The BA (Hons) Graphic Communication course has a strong track record for producing award winning graduates who have not only achieved commendations for International Design competitions but have secured exciting careers in this dynamic and prosperous sector of the UK's highly successful creative industries.
The course will prepare you for a range of professional opportunities in fields such as advertising, branding, publishing, illustration and digital communication. You will engage in work that explores traditional formats as well as emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality as well as UX design, web design and motion graphics.
The curriculum is sufficiently diverse enough to encourage the development of individuals, allowing for both a broad and specialist focus. We'll encourage you to think creatively during your time with us, gaining professional and technical skills that reflect current and future industry practice and design standards. This is facilitated by providing you with range of real world- experiences from live commercial briefs to fully accredited internships.
Our students have worked on many live client-facing briefs set by both national and regional design agencies these including; Lost Boys International, RPM, Interbrand, Jacob Bailey, Cubiq Design, Firebrand Creative, Trebuchet, Toolbox Marketing, Coastline Graphics, National Stud, Jockey Club, Greene King, Class UK, Kiss Radio etc.
Our links to professional bodies, experts and design practitioners provides you with fantastic networking opportunities and access to additional support of industry mentors. We host regular guest lecturers so you can learn from industry professionals. Past speakers have included David Carson (Ray Gun magazine), Dan Mumford (Freelance Illustrator pop/music culture /album covers), David Hughes (political caricaturist), Steve Stacey (Senior Designer at Sony), Andi Sapey (Photographer), Sam Peet (Senior Editorial illustrator Culture Trip) and Droga 5 (Advertising Agency).
Study trips to Museums, Galleries, Design Studios, Exhibitions and Design Conferences (Offset in Dublin) make up a big part of your learning experience, enriching the programme. Foreign residentials to European cities like Barcelona, Venice, Rome and long-distance destinations like Japan and New York, can be life changing.
You are expected to exhibit your work at the end of the course in a Degree Show. Annual in-house design consultancy awards are offered through our employer sponsors consisting of cash prizes. You will also get the opportunity to showcase your work at National Exhibitions such as New Designers or D&AD New Blood in London to network with agencies/employers outside of the region.
- This course produces students that are in high demand - 95% of graphic design students are in employment or further post graduate study within six months of graduating
- 100% of our undergraduate students are satisfied with the quality of this course. (National Student Survey 2020).
- Study a broad range of disciplines including branding, editorial design, graphic design, illustration, interactive design, information design, motion graphics and typography.
- Learn in a creative studio environment, using industry-standard equipment and software.
- Work on live briefs with dynamic agencies and businesses
- Develop your professional skills through, industry competitions, collaborations with organisations and guest lectures.
- Go on optional study visits to European cities like Rome, Venice, Barcelona and long-distance destinations like Japan and New York.
- Develop a professional portfolio tailored to your own career aspirations.
- Showcase your work at an annual Degree Show, with the opportunity to be selected to exhibit at other national events, such as New Designers and D&AD New Blood in London.
- Gain a professionally accredited degree â€“ this course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD)
Modules Level 4:
Digital and Emerging Technologies
This module familiarises students with the main industry standard software programmes from the Adobe Creative Suite. It encourages students to explore the creative potential of digital processes and techniques developing their knowledge of both print and online screen-based applications.
This module engages students with the activity of image making as a multi-faceted language, reinforcing the idea of drawing, mark-making and image construction as core skills to both the graphic designer and illustrator. This includes inductions to specialist workshops like silk screen printing and Photography.
Introduction to Typography
This module introduces the basic principles of formal typography, terminology and how type can be used creatively.
History of Contemporary Graphic Design
This module introduces the historical and contemporary contexts of Graphic Design and explores the work of key pioneers and movements in graphic design.
Work based learning
This module provides students with the opportunity of working on client facing briefs to gain first-hand experience and insight into professional working practices.
Level 5 Modules:
Editorial and Publication Design
This module develops a student's understanding and deeper appreciation for the relationship between language text, imagery and the reader for a variety of information genres.
