Graphic Communication BA (Hons)

This course is validated by: Lancaster University
Location: University Centre at Blackburn College
UCAS Code: W210
Code: IA3070A16
Fees: View fees and financial information
Validated by: Lancaster University
Study Mode: Full Time
Duration: Full time: 3 academic years
Part time: 6 academic years
Start Dates: september 2019
Term Dates: View term dates
Overview

If you want a career as a professional Graphic Designer, then this creative and practical three-year Graphic Communication (BA Hons) degree is right for you. Learn about page layout, advertising, marketing, illustration and branding as well as using a wide range of techniques, media and industry standard software. You will also have the opportunity to take your designs from the printed page to websites, 3D graphic design and undertake a choice of optional modules in Web and Social Media or Motion Graphics.  The course has a long history of competition success, and the emphasis in all assignments is on innovation, solving problems creatively, and exploring a range of solutions whilst addressing the needs of industry and the commercial world.

This is a three year Honours degree which aims to equip you for a career in graphic design. We will help you find your unique talents and develop your skills in a friendly and supportive environment. As well as being supported to develop your own style and technique, you will also be introduced to a wide range of new concepts, skills and experiences that will broaden your horizons and make you a better artist and a more employable person.

The Beehive Student Design Company has been set up to provide our students with paid industry work experience. Working for the Beehive, you can produce real commercial graphic design projects and meet employers and clients. The work you produce can be credited against your degree course modules - so you can be rewarded for learning. You will study a range of exciting modules that are designed to give you the knowledge and skills you need for a great career in Graphic Design and Communication.

What will I study?

The course is professionally focussed with great links to industry. Teaching staff include professional and experienced commercial graphic designers. As well as your core modules, you will also attend guest lectures from a wide range of speakers in industry, go on studio and gallery visits, and have the opportunity to go on trips, including overseas travel. There are many opportunities for work-based learning through our student design company The Beehive, and placements in studios and creative agencies. You will explore a wide range of styles and approaches, ranging from logo design and packaging to advertising and motion graphics. You will learn about the history and context of design and communication to help you make your work richer and better informed. We will work closely with you to develop your portfolio, online presence and employer contacts so that you will have the best possible chance of getting a job when you graduate.

At Level 4, you are introduced to a range of media through carefully structured technical workshops, lectures and creative assignments with a focus on experimentation. As you progress through Level 5 and Level 6, you develop your own personal practice with the emphasis placed increasingly on professionalism and a commercial awareness. The course has a strong tradition of competition success and all students in the final year negotiate their assignments from a host of live opportunities and competition briefs. The course has formal agreements with several local design agencies. This means that you will have lessons in professional design studios, have lots of opportunities to work on real industry projects and get prestigious work placements.

All students take a total of 120 credits per level.

Level 4 Modules (all modules are mandatory) include:

  • Contextual Studies
  • Design Process I
  • Illustration
  • Digital Illustration
  • Lens & Time-Based Media
  • Type
  • Ideas & Communication
  • Design Production for Print

Level 5 Modules (there are 7 mandatory modules and 1 optional modules from a choice of 2 as indicated by *) include:

  • Critical Studies
  • Design Process II
  • Specialist Project
  • Design Business & Promotion
  • Three Dimensional Graphic Design
  • Identity & Branding
  • Advertising
  • Web and Social Media*
  • Motion Graphics*

Level 6 Modules (all modules are mandatory) include:

  • Academic Dissertation
  • Professional Practice
  • Industry Context Projects
  • Final Major Project.

Optional Modules

If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.  If an optional module will not be run, we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

 

Entry Requirements

You’ll need 80 UCAS points to join this programme (formerly 200 UCAS points).

All applicants must show that they have a good level of spoken or written English, and if English is not your first language you’ll need to demonstrate the ability to study in English.

Applicants who do not meet the standard entry criteria but have relevant work / life experience will be considered on an individual basis and may be invited to interview.

All applicants must attend a successful interview during which you should present portfolio of work indicating an awareness of what constitutes art and design theory and practice, competence in basic skills such as drawing or computing, and display an enthusiasm for the subject.  

 

 

How will I be assessed?

Throughout the course a full range of assessment techniques will be used. You could be assessed by examinations, including open-book examinations, practical assessments, assignments, briefs, essays, presentations (including group presentations), reports and portfolio building. 

Each module is formally assessed through, for example, examination, open-book test, individual and group presentation, essay, observation of practice, assessment of course work e.g. art portfolio, written report, reflective practice and portfolios of evidence.  This formal assessment will count towards your module mark and feedback is usually given within 3 weeks following the submission of your formal submission of work.

