A challenging, critical, diverse programme to develop your individual ability to design and communicate visually across disciplines or within a specialist area.
Why choose this course?
It’s a space for active enquiry, challenging design preconceptions and defining the role of the designer in shaping the world in which we live. Our approach is hands-on, ideas-based and socially engaged, with the emphasis on developing your individual ability.
About the course
Crossover teaching and interdisciplinary projects provide an energetic and flexible learning environment for creative collaboration, whilst specialist areas of study in graphic design, illustration and interactive design are also encouraged. You’ll be able to work across a range of media, explore and express your ideas through word, image, concept, media, narrative, text, taught by a team of full-time and visiting tutors, all active practitioners themselves. Sustainability and the environment are central to good design thinking and we explore them in relation to contemporary social and cultural contexts.
Teaching takes place through critiques, debates, tutorials, presentations, lectures, self-directed learning and peer review. We have excellent studio spaces and workshop facilities in specialist craft areas, such as letterpress, photography, silk screen, etching and lithography to complement state of the art digital resources.
About the course
In your first year you’ll be given a broad introduction to drawing, print making, photography, design methods, typography, moving image and digital media. You’ll be encouraged to think visually and analytically, learn to work as part of a team and independently. You’ll gain an awareness of the industry through a Professional Contexts module, and a contextual framework through a Historical and Critical Studies module.
As you move into Year 2 you can choose to focus on graphic design, illustration or interactive media, or keep an interdisciplinary approach. You might choose to spend a semester in Europe as part of the Erasmus exchange programme. There will be studio visits and case studies, and you’ll start researching employment possibilities.
In your final year you’ll concentrate on independent, self-initiated projects and you’ll be encouraged to find connections between your studio practice and contextual studies (you can choose to give this component a double weighting). ‘Live’ briefs and placements provide experience of dealing with clients and production, preparing you for employment or further study.
A wide range of careers is open to you, including graphic design, art direction, illustration, animation, interactive media, advertising, motion graphics, photography, and publishing.
Insight into professional practice
Recent visiting lecture programme speakers include: Barnaby Barford, Greg Burne (Big Active Agency), Damon Murray, Sheena Calvert, Neil Drabble, Paul Gorman, Paul Gravett, Kate Gibb, Keith Harrison, Alaistar Humphreys, James Jarvis, Henrik Kubel / 2-SWHK, Scott King, Jurg Lehni, Jeremy Leslie, Chris Long, Michael Marriot, OK-RM, Marcus Oakley, Stefi Orazi, Hans Dieter Reichert, Paul Sahre, Yuri Suzuki, Matthew Hodson, Matilda Saxow, Marcus Walters, Nick White.
Fleur Isbell, graduated 2011
“I owe a huge thank you to Bath Spa! If it wasn’t for the encouragement of my tutors, technicians and the facilities at my disposal I doubt if I would have been able to obtain the skills and confidence needed to gain a top job as a junior designer at Wolff Olins. The best thing about the course was the pursuit of great ideas, and problem solving through experimentation. It enabled me to push beyond the boundaries though experimentation with different techniques and ideas. I loved the craft-based facilities, for instance the letterpress room, and photographic dark room that gave me the environment to explore hands-on. The course also taught me to design appropriate solutions; to realise researching other designers, artists and theorists is absolutely key.”
The first year of the course is described as broad, what is the benefit of this if I know what area of Graphic Communication I wish to pursue?
In creating a broad first year experience we are acknowledging the breadth of the industry.
Graphic Communication professionals continually work–with others–across a wide range of visual outputs, Illustrators, Graphic Designers, Photographers, Film makers. The first year will be a chance to engage in these areas and to discover how your particular interests correspond to others. It may seem counter-intuitive but we believe this broad experience can make you and even stronger specialist in the long run.
Will I need to have excellent computer skills to succeed on the course?
You do not need to have any specialised computer skills to be accepted on the course. Computer software instruction is offered in the first and second year covering the main industry standard applications. In the 3rd yr some students will develop practises requiring a higher level of digital skills and these students will have access to advanced and specific instruction. Other 3rd yr students will develop practises requiring less specialised digital know how.