Undergraduate study
Graphic Design and Illustration (with Foundation Year) Graphic Design and Illustration (with Foundation Year) Graphic Design and Illustration (with Foundation Year)

Graphic Design and Illustration (with Foundation Year)
BA (Hons)

 
 

Course overview

Graphic designers and illustrators are visual communicators who bring ideas to life. The BA (Hons) Graphic Design and Illustration (with Foundation Year) allows you to build a portfolio of work in an area of your choice – from advertising and branding, to illustration and motion graphics. At Teesside University, it is a well-established and highly successful area of study and offers you a broad and dynamic experience. This course includes an integrated foundation year if you don’t have the appropriate subjects or grades for direct entry to Year 1 of the degree.

You can complete an optional work placement year as part of this degree course at no extra cost.

Our course structure is flexible and responsive, allowing you to become a multiskilled graphic designer or to specialise in illustration, graphics for advertising or interaction design. You undertake a general first year and have the opportunity to specialise from Year 2, based on your developing interests and aptitudes.

You work in areas such as advertising, branding, illustration, typography, book arts, motion graphics, web design, interactive media, and editorial design for magazines and books. You develop your own distinctive portfolio of work, and the course emphasis is on creative ideas and adventurous solutions, combined with a high level of professional awareness and a dedicated work ethic.

Browse our final-year students’ work during their Design Degree Show 2018.

 

Course details

In Year 0 you explore the fundamental skills of design through drawing, mark-making and three dimensional workshop practices. You begin to experience the creative process and gain knowledge of art and design history and contexts.

In Year 1 you experience the fundamental principles of graphic design and illustration. We introduce you to essential graphic languages and processes including drawing, image-making, typography, advertising, interaction, narrative, motion and printmaking as well as access to 3D workshop, photography and video facilities.

During Year 2 you develop a distinctive body of work through your selection of project briefs. Here you can start to specialise if you wish. You further develop your knowledge, strengths, professional and management skills and apply your ideas and processes to more complex creative projects supported by critical studies.

In Year 3 the emphasis is placed firmly on developing your professional portfolio and future career aspirations. You are able to negotiate your own contextually grounded project themes and there is the opportunity to work on live projects and competition briefs.

Course structure

Year 0 (foundation year) core modules

Contextual Studies

You are introduced to the contexts of creative and design history, investigating problem solving and themes to inform your current studio practice. You research and learn to analyse ideas about past British and international styles, design and theory. This develops your understanding of the role of the designer, the meanings and vocabulary of space and design, and the relationship between design, society and the environment. You develop skills in research, analysis, communication and critical thinking, and produce and present interpretations of historical material.

Final Project

Building on your skills in the design process, you develop a project portfolio directed towards your favoured design discipline, demonstrating your creative ideas, development and final concepts. You are encouraged to take a questioning, creative and innovative approach to design project work. You focus on experimental exploration, as well as challenging your ability to motivate and organise yourself to manage a design project and work to a deadline. This project culminates with a short presentation of your completed design work.

Orientation: Thinking through Drawing

You are introduced to a range of fundamental drawing approaches for a variety of purposes. Practical workshops include measured drawing, scale, composition and perspective as well as creatively using colour, materials and expressive mark making. These experiences increase your observational skills that help you visualise and realise ideas for potential design projects.

Orientation: Thinking through Making

You further develop and deepen your knowledge gained from the induction programmes, enhancing your skills in model construction, prototyping, printmaking, and production analysis. You gain greater insight into the complexities of model construction and printmaking by working in detail with various materials, developing techniques and creative skills. This module is project-based – you transfer your knowledge from lectures to hands-on demonstrations in a workshop environment. You primarily learn through producing models and prints from drawings.

Pathway Stage - Specialism Project

You take part in a range of specialist studio activities. You investigate, experiment and explore pathways in fashion, textiles, graphics, interiors and product design. You study creative processes and develop independent project skills to help identify the specialist subject which best suits your interests and abilities.

Research and Analysis - Sketchbooks and Research

You are introduced to the creative design process and methods of researching and recording inspirational ideas which you can then develop for your own project work. You gather inspiration, stimuli and precedent ideas from a multitude of sources and sketchbooks – these are key in developing and experimenting your design, helping you curate ideas and document your design activity.

 

Year 1 core modules

Activate

You are introduced to idea generation, design thinking and creative confidence in learning methods, study skills and studentship in design. You reflect on and evaluate your current skills and experiences up to joining the design programmes.

You have the opportunity to work with students from other design disciplines. Through workshop exercises you are then able to apply this knowledge to project work.

Elevate

This specialist graphic design module enables you to create compelling expressive work by reacting to a given experience. Initial workshops introduce the fundamentals of creative and expressive mark-making, composition, image-making, drawing, layout, typography, narrative and sequence. You are then able to apply these in project work.

Enterprise

You are introduced to the innovation economy and gain an understanding of the knowledge, skills and confidence to develop and deliver entrepreneurial solutions. You explore organisational contexts as members of teams or empowering you to harness your personal and business skills.

Hack

Through the study of modernism and postmodernism, you respond by producing a publication that is informed by theory. There is an emphasis on project management. Environmental and sustainable issues inform materials and processes used in the production process.

Storytelling

Here, you apply acquired knowledge and skills to a selected project according to an area of your individual interest or specialism. This module provides an overview of professional graphic practice and enables you to reflect on your own learning and personal career aspirations. You review work from modules through your portfolio presentation and set goals for the next stage.

Workshop

This specialist graphic design module introduces you to the practical facilities within design. The 3D workshops offer wood, metal and plastic materials, lazer cutting, printmaking facilities. Equipment housed in fashion and textile can be used to produce project work. You are encouraged to use these facilities throughout the three years of your programme of study.

 

Year 2 core modules

Analysis

During this module you look outside of the studio to observe, make links and understand situations. You consider how design can be a progressive force that impacts and improves lives and environments. You have the ability to shape project work to suit your design interests and can involve yourself with individual, collaborative, entrepreneurial, research-led or externally-situated briefs.

You have the opportunity to connect with wider communities to identify a need for improvement by design. Social design is a driver for our practice and provides the means to underpin deep and meaningful solutions.

Articulate

Here you continue your personal reflection and planning while researching the breadth of practice associated with graphic communication. You develop project work around personal interests and you are encouraged to reach out to organisations and communities that enable you to connect and create networks of support and mutual interest. You review work from all modules through your portfolio presentation and set goals for the next stage.

Connect

Designers operate in a commercial world. It is crucial that you understand the needs of all the stakeholders that your design impacts on. You strategically develop products that service specific market sectors, that are user focused and fulfil the needs of business.

Iterate

This module focuses on the development stage of the design process. Through thorough questioning, testing, improving, proofing, specification and reflection, your initial proposal is refined and improved to provide a resolved solution.

Now in Production

You are asked to consider proposals for opportunities to generate work to start the process of raising funds to exhibit work in Year 3 that is outside the University, aimed at launching your career. Possibilities are varied and you could explore an online outlet.

Situate

Graphic communicators have a long history of undertaking issues-led and ethically motivated work as authors, producers, activists and saboteurs. It is important for designers to understand how they can disrupt, shape and reflect social, political and ecological realities in the Anthropocene.

This module teaches you about communication theories and explore design discourse, responsibility and current issues through research and critical skills building. You negotiate a creative outcome that demonstrates a critical and contextually informed approach to an issue, debate or cause.

 

Year 3 optional placement year

Final-year core modules

DIY

This module is defined by you. Do you continue to refine a competition brief for submission? Would you prefer to spend more time on your self-promotion? Do you want to carry out research and experimental work for an MA application proposal? Do you want to do another competition brief or live project? There is also the option of arranging work experience.

Initiate

As a group you are tasked to resolve how the year group is represented at the end of year show. You think about publication material and raise funds for a possible London exhibition venue on graduation.

