Our January entry (Spring Term) BA (Hons) degrees allow students to study flexibly at home, in the studio or at one of our dedicated international host institutions. You'll complete your first year of study by the beginning of August, progressing straight into your second year of study in September 2021, after a Summer break.
How it works
We are excited to offer a selection of BA (Hons) creative courses through our new distance learning provision, starting in January 2021. Our vision for excellence in art and design distance learning, under the banner of our Connected Campus, affords students flexibility in their studies whilst being a valued part of our community.
These three-year courses all share a common distance-learning first year, while specialising in a chosen subject, then progressing into named awards in year two and three. The first year of your Spring Entry BA (Hons) Graphic Communication course can be studied at home, in your own studio space, or at our dedicated international host institution. You will begin in January 2021, and your studies will finish in July 2021, allowing you to immediately progress on to your second year of study in September 2021.
What will I study?
From the labelling in your clothes to the apps on your phone – Graphic Communication impacts every aspect of modern life. On this ambitious course, you’ll become part of a new breed of professional designers empowering brands and inspiring community action on a global scale, through both traditional and hybrid design approaches.
There’s never been a more exhilarating time to study graphic design as a discipline, as companies strive to cultivate culture and connect with their audience in new and unexpected ways. Discover what it takes to influence public conscience, capture imagination and provoke discussion through effective visual communication.
If you’re interested in the role of graphic communication as a vehicle for change and idea transfer, this degree will equip you with the practical skills and theoretical knowledge necessary to succeed at the forefront of the industry. From print publications to large-format advertising, user experience to data visualisation – you will learn how to make your ideas an online and offline reality.
Grounded in a critical awareness of societal and cultural contexts, early-on you will be encouraged to adopt the mindset of a design professional. Through interdisciplinary experiments and collaborative projects, you’ll learn both specialist and generalist approaches to graphic communication, with a focus on the opportunities afforded by advances in new technologies.
Graphic Communication & Illustration - Plymouth College of Art | Subject Trailer from Plymouth College of Art on Vimeo.
How will I learn?
With the online support of our expert academics and industry-practising technicians, you will forge your own professional journey within an ever-evolving international landscape of motion, print, social and interactive media design. You’ll learn how to respond to current design needs, from research and concept through to prototype and design, strategising packaging and campaigns that inform, entertain and persuade.
Your studies will also equip you with progressive problem-solving skills needed by future employers, including themes of ecological sustainability, emerging technologies and user-centred design. Sessions by industry-visitors are recorded wherever possible and shared with the college community.
What will I have access to?
Our UK students can enjoy access to resources both traditional and future-facing, including screen-printing and letterpress workshops, 2D and 3D animation studios, state-of-the-art digital production equipment, and creative software such as Adobe Creative Cloud, including After Effects for motion graphics and Indesign and Illustrator for page layout and vector work.
International students can access facilities available at our dedicated host institutions, based in China. Access to specialist facilities can support your studies, however, it is not essential to succeed on this course.
Although many of our students do come in with top grades and high UCAS points, these aren’t necessarily essential for entry. We typically ask for a minimum of 112 UCAS points, but we understand that talented artists, designers and makers can have a wide range of relevant strengths and skills beyond formal qualifications. We’re just as interested in exploring your portfolio and discussing your creative experiences as we are in seeing your grades.
We recognise the value of a variety of qualifications and relevant experience and welcome applications from students who have followed less traditional routes. We also accept a range of international qualifications and will look at each application individually.
Course and Units
The School of Design + Communication acknowledges the rich history of the design relative to industry and manufacturing, whilst embracing radical new forms of design as modes of intervention, play and transformation. By utilising new technologies, identifying emerging markets and defining more sustainable methods in their work, we bring purposeful design into everyday lives to solve the most urgent issues we face as a community and society.
Study with us and you’ll expand your critical approach alongside developing skills in research and analysis. Our creative programmes encourage diversity in thinking and making - from practical applications through to reflective, analytical writing.
We provide a dynamic, stimulating learning environment from which to test new models of practice while investing in the rich relationship between practice and theory - based on the potential in material and visual exploration, collaborative working, cross-fertilisation of ideas and the exploration of histories and contemporary contexts.
*Please note unit details listed are correct at time of publication and indicative content only. If you have any questions about course content and structure please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Module 1: Academic Skills for Creative Learning
Module 2: Exploring Practice
Module 3: Contextual Studies
Module 4: Professional Practice
Module 5: Amplifying Practice
Module 6: Interdisciplinary Practice
BAGD201 Digital Media Design
BAGD202 Applied Graphic Design
BAGD203 Professional Practice & PDP 2
GCOP200 Contexts of Practice 2
BAGD301 Research & Experimentation
BAGD302 Creative & Professional Development
BAGD303 Creative & Professional Conclusion
BAGD304 Contexts of Practice 3
Careers & alumni
The content of this course has been designed in close consultation with industry professionals so that you can be confident your learning will future-proof you for a dynamic and competitive job market.
