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

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

UCAS code: W214 BA/GDIFY

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.

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 4 years (including a foundation year)

More full-time details

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information

  • News

    Link to View the pictures. Awarding our graphic designers
    Continuing our year-on-year success in the awards, 2017 saw another two graphic design students gaining accreditation in the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD) student awards.

    Read the full story

 

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.

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.

Iteration

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.

The Thinking Eye

This module asks you to consider issues and theories around graphic design. Semiotics and ethics are debated and explored. You select a topic and do further research to inform a practical piece of work.

 

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

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.

Entry requirements

A typical offer is 32-88 tariff points from any combination of recognised Level 3 qualifications or equivalent.

Offers are made on the basis of your UCAS application, portfolio of work and interview for selected applicants.

Interviews
Applicants are normally invited for interview and will be asked to submit a portfolio of work which will be reviewed during the interview. The interview is to determine each applicant’s potential to succeed and help set appropriate entry conditions matched to your personal circumstances and the demands of the course. The interview also enables you to see our excellent facilities, meet staff and students.

We encourage applicants to attend an interview, but if you are unable to attend we may consider your application based on your portfolio of work which you will be required to submit electronically.

English language and maths requirement
Entry to a degree programme requires you to have a good command of spoken and written English and numeracy skills. Normally GCSE English language and maths at grade C, or 4 under the new grading system. Key Skills Level 2 may be used in lieu of GCSE English and mathematics.
Non-EU international students who need a student visa to study in the UK should check our web pages on UKVI-compliant English language requirements. The University also provides pre-sessional English language courses if you do not meet the minimum English language requirement.

Alternative progression routes
If you are not eligible to join this course directly then we may be able to help you prepare for admission by studying appropriate pre-degree Summer University modules.
Please contact us to discuss the alternative progression routes available to you.

Unconditional offer scheme
You may be eligible for an unconditional place on this course if you already have at least five GCSEs at grade C or above (minimum 4 in the new grading scheme), including English language and mathematics, any combination of Level 3 qualifications and a good portfolio of work.

Please contact our admissions team to check your eligibility. 

Mature applicants
We welcome applications from mature students (aged over 21) who can demonstrate, through portfolio/written work and relevant experience, that they have developed cognitive and technical skills through their life experiences.

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

What is Unistats?

How to understand the Unistats data

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 4 years (including a foundation year)

More full-time details

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information