Additionally, some lecturers will provide informal feedback, for example, following an examination they may choose to work through the exam paper in a tutorial. It should be noted that feedback is part of the ongoing learning cycle which is not limited to written feedback. Other forms of feedback include one-to-one meetings with a personal tutor, dissertation and project supervision meetings, a lecturer responding to learner questions or responses during topic or situation discussions. 

Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching and Learning

The learning environment and facilities could include lecture theatres, classrooms, technology suites, laboratories and workshops, library and skills labs, art and photography studios, small group and quiet zones. Learning methods will vary according to the programme of study but will include lectures and group tutorials. In addition, seminars, field trips, work placements, role play or scenario activities, laboratory and workshop practical, demonstrations, guest lectures, discussions and debates all contribute to the learning experience to support the acquisition of subject specific skills and knowledge and the development of transferable and employment related skills.

You should typically expect to have around 15 contact hours per week if you are studying full time.

In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your personal tutor.  

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.  The team could include senior academics, professional practitioners with industry experience, demonstrators and technical officers.  You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.

Timetables

We endeavour to make timetables available one month before you start your course.  Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week.  Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week. 

Overall Workload

You overall workload consists of class contact hours, around 15 hours of independent learning and assessment activity and any field trips which may take place.

Academic Support

We have a dedicated Student Engagement Team who will be able to provide support in the following areas;

  • Study Skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
  • Written English
  • Academic Writing (including referencing)
  • Research Skills
What can I do next?

The majority of our graduates go on to relevant employment upon completion of their studies. We work closely with local employers and have an excellent track record of getting our students into their chosen career. Examples include former students who are now professional designers working in local and national design agencies, freelance designers, and many other graduates who go on to set up their own successful design businesses.

Supplementary Information

Download the Programme Specification for BA (Hons) Graphic Communication. The Programme Specification will give you further information about the course structure, learning outcomes and detailed information about the assessment you can expect during the course.

Career Options

Graphic Designer

  • £
    14,000 per year
    + starting salary
  • 35-40 hours per week

Graphic designers use lettering and images to communicate information and ideas. This could be for all kinds of purposes from advertisements to product packaging. If you have lots of creative ideas this career could be perfect for you.

To become a graphic designer, you will need to have IT and drawing skills. You'll need to be able to find practical solutions to problems. You'll also need excellent communication skills.

Most professional graphic designers have a foundation degree, HND or degree in graphic design or other art and design-based subject.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Reprographic Assistant

  • £
    12,500
    + starting salary
  • 35-40 hours per week

Reprographic assistants, also known as print room operators, use photocopying machines and printers to produce all kinds of items like documents, brochures, leaflets and pictures. They also ‘finish’ the printed materials by binding or mounting them.

In this job, you’ll need to be well organised, able to follow job instructions and be comfortable working under pressure to deadlines.

You may need some GCSEs to start, for example maths, English and art and design, although this is not always essential. You may also be able to get into this work through an Apprenticeship scheme.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Design Engineer

  • £
    20,000
    + starting salary
  • 37-40 hours per week

Design engineers research and develop ideas for new products and the systems used to make them. They also work to improve the performance and efficiency of existing products.

If you want a professional career in engineering, and are good at problem-solving and generating new ideas, this job could suit you well.

In this job you will need to be able to use computer-aided design software. You will need to be able to combine engineering and design principles.

You would normally need a foundation degree, HNC/HND or degree to become a design engineer. Relevant subjects include engineering product design, industrial design and computer-aided design engineering.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

CAD Technician

  • £
    16,000
    + starting salary
  • 35-40 hours per week

Computer aided design (CAD) technicians use software to create design plans for buildings and machinery. You could work in a wide range of industries, such as engineering, construction and manufacturing. If you are interested in industrial design and enjoy using software, this job could be just right for you.

To be a CAD technician, you will need to have good maths and IT skills. You will need to understand how things are made and built. You must also be a creative person.

You could become a CAD technician by starting as an apprentice with an engineering, manufacturing or construction firm. You could also train in CAD by taking a college course while looking for work.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Illustrator

  • £
    Variable
    + starting salary
  • Variable hours per week

As an illustrator, you would produce drawings, paintings or diagrams that help make products more attractive or easier to understand. This could include books, book jackets, greetings cards, advertisements, packaging and detailed technical diagrams. If you are talented at drawing, and have creativity and imagination, this might be the perfect job for you.

You’ll need to be creative while sticking to your customer's design brief. Time management is something you’ll need to use when meeting publication or client deadlines.

Many professional illustrators have a degree in illustration or other art related degree subjects. If you are creative, have artistic talent and the determination to succeed you could still be successful in illustration without a degree.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire