BA single honours Graphic Design 2019/20

Year of entry

Clearing places available

Graphic design is deliciously diverse – it is used to inform and to influence, to entertain and to educate. Our Canterbury-based course is far from ordinary – we regard you as a designer from the moment you arrive at our purpose-built studios, and by the time you leave you will be expert in your field, equipped to succeed in a competitive industry.

There are no right answers. When you study Graphic Design there are no exams; there is only doing and making.

It is important to collaborate, to socialise and to be international in your approach. You can study abroad and we encourage and support you to put your learning into practice through extra-curricular placements with local design agencies, alumni and research-active staff. Our learning community includes previous graduates who love to share their post-university experience with you!

You will explore areas including:

You will start by gaining a thorough understanding of design principles, processes and history together with technical skills for print, web, image and motion graphic design creating portfolio pieces as you go. Our specialist staff assist you in developing your own expertise as you 'think through making' as you respond to themes such as interpretation, play, materials & processes, and provocation. You put your skills to use in the real world through live briefs and national competition briefs. To capitalise on your design work, you will learn business and entrepreneurial aspects of the industry from successful local designers.

92% of Graphic Design students were satisfied with the quality of their course

National Student Survey 2019

Graphic Design is the best job in the world. Not only do you get to be paid for being creative you also use your brain to influence human behaviour and action through visual and sensorial, communication. Good designers are in demand and provided you have the necessary skills, talents and determination you will always be able to find work. Added to that, no two days are the same. At CCCU from day one we regard you as a designer with thoughts and opinions as you develop a portfolio of work moving seamlessly from analogue to screens and back again. 92% of students agree that staff teaching Graphic Design are good at explaining things. It is true – we love what we do, but we love what you do even more.

View an example of student work.

The emphasis of the course is on building creative confidence, technical skills and critical understanding. The programme is designed for those with an interest in graphic design but who may not necessarily have studied it in the past. You should be willing to take calculated risks and to step out of your comfort zone in the quest to produce thoughtful work.

Top reason to choose this course

  • From day one at CCCU we regard you as a designer with original thoughts and opinions and more than able to make a meaningful contribution in the world.
  • You can combine output formats, or specialise – screen, web, motion, print, analogue, sensory – the choice is yours.
  • You will develop a personality of resilience and a portfolio of brilliance in readiness for work.
  • You will engage in team-working in a learning community through collaborative projects with other students, and with staff.
  • You will undertake live briefs to broaden your client-facing skills and confidence.

“I’ve worked on a variety of different projects, such as a branding project for Pink Floyd, as they are leaving their record label and require a logo for it. Another notable large project was for Tottenham Hotspur, with two briefs: (1) for Europa League ticket sales and (2) their junior membership scheme awareness. Both the Spurs and Pink Floyd projects started with idea generation and concept meetings, then client meetings, designing and art working. I came away with a couple of portfolio pieces, a knowledge of how to work in a medium sized, but tight studio (35). Learning not only to work with other designers, but directors, copywriters, developers and artworks. And some massive clients to put on my CV. My overall experience was amazing. I got on well and friendly with everyone, and felt like I became a part of the studio. Able to have fun, but challenge myself”.

Tyler Ayers Graduated 2015

Year 1 is diagnostic. You undertake a range of research, analytical and technical design experiences in combination with principles of layout, coding, image, motion, colour and typography. Your tutors will encourage you to integrate practice and theory constantly. Year 2 challenges your capacity to respond to a series of themed briefs through a combination of ‘conceptual thinking’ and ‘thinking through making’. You will also set up your own design agency and undertake a competitive live brief set by a local design firm. In Year 3 you will learn business and entrepreneurial aspects of the industry from successful local designers as you produce a final major project and dissertation. This degree supports you in a range of design careers and future destinations, including progression into postgraduate study.

You can study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as part of, or alongside, your course.

more info

There is no compulsory work experience within the course but your will have plenty of opportunities to work on real projects for external clients and to enter national and international competitions. You are encouraged to build links specific to your own interest and many students use their contacts to bring work experience into their course through the use of live briefs and self­negotiated placements.

The programme also offers the opportunity for additional language and cultural training and the possibility of a year studying abroad at one of our international partner universities. There is abundant evidence that such international experience helps to improve academic performance, enhances employability and improves the pace of career progression (Universities UK International (2017).

The course taps the expertise of practitioners in related fields (illustration, printmaking, book binding) for one-off workshop sessions and uses a mentoring system with external design agencies to support the professional practice module.

Core modules

Year 1

Design Principles (20 credits)

As a backbone to studio practice you study the underlying principles of design, from figure-ground to Fibonacci, from colour to kerning, from storytelling to hierarchy. These principles come to your attention through the completion of two design briefs with built-in iteration and critique from fellow-students and external passers-by.

Design Fundamentals 1 (20 credits)

The production of original visual material making use of principles is vital to graphic design. In this module you will be introduced to designing for print and how graphic design conveys messages, meaning and information compositionally through the development of shape, structure, balance and hierarchy, and semantically through typography. Investigate and research through watching and walking, then create and communicate using professional image production software and associated processes and techniques (such as applications in the Adobe Creative Suite).

Design Fundamentals 2 (20 credits)

Every graphic designer needs to understand the limits and possibilities of designing for web. You will study the basic concepts of web design and production using industry standard tools and techniques. You will be introduced to a range of different technologies and practices that will give you an insight into how the web works and the different ways of producing material for it. At the same time exercise your brain with more theoretical concepts such as Web standards, Human Computer Interface (HCI), Accessibility and Usability.

Image (20 credits)

As a designer the capacity to generate your own visuals renders you highly valuable. In this module you will explore the production of images using a range of equipment and tools to fulfil design briefs. Initial sessions will cover a range of manual illustration styles and the equipment required to complete them and then move on to cover a range of digital and photographic technologies.

Moving Image (20 credits)

The smallest movement can command massive attention. As a designer possession of video and animation skills will impact on your design solutions.  You will be introduced to basic digital video production practical skills and produce short animations for web based distribution. In doing so you will explore the technical considerations of encoding, bandwidth and interaction. You will be encouraged to make experimental use of digital and analogue animation techniques with reference to other creative forms such as pixellation, stop­motion, paper­based and object animation.

Design History (20 credits)

Design is even more meaningful when it is understood in context. This module encourages you to situate design within the broader cultural, political, artistic and commercial contexts as you examine both past and contemporary practices and practitioners. Knowledge and understanding acquired through this module will directly inform your preparation and design development for the project modules. While this content is intended to support and underpin your practical project development, you are also expected to engage in essay writing and develop skills in research and the articulation of arguments through writing.

Year 2

Design Project: Materials and Processes (20 credits)

Materials and processes lie at the very heart of design; from the tactile qualities of screen­printing inks to the functionality of apps, the ways that paper can be folded and scored to the physical appearance of plaster. By understanding what materials are used for and capable of, you will also be able to present novel and challenging uses, enabling design innovation and the creation of unexpected solutions to briefs. This project is based upon recognition of the critical importance of materials and process (physical and data based), the very constituent materials that the designer must work with and use to solve problems. It forces you to critically assess materials for their utility and qualities, seeking new ways of applying them within the confines of a design brief.

Design Project: Interpretation and Translation (20 credits)

Translation is an indispensable tool, a means to convert information from one medium to another whilst retaining the message and its spirit. Interpretation here requires you to take a journey into the realm of hidden stories and little­known facts. Through exploration of how interpretation and translation can spark imagination and conjure the invisible you will produce memorable and meaningful experiences that educate, entertain, inspire and evoke. All designers must be comfortable in their ability to interpret and translate; from client to audience, from word to image, from miniature to giant. You will undertake two design briefs, a field trip and much experimentation linked by the ideas of design authorship.