From live briefs and work placements to award competitions and international showcases - this degree will ensure you graduate with a diverse portfolio and real-world experience.
Throughout the year we’ll provide the opportunity to visit major showcases and see behind the scenes of design agencies at the forefront of industry innovation. Throughout your studies, you will make meaningful connections with employers and professional collaborators from the world of design, brand and advertising, web UX and social media.
Many of our graduates go on to establish their own freelance practice or collaborative studios, others find rewarding work in publishing, consultancies and as in-house designers. Whether you aspire to work for an independent studio, advertising agency, household name brand or for yourself – a world of opportunity awaits you on our graphic communication degree.
Our strong international connections also allow our students to take a semester of study with one of our partner institutions within Europe and North America, and in turn, we welcome overseas students from those institutions to join us in our studios, creating an exciting cultural exchange.
Recent external contributors include:
The Design Kids
Plymouth Design Forum
Upshot Design Agency
Graduates can become:
Motion graphic designers
Brand and marketing officers
Mobile app designers
Designer at JC Decaux
Junior Designer at Pro Direct
Graphic Designer at Brand Potential
Junior Graphic Designer at Studiose
Freelance Designer at Walgreens, Boots Alliance
UX Designer/Web Developer
Designer at Sponge Plymouth, UK
Designer at Felt Branding Agency, UK
Designer at 33 Seconds
On this January Entry course, our facilities will be available to UK based first-year students to supplement their studies. International students will have access to facilities at their dedicated host institutions in China. Access to specialist resources will support your learning but is not essential to succeed on Spring Entry BA (Hons) Commercial Photography for Fashion, Advertising & Editorial.
Upon progressing to the second year of study, all Jan Entry students will be based on-campus and have full access to studios, equipment and seminars. You’ll have excellent access to technical support, professional studios and audiovisual equipment which are among the best in the country and include a range of industry-standard photographic studios, one of which provides an infinity cove to create a seamless backdrop for shoots..
Our photographic resources, studios and digital suites are among the best in the country and include a range of industry-standard photographic studios, one of which provides an infinity cove to create a seamless backdrop for shoots. We also provide access to lighting and high-end digital camera equipment as well as large-format scanners and post-production suites. You’ll be encouraged to use all of the resources available to you – including the 6,000 pieces of kit that are free to hire from our exceptionally well-stocked Equipment Resource Centre.
Film and Photography Studios
Our students make full use of our industry-standard dedicated studio spaces – including our infinity cove, green screen, and specialist sound studio (with Foley pit and vocal recording booth) – plus our stop-motion suite, our darkrooms, and plenty of individual edit suites, all up-to-date with the latest industry-standard software, etc.
The Learning Lab comprises several teams who design and deliver activities, resources and workshops to support the academic and professional development of all HE students. Find out about The Library, Careers, Learning Technologies & IT Support and more.
Drawing Studios and Drawing Lab
With north-facing windows, a ‘methods and process’ area, individual studio space and a specialist life-drawing studio, our impressive, open-plan, triple-height Drawing Studio is a huge space, perfect for many different activities and specialisms.
Animation and Game Art Studios
Housed in our fantastic Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops, this stunning space provides everything for contemporary and traditional techniques in jewellery design, including benches supplied with gas and oxygen, in-house metal casting resources, hand and machine-forming tools, facilities for vitreous enamelling, and a separate chemical room for etching, anodising and patternation. We also have larger metalwork equipment for welding, brazing, cutting and grinding.
Our ‘fabrication laboratory’ is kitted-out with the latest in digital design technologies – from 3D printers to 3D scanners, a vinyl cutter, CNC milling machine, CNC router and laser cutter. It adds a whole new level of opportunity for students across all creative walks of life.
Imprint Lab and Digital Print Bureau
Our Digital Print Bureau offers affordable and quick print services for all our students who are looking for anything from large-format or solvent printing, to photo printing, scanning or vinyl cutting, and a wide range of finishing services.
Multimedia Lab & Equipment Resource Centre
Our Multimedia Lab offers you the kit and expertise to become skilled in a wide range of processes and techniques across the fields of photo media, moving image and sound.
Woods and Plastics Workshop
Alongside the latest in new technology, we value the long-standing traditions of making in wood and plastics – and have developed an excellently-resourced workshop that is open to all our students. It boasts a wide range of kit, including an impressive CNC router, plenty of saws and lathes, and strip-heaters, as well as greenwood-working facilities.
With views out to sea and 35 metres of print tables to encourage experimentation, our Printed Textile Design Studios also boast a fantastic Mimaki fabric printer, digital embroidery resources, industrial sewing machines, sublimation printers, a dye lab, heat presses, a tufting gun and a Mac suite. It’s got to be one of the best-printed textile workshops in the UK.
In the Material Lab, you will be encouraged to acquire haptic – touch-based – and manipulative skills and gain an understanding of material properties.