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Develop an innovative approach to typographic communication on this practise-based MA. Collaborate with other students and professional designers to challenge preconceived ideas and further your professional practice.
- Join a course that scored 100% for overall satisfaction in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2019
- Access all of Cambridge School of Art’s facilities, including letterpress, screenprinting and 3D workshops, with full training provided.
- Take part in activities to further your career, including Type Thursday, Letter Exchange lectures, and other events at St Bride Foundation and The Artworkers’ Guild.
- Get advice and support from our expert practising artists, as well as guest lecturers and other visiting professionals.
- Join a truly International course with students from all over the world, including language support and ARU’s international merit scholarship.
- Benefit from ARU’s student offers, with free access to Lynda training and discounts on Adobe Cloud.
Our MA Graphic Design and Typography is a student-centred, practice-led course that will allow you to experiment with diverse and innovative techniques, advancing your typographic practice to postgraduate level.
Whether you are an established professional designer or a new graduate, or have come to graphic design via a different professional route, you will receive the training you need to develop your understanding of the business and social contexts of graphic communication as well as your practice.
At the end of the course, you will use all the skills you have developed to research and complete a final visual project relating to your own specialisms.
Your studies will be supported by a team of expert, practising professionals, including Course Leader Will Hill (author of The Complete Typographer), David Jury (author of Reinventing Print: Technology and Craft in Typography and About Face: Reviving the Rules of Typography) and Nick Jeeves (a graphic designer who has worked for Saatchi & Saatchi, Hatfield House, and the UK Film Council, among others).
Our small class sizes will ensure you always feel supported on a personal level, and allow you to forge close relationships with fellow students. You will also have the chance to work with students from other courses.
We use many online resources to complement your studies and keep you up to date with the field of typography, type design and graphic communication. These include a Learning Management System, WordPress blogs and a Facebook group, through which we share content and news from our international network of contacts.
Throughout the course, you will have opportunities to learn from external practitioners at events including guest lectures and employability workshops. Our past speakers have included typeface designer Jeremy Tankard, poster designer and multimedia specialist Marian Oslislo and typographer Tomasz Bierkowski.
You will also attend Type Thursday and other industry events such as Letter Exchange lectures at the The Artworkers’ Guild, where you can network with professionals and get your work seen.
Our Master’s course will equip you for professional employment or self-employment in graphic design and design consultancy, as well as related fields like brand development, art-editorial design, publishing, typography/typesetting, advertising, and media design.
It will also give you a basis for a teaching career, or to continue on to a research degree, such as our PhD Graphic Design and Typography.
As well as attending industry events and employability workshops, you may also get the chance to work on a live brief set by a local company. Our past students have created work for Cambridge Junction, The David Parr House and Marshall Aerospace.
As an ARU student, you can compete for funding to establish your own projects through The Big Pitch and the Andy Wilson bursary.
MODULES & ASSESSMENT
Making MethodsThis module will introduce you to a range of core research methods in the creative and visual arts, and examines the implications of considering practice as research within art and design disciplines. You will explore the interaction of critical theory and studio practice within art and design, and the relationships between scholarship, reflective analysis and creative impulse. You will also address the distinctive character of research in the visual arts, and consider the concepts of practice-based research and practice-led research through a range of exemplars from different art and design disciplines. You will examine a range of different research approaches within the visual arts and across the broader field of the arts, humanities and sciences. This wide-ranging enquiry is designed to assist and inform your conception, development and documentation of creative projects, and to provide a ‘toolkit’ of research methods for both your practice and critical work.
Visual TextThrough self-directed visual projects you will explore the relationships between text and image, words, authorship and the artist’s voice. In lectures and seminars you will look at the role of text and typographic identity in the generation of meaning, and text and image relationships. Ultimately you will be expected to propose and resolve a self-contained project or projects. A large proportion of the teaching and learning activities will be focused around the development and resolution of individual student research projects, with group critiques and tutorials centred on developing visual practice. You will also be expected to take part in self-directed study and the ongoing development of visual work on a weekly basis outside of taught sessions. You will be assessed by a portfolio comprising a written project proposal, developmental and final visual work, with a 500-word reflective commentary.
