BA single honours Graphic Design with FOundation Year 2018/19

Year of entry

Clearing places available

A number of our degrees are also offered with an additional foundation year (Year 0). Whether you are a school-leaver or someone considering returning to study but don’t have the entry requirements for your chosen subject, a foundation year course may be just what you’re looking for.

A foundation year is the first year of a four year programme which:

  • provides an introduction not only to study at University but also to your chosen subject
  • offers you a highly supportive environment where you can develop the self-confidence, knowledge, skills and understanding for further study.

Following the Foundation Year you will explore areas including:

  • branding
  • typography
  • editorial design
  • moving image
  • designing for the web
Great news!

We’re building a new £12m arts facility on our main campus in Canterbury, equipped with the latest technology and bespoke learning spaces for our arts and humanities students. We’re planning to open the arts building in the academic year 2018/19.

Find out more about these specialist facilities in our video.

100% of Graphic Design students were satisfied with the quality of their course

National Student Survey 2016

You will learn the foundations of good graphic design through workshops, demonstrations, practical tasks and collaborative working in a supportive studio environment. From day one we regard you as a designer with thoughts, opinions and a meaningful contribution whilst developing your own portfolio of work and individual sketchbooks.

View an example of student work.

The emphasis of the course is on process, building creative confidence, technical skills and critical understanding of what constitutes graphic design. The programme is designed for those with an active interest in graphic design but who may not necessarily have studied it in the past. Working alongside students from the web design course you will produce a wide range of projects. By giving you the opportunity to collaborate, encouraging individual and creative responses, and recognising the opportunities that this way of working offers, you will be fully prepared to enter the contemporary design industry. You will be able to not only speak the language of design, but understand how your unique creative practice fits into this mix.

Top reason to choose this course

Unlike other design degree courses graphic design aims to prepare students for challenging work in the creative sector focusing on process, creative thinking and versatility. The course is structured to develop your ability to respond to challenging, complex and often ambiguous design problems, utilising appropriate research and synthesis abilities, placing more autonomy on the student through each progressing year. This key idea enables the student to develop confidence in their own abilities, whilst preparing them for the chosen industries in which they go on to seek employment.

“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
BA Graphic Design

(Click to enlarge)

Graphic Design is designed to offer progression from introductory graphic design skills and understanding in year one, through increasing subject expertise and specialisation in year two, to student-led, professional standard project work in year three. You will develop individual creative and technical abilities within graphic design to a high level, and will understand the complexities of design thinking and production. Throughout the course emphasis will be placed upon the integration of practice and theory through the completion of sequential design projects that typically run over five-week blocks.

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

more info

BA (Hons) Graphic Design will offer you an exciting specialist course of study that aims to enable you to understand and appreciate contemporary design as a means of visual communication and creative expression. The course offers you an opportunity to develop practical understanding in a range of design production skills and processes relevant to working within the broad graphic design sector, underpinned by an understanding of core critical and theoretical perspectives. You will then apply these skills and expertise to respond to a series of increasingly complex design briefs, including those for external clients. The course culminates in year three with the production of a final major project and dissertation. This supports you in developing aptitude for a range of design careers and future destinations, including the opportunity to combine interactive and non-interactive work, producing an individual, broad and coherent portfolio of creative work, and through the production of a written dissertation additionally supports progression into postgraduate study.

The course includes regular field trips, exhibition and gallery visits and is supported by visiting professional designers and practitioners who run student workshops.

Work experience

There is no explicit work experience within the graphic design, but students do work upon real projects for external clients, and work for national and international competitions. You are encouraged to build links within your creative field of interest and many students use these in order to bring work experience into their course through the use of live briefs and self-negotiated placements.

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.

Other information

Visits to current exhibitions at a range of venues including Turner Contemporary, Victorian and Albert Museum, Design Museum, Barbican, The Beaney, Sidney Cooper Gallery, Pie Factory Modules often start with local visits used as the client and/or catalyst for a project e.g. Powell-Cotton Museum, Ramsgate Tunnels, Pugin Society, Resort Studios.

Core modules

Year 1

Design Induction

This module will encourage you to work in small groups on a single unpredictable design problem over the duration of the module project. Each week you will be introduced to different elements of the process and will then put these into practice on your task.

Designing for Print

The production of original visual material making use of principles is vital to graphic design and interaction. In response to this demand this module introduces 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. This module will encourage you to produce experimental design ideas and explore arrangements of type and image with consideration to visual communication, through the awareness and proficiency with the operation of a range of professional image production software and associated processes and techniques (such as applications in the Adobe Creative Suite).

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, and will be introduced to applicable theoretical concepts such as Web standards, Human Computer Interface (HCI), Accessibility and Usability.


You will explore the production of images using a range of equipment and tools for the generation of images to fulfil design briefs. Initial sessions will cover the creation of a picture library and cover a range of manual illustration styles and the equipment required to complete them and then move on to cover a range of photographic techniques. Finally you will make use of digitisation technologies to develop a taxonomy of illustration options, assessing them critically for their affective properties in design.

