Graphic Communication

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How to Apply

Apply on UCAS's site

This broad, practice based course encourages hands-on, ideas based, socially engaged design.

  • Well established course with an excellent reputation and employment record
  • Emphasis on understanding and challenging design conventions
  • Carefully structured modules taught by supportive, experienced staff

“The determination and passion that the students have at Bath Spa University is inspiring, it is such a rewarding and positive environment to study within.”
– Jordan Wright, Graphic Communications student

Why study Graphic Communication?

Graphic Communication at Bath Spa University covers typography and image making, including illustration across print, screen and interactive media. You’ll be taught by a team of full­ time and visiting tutors, who are design specialists and graphic communication practitioners. Highly regarded national and international designers and illustrators are invited to share their experience through our course­ specific lecture series.

Our workshop facilities in specialist craft areas, such as letterpress, photography, screen­printing, etching and lithography are excellent, and complement our digital resources. Studio modules are supported by professional practice and critical and historical studies modules.

Course structure

We teach you the critical, technical and aesthetic skills necessary to become a professional graphic communicator: designer, typographer, illustrator, or image­maker. You’ll discover the varied and complex nature of design practice.

You’ll graduate as a strategic thinker, innovator and maker, having produced creative and challenging outcomes across a range of media or within your chosen specialist area.

Modules

  • Year 1
    You’ll study carefully structured studio modules examining the core aspects of graphic communication, typography and image. You’ll learn to conceptualise, produce and critique type and images. Attending specialist workshops will help you develop practical skills.
    Workshops include: drawing, screen­printing, letterpress, etching and lithography, photography (analogue and digital), motion graphics, and animation (analogue and digital). You’ll gain an awareness of the industry through a Professional Contexts module, and a contextual framework through a Historical and Critical Studies module.
  • Year 2
    You’ll explore interactive media in the context of type and image. You can choose to focus on graphic design, illustration or interactive media, or keep an interdisciplinary approach. A Professional Context module will help you consider and develop your professional identity as a practitioner and your Historical and Critical Studies module will prepare you for your dissertation.
  • Year 3
    You’ll produce of a series of portfolio projects. Live briefs provide experience of dealing with clients and real production problems and solutions. Portfolio clinics conducted by professional designers help you consider and prepare your portfolio before graduation, and career workshops help you get ready for career networking, opportunity finding or further advanced study.

Course assessment

You’ll be assessed in two ways, firstly during your studio modules there’ll be critiques, advice and commentary from your tutor or peers about your work (formative assessment). Secondly after you present your research and you final design outcomes you’ll receive from your tutor written feedback with a mark (summative feedback).

Study Abroad

You can choose to apply to study abroad on a placement for one semester during your second year at a European university as part of the Erasmus program. Our course is linked with Universities in Lucerne and Leipzig. We have students study at Non-European exchange programmes Japan, Australia and the USA. We also have links in China.

Field trips

We offer an international study trip to first and second year students. Past destinations have included: New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas, Cuba, Iceland, Amsterdam, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Morocco, and Beijing. You’ll have a chance to meet and talk with internationally acclaimed designers, illustrators, design writers and curators in their studios.

There are also visits to museums and galleries. Additionally each year will have a nationally based study day trip, typically to London, to review key exhibitions.

Work placements, industry links and internships

We have good industry links. These include a final year personal portfolio review session, where you’ll benefit from real industry advice on your portfolio and presentation techniques from established practicing designers and illustrators.

Competitions/awards

We encourage our students to participate in design competitions and our third year students must develop one competition brief as part of a final year portfolio. Past students have had success with D&AD New blood as well as other national competitions.

Each year final year students can be nominated for sponsored awards: The Ripe Prize for Graphic Communication Project of the Year; and The Emtone Prize for Outstanding Graphic Communication Student of the Year.

Teaching methods

You’ll learn through a variety of methods including: directed technical workshops; lectures; small group seminars; and, most frequently, through the practice of making in specialist tutor led studio sessions. Working in studio sized groups with a dedicated specialist tutor, you’ll develop typography, image making and illustration skills. By responding to set design problems and participating in the frequent studio critiques with tutors and peers, you’ll develop strong critical and reflective abilities.

Self directed learning is facilitated through materials on Minerva – Bath Spa University’s VLE – and other web based resources. You’ll also have access to our specialist art and design library.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

Please contact our Admissions team (see above)

Typical offer range for UK / EU applicants

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - Grades BCC including Grade B in Art & Design or Graphics or related subjects preferred.
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma grades Merit, Merit. Merit (MMM) in a related subject in addition to other qualifications or evidence of experience in Art.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum of 27 points will be required in addition to a HL Art subject at grade 6 and evidence of further experience in Art & Design.
  • Access to HE courses - Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher) in addition to evidence of further experience in Art & Design.

We recommend that applicants undertake a pre-degree foundation diploma in Art and Design in addition to the above qualifications. Applicants will be considered without this.

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Applicants who meet the entry criteria will be invited to bring a portfolio of creative work to interview at our Sion Hill Campus. More details will be supplied by email to those invited.

Career opportunities

List of current alumni careers

Our graduates become graphic designers, art directors, illustrators, animators, interactive media designers. They work across the full range of creative media industry including advertising, motion graphics, photography, and digital and print publishing.

Postgraduate study at Bath Spa or elsewhere (students have gone on to postgraduate study at the Royal College of Art and Central St Martin's School of Art and Design).

Since 2010, employers such as Dyson Design. Liberty London, Wallpaper Magazine, Alexander McQueen, iPrinciples and many graphic design companies have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Executive Publisher, Graphic Designer, Visual Merchandiser, Illustrator, Graphic Web Designer, Embosser and Engraver and Editor.

What students say...

Jordan Wright, Year 3:

“I knew straight away that I wanted to study at Bath Spa University after attending the open day. Since studying at Bath Spa University many choices, opportunities and experiences have become available to me. The most outstanding opportunity that I cannot thank the university enough for was setting up my international study experience, to a university in Japan I studied at for 4 months. 

The determination and passion that the students have at Bath Spa University is inspiring, it is such a rewarding and positive environment to study within. 

Now that I am in my final year, I am preparing a professional portfolio to take with me when applying for design jobs after graduation. My three years at Bath Spa have gone so fast, but I am very excited to take all the knowledge and skills I have learnt on with me into a career.”

Fleur Isbell, graduated 2011:

“I owe a huge thank you to Bath Spa! If it wasn’t for the encouragement of my tutors, technicians and the facilities at my disposal I doubt if I would have been able to obtain the skills and confidence needed to gain a top job as a junior designer at Wolff Olins. The best thing about the course was the pursuit of great ideas, and problem solving through experimentation. It enabled me to push beyond the boundaries though experimentation with different techniques and ideas. I loved the craft-based facilities, for instance the letterpress room, and photographic dark room which gave me the environment to explore hands-on. The course also taught me to design appropriate solutions; to realise researching other designers, artists and theorists is absolutely key.”

Student Commissions and Awards:

  • Bath International Festival, Fringe programme and publicity;
  • Scriptographic Publications, Corporate Identity and information literature;
  • Bath Film Festival, Corporate Identity, programme and advertising;
  • MA Creative Writing (BSU), Ten Year Anthology book design;
  • Shortlisted nomination for Nationwide Mercury Music Prize 2006;
  • D&AD Student Awards Typography category: second prize;
  • D&AD student award winner;
  • Nomination for Shine Awards, magazine design.