2022 JANUARY | MA Digital Design

Overview

The future of the design industry lies in advancing technology and emerging digital techniques. Whether your creative specialism lies in media, products, interiors, exhibitions, fashion or branding and marketing, on this course you will explore and embrace digital and design related technologies in your field.

You can specialise in technologies such as user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design, mobile app design, e-learning, virtual and augmented reality, 2D and 3D animation, 3D digital printing, digital display and projection design, visual and special effects for TV and film, interactive kiosk and installation design, wearable devices and smart clothing. The course is designed for students with a good working knowledge of multimedia software tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator Flash, Dreamweaver and After Effects, and 3D software such as Autodesk MAYA or 3DMax, providing an opportunity to develop these technical skills to an advanced level.

You will examine the practical skills and the academic theories surrounding digital design methods. We will take you all the way from concept development and prototyping to production techniques and testing. In-depth insight into each stage of the creative production process will be supported by training in project management. This broad base of specialised skills will equip you for wide-ranging creative careers as digital designers, web and app developers, and multimedia production directors, while the understanding you will build of business planning and web presence management will teach you the key skills needed to launch a freelance career.

With us, you will gain real-world experience through live design projects, with the opportunity to collaborate with students from other disciplines. Through your major project (either creative practice based or research focused) you will have the freedom to draw on your learning and respond creatively to your chosen specialism.

Throughout the course we will empower and support you to challenge conventions, experiment boldly, and take risks. Prepare to embrace new ways of thinking and innovative approaches to contemporary design challenges, with a sophisticated suite of devices and industry software and hardware  for you to realise your creative visions.

Key features

  • Expand your horizons by exploring your chosen area of design from a digital perspective, giving you specialist skills in demand by the industry.
  • Join a community that is working together to co-design new ways of thinking to redefine the future of creative practice.
  • We will prepare you to enter the creative industries at a high level of responsibility or to start your own business as a creative entrepreneur.
  • You will be exposed to the latest digital technologies with opportunities to work on live research and commercial projects for companies such as Caterpillar and Sainsbury’s.
  • The award-winning Vijay Patel Building provides both the space to foster creative thinking as well as top-class facilities, with a suite of devices and industry software and hardware for app development.
  • You will learn from an expert teaching team, who are all active in their own field, and benefit from the insights of visiting lecturers involved in world-class research.

Course modules

Modules

Term one

Research Methods (Compulsory)
Teaches you a range of conceptual and practical research skills, such as questionnaire design and interview techniques. As part of this module, you will formulate your major project proposal, specifying your aims, objectives, research methods and expected outcomes. You will also learn how to undertake the literature review for your major project.

Creative Digital Media Design
Looks at the need for critical appraisal of current digital media technologies. You will investigate related creative and management processes and production techniques in a professional context. Alongside live design projects, you will examine advances in technology, project management, digital design method theories, concept development, prototyping and production techniques as well as design and application testing

Creative Design Studio
Explores the multidisciplinary nature of design allowing you to work on multimedia design projects with students from other disciplines. It also provides you with the opportunity to develop your own professional practice skills and conduct design exploration and experimentation related to your Major Project

Term two

Action Research Laboratory
Enables you to develop your major project design work while exploring creative and innovative design and research methods. You will produce a specification report (based on primary research) and a portfolio of investigative design development work that shows an individual creative response

You can then choose two modules from the following:

Managing Business Web Presence
Teaches you how to critically appraise website designs, social media activity and wider networking channels while learning about creative production and management processes. You will learn how best to evaluate the role of website design in business, marketing and the creative industries, while examining advances in web architecture, technology, interface and management.

Business Planning for the Creative Entrepreneur
Develops your business knowledge and planning skills enabling you to identify the potential for a new product or service. You will study the key issues in starting a business and covers topics such as business plans, leadership, investment and risk management.

Museum and Exhibition Design*
Examines innovative designs and strategies specifically for museums and exhibitions. It focuses on display, interpretation, conservation, marketing, management and funding, cultural identity, heritage, inclusive design, sustainability, education and audience.

Service Design
Examines the role of design in the service industries. You will pay particular attention to ethical, political, social and ecological concerns, all of which require approaches that focus on design and the designers’ role in maintaining sustainability.

Design for Retail*
Covers all aspects of in-store retail design, including product, environment, technology, communication and service. You will also examine brand perception, buyer behaviour and engagement with the retail experience.

Technology for Design*
Provides a platform for designers from various fields to explore a range technology and potentially help to advance their knowledge and practice in this area. This module recognises that digital technology and the development of new equipment, materials, artefacts and devices are all growing exponentially

Term three

Major project – Design Outcome and Reflective Report or Design Concept and Dissertation or Work-Based/Live-Project
This module will allow you to complete your Digital Design Major Project. You can either do a detailed design plus a short reflective report or just a design concept but with a significantly longer written dissertation.


Teaching and assessments

Overview

Assessment is primarily through design presentations supported by written work. In term one, you can also take part in the RSA Student Design Awards.

Contact hours

In your first two terms you will normally attend around 12 hours of timetabled taught sessions including lectures, tutorials and workshop and studio sessions each week, and be expected to undertake at least 23 hours of independent study each week. Your third term will be pre-dominantly self-directed (including meetings with your supervisor), during which you can expect to undertake 35 hours of independent study each week

Part-time study is normally undertaken on a half-time basis.


Facilities and features


Art and design facilities

Our award-winning Vijay Patel building has been designed to provide the space and facilities where all of our art and design students can develop their ideas and flourish.

The creative industries require imaginative graduates who can develop new ideas and products. Students use our sophisticated and contemporary workshops, labs and studios to experiment and test in the same way they will in industry, while the open and transparent spaces in the building encourage collaboration between disciplines. In doing so, the building prepares students for industry and helps develop them as future leaders in their respective fields.

Take a look at our stunning showcase of the building at dmu.ac.uk/aad.

Library and learning zones

On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available.

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose.

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including Blackboard, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub.

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.

More flexible ways to learn

We offer an equitable and inclusive approach to learning and teaching for all our students. Known as the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), our teaching approach has been recognised as sector leading. UDL means we offer a wide variety of support, facilities and technology to all students, including those with disabilities and specific learning differences.

Just one of the ways we do this is by using ‘DMU Replay’ – a technology providing all students with anytime access to audio and/or visual material of lectures. This means students can revise taught material in a way that suits them best, whether it’s replaying a recording of a class or adapting written material shared in class using specialist software.


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