BA (Hons) Graphic Design
Why study with us?
It’s a sad truth that at many other institutions, students rarely see their tutors due to huge group sizes and often have limited access to studio space, technology and resources – happily, we’re very different! We know that small year groups are best and so we recruit around fifty students each year. This means that you see us regularly and receive a massive amount of regular tutor support and feedback. We also believe that you should work from a studio base. In our case, this is a huge, modern, dynamic, well equipped, multi-functioning space in which all years of our course happily mix, share ideas and inspire one another.
Our course is carefully structured, starting at first principles, allowing you to develop rapidly using innovative project briefs, technical workshops, frequent studio lectures, practical demonstrations and visits from professional designers.
We love graphic design and, after studying with us, we’re sure you’ll feel the same. More importantly, you’ll be using that passion to produce exciting design across a wide range of traditional and digital media, showing your skill, commitment, versatility and creativity to potential employers.
What can this course lead to?
Our purpose is to help you graduate with a flexible, fully prepared, highly motivated, professional designer. In fact, just the type of person the creative industries are crying out for.
We’re very successful at what we do and our graduates go on to work for national and international design and advertising consultancies, multi-media agencies, TV companies, publishing houses and magazines.
Our reputation for excellence in the teaching of typography and magazine design means that each year a number of our graduates are head-hunted by the major magazine publishing houses including Future Publishing, IPC and Condé Nast.
We have also had great success in the world of multi-media design – two of our students gaining highly prized jobs at MTV as designer/animators and Ryan Young and Lee Freeman are now working at the innovative London advertising agency Sell! Sell!
Fredrik Öst and Magnus Berg returned to their native Sweden to start their own, highly individual, multi-disciplinary design company Snask, a design studio which is now so successful and famous, you can buy a book about them!
2014 news, awards and jobs
This year our students were busy with a wide variety of live project work.
Luvena Petty created a complete identity and website for TV antique expert Paul Laidlaw’s new auction house. Ford Mason created the packaging design for TMR’s revolutionary new ‘Imprint’, mountain bike grips and Ruth Fogden created a website for a large renewable energy company.
Josh Ford saw his work for Bear Alphabites win a YCN award.
As for visiting speakers, Gary Bovill and James McCarthy, who are both Cumbria graduates, visited us. Gary now works at Energy Design Studio in London and James is a senior designer at Drumbeat Creative in Manchester.
We also welcomed graphic illustrator Nik Holmes and the wonderful Jill Calder who came to talk about her recent illustration work.
Perhaps the most memorable visit of the year was the triumphant return to their former University of Snask’s Freddie and Magnus who not only gave a lecture but also brought along a rock band (like you do)!
As for jobs, in a challenging economic climate, our 2014 graduates have been amazingly successful at quickly gaining good jobs in the design industry. James Cope works for Benoy, Jasper Van Looveren Baines joined the PMN Group, Adam Norfolk is at Turley, Luci Ormrod is a designer at Foot Asylum, Luvena Petty is the in-house designer at UCSU, Josh Ford works for the Cox Motor Group, Debbie Nixon is in Colour Media, Samantha Davison works for Chic Magazine, Samantha Priestley is a designer at Caterite, Ami Swift is with Fleishman Hillard and Ruth Fogden is at Neomam.
Resources and facilities
We are immensely proud of our fantastic, huge and well-equipped studio space. It contains over eighty Mac workstations, small tutorial and lecture spaces, staff offices, and lots of space for student work bases. It also has the advantage of having an in-house reprographics department for all your printing needs. The benefits to you of working alongside students from all years of the course are immense and the mix creates an inspiring, dynamic, stimulating and continually changing environment.
Unlike most other universities, we also believe you should be able to exploit any technical areas your project work may require. We make sure you have access to computer training labs, animation suites, printmaking studios, moving image editing suites, wood, metal and plastic workshops, textile studios, photography studios and even our ceramics department! One of our students even converted a caravan into a travelling contemporary design gallery...
Teaching, Assessment and Learning
We believe that assessment is not the end but the beginning of the process of learning. Feedback can come not only from lecturers, but also from their peers, or the student themselves.
Put simply, our aim is to give you the experience, confidence and creative skills to allow you to stand out from the crowd when you graduate. We’re good at what we do and we have a fantastic record of getting students into work. You’re with us for three years, but it’s what you achieve after you graduate that’s really important.
During Year One, working closely with staff in a professional studio environment, we build your confidence and help you develop your ideas by looking at all aspects of design through a series of imaginative briefs that address core themes, issues and technical skills. These themes are further explored in an integrated design theory module. We are renowned for our teaching of drawing (including life drawing) and typography and you also develop your two-dimensional and moving image skills using our state-of-the-art digital resources and technical workshops.
We are radically different from most universities as we provide you with extensive feedback and advice while your project work is ongoing (not simply waiting until a module has finished) and by running projects that reflect the pace of the ‘real world’. For example, our first-year students complete around ten studio projects per semester and receive feedback on each one as it is presented. Most students have to make do with a sector average of only three projects per semester.
In Year Two, you tackle a series of wide-ranging design problems, gaining specialist skills as you cover corporate identity, illustration, marketing and promotional work, information, book, magazine, film, TV and web design. This includes designing and building your own online portfolio – crucial in the transition from study to employment. You also work with professional designers, travel to design studios and visit relevant exhibitions. By the end of the year your experience, skill and ambition should ensure you have developed a strong sense of your chosen area of graphic design.
Year Three allows you the freedom to explore a personal approach to design, which helps you build a portfolio appropriate to your career goals. Work will include a range of international competitions, tutor-set projects and live outside briefs. Ultimately you develop self-negotiated projects giving you the opportunity to show the design world just how good you are. A professional development module supports your transition from student to professional and includes a work placement, which can help you to successfully launch your career as a practising designer.
Not quite ready for Year 1?
Many of the students we accept on to Year 1 of the course have normally studied for a Foundation Diploma or a National Diploma in Art and Design (or equivalent). Some applicants from other backgrounds (for example school leavers or people returning to education) may need further time and support to help them progress to degree level education – this is where the Foundation Entry (known as ’Year 0’) comes in.
This specialist, preparatory year, will provide you with an extensive range of underpinning practical, technical and theoretical skills. You experience a wide range of project work and have extensive inductions into virtually all of our technical workshops. The pace is fast, the projects are fun and successful completion of ‘Year 0’ gives you automatic progression to Year 1 of the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course.
240 UCAS tariff points
Credit and UCAS requirements
- UCAS code: W210
- UCAS points: 240
About the School
We are one of Britain's newest universities, but we have a history of educating professionals going back over 150 years. We were formed in 2007 from Cumbria Institute of the Arts, St Martin's College ... Read More