three and four are then studied as a standard degree programme.

  • Every year the Graphic Communication Design team invite guest speakers, industry professionals and creatives into our studios to talk to our design students. In recent years we have had Adrian Shaughnessy, Ken Garland, Alan Moore, Jonathan Barnbrook and Malcolm Garrett to name but a few, along with practical workshops and Industry led portfolios reviews.

  • How will I be taught on Graphic Communication Design BA (Hons)?

    You will be taught through a variety of methods such as;

    • Project briefs (staff-set/self-set /industry/competition)
    • Workshops/demonstrations
    • Individual and group tutorials
    • Group critiques and presentations
    • E-tivities/Active Blended Learning / Online
    • Visiting speakers and Industry Guests
    • Seminars
    • Senior Lecturers, Lecturers and Associate Lecturers – this is the core team that you have contact with week in, week out. It is these lecturers that deliver the majority of your taught experience, set project briefs, assess your work and lead study visits.
    How will I be assessed?

    You will be assessed through a range of graphic design assignments, including portfolio presentations, essays, dissertation and self-assessment.

    Are there any suggested reading and resources?

    Yes, we suggest looking up the following titles for some inspiration:

    Books:

    • Graphic design: a user’s manual – Adrian Shaughnessy
    • Know your onions: graphic design – Drew De Soto
    • The A-Z of visual ideas: how to solve any creative brief – John Ingledew
    • The art of looking sideways – Alan Fletcher
    • Design History, A Students’ Handbook – Hazel Conway
    • Graphic Design: A New History – Stephen Eskilson
    • On Creativity – John Hegarty

    Magazines:

    • Creative Review
    • Eye: the international review of graphic design
    • Baseline: international typographics journal
    • Computer Arts Magazine
    • Juxtapose
    • Aesthetica
    • Adbusters

    Web:

    • Its Nice That (web)
    • Design inspiration – Design Inspiration
    • Computer Arts magazine / CreativeBloq

Upcoming Open Days

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Staff


Placeholder image for Paul Hill, Associate Lecturer (Graphics & Illustration)
Paul Hill

Associate Lecturer (Graphics & Illustration)
Graphic Communication Design BA (Hons)

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Careers and Employability


A Graphic Communication Design degree can open up your career options. You will not be limited to one specific type of role, but rather be able to pursue numerous career paths. Our Graphic Communication Design graduates use their design skills to work in:

  • Branding
  • Advertising
  • Illustration
  • Editorial and Publishing
  • Digital moving image
  • Typography
  • Interactive design
  • Online, social media and app design
  • Packaging design
  • Photography
  • Information design

Throughout your time on the course, as well as post-study, we offer support to ensure you receive the guidance and information needed to succeed in your field of work.

Facilities and Special Features


When you study Graphic Communication Design at the University of Northampton, you will enjoy access to a number of different facilities and services to help you in your studies, including;

  • Large specialist studio spaces with dedicated access to Mac-books, digital cameras, lighting kits and sound recording equipment.
  • Additional iMac design suite
  • Subsidised digital printing
  • Printmaking facilities and professional photography studios with controlled lighting studios
  • Video editing suites
  • Free Adobe Creative Cloud software account for your duration on the course

Onsite printmaking workshop


Our onsite printmaking workshop can enhance the creative practices of students on a variety of courses

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