With a flexible curriculum to accommodate your creative ambitions, this course will prepare you to take a critical position and forge a successful career in the globalised creative world. The key business skills that you will gain – project management, marketing, website design, branding and business planning – make this course the ideal platform for creative entrepreneurs to launch their own design businesses and consultancies, or for those who hope to take up senior roles in design strategy or brand management. The course is designed for students with a good working knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite applications, such as Photoshop, Acrobat and InDesign, and will develop these technical skills to an advanced level.
You will select a specialist area of study from diverse options, ranging from retail, museum and exhibition, and product design, to interior, footwear, visual communication, and design innovation. Learn to devise creative solutions to complex issues surrounding sustainability and explore the role of design and innovation as a driver for change.
The opportunity to work on live projects will enhance your professional portfolio, and you will complete an individual major project (either creative practice based or research focused) which runs throughout the course, drawing on the professional expertise and specialist knowledge of our academics.
Throughout the course we will empower you to experiment boldly and support you to take risks. You will be encouraged challenge conventions and develop innovative approaches to tackling contemporary design challenges, with the cutting-edge facilities for you to refine your talents and realise your creative visions.
- Specialise in varied design areas, from retail, museum and exhibition, and product design, to interior, footwear, visual communication, and design innovation.
- With a year-long creative major project, you can tailor your course to develop your personal interests and support your career aspirations, or establish the design concept for your own business.
- Gain expert knowledge from visiting guest lecturers and have the opportunity to work on real-world live projects set by professionals from industry, museum, charity and arts organisations.
- Join a community that is working together to co-design new ways of thinking to redefine the future of creative practice.
- With an optional year-long work placement you can gain valuable experience to further enhance your practical and professional skills.
- 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 School of Design’s close-knit community of postgraduate students and staff creates a supportive learning environment for design students from around the world.
Term one core modules
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 Design Studio
Introduces you to the overarching design process. You will study design method theories, advances in technology, concept development, prototyping techniques, design testing and user-centred (or inclusive) design. The module will see you developing project management skills and investigating ethical and environmental design issues. As part of a multidisciplinary team, you will also work on live design projects.
Term one optional modules
Marketing for the Creative Entrepreneur*
Examines the key marketing and corporate strategy issues that affect a designer. You will develop your own marketing strategy and carry out an analysis of the competitive environment.
Creative Digital Media
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.
Design as a Strategic Business Tool
Looks at how design itself can be the driving force behind the strategic management and development of digital design and creative businesses. You will audit the use of design, design management and design thinking in the creative industries and business.
Design, Innovation and Sustainability
This module takes an integrated approach to the complex issues surrounding sustainability and the role of design and innovation as a driver for change
Term two core modules
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.
Term two optional modules
Global Markets: Designing businesses for international growth
Examines the key issues involved in developing new international markets and the role of the design manager and entrepreneur in enabling design and creative businesses to compete effectively in the global economy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Major Project: Design Concept (Optional)
This module enables you to develop your major project to a further stage of design concept, supported by a report/dissertation of 15,000 words. This report is based on the literature research, primary market research, design development, marketing strategy and theory concepts developed through previous modules.
Major Project: Dissertation (Optional)
The module allows you to develop a more detailed dissertation of 20-23,000 words for research focused major projects.
Teaching and assessments
You will benefit from visiting lecturers who specialise in exhibition design, museum curation, retail design, sustainable design, business planning and creative digital design. At the same time, a range of industry, museum, charity, and arts organisation representatives regularly present and coordinate live projects.
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.