Magnify

This is an opportunity to visually represent how you wish to be perceived as a designer. You consider your self-promotion material in formats that are relevant to your chosen direction. There is also the opportunity to use this module for work experience.

Project X

This is the opportunity to write your own negotiated brief that enhances your portfolio and confirms your interests and career goals. The module also has a project report that links theory to practice.

Studio

This module enables you to develop your own field of interest and negotiate a personal programme of study. It encourages the continued growth of a questioning, creative and innovative approach to design project work and focuses on conceptual and experimental exploration. You may also decide to undertake appropriate external or live projects.

 

Modules offered may vary.

 

How you learn

You have access to a full range of digital resources and workshop facilities. Up-to-date equipment and processes support the studio environment. Independent and student-centred learning is encouraged in addition to taught sessions with staff. Theoretical work is delivered through illustrated lectures and seminars where you have collective discussions with other students.

How you are assessed

The work produced is the work assessed; there are no examinations and the production of design projects is a key feature. Assessment is undertaken against carefully defined criteria and project-based assignments involve a critique. The critique is a reflective process allowing for both staff and peer group appraisal. You receive written feedback to help you reflect and prepare for future modules.


Our Disability Services team helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs

 
 

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Call us on 0800 952 0226 about our entry requirements

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country


You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL

 

Employability

Career opportunities

To support professional practice experience, you get involved with competitions from professional bodies such as Design and Art Direction (D&AD), You Can Now, Royal Society of Arts and International Society of Typographic Designers accreditation. You also have the opportunity to exhibit work externally.

D&AD connects to a community of creative professionals, providing essential industry and educational insight. Since 1962, D&AD has been inspiring a community of creative thinkers by celebrating and stimulating the finest in design and advertising. The D&AD Professional Awards are recognised globally as the ultimate creative accolade, entered and attended by the best from around the world.

Our graduates have excellent and varied career opportunities and go on to work in design consultancies, publishing houses, advertising and new media studios along with freelance opportunities and commissioned arts projects. There is also the opportunity for postgraduate study.

Examples of destinations include Barker Advertising in New York, Caterpillar Books, Elmwood Design, Gardner Richardson, Great Fridays, JWT, KPMG, McCann Erickson, Pearl Fisher, Penguin Books, Radley Yeldar and Sapient Razorfish.

Work placement

We produce graduates with the problem-solving and leadership skills necessary to forge successful careers.

This programme allows you to spend an optional year - in-between your second year and final year - learning and developing your skills through work experience. You have a dedicated work placement officer and the University's award-winning careers service to help you with applying for a placement. Advice is also available on job hunting and networking. Employers are often invited to our School to meet you and present you with opportunities for work placements.

By taking a work placement year you gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also obtain the transferable skills required in any professional environment. Transferable skills include communication, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, organisation, confidence, self-reliance, problem-solving, being able to work under pressure, and commercial awareness.

Throughout this programme, you get to know prospective employers and extend your professional network. An increasing number of employers view a placement as a year-long interview and, as a result, placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process.

Potential benefits from completing a work placement year include:

  • improved job prospects
  • enhanced employment skills and improved career progression opportunities
  • a higher starting salary than your full-time counterparts
  • a better degree classification
  • a richer CV
  • a year's salary before completing your degree
  • experience of workplace culture
  • the opportunity to design and base your final-year project within a working environment.

 
 

Full-time

Entry to 2018/19 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for non UK/EU applicants
Find out more

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 4 years (including a foundation year) or 5 years with additional work placement year
  • UCAS code: W214 BA/GDIFY
  • Call us on 0800 952 0226 about our entry requirements

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS

 

Part-time

  • Not available part-time
 

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Study in our town-centre campus with over £270m of recent investment

 

Industry ready

Benefit from work placements, live projects, accredited courses

 

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Find your ideal degree course here at Teesside University and feel welcomed, supported and prepared for the career you want.

 
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Open days

 
 

17 November 2018
Undergraduate open day

Book now