Graphic Design BA(Hons)

UCAS Code
W214
Location
Falmouth Campus
Length
3 years full-time
Direct line
01326 213730
Admissions
admissions@falmouth.ac.uk

Our 100% student satisfaction rate in the 2013 National Student Survey and our award-winning graduates and staff prove we deliver a learning experience that's one of the most respected springboards to graduate and career success in the country.

Graphic Design at Falmouth is about great ideas and building the skills to make and deliver them. We help you develop as an individual so you can see the world with fresh eyes and have the confidence to realise your aspirations. You'll leave Falmouth equipped to inspire change, ready for a global industry with ever-evolving boundaries and with a passion for design rooted in innovation.

To find out more about our course and see more of our work, please visit our website: graphicsfalmouth.com

How is the course taught

Weekly group tutorials, seminars and regular individual tutorials will provide the platform for feedback; presenting work in progress, developing your confidence in discussing your work and contextualising the role of design within society.

Course outline

The course has been carefully developed and evolved to optimise your growth and development over the three years you spend with us. This allows us to update course materials and react to industry and global communication issues, so that you are engaging with highly current skills and debate within your learning experience and curriculum.

Focused around a vibrant studio-based experience, and taught by dedicated and industry-active staff, the course covers important design themes and contains briefs to be tackled in both visual and written form.

Building strength in core skills

In the first two years with us you'll learn to explore many critical skills that are essential to the building of your knowledge and ability as a graphic designer.

Typography is considered to be one of the 'engines' that drives graphic design and is fundamental to your study with us. Through focused and historical based study, along with more playful and experimental work, you'll gain the knowledge and craft to implement your ideas with great attention to detail, and instigate the beginning of a life long relationship with type.

In the short film 'Typebait' you can see one of the early projects undertaken in Year 1, exploring letters and colour.

Typebait

Ideas in the digital

Whilst 'the idea' is central to your work on the course, the medium you build it in is dictated by the best way to reach your audience. More often that not this means a digital platform, be it social media, viral campaign, animation or film.

On the course you learn the skills to develop, make and deliver graphic design in the digital environment so your solution is communicated in the best way and you stay abreast with current media developments.

What you'll do

Year 1

In the first year you are supported by our course team to establish the core building blocks and skills of your practice as a graphic designer. You'll learn how to go about designing and how to tell a story visually, with workshops, assignments, peer critiques and work-in-progress reviews to build your confidence and capabilities. Alongside this, lectures and seminars from our own staff and expert visiting speakers boost your understanding of graphic language and communication.

Importantly you'll begin not only to understand the subject in more depth, but also gain ability in individual and collaborative working practice. This supports your development as a designer and also gives you the study skills you need to take full advantage of your learning experience with us.

Semester 1 (15 weeks)

  • GRD101: A Word in Your Eye
    (40 credits 20 ECTS)
    Graphic language and communication
    This module is delivered through a series of practical and theoretical assignments. It will introduce the fundamental principals of visual language and the powerful role it plays in communication. You will experiment with the basic elements of design, in order to understand and evaluate their function in the exploration of ideas and the delivery of messages.
  • GRD102: Design Process
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    How to go about designing
    This module introduces a key component in the designer's education – an understanding of the design process. It will enable you to understand the process as a linear set of guidelines or 'signposts' along a journey; directing you towards the next key step and final design outcome. You will also learn to embrace the key skills for each stage, to document, analyse and evaluate your work.

Semester 2 (15 weeks)

  • GRD103: Difference & Identity
    (40 credits 20 ECTS)
    Working from the needs of others
    This module acknowledges that graphic design does not exist in a vacuum; it is a service for a largely commercial world, where its success is evaluated against defined needs and expectations. You will explore the relationships between the stakeholders in a communication process, examining the discourse around the notion of 'others' and 'difference' – subcultures, ideologies and tribes.
  • GRD104: Narrative
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    How to tell a story, visually
    The module will position narrative story telling as one of the most important, unifying objectives of graphic design. The pace, flow, rhythm and tone of voice adopted within a story will determine the engagement with and comprehension of, a given story or message. You will experiment with alternative visual responses to a personally authored piece of writing in the production of a book.

Year 2

The central part of our course introduces you to the professional world in greater depth through skills and project-orientated tasks, to help prepare you for your final year before graduation. You'll begin to grow more deeply as a designer, building individual reflection on professional ambitions.

You'll visit studios in London or Amsterdam, attend designer-led workshops and visit agencies such as Pentagram, GBH, Fitch, Mother and Trapped in Suburbia, and have the chance to gain direct industry experience with placements in leading design organisations.

