MDes Graphic Design
The prime aim of this programme is to provide a broad but thorough education in graphic design, which enables graduates to understand and contribute to our visual culture in professional, sustainable and meaningful ways. To this end we maintain and develop close liaisons with community, business and professional contacts. Our focus is upon producing graduates who are both technically good designers but are also socially, and ethically aware. The programme produces highly employable graduates, working in the creative industries, whether this be working in private practice, a design studio, a publishing house, a local authority, education, a museum, or charity or one of the newer digital industries. The professional opportunities for well-trained and educated graphic designers are broad and varied.
UCAS Code: 52J6
Institution Code: T80
4 years full time/8 years part time
I have no doubt in my mind, that studying at Swansea helped me achieve my full potential as a Graphic Designer. The theory taught broadened my understanding of design. The work pushed my creativity in new, interesting ways, while the lecturers were both encouraging and insightful, going above and beyond to help when needed. If you’re considering a career in Graphic Design, I can recommend nowhere better.
I owe my entire career to Swansea College of Art UWTSD, they offer the ideal creative environment to thrive in.
My 3 years at Swansea College of Art were truly great. The course provided invaluable facilities and a great team of lecturers who really do know their stuff, which really helped me transition into industry as smoothly as possible. Always encouraging the students to creatively go above and beyond on each brief is something that has stuck with me throughout my career and continues to influence my design work.
Graphic Design is integral to our visual culture and we are one of the most established BA Graphic Design courses in the UK. Our graduates have gone onto work for world wide companies: Lego, Sky Creative, Nike, Apple, House of Fraser, Saatchi & Saatchi, Tigerprint, Adidas, Conran Design, Moonpig, Universal Music, Manchester United, Aston Villa, Haymarket Media and many more.
The graphic designer creates, manipulates and gives visual form to words and imagery in order to inform, persuade, delight and provoke.
The range of visual communications for which they are responsible is immense: books & magazines, exhibitions and displays, posters and packaging, signage & diagrams, branding and brochures, websites, multimedia, presentations, identities, signs, symbols, logos, labels and letterform. The list is long and continuously expanding to meet the needs of our increasingly complex society.
Level 4 - Year One
What we do in the first year is get the basic skills in place. There is an emphasis on typography, as we see this as a graphic designer’s basic skill, no matter what field they eventually work in. We also aim to bring students up to speed in the basic software they need to use.
Structured one to one tutorials are introduced in the first year to ensure a positive student experience. The tutorials create an opportunity for staff to become aware of individual learning styles, learning difficulties, and diversity within the group.
Visual Studies is an important part of this, concentrating on ideas and creative thinking, and also having the flexibility to adapt to both cover new developments or to help reinforce areas covered in the core modules.
Level 5 -Year Two
If the first year was broadly about skills, the second year is broadly about becoming a professional designer. The core modules build on the areas covered in the first year, The briefs are longer and more challenging and we expect a more exploratory and intellectual approach to the students work than that of the first year. The Visual Studies continues with the theme of creative thinking. In the major project in the students devise and write their own brief(s) in negotiation with the staff, and this is seen as a stepping-stone to the third year.
Level 6 - Year Three
The third year is very student led, students negotiate their own briefs and deadlines for external clients. There are fewer formal lectures and more tutorial or seminar groups. Competitions, personal projects and external work are undertaken and students can tailor their portfolios to the kind of job they want to do via self-generated projects. The staff encourage the students to take on substantial pieces of work, which will challenge them both intellectually and technically. The self-generated projects are there to allow the student creative freedom in the work, away from commercial constraints. The external projects do the opposite, the student’s work to live briefs, with the client imposing the usual commercial constraints on a designer.
There are a number of formative assessment points in the year, including two scheduled VIVA weeks for the third year, just before the Christmas and Easter breaks. These are invaluable, not only for the programme team to see and discuss the work, but also making the student stop and make a serious self-assessment of their work.
Level 7 - Year Four
Aims to nurture enterprising and sustainable practice in order for students to be at the forefront of the contemporary and future creative arts industry. The modules are designed to encourage advanced understanding of theoretical knowledge in research methods, entrepreneurial thinking and art and design practice. In particular, students studying at this level are encouraged to display resourcefulness, entrepreneurial skills, and the capacity to establish new and innovative ways of working.
Students progressing onto the Integrated Masters will be encouraged to expand upon their creative thinking. As with the MA Contemporary Dialogues – Visual Communication pathway, you will get the opportunity to blend your area of study with influences and experiences from other creative disciplines. This interaction between dialogues will help to expand your knowledge and broaden your creative practice that will in turn reflect into your major project work.
You will also build upon your personal design style that you will have nurtured in the first three years of the programme. Intensifying your own personal design flavor and readying yourself for the creative industries landscape.