Design Theory: User-Centered Design (20 credits)

This module further develops your understanding of the interconnectedness of theory and practice within graphic design, and in particular the critical importance of understanding the needs, demands and perspectives of audience and client. This module serves as a supportive perspective to the themes and complexities explored within the project modules (materials and processes, interpretation and translation, play and interaction, and intervention and provocation). In so doing Design Theory: User-Centred Design presents critical and often contradictory perspectives on these themes, through the exploration of exemplars and texts. This situates design within the broader cultural, political, artistic and commercial contexts, and exposes the competing discourses that a designer must be aware of, must navigate, and make use of.

Design Project: Intervention and Provocation (20 credits)

Design is active, it naturally calls for and brings about change. Thus the actions of the designer have weight, significance, and ultimately responsibility. This project recognises the critical importance of the design’s ability to call for and bring about change, and within it you will explore the ways that you can intervene and provoke reflection and change. In so doing the you will recognise that the designer is not simply a subordinate element of a commercial design process, but that design can be used for social good and bring about change. This project forces you to critically assess the messages and prevailing social context of design and designing, seeking ways of exploring and applying this within the confines of a design brief.

Graphic Design Agency (20 credits)

You set up your own design agency and then take on a brief from a local professional design company whose senior team act as your mentors for the duration of the module. You visit their studio, receive a brief and present in their boardroom. The best designers may be offered internships - this is great for your CV and for when you graduate. The whole experience is a rollercoaster ride of pain and pleasure. You will learn when to ask high-gain questions and when to be confident in your own design decisions. You will witness first-hand the pace at which the world of branding and marketing works. And in the real world feedback can be brutal. It’s OK; you’ve learned by now that it’s not personal, it’s about the work.

Year 3

Design Practice: Employability and Exhibition (20 credits)

You will learn skills of entrepreneurship and the business of design from practicing professionals. Our alumni love to come in to talk you through their transition from university to workplace. You will develop a complete portfolio of materials to enable you to apply for jobs within design, undertake a mock interview or work as a freelancer. External speakers will focus on design jobs within the creative sector and will provide you a useful contact network for future internships and work experience. A summary exhibition of student work is intended to ensure you realise the importance of presentation within a public arena in order to compete with other graduating designers.

Design Project: Simplicity and Complexity (20 credits)

Designers constantly negotiate the relationship between simplicity and complexity often encountering situations where design can only make incremental or temporary improvements. The worlds of infographics and data visualisation aid humans to rationalise, examine and interact with their surroundings. In addition to being a humbling and useful concept to engage with, simplicity and complexity also helps prepare you for the pitfalls and challenges within a Final Major Project that follows after this module. You will uncover the ways that design can respond to messy real­life contexts.

Graphic Design: Final Major Project (40 credits)

Now it is all over to you. You will be guided and supported as you undertake an individual research and design project. The Final Major Project is your chance to conceive, plan and create a major project under your own initiative but with tutorial support from subject specialist tutors – allowing you to learn from other practising graphic designers as you negotiate your project. Introductory sessions will examine a variety of projects and possible outcomes and workshops will demonstrate techniques for idea generation, planning, proposal writing, time­handling and waypoints. Your Final Major Project presents you with the opportunity to produce a substantive piece of work that represents the culmination of your understanding and ability in your chosen areas of creative practice.

Graphic Design: Dissertation (40 credits)

Your dissertation is an individual study that explores an idea and makes a case or argument. You will be supported in the completion of a proposal form indicating the proposed topic for study explaining how it sits within graphic design as a discipline, and mention any resources considered to be essential to collect data and to lead to its completion. You will be expected to produce a written individual study of approximately 8,000 words. A 200-word abstract at the beginning of the piece will summarise the topic, the approach adopted and the main conclusions. Your individual study can embrace any topic related to graphic design, either a further development of work explored earlier in the Programme or a new topic that sits within graphic design. You will be expected to indicate how the proposed dissertation intersects with graphic design as a discipline – this therefore allows you to propose emergent and novel dissertation subjects but ensures that you remain focused upon and within graphic design as a discipline.