Moving Image

Initially you will be introduced to the basic digital video production based practical skills e.g.: exploring software tools and output methods. This module places emphasis on practical video and animation work in order to develop your procedural, technical and constructive skills, and is designed to serve as an example of the complete production process. You will individually produce short animations for web based distribution and 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 e.g.: pixellation, stop-motion, paper-based and object animation and theories salient to the production of animation for screen based consumption.

Design Theory

This module serves as an underpinning perspective on the themes and complexities explored in the project modules. In so doing, design theory presents critical and core theory, texts and examples, and situates design within the broader cultural, political, artistic and commercial contexts. The module aims to support your project work by offering a range of perspectives, challenges and inspiration, and ultimately develop your understanding of where design might be located as a practice, and aims to 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 they are undertaking and, in order to enable this, the delivered content responds directly to the themes explored: process, identity, form, affect and environment. 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

Graphic Design Agency

This module focuses on embedding employability within a design curriculum in a seamless and meaningful way within the context of your future working environments. While you will primarily rely upon programme staff for continuity and structure, you will also benefit from mentorship and support from external practicing graphic designers and agencies familiar with the demands placed upon graphic designers. While the programme embraces an ethos that design practices overlap and benefit from interdisciplinary this module recognises that there are situations where the roles of graphic design and web design are more clearly delineated, such as within the context of group and agency work. This module responds to this by having you work on projects within a mixed skill-base group, where the roles and expected contributions of the graphic and web designers are more defined, combined with lecture, mentorship and support sessions where graphic designers are encouraged to understand the complexities of their roles within agency team work, and in so doing become aware of the pivotal role of the graphic designer within design development.

Design Project: Materials and Processes

A sound understanding of materials and processes is central to the work of the designer, whether it takes the form of an awareness of the qualities of screen-printing inks, the functionality of mobile phone app data sources, or the ways that paper can be folded and scored. 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. This project 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

A sound understanding of interpretation and translation is central to the work of the designer whether it is in the field of environmental design or interactive app development. Interpretation, a journey into the realm of hidden stories and little-known facts, can be exposed through text and image, light and other sensory stimuli. Interpretation will spark your imagination and conjure the invisible affording the audience memorable and meaningful experiences that educate, entertain, inspire and evoke. Translation is an indispensable tool, a means to convert information from one medium to another whilst retaining the message. All designers must be comfortable in their ability to interpret and translate; from client to audience, from word to image, from miniature to giant.

Design Project Play and Interaction

A sound understanding of play and interaction is central to the work of the designer whether it is in the field of graphic design or interactive app and web development. Play and interaction results in things being put together in new ways and will make you aware of new options. 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? What are the constraints or problems to solve through play and interaction? 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; learning how to critically analyse users’ needs and define user experience through systematic research principles, play and interaction methods.

Design Project: Intervention and Provocation

Design is not a passive activity, it naturally calls for and brings about change within the audience. Whether this occurs through informing and presenting perspectives (e.g. infographics), the mode of persuasion and voice used to talk with the audience (visual communication), or taking an explicitly interventionist stance such as through protest and concepts like detournement. The point here is that design has the capacity to bring about change (or to reinforce existing practices), and 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.

Design Theory: User Centered Design

This module further develops your understanding of the interconnectedness of theory and practice within graphic design and interaction, 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.

Year 3

Design Project: Simplicity and Complexity

It is important for designers to be aware of and have experience of the relationship between simplicity and complexity – and thus situations where designs can only make incremental or temporary improvements. This presents design not as a magic bullet, but as part of the ways that humans rationalise and interact with their surroundings and contexts. 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. This module challenges you to explore the relationship between (apparent) simplicity and complexity, and the ways that design can respond to such messy real-life contexts.

Graphic Design: Final Major Project

This will present 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. It allows you 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 lectures will look at examples of possible outcomes for the final major project, creative methods for tackling a wide variety of ideas, existing practice and audience. Workshops will demonstrate techniques for idea generation, planning, proposal writing, time-handling and waypoints. You will then be able to nominate subject specific tutors from the teaching team who then (where appropriate) are able support you in their on-going graphic design project production.

Graphic Design: Dissertation

You will be supported in the completion of a proforma indicating the proposed topic for study and how it sits within graphic design as a discipline, and any resources considered to be essential to collect data and to lead to the completion of the dissertation. You will be expected to produce a written individual study of approximately 10,000 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.

Design Practice: Employability and Exhibition

Workshops, seminars and lectures throughout the course should be designed to deliver knowledge and skills with guidance being given on sources of information. Several external talks will focus on design jobs within the design 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.

94% of Graphic Design graduates were in employment or further study six months after completing their studies

2013-14 DLHE

Graphic design, alongside web design is a creative professional discipline that remains in strong demand, partly due to its ubiquity but also the ways that its underpinning principles inform almost all visual communication. Successful 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, but in working across the range of creative industries including graphic design, advertising, 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 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 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time - Foundation Year 0 £6,165 N/A
Full-time - years 1-3 * £9,250 £11,500

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

* The tuition fee of £9,250 relates to 2018/19 only. Please read the 2018/19 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2018/19 tuition fees and mid-course 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.

