Graphic Communication is all about creatively sharing ideas. From typography to advertising, digital design to illustration, you will learn a range of techniques on this course to help you do just that. You will will given design briefs by your tutors and from real industry professionals and have the chance to work on competition briefs.
Starting university is a big step and we want you to have everything you need from day one. That’s why if you choose to study this course full-time at Northampton from September 2018, you will be provided with your own brand new Hewlett Packard laptop* to keep at no additional cost. For more information on this and many other benefits you can enjoy, please visit our benefits webpages.
*Terms and conditions apply. Please see the benefits webpages for more information.
Students on this course have been recently shortlisted and commended in the 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 degree show opportunity, New Blood. We have strong industry partnerships with companies such as Coca Cola, Wickes, Stocks Taylor Benson, Engine Creative, Sterling, Verto, Toxic Creative and NN Music Festival.
Visit our Graphic Communication blog to see the latest news from the course.
Our Graphic Communication course provides you with all the skills and knowledge you will need to work in the creative industries, or progress onto a postgraduate course. You will learn through studio practice, specialist media workshops, lectures and seminars to help you understand contemporary graphic design practice. You will have open access to studios and we have excellent facilities for digital media, printmaking and photography. You will also have the opportunity to focus on typography and illustration.
As well as classroom learning and practice, this course includes a selection of design briefs. Some will be set by your tutors, some you will decide yourself and others will be real-world competitions and design awards. There will be opportunities to work on live projects, attend design conferences and undertake work experience, as well as a range of international visits. We also host visiting speakers, such as Hyperkit, Graphic Thought Facility, Atelier Works, David Pearson, Ken Garland, Alan Kitching, Stay Outside, and Roundel Design, giving you practical learning and advice from the professionals.
Our graduate Calum Creasey is the Founder and Creative Director of Stokedeversince, a media production company that creates film and digital content in the UK.
Marvin Mudzongo graduated in 2012 with a BA in Graphic Communication. He is currently working on a variety of exciting projects in the community such as the St David wall mural.
He is founder of Ghostdavandal Originals, which is in the developmental stages of being set up as a Social Enterprise, delivering workshops to disadvantaged members of the community or simply inspiring individuals or social groups within the community.
Students shortlisted for prestigious Penguin Random House Design Award
For the third year in a row, three of our students, Matthew Barnard, Elliot Lee and Carly Ayre are three of only 30 students listed for the Penguin Random House Design Award 2017 in the Adult Non Fiction Cover and Children’s 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 13¾ by Sue Townsend. You can find out more on the Penguin Design Award Website.
Materials, Competitions, 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 materials for your end of year show will cost approximately £30 per year, and if you would like off-site access to your work 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).
The Degree Show
Final year students display their work at the annual Degree Show at our Avenue Campus. Our Graphic Communication students deliver some stunning designs.View our flicker album to see our students work from the Degree Show 2016.
You can also watch this short film to get a flavour of what the show has to offer:
Subject Futures Week
Our annual Subject Futures Week is an exciting event and an excellent opportunity for our students to explore the potential of their course and understand where their university experience can lead them beyond graduation. It offers a unique chance to network with high profile industry professionals from the arts, TV, film, fashion and more.
Below is a video featuring Toria Jaymes – Graphic Designer, Illustrator and Art Director talks to Graphic Communication students at Subject Futures Week 2016.
Take a look at the full 2016 Subject Futures Week video, which highlights just some of the creative industry guests who attended to share knowledge and insights with students about the reality of working and life after university.
Waterside is our purpose-built campus, designed to provide you with the learning experience and opportunities you expect from a modern university.
We know our staff and students want the very best, and that’s what Waterside will provide. It is the embodiment of our mission to transform lives and inspire change.
We’ve designed Waterside to put you first – it is flexible to the changing needs of our students but also makes the most of our fantastic staff. A University that teaches in a way that mirrors the skills you will need when you graduate, a place that provides everything you will need to live and learn, and that will provide a home-from-home as you enjoy one of the best and most fulfilling experiences of your life.
Our new campus opens its doors in September 2018 and while Waterside will be home to most of our teaching, we’ll also be making use of the excellent facilities around the town. We’ll also be retaining some facilities at our current campuses (Park and Avenue) on a temporary basis for the initial period. These will mostly be used to offer off-campus accommodation options to make sure we have a great range of rooms to suit everyone.More about our campuses »
The University partners with leading businesses across the industry
The first year of your course is broadly experimental, giving you the chance to widen your creative skills through printmaking, photography and Adobe Creative Cloud, as well as developing an understanding of type, image and three-dimensional graphics. There will also be some theoretical and professional studies alongside your creative modules.
Your studies will become more challenging in the second year as you craft your professional portfolio. You will work on live briefs from external agencies in the professional studies module, and tutor-led competitions will give you a feel for the national and international design industry. Alongside this work, you will begin to explore research-led experimental design as well.
During your final year you will work on a mix of design briefs and undertake a major assignment or dissertation. You will have more ownership of your work and will be able to negotiate the content of your portfolio, however you will have tutorial and workshop supervision for your design dissertation. The year will culminate in an exhibition as part of the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology Summer Show, which you will be involved with designing and planning. Guests from industry will be invited to portfolio reviews and studio critiques to help you develop your professional work.
Course modules (17/18)
Creative Projects (40 Credits)
- Module code: 2DD1022
- Core module Y
Professional Studies 1 (20 Credits)
- Module code: 2DD1006
- Core module Y
Visual and Material Culture 1 (20 Credits)
- Module code: 2DD1003
- Core module Y
Experimental Design (20 Credits)
- Module code: 2DD1019
- Core module Y
Visual Studies (20 Credits)
- Module code: 2DD1020
- Core module Y
Design Projects 2 (40 Credits)
- Module code: 2DD2004
- Core module Y
Professional Studies 2 (20 Credits)
- Module code: 2DD2009
- Core module Y
Visual and Material Culture 2 (20 Credits)
- Module code: 2DD2008
- Core module Y
Experimental Practice (40 Credits)
- Module code: 2DD2005
- Core module Y
Graphic Communication Dissertation (20 Credits)
- Module code: 2DD4002
- Core module Y
Graphic Communication: Final Major Study (80 Credits)
- Module code: 2DD3002
- Core module Y
Module information is quoted for 17/18 entry. Please note that modules run subject to student numbers and staff availability, any changes will be communicated to applicants accordingly.
Methods of Learning
- tutor design project briefings
- live design project briefings
- competition design project briefings
- group projects
- tutor-led studio activities
- personal tutorials
- group seminars and critiques
- client presentations
- independent study
- study trips
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.
You will be assessed through a range of graphic design assignments, including:
- portfolio presentations
- self-assessment and personal reflection are encouraged
Facilities and Special Features
- large dedicated studio spaces
- several Mac-based computer aided design suites
- subsidised digital printing from A4 to A0 banner
- printmaking facilities in one of the largest print studios in the country
- professional photography studios with day and controlled lighting studios
- video editing suites
You might find it useful to spend some time watching these videos before you start your course with us:
Our graphic Communication degree opens the door to a range of creative careers. Our graduates are employed as graphic designers, photographers, illustrators and web designers in studios throughout the UK, Europe and the USA. A number have established their own design companies, whilst others elect to do postgraduate study.
Other job roles directly linked to this degree are:
- Advertising art director
- Layout Artist
- Brand Identity Designer
- Logo Designer
- Desktop Publisher
- Creative director
- Multimedia Designer
How to apply
Standard entry requirements apply. A typical offer would be BCC at A-Level or DMM at BTEC . In addition, you are expected to have studied Art, Design or a related subject at A-Level, BTEC level 3 Diploma, or equivalent qualification. We will also accept a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.
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.
Foundation Study Framework 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.
For information regarding English language requirements at the University, please see our IELTS page.
Fees and funding
Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 18/19 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.
|Part Time:||£1,350 per 20 credit module|
|Foundation:||£6,500 as part of a four year programme (subsequent years will be charged at standard BA rate)|
|International Foundation Fees:||£9,400|
This course is available to international students.
Full-time international tuition fees
For information on our international tuition fees, please see our Tuition fees for international students page.
Please note that tuition fees for EU students will remain the same as UK fees for 2018/19. For more information, please visit the Gov UK website.
How to apply as an international student
For information on how to apply to study with us, please see our How to apply page.
Scholarships available to international students
For information on the scholarships available to you as an international student, please see our International scholarships page.
Foundation Study Framework
Our Foundation Study Framework offers an 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 entry requirements for this course, we can offer you a fantastic opportunity to study a four year course which includes our Foundation Study Framework.
The Foundation Study Framework will help you to develop the theoretical/practical and academic skills you will need in order to successfully progress to the full award. The Foundation Study Framework provides you with a practical and group-based approach to learning that supports your development and your transition to Higher Education, whilst also studying a number of specialist modules.
You will study two 40 credit modules that form the Foundation Study Framework. These are:
Subject Studies 1: Practical and Study Skills – provides an introduction to key concepts, theories and principles associated with the area of study.
Research for Practice – provides an overview of the principles of research, research methods and the learning environment of the University. It will also include an introduction to the academic languages of the subject and the learning experience of degree study.
These modules are delivered concurrently with a Level 4 module from your programme: 2DD1022 Creative Projects.
Upon successful completion of these modules, you will progress to Stage One of BA Graphic Communication, in which you will receive further support through:
Subject Studies 2: Working with Ideas – focuses specifically on the generation and development of ideas, building the key IT/ literacy/numeracy skill sets required by the programme.
In the remainder of Stage One, you will take one further 40 credit module from the BA Graphic Communication Award Map.
Typical timetabled week of study
Foundation Study Framework teaching may be a combination of lectures, seminars and/or workshop based sessions. Each module involves a teaching contact time of four hours per week and you are also expected to engage in approximately 12 hours of independent study, to support your learning experience.
Foundation study will help you to build a solid understanding of the general theoretical and practical aspects that underpin graphic design. Throughout all stages of your programme you will also be supported by a Personal Academic Tutor, to guide you through the learning experience and help you make informed study choices.
Foundation study will enable you to acquire the necessary study skills to succeed in HE, as well as developing your understanding of key subject concepts delivered through taught sessions, workshops and project work, tutorial and online support.