Optional module

Year 2

Design Project: Play and Interaction (20 credits)

Play is how we engage our human brains to develop novel ideas and solutions. How do we design for play? How can design seek to evoke a sense of enjoyable? How we play and interact with design becomes paramount to understanding the user experience and engagement. All designers must be comfortable in their ability to explore notion of play and interaction; you will make and also learn how to critically analyse users’ needs and define user experience through systematic research principles, play and interaction methods

Global Experience in Media, Art and Design (20 credits)

This module offers you the opportunity to receive additional language and cultural training in preparation for a year studying abroad at one of our international partner universities, between the second and third year of study. There is abundant evidence that such international experience helps improve academic performance, enhances employability and bolsters the pace of career progression (Universities UK International (2017) Gone International - Mobility Works).

Graphic design is a creative professional discipline that remains in strong demand, due to the ways that its underpinning principles inform almost all visual communication. Graduates from the course have moved into a range of creative careers, including working as graphic designers either salaried within design agencies or on a freelance basis.

Our interdisciplinary ethos and approach assists graduates in working not only in prescribed work roles such as graphic designers, graphic artists and artworkers, but in working across the range of creative industries including graphic design, influencing, marketing, social media, web design and beyond.

Many students also continue on to further study, such as postgraduate courses in graphic design or related creative disciplines both at Canterbury Christ Church University and at other institutions.

“I chose CCCU because I was very warmly welcomed when I got in contact for information about the university. I found in my time in CCCU that people are very keen to socialise with you and are interested in learning about your background. My biggest fear was the cultural difference I would have to face but it was easy to settle in.”

Simran Vohra (Year 2 Graphic Design student)

Recent graduate destinations include:

Rachel Hancock (2014) Art Director at Realia Marketing

Danny Branscombe (2014) Freelance illustrator, expressive cartographer, graphic designer, welder, sculptor, portrait artist

Luke Sutton (2014) Creative Director at LEAP Marketing & Brand Development

Alana Handford (2014) Digital Designer at The Simply Group

Rahul Patel (2014) Fashion/Brand Influencer at OfficialRahulPatel

Nik Suchak (2015) Director at Anabasis Media

Richard Harrison (2015) Graphic Designer at Trio Offset

Becky Upson (2016) Graphic Designer at ASAP UK

Leisa Randall (2016) Graphic Designer at N-Fuze Design Ltd

Tyler Ayers (2015 and 2017) Junior Graphic Designer at Truth

Aaron Kelly (2017) Web & Digital Designer at Warp Design Agency

Jack Baker (2017) Creative Designer at Hayward Design & Print

Samantha Law (2017) Graphic Design Intern at Royal Albatross

Kieran Walker (2017) Junior Web Designer at Smart Domain Group

Rebecca Glendinning (2017) Freelance Illustrator & CCCU Masters student in Graphic Design

Lisa Sloan (2013) Lecturer in Art & Design at Peterborough Regional College

"I decided to take the graphic design course at Christ Church because you could tell from past students work, and when speaking with them in person, how much they had all learnt whilst on the course. Not only in a sense of gaining skills that you take with you into the working industry, but also allowing you to engage with your personal creativity, and learn from that too. The main thing you realise when being at Christ Church is how relaxed it can be. Although lectures can be in smaller groups, it gives you the best interaction with you tutors, which I personally think made the course even more enjoyable. Since leaving the course, I have worked as a freelancer and at two design agencies. Currently I am Art Director at Realia Marketing, and work alongside the Creative Director in producing all artwork for our clients’ needs."

Rachel Hancock Art Director at Realia Marketing


The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time £9,250 £11,900
Part-time £4,625 N/A

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

Please read the 2019/20 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2019/20 tuition fees and year on year fee increases.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.


The teaching on each module will usually include a combination of interactive workshops, lectures, seminars, individual tutorials, demonstrations, and exercises, though the balance between these elements will vary depending on the specific module content (such as the different balance between theory and practical delivery in a modules).