Advanced Divergent Thinking Graphic Design
This module allows students to explore how sequential narratives in applied contexts influence and affect an audience's interaction with graphic design outcomes. Students are required to work on an international design competition brief and produce short presentation films.
This module introduces the underpinning research and writing skills needed to be able to approach a Dissertation at Level 6. It seeks to extend students' critical questioning of their discipline and introduces design writing and publishing as a potential career option.
This module allows students to gain first-hand experience of working in a design agency. Placements run for up to five weeks offsite. This module extends the student's knowledge of current professional practice, and how to work as part of a creative team.
This module provides an opportunity for students to develop a self-negotiated project, relating to research undertaken within other modules during the year. The module considers the relationship between method, medium and meaning, with reference to relevant theory, as well as traditional and contemporary practices.
Level 6 Modules:
Students will be expected to undertake a major design project in collaboration with an external partner /client. This will normally take the form of a live brief prescribed by a design agency, retailer or charity. The learning activity is largely self-directed, focusing on project based independent study.
The Dissertation module provides students with the opportunity to conduct a significant piece of research that engages critically with a student's own interests. It allows them to articulate their findings through a piece of academic writing.
Integrated Media and Digital Communications
This module looks at current, new and emerging technologies that are commonly employed in the graphic communication industry. Students will be expected to produce multi-pronged, technology driven campaigns that use a combination of digital platforms.
The module allows the student to bring together all that they have learnt on the course, and to produce a highly effective and professionally realised set of design outcomes. It provides the student with the opportunity to write their own brief that represents their personal career ambitions and showcase their work in annual degree show/exhibition. Assignments are devised to assess a range of skills, abilities, knowledge and experience
We feel the course provides direct opportunities for our graduates to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which not only benefits themselves, but the workforce, the community and the economy. The Digital Creative industries is a fast-growing sector of the UK economy and the earning potential is limitless.
In terms of career opportunities graduates from the course are well prepared for a range of professional opportunities in the following design fields; advertising/ marketing, branding, publishing, illustration, digital communications (web design and UX design), exhibition design, signage etc.
Students are encouraged to be proactive in pursuing freelance work whilst they are studying and use this experience as a focus for their assignments. The further incorporation of live commercial briefs, site and conference visits enhances their learning experience.
The course has a high percentage (95%) of students gaining employment in the Creative Industries within six months of graduating. This figure shows that we are enabling learners to progress with very real opportunities for employment. By encouraging students to show case their work both locally and nationally is great way for students to network with employers and has led to offers of work. Also, the exposure that students receive through the internship scheme at Level 5 can lead eventually to job offers when they graduate.
We don't see employability just about getting a job it is also about professional development to ensure our graduates have broad set of skills and attributes that will enable them to be successful throughout their working lives. Learning through a variety of different methods whether academic studies, through work experience and through volunteering, gives our students a well-rounded education. The world of work changes very rapidly and a student's career is likely to involve many different job roles and contact with employers, and even if they stay in the same job it is likely to change its nature over time. Therefore, employability skills need to be transferable; so, our students can adapt them to whatever situation they find themselves in.
We recognise that the majority of our students are looking for a course that will put them in close collaboration with employers and offer the ability to work directly with them so they can learn these essential skills that employers are looking for. The course is designed to put them in the best position to get a job upon graduation.
Our graduates have gone onto both junior/ senior design roles and studio managers for a variety of agencies and companies and others have set up their own successful design businesses.
Average Graphic Design salaries and earning potential
Junior Designer: £19,883 per year
Middle weight designer you can expect to earn £25,000 to £35,000 per year.
Senior designers or creative leads range from £35,000 to £55,000 per year
Creative director £60,000+ per year
Freelancer you can earn between £200 and £400 a day with experience
Fees and finance
£8,500 per year
Additional costs to prepare for:
At University Studies at West Suffolk College, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities and equipment that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with your course that you will need to budget for materials and personal equipment.
UCAS tariff: 112 Points
A Levels: BBC
Pearson BTEC /UAL level 3: DMM or Merit Profile
Days & times
Date(s) to be confirmed