- Graphic Communication
- Typography 1
- Design for Publication
- Typography 2
- Visual Studies 1
- Visual Studies 2
- Ways of Thinking
- Ways of Perceiving
- Corporate Identity
- Design Technologies
- Other People’s Shoes –The Responsible Designer
- Sustainability, Enterprise & Entrepreneurship
- Visual Enquiry 1
- Visual Enquiry 2
- Creative Research
- Research Practices
- Graduate Portfolio
- Marketing & Self Promotion
- Advanced Creative Enquiry
- Minor Project - Thought Experiment
- Advanced Critical Thinking
- Advanced Professional Practice
- Major Project
Graphic Design is about designing effective visual communications. It is about the need to communicate something to individuals or to groups of people or organisations by graphic means. The graphic designer creates, manipulates and gives visual form to words and imagery in order to inform, persuade, delight - and occasionally disturb.
The programme provides you with a broad education in graphic design and, with an inbuilt degree of flexibility, it enables you to pursue individual interests whether in the fields of corporate graphics and brand identity, publishing, general design for print, packaging or interactive screen-based design.
Driven by industry standards and supported by state-of–the-art technologies, we produce highly employable graduates. Links with business and industry are an essential ingredient of the programme and are maintained and developed through ‘live’ projects,
Formative assessment of project work takes place throughout the course in the form of frequent tutorials (both individual and group), seminars and critiques. This process is integral to the course and provides a continuous verbal commentary to the students on their practical work and associated research throughout the development of all of their projects.
Summative assessment in the form of visual portfolio, exhibition, research/ideas book/blog, or presentation is used at the end of each module to provide the students with a formal mark.
All assessment is based on 100% coursework. Students are expected to demonstrate their understanding in the form of practical project work. All practical work is project based.
Historical & Contextual Studies is also assessed on coursework in the form of essays and a dissertation at level 6.
We are interested in creative people that demonstrate a strong commitment to art and/or design and therefore we welcome applications from individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. To assess student suitability for their chosen course we arrange interviews for all applicants at which your skills, achievements and life experience will be considered as well as your portfolio of work.
Our standard offer for a degree course is 120 UCAS tariff points. We expect applicants to have a grade C or above in English Language (or Welsh) at GCSE level, together with passes in another four subjects. Plus we accept a range of Level 3 qualifications including:
- Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, plus one GCE A-Level in a relevant academic subject
- Three GCE A-Levels or equivalent
- BTEC Extended Diploma in a relevant subject, with minimum grades of Merit
- International Baccalaureate score of 32
- Other relevant qualifications can be considered on an individual basis
Qualifications are important, however our offers are not solely based on academic results. If you don’t have the required UCAS points then please contact the courses admissions tutor or email firstname.lastname@example.org as we can consider offers to applicants based on individual merit, exceptional work, and/or practical experience.
See our Interview Guide for more information.
The programme produces highly employable graduates, working in the creative industries, whether this be working in private practice, a design studio, a publishing house, a local authority, education, a museum, or charity or one of the newer digital industries. The professional opportunities for well-trained and educated graphic designers are broad and varied. Students also have the opportunity at the end of their course to exhibit at New Designers in London. This is an opportunity for the top UK graduates to showcase their portfolios to prospective employers worldwide.
Graduates have gone on to work for the following companies
- Saatchi and Saatchi Wellness
- The Conran Shop (Design)
- Matter of Form Design Agency
- Universal Music
- Haymarket Media Group
- Glazier Design London
- Sky Creative
- Stag & Hare
- Waters Creative
- Blue Stag Studio
- Oxford University Press
- Enigma Creative Solutions
- Aston Villa
- Manchester United
- Dirty Little Serifs
- W12 Studios
- Dr Organic
- Barclays Bank
Our students have access to a diverse range of equipment and resources, which in most cases are sufficient to complete their programme of study. We provide the basic materials necessary for students to develop their practical work within our extensive workshop and studio facilities. However, it is likely that art and design students will incur some additional costs to extend their investigation of their personal practice. For example, purchasing their own specialised materials and equipment, joining in optional study trips, and printing.
During your time with us you will have the opportunity to study abroad with the Erasmus exchange programmes currently running with Universities in Norway, Barcelona and Sweden.
Students can also take up the opportunity to study a semester in the USA and Canada.
For more information please click here.
The University provides many opportunities for students to take part in activities that will broaden their experiences and skills. Some are provided as part of the course; others are in addition to the programme of study. They all, however, enable our students to develop professional and personal skills.
The University has already embedded employability as a key feature of its academic provision but the University has also launched a new awards scheme as an additional opportunity for students to engage in activities that will allow them to further develop a wide range of employability skills.
“ My time at Swansea was fantastic! Along with the great atmosphere, wonderful people and loads of resources I found the Uni had everything I could have wanted. My most important takeaway from the course was the preparation they give you to seamlessly enter the real world of design. Entering a large company didn’t seem so daunting and I already understood most of the processes the business used, which along with an extensive knowledge of design was invaluable.”
Anna Jehan -Graphic Design Graduate
Art Director at Sapient Nitro, London