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BA (Hons) - Graphic Design with Placement

Harness your passion and kick-start a career as a graphic designer with a high-quality placement during the second year of your studies.

On our highly respected graphic design degree programme, you’ll produce exciting designs across a range of traditional and digital media, giving you the skills and experience to become a graphic designer ready to unleash your creativity on the world.

Our graduates have gone on to work for well-known names such as Time Out, MTV, Conde Naste, Future Publishing, Wallpaper & the BBC.

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Graphic Design with Placement cover image

Course Overview

Our graphic design course will give you hands-on experience, providing the expertise, experience, confidence and creative skills needed to launch your career in graphic design.

We realise that, as a graduate, what makes you stand out from the crowd is your personality, passion, and the quality of the work in your portfolio. That's why we've designed this graphic design degree to provide you with a wide variety of projects, including a high quality placement & ‘live briefs’, to help you discover what suits you best, allowing you to focus on developing your specialties.

You will receive extensive feedback, support, and advice throughout your studies and have access to our state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.

On this course you will...

  • Learn graphic design, magazine design, illustration and typography from experts in these specialisms, and use industry-standard software, equipment and facilities.
  • Undertake a real-world creative placement where you have the opportunity to gain high-quality work experience during the second year of your studies.
  • Do real graphic design work. 80% of your studies will be practical, so you won't be just learning theory.
  • Build a robust portfolio of work for exhibits to showcase your graphic design training and display your talent to potential employers.
  • Benefit from practical demonstrations, visits, and feedback from professional designers.

Course Structure

What you will learn

The BA (Hons) Graphic Design aims to help you successfully transition from being a design student to a professional designer. Our graduates work for national and international design and advertising consultancies, multi-media agencies, TV companies, publishing houses, magazines and many now run their own design studios.

Year one

In Level 4 you’ll gain fundamental knowledge and practical experience of visual communication, the building blocks of visual language, and professional attitudes and practices. When you join us you become part of a creative community and from the outset, you will be encouraged to share your ideas, experiences and work through discussion with tutors and fellow students.

A distinctive feature of the graphic design course is that, initially, you will work closely with Level 4 illustrators exploring the fundamental principles of visual communication as many of the core principles and considerations are shared between the two disciplines, for instance; colour theory and application, traditional and digital media, development processes, presentation skills, etc.

  • Introducing Visual Communication
    Develop effective working practices and habits.
  • Cultural Contexts
    An introduction to the cultural, historical, and social contexts in which creative work from a range of disciplines.
  • Multi-Dimensional Graphic Design
    Explore multiple forms and formats, from traditional print to the latest digital platforms, simple symbols to complex information and ideas, ephemeral to iconic.
  • Collaborative Practice
    Work with other students to explore and practice the skills involved in creative collaboration.
Year two

The second year is focused on applying the knowledge and skills you’ve gained to a series of design challenges, including a placement in the second semester of study. Testing and refining your design and personal management skills in a number of scenarios will give you confidence in your ability to tackle unfamiliar challenges. As your confidence grows through experience you’ll begin to develop personal strands of interest or specialism.
Your tutors bring a wide range of design experience to the course with particular expertise and interests in typography, editorial/publishing, corporate identity and branding work. There is an emphasis on knowledge, passion, and enjoyment, showing you how they can be utilised to make memorable, meaningful designs.

  • The Designer's Toolkit
    Explore the structural elements that are essential when creating any piece of graphic design - alignment, hierarchy, contrast, repetition, proximity, balance, colour, and space.
  • Type & Typography
    Explore letterforms and how they can be manipulated and arranged to inform, entice, and communicate lies.
  • Graphic Design Projects
    Develop conceptual skills and an individual approach to graphic design problem-solving, providing the springboard to your final year of study.
  • Creative Economy Placement
    An opportunity to work within a professional environment.
Year three

As you enter your final year, flexibility increases where all of the skills, knowledge and confidence you have developed so far are brought together to produce a portfolio of design work that showcases your talents.

By this time you’ll be preparing for progression – life after you finish your degree - seeking work or preparing for Masters or Postgraduate study. Much of your professional practice will be focused on that exciting step.

  • Advanced Design Projects
    An opportunity to work within a design brief and explore a particular area of interest.
  • Independent Research Paper
    Develop specialised and focused knowledge and understanding of a subject of your own choice.
  • Graphic Design Showcase
    An opportunity to show-off the skills, knowledge, and professionalism developed throughout the course to potential employers and the wider world.

Attend an Open Day at Cumbria

An Open Day is your opportunity to explore one of 5 campuses, meet your lecturers, and find out how the University of Cumbria could become your new home.

Take the next step towards achieving your dreams.
A student stands in front of a wall splattered with paint.