A challenging, critical, diverse programme to develop your individual ability to design and communicate visually across disciplines or within a specialist area.
Why study Graphic Communication?
It’s a space for active enquiry, challenging design preconceptions and defining the role of the designer in shaping the world in which we live.
Ratio of applications to places
No. of applicants (2011): 467
No. of places (2011): 83
National student survey results
Satisfaction with teaching for courses in this subject area (2011): 85%
Crossover teaching and interdisciplinary projects provide an energetic and flexible learning environment for creative collaboration, whilst specialist areas of study in graphic design, illustration and interactive design are also encouraged. You’ll be able to work across a range of media, explore and express your ideas through word, image, concept, media, narrative, text, taught by a team of full-time and visiting tutors, all active practitioners themselves. Sustainability and the environment are central to good design thinking and we explore them in relation to contemporary social and cultural contexts.
Teaching takes place through critiques, debates, tutorials, presentations, lectures, self-directed learning and peer review. We have excellent studio spaces and workshop facilities in specialist craft areas, such as letterpress, photography, silk screen, etching and lithography to complement state of the art digital resources.
In your first year you’ll be given a broad introduction to drawing, print making, photography, design methods, typography, moving image and digital media. You’ll be encouraged to think visually and analytically, learn to work as part of a team and independently. You’ll gain an awareness of the industry through a Professional Contexts module, and a contextual framework through a Historical and Critical Studies module.
As you move into Year 2 you can choose to focus on graphic design, illustration or interactive media, or keep an interdisciplinary approach. You might choose to spend a semester in Europe as part of the Erasmus exchange programme.
In your final year you’ll concentrate on independent, self-initiated projects and you’ll be encouraged to find connections between your studio practice and contextual studies (you can choose to give this component a double weighting). ‘Live’ briefs and placements provide experience of dealing with clients and production, preparing you for employment or further study.
Assessment is by exhibition, written papers and live presentations. There are no written exams.
Our approach is hands-on, ideas-based and socially engaged, with the emphasis on developing your individual ability.
The course encourages active, experiential learning and places emphasis on individual development and an increasing independence of thought and critical judgement. Design principles are introduced through a direct engagement with materials and processes.
The department has excellent studio spaces and workshop facilities in specialist craft areas, such as bookbinding, letterpress, photography, silkscreen, etching and lithography as well as specialist, state-of-the-art digital media areas.
The course can be studied on a part-time basis over a period of five years to Honours degree level. Part-time study usually consists of 12 hours per week attendance plus ten hours of independent study, amounting to 60% of the weekly requirement for full-time students.
Teaching quality excellence
Insight into professional practice
Recent visiting lecture programme speakers include: Barnaby Barford, Greg Burne (Big Active Agency), Damon Murray, Sheena Calvert, Neil Drabble, Paul Gorman, Paul Gravett, Kate Gibb, Keith Harrison, Alaistar Humphreys, James Jarvis, Henrik Kubel / 2-SWHK, Scott King, Jurg Lehni, Jeremy Leslie, Chris Long, Michael Marriot, OK-RM, Marcus Oakley, Stefi Orazi, Hans Dieter Reichert, Paul Sahre, Yuri Suzuki, Matthew Hodson, Matilda Saxow, Marcus, Walters, Nick White.
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.
Please contact our Admissions team (see above)
Satisfactory completion of A-levels and a Foundation Studies course in Art and Design or appropriate BTEC course.
A portfolio of art and design work.
Communication design; interactive media; illustration; publishing; art direction; advertising; broadcast graphics; photography; filmmaking or animation.
Freelance careers in any of the above.
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...
Graduate Profile: 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.