Semester 1 (15 weeks)

  • GRD201: Consumerism
    (40 credits 20 ECTS)
    Branding and communication in the real world
    This module will establish the primary importance of understanding the core needs within a design brief, and understanding the desires and needs of clearly defined target audiences. Informed risk and experimentation will be highlighted as an essential driver within this module, particularly owing to the ambition to place the design investigations into 'a real world' scenario. Studio visits in London and Amsterdam will provide further external contexts to your learning.
  • GRD202: Typography
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    Developing typographic skills and appreciation
    This module considers the nature of typographic hierarchy, the conditions that govern its application, and the principles of organising editorial information. You will be presented with a range of project briefs that utilise both manual and digital exercises, encouraging a practical 'hands-on' response to various typographic challenges, as well as referencing the historical and cultural heritage underpinning the subject.

Semester 2 (15 weeks)

  • GRD203: Design Directions
    (40 credits 20 ECTS)
    The module marks an important transitional stage in the award, from tutor set assignments and managed project outcomes, to more independent goal setting and personal exploration of future directions.
    The module will prepare students for stage 3 of the award in relation to the dissertation and the more independent project management expectations of the studio assignments. The practice based self-negotiated assignments will be orientated by the assertion that design and designers can be agents for positive change within our society. Students will be encouraged to identify potential opportunities for graphic design within this context and develop new insights into existing problems and challenge the communication conventions.
  • GRD204: Collaborative Practice
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    The module will create the platform for students to explore collaboration as a central component to the work of contemporary design practice. A critical component of the module will be to deliver 'unfamiliar' learning activities for the students; 'designer led briefs', delivering external professional contexts; live projects that will demand collaboration with external partners and workshops that will provide provocative interventions into creative thinking.

Year 3

By the end of your course you'll have explored the many opportunities for subject study, developed independence in terms of character and portfolio, and be ready to launch your career.

This is facilitated through intense project work, directed by tutor support and key industry-facing events. These provide you with an important platform to showcase your work and include exhibiting at the D&AD New Blood exhibition and our own exclusive event at the Royal Society of Arts. These events and our extensive networks of leading design professionals also help you to target studios or postgraduate study to support future ambition.

Finally, you'll complete your dissertation and work with course staff to ready yourself for employment, with professional practice workshops, CV development and interview techniques.

Semester 1 (15 weeks)

  • GRD301: Journeys
    (40 credits 20 ECTS)
    Developing studio projects (personal or competition)
    This module will provide the platform for you as an emerging designer, to shape your own professional identity and reflect upon your design future and career path. It will enable you to consider your own strengths and qualities as a designer, across the spectrum from 'specialist' to 'broad practitioner'. Design projects are both self-authored and/or externally set through national competition briefs.
  • GRD302: Dissertation
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    Critical writing
    This module delivers the main written work of your final year. The content of the dissertation is self-initiated and determined through negotiation with a personal dissertation tutor. Guidelines and dissertation regulations are provided to ensure that the subject matter for investigation is appropriate to the programme of study and that consistency is achieved.

Semester 2 (15 weeks)

  • GRD303: Destinations
    (40 credits 20 ECTS)
    Concluding, studio projects and portfolio
    This module builds on the work developed in Module 9 'Journeys', and sees your focus shift from initiation, identification of needs, speculative enquiry and research into audiences, markets, users' needs and idea generation, to one of concept development, testing, refining, crafting, production and presentation of design proposals. Emphasis is placed on challenging conventions, risk-taking and pushing the creative potential of the 'big idea'.
  • GRD304: Transitions
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    Preparing for your next steps; professional practice, external show case events, CV development, interview techniques etc
    This module will provide tutorials, lectures and seminars to support you in considering a range of self-promotional material opportunities relevant for your individual ambitions. CV writing and presentation workshops will provide further relevant guidance at this critical juncture of the course. You'll be expected to demonstrate independent engagement with networking opportunities relevant to your next steps following graduation.

Facilities

The design studios and workshops include:

  • Large, open-plan, dedicated design studios
  • Woodblock type and basic printmaking facilities
  • Central IT facility providing both Mac and PC platforms, industry-standard software and printing facilities
  • Extensive library facilities including thousands of books, DVDs and periodicals

Staff

Our staff have worked at many of the UK’s leading design practices and for clients, type foundries and companies all over the world, with awards and professional recognition to their names. We see this as an important component of the course, so students learn from highly engaged staff who are passionate about graphic design and the future of the industry and their subject.