Composition of the course

The modules in graphic design course are taught in a variety of ways, depending on their level and the required outcomes. In years one and two of the course one out of six modules are theoretical, the remaining five focusing upon the creation of visual design work. All practical 20-credit modules will have 60 contact hours over the year, and for each module you will be expected to engage in approximately 140 hours in self-directed study. As you move into year three contact time reduces as you undertake increased individualised independent, supervised study, getting support primarily through tutorials and group critiques.

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

Academic input

BA Graphic Design programme is taught by full-time members of the School of Media, Art and Design, and a number of talented sessional tutors who also work in industry. Staff include:

  • Dr Alan Meades

    (Senior Lecturer in New Media Theory, Programme Director for Graphic Design):

    Alan is a media theorist, design anthropologist, comic maker and artist. Alan joined CCCU in 2002 after working as a graphic designer, and has led the Graphic Design and Web Design courses since 2006. He holds a BA in Interactive Arts from Manchester Metropolitan University, an MA in Electronic Arts from Middlesex University, a PhD in videogame culture and digital anthropology from Brunel University and a PGCHELT from Canterbury Christ Church University. He has extensive experience in teaching digital humanities and new media theory, as well as practical digital design workshops and seminars. He has published widely on the subject of videogames, player behaviour and online communities, and regularly presents on these subjects. Alan is a researcher in residence at Dreamland Margate, and is working on a long-term project about arcade cultures: Alan’s 2015 book, Understanding Counterplay in Videogames, was published by Routledge
  • Kate McLean

    (Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design):

    Kate is a sensory designer, cartographer, photographer and smell collector. Educated in the UK and USA she has a BA (Hons) in Related Arts from the University of Chichester and a diploma in Graphic Design from NESADSU in Boston, USA. Her MFA (with distinction) is from Edinburgh College of Art. She has taught Masters students at the New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University, Boston and at Edinburgh College of Art. Her research links sensory perception with urban environments in the form of Sensory Maps. She investigates how smell, in particular, can be used to generate memories of a specific place. She creates visual maps of the smells of cities and produces bottled scents which are then exhibited as participatory exhibitions. Her Sensory Maps are online .
  • Gerald B Kennedy

    (Lecturer in Graphic and Web Design):

    Gerald B Kennedy BA, MA is a professional Multimedia Designer, specialising in an eclectic assortment of creative media, including: Graphic Design, Digital Multimedia Design, UI/UX Design, Native Mobile Application Development (iOS & Android), Interactive Design, Print / Web Design, Motion Graphics, Television / Film / Audio/Video, Broadcast Design, Typography, Painting, Illustration, Animation, and Photography. Gerald has recently been appointed as a lecturer in Graphic and Web Design in CCCU after 15 years working as a Digital Designer across various media.  He holds a BA in Visual Communications/Graphic Design from LYIT, a BA (Hons) in Digital Media from AIT, an MA in Digital Arts and Humanities from UCC and is in the process of obtaining a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) in Academic Practice from CCCU.

Portfolio-based practical coursework 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 a solution using the skills, approaches and disciplines that you deem appropriate.

We are now building a new £12m arts facility in Canterbury, equipped with the latest technology and bespoke learning spaces for our arts and humanities students.

We expect our new arts building to open on the main campus in the academic year 2018/19.

Our main campus in Canterbury has city centre facilities on its doorstep and, of course, you will benefit from all the new arts building has to offer. This video gives you a virtual tour of the fantastic new facilities we have invested in. 

In addition to the mac computer labs we have other available spaces: The ‘MadLab’ an open-access student design space offers you a space to work on your creative projects. Unlike the teaching spaces the MadLab is student-owned – a space for students to work, think and to create. The screen printing studio offers specialist equipment and the chance to physically print posters, designs and t-shirts. You will also have access to large format digital printing equipment, 3D printing equipment, photographic studios, darkrooms and a range of bookable equipment, from tablets to video cameras.

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 John Baxter (Parisian author and literary walking tour guide), Broadstairs Folk Festival, Saga Holidays, Greyhound Board of Great Britain, Sea Green Art, The Canterbury Society.

Other industry links are in a mentorship role and are delivered through the professional practice modules. Recent graduates talk about their transition from college to work and bring their expertise from Realia Marketing, Purple Cow, The Rye Agency. Practising professionals add their perspective from DesignMap, Mary Claire Smith Illustration, Accenture UX amongst others.


Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Need some help?

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

Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • W212 Graphic Design with Foundation Year

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 4 years full-time


  • September 2018

Entry requirements

  • Candidates should have studied at level 3 and have attained 48 UCAS Tariff points, although those without formal qualifications will be considered.

    You do not need to have significant prior knowledge of Arts and Humanities related subjects but should be motivated to study the subject.

    More entry requirement details.



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Last edited: 11/09/2018 10:53:00