Typographic EnquiryYou will study typography as a fundamental element of graphic design, and consider current developments in type use and typeface design in relation to a range of professional and speculative contexts. You will explore these through detailed investigation of type on the page and the screen, and through the experimental design of custom typefaces. The module will take a content-driven approach which will allow you to address the topic from a semantic and interpretative viewpoint. In seminars and lectures you will consider the relationship between written content and its typographic expression from different perspectives across a range of contexts, from the established disciplines of information design to the innovative use of typographic structure and typographic form in managing issues of complexity and ambiguity.
Master’s Dissertation Art and DesignThis module forms the major written element of the MA programme. On it, you will be invited to choose a topic related to your area of study, as the basis for a research essay of up to 6,000 words. The essay should demonstrate an awareness of current critical debate in the subject, through appropriate reference to relevant examples both from visual practice and critical writing. Your subjects may be thematic and issue-based, or may focus upon the critical analysis of a particular body of work. It is expected that you will use the module to investigate the use of critical writing as an aspect of your own creative development, by investigating issues and preoccupations for which you feel a particular affinity or concern, and that you will use the dissertation as an instrument of enquiry into the debates, conventions and values which define your own field of practice. In group tutorials you will explore the use of different modes of critical method and conventions of art and design research, and the production of critical writing as an aspect of an individual’s creative and professional practice.
Master’s Project: Art and DesignThe Masters Project represents the culmination of your learning on the programme, giving you the opportunity to develop and resolve a major area of enquiry. This is a self-directed visual project negotiated with the staff team and peers. You’ll need to negotiate, manage, co-ordinate and bring to successful conclusion a complex, practice-based project within your field of art, media or design. You’ll start by formally presenting your research proposal to staff and peers, and will be expected to build on your previous modules to identify a complex area for investigation and enquiry, as well as research methods appropriate to the project. Following negotiation with staff, peers and, where appropriate, outside agencies, you’ll then submit a written research proposal. Your project may involve external engagement alongside a personal exploration of themes and concepts in your specialist field. You’ll need to show your ability to innovate, think strategically and be sensitive to changing cultural and social climates. You’ll be assessed by portfolio (a body of work comprising a written project proposal, and developmental and final visual work) and a 1200-word reflective commentary. This commentary will specifically outline the methodological and ethical considerations relevant to your portfolio work, and evaluate your final visual work.
Visual Research PracticesOn this module you will explore the role of visual practices as research methods. You will explore and document the ways in which practice informs the development of method, and the manner in which experimentation within your practice is used to test propositions, verify findings, and demonstrate these through your outcomes. These ideas form the main precepts of practice-based research, and will be explored through a self-proposed project developed in consultation with your tutor. The module provides a context within which to explore the ways in which the processes associated with your practice, serve as tools of investigation and analysis. In the course of the module you will identify the key research questions implicit in visual projects, develop strategies and experimental methods for addressing these questions, and contextualise these methods in relation to precedent within your discipline. This will also enable you to locate your method within the wider context of research methodology addressed in the companion module Making Methods. During the development of your project you will investigate and critique your method to ensure that it is appropriate to the investigation of your question and to the expression of your findings. You will review the ways in which practice shapes and refines experimental method, and the analysis of experimental findings informs successive phases of the practical outcome. According to the context of the project and the nature of your practice, this may involve different considerations of audience, purpose and impact, as well as reference to a variety of sources and precedents. You will be assessed through the body of visual coursework, a research logbook kept during the development process, and an evaluative commentary of 500 words reflecting on the work after completion.
You will demonstrate your progress through a combination of portfolio work, evaluative commentaries, blog participation, group critiques, one-to-one tutorials, presentations, log books and analytical reports, and a 6000-word research essay.