Whilst they all continue their professional practice, they are also engaged with research and outreach projects that help feed knowledge that can be shared in the studio. Some of these include regional community projects with organisations like the Design Council, European Erasmus exchange projects in Germany and international teaching exchanges in Sri Lanka.

The short film 'Jazz Writing: Questionnaire Dances with Red Boxes' is a document of the collaborative No Straight Lines project undertaken by the course and AoD, Sri Lanka. Our Associate Professor Timothy Donaldson produces 'action calligraphy' in concert with proposed Sinhalese characters from Sri Lankan undergraduates.

Jazz Writing: Questionnaire Dances with Red Boxes

Experience you'll get

  • Work placement opportunities and top industry guest speakers
  • Live project opportunities and external briefs set by designers
  • Professional practice workshops
  • Industry visits and showcase student events

Study trips

Each year we offer study trips to design agencies for our second year students. Students choose from London or Amsterdam. Some of our regular hosts include:

  • The Brand Union, London
  • BBH Advertising, London
  • Saatchi X, London
  • Fitch, London
  • NB Studio, London
  • The Chase, London
  • NBC Universal, London
  • Coley Porter Bell, London
  • Lewis Moberly, London
  • AKQA, London
  • Hat-trick Design, London
  • 300 Million, London
  • The Partners, London
  • Design Bridge, London
  • Thomas Matthews, London
  • Unreal, London
  • Purpose, London
  • Form, London
  • Airside, London
  • Pearl Fisher, London
  • Brandopus, London
  • Pentagram, London
  • Lava, Amsterdam
  • Trapped in Suburbia, Amsterdam
  • Underware, Amsterdam
  • Lust, Amsterdam
  • Dolly Rogers, Amsterdam
  • Silo, Amsterdam
  • Sid Lee, Amsterdam
  • De Designpolitie, Amsterdam
  • FOAM, Amsterdam
  • Design Bridge, Amsterdam
  • KesselsKrammer, Amsterdam

Graduate day guests

Each year we select a number of our recent graduates to come and talk to our students about their experiences at the beginning of their careers. This is a valuable insight into the 'transition' between education and design. Chosen to represent a spread of different employment and post graduation opportunities, here are those that gave their time to us in 2013:

  • Ellinor Syverinsen, Designer, Bisqit
  • Terry Hearnshaw, Freelance Designer, Digit
  • Harry Bingham, Designer, Rose Design
  • Jack Gibbons, Designer, B&B Studio
  • Jack Bardwell, Freelance Designer, London
  • Chris Bounds, Designer, Carter Wong Design
  • Megan Brooks, Post graduate student at RCA
  • Lauren Tooze, Designer, Believe
  • Sarah Poole, Designer, Dyson
  • Cosmo Jameson, Designer, Brand Union

Assessment

  • You'll be given a series of varied design briefs throughout your course
  • There is an ongoing policy of review and feedback every week with staff and other students, however you are formally assessed at two key points in the year
  • In year three you will also write a dissertation and exhibit your work for assessment as part of a final year show

Careers

  • Work as part of a design consultancy
  • Set up your own consultancy or work freelance
  • Careers in multidisciplinary design consultancies or as specialists within the areas of packaging design, branding, advertising, television graphics, interactivity, exhibition design, magazine and book design, and animation

Graduate destinations

  • Graphic designer: Pentagram, The Chase
  • Brand designer: Lewis Moberly, Someone
  • Packaging designer: Turner Duckworth, Design Bridge, B&B
  • Digital designer: the Sunday Times
  • Art director: Arnold KLP, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Work placements

The course works hard to provide work placement opportunities for our students. Here are just a selection of our typical work placement design contacts:

  • Mytton Williams
  • Biles Inc
  • Nixon Design
  • ASHA
  • Smith & Milton
  • B&B
  • The Partners
  • Springetts
  • Open Agency
  • Bisqit
  • Lush Design
  • Thomas Matthews
  • Brand Union
  • Oakwood
  • Unreal
  • Fitch
  • Music
  • The Chase
  • Lewis Moberly
  • Turner Duckworth
  • Design Bridge
  • Bow & Arrow
  • Sparks

Student mentor scheme

Falmouth's student mentor scheme matches new starters with a second year student, to help you settle in and find your feet. Our student mentors are now on Facebook. To chat to a mentor about the course, living in Cornwall or what to expect at Falmouth, check out the Graphic Design group. You'll need to join the group before you can post.

If you don't have access to Facebook please email your name and proposed course to: studentmentors@falmouth.ac.uk

For more information about the application process, portfolios, interviews and selection days, please contact our admissions team: admissions@falmouth.ac.uk