This variety of approaches is designed to cater to your needs, as you might learn best from hands-on workshops and reflection, while other students learn well from listening to a lecture, independent reading, or from in-class discussion. You will then be asked to apply the skills you have acquired, often in the form of a practical task that becomes increasingly complex, and offers greater latitude for interpretation and individualisation as the Programme progresses.

Further teaching takes place using the many of the computer-based systems relevant to the contemporary creative practitioner.

You will use industry-standard software, notably the Adobe Creative Suite, for much of your digital work. You will have access to specialist facilities such as screen printing, oversize print services, laser cutting and 3D printing throughout your course.

Independent learning

When not attending workshops, lectures, seminars or other timetabled sessions you will continue learning through self-study. Typically, this involves working on practical design projects and sketchbooks, undertaking visual research, reading creative journal articles and books, doing research in the library, and preparing for in-class discussions. Your module tutor will direct you towards specific readings and/or activities to complete before class.

For the essays in Years 1 and 2 and the dissertation in Year 3 you will undertake independent research under the supervision of a member of the course team who you will meet regularly.

Overall workload

Your weekly workload will typically include 12 contact hours and 24 hours of independent learning and assessment preparation. For each 20-credit module your study time is about 12 hours a week. In addition there are a number of field trips. 

Academic input

The BA (Hons) Graphic Design team are professional academics and practitioners with an impressive track record of nationally and internationally acclaimed research publications and creative practice. This research experience feeds into our undergraduate teaching, especially in Year 3 when projects can be shaped according to the research interests of the students taking part.

Graphic Design is assessed mostly through practical submission that comprise final design work and supporting documentation for each practical module. There is one essay-based module in each year. Each module contains several opportunities for “crits” in which you receive critical feedback on your work from your tutors and peers.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

Portfolio­based practical submission and essays will typically be used to assess the Graphic Design course. You will be responding to a number of creative briefs that enable you to propose and develop solutions using the skills, approaches and disciplines that you deem appropriate. You are assessed against module-specific Learning Outcomes. There are no exams.

Year 1

  • 80% practical coursework
  • 20% written coursework

Year 2

  • 80% practical coursework
  • 20% written coursework

Year 3

  • 80% practical coursework
  • 20% written coursework


You will receive formative feedback on all practice assessments and summative feedback on end of module assessment hand-ins. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor. We aim to provide you with feedback within 15 working days of hand-in.

Our specialist facilities and equipment include Mac computer labs; an open­access student design space; a screen printing studio offering the chance to print posters, designs and T­shirts; a  gallery space; large format digital printing equipment; 3D printing equipment; a laser cutter; photographic studios and darkrooms; and a range of bookable equipment, from Wacom tablets to Go-Pro video cameras.

Graphic Design is located in our new Daphne Oram creative arts building on our Canterbury campus. The building will have bespoke learning spaces for our art and design students and will be equipped with the latest technology.

We work with a range of design companies and other industry partners as the initiators of live client briefs. In recent years these have included Finally Agency, John Baxter (Parisian author and literary walking tour guide), Broadstairs Folk Festival, Saga Holidays, Greyhound Board of Great Britain, Sea Green Art and The Canterbury Society.

Other industry links are made through the professional practice modules. Some of our recent graduates, including ones from Realia Marketing, Purple Cow, The Rye Agency and Anabasis Media, have talked about their transition from college to work; and professional graphic designers from firms such as Design Map, Mary Claire Smith Illustration and Accenture UX have given guest presentations about their work.


Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Part-time study

Apply directly to us


Full-time study

Need some help?


For advice on completing your application please contact the Course Enquiry Team:

Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000 (0)1227 928000


Contact our International Team

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • W210 Graphic Design

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 3 years full-time

    6 years part-time


  • September 2019

Entry requirements

  • A typical offer would be 88-112 UCAS Tariff points

    Applicants have the opportunity to demonstrate their suitability for the chosen programme through the presentation of a portfolio of relevant practical work.

    More entry requirement details.



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Last edited: 12/08/2019 16:16:00