The future graphic designer is curious, empathetic, responsible, knowledgeable and technically adaptable. Coventry University’s Graphic Design BA (Hons) course challenges and guides you to become just that.
Graphic Design is a complex discipline that encapsulates a wide range of aims and outcomes. Through the use of visual language, graphic designers shape and challenge perceptions of the world around us. With this kind of power comes responsibility; designers don’t just make “pretty pictures.”
The course pushes you to become an independent designer with a conscience and boundless imagination. In doing so, you will be guided to explore your own passions, as well as adapt to changing briefs and diverse audiences. This is aligned with four key pillars that define the course’s ethos: experimentation, critical thinking, community and vocation. As such, the course favours creative freedom and exploration of mediums, techniques and technologies to visualise research-informed concepts and innovative design strategies within a supportive network of staff, students, alumni, clients and industry guests. On this course, you are not only guided towards the development of a strong portfolio of work, but also encouraged to proactively define and pursue own interests in alignment with your long-term goals.
Ranked among the 10 best universities in the country for ‘Design and Crafts’ in the Guardian University Guide 2019, our graphic design students are regular winners of reputable design competitions such as D&AD, YCN and the Penguin Student Design Awards. Our graduates have gone on to create award winning advertising campaigns for Silver Spoon and moving imagine work for The Mill, user interfaces for IBM, book covers for the The Hunger Games, campaign collateral for Lush, and even launch their own jewelry company as worn by Lily Allen, Slothai and Mini Swoosh.
Why Coventry University?
An award-winning university, we are committed to providing our students with the best possible experience. We continue to invest in both our facilities and our innovative approach to education. Our students benefit from industry-relevant teaching, and resources and support designed to help them succeed. These range from our modern library and computing facilities to dedicated careers advice and our impressive Students’ Union activities.
On this course, we teach within a framework that takes into account the multi-faceted roles a graphic designer might perform. Be it a storyteller, a problem solver or a persuasive strategist, the course allows you to explore these roles through a wide variety of projects along four main threads of inquiry: Narrative & Time, Systems & Information, Strategy & Direction and Personal Development Planning.
Cumulatively, these four branches of learning and their respective modules, make up the full course curriculum and celebrate the course’s key pillars: experimentation, community, vocation and critical thinking. Therefore, we’ll help you discover your individual style as you engage in creative play and begin defining your personal design identity; you’ll explore technologies and materials and get the chance to use a variety of digital and traditional making workshops to visualise your ideas; you’ll engage with industry through live client-led projects and through simulated projects, including competition briefs; and you will underpin your entire design journey in critical investigation of theories and research. In all modules, you are encouraged to explore lateral thinking, develop the capacity to advocate for your work and take risks in a safe environment.
Why choose this course?
The course prides itself on a holistic approach and exposes you to a wide range of design contexts and outputs. The course might therefore appeal to you regardless of whether you identify as a generalist or specialist:
Generalists: the course is an intensive exploration of today’s vast graphic design landscape. Guided by our modules and briefs, you’ll delve into branding, packaging, mapping, editorial design, font design, advertising campaigns, experimental work and design writing.
Specialists: the course is a fantastic springboard towards a more specialised trajectory, be that in post-graduate education or employment. By exploring a multitude of design outputs and contexts throughout the first two years, you’ll be encouraged to begin shaping and directing your focus towards your preferred personal areas of interest in the final year.
The course is not prescriptive, instead proposing lines of inquiry that enable you to become owners of your own learning. Typical graduate portfolios might therefore include branding, publicity, info-graphics, animations, publishing or web and app design in a range of technology and media, from a mix of inhouse assignments, self-initiated tasks, national / international competition opportunities (such as D&AD and YCN), live project briefs and possible input from courses in other Schools in the Faculty and beyond. You are actively encouraged to be imaginative, ambitious and resourceful to face the challenges of an unpredictable, demanding, globally competitive and technologically-driven world.
Teaching and Learning Ethos
The teaching and learning strategy on the course aims to instil principles around four key pillars:
Community – The course fosters a sense of belonging to a community of practice in all of aspects of teaching and assessment through: collaborative projects, international trips (previous destinations include Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen) and global studio visits (including PearlFisher, AKQA, Design Bridge, Kontrapunkt, Pentagram and JKR ) peer critiques, course exhibitions, and other initiatives. We’re keen on conversation and constructive exchanges between staff and students, and so you’ll be invited to drive parts of the curriculum and may write their own briefs and co-create learning materials.
Vocation – The course intends for all students to have positive graduate outcomes, be that through employment or entrepreneurship. You’ll be prepared for professional contexts through live briefs, exposure to competition briefs, industry speaker talks (past speakers include Craig Oldham, Anthony Burrill and Jonathan Barnbrook), studio visits, portfolio reviews, the annual Future Proof alumni conference, and specialised lectures and workshops on personal and professional promotion and action planning.
Experimentation – Expression, play and experiments are serious components on the course. Channeled through key modules, they allow students to explore materials, tools, processes and ideas of personal interest. The course is attuned to industry standards, but it does not aim to replicate the working world; instead, it provides a safe space for innovation and uninhibited creativity.
Critical Thinking – To be a world-leading designer means being a designer who is aware of the global impact of their work. To ensure that students are sensitive to the wider contexts in which their work might perform and the overall value of graphic design, the course guides students through research methods, critical thinking, design writing and critique. In a world of questionable news and misinformation, an informed, inquisitive designer can begin to make a change in local, national and global communities.
The course facilitates learning and production of innovative design solutions through access to specialised facilities including: PC and Mac suites running the latest industry standard software, traditional print-making and making workshops (etching, silk-screen printing, relief printing, woodwork, laser-cutting, 3D printing) as well as a generously stocked letterpress room. You’ll also be able to access specialised photographic material including photographic studios through the University’s renting scheme (Extracurricular workshops are subject to availability, application and additional costs). You will be encouraged to use our spaces and facilities to explore multiple materials, techniques and equipment, pushing the boundaries of visual communication. For example, you might design a brand-new font in Illustrator, make it in wood on the latest laser-cutter, print it on a 150-year-old hand-operated press, then scan it and animate it in After Effects.