Graphic Design - BA (Hons)

The graphic designer of the future is a keen observer who cares about how messages are conveyed and received. They are curious, empathic, caring, and cleverly connect the unexpected to create original work to be experienced across a range of media and locations. BA Graphic Design at the University of Kent encourages you to develop your own socially-responsible and ethical design skillset generating new work through a series of challenging briefs.

Overview

Work in dedicated design studio spaces to develop your own unique style and portfolio through a series of projects inspired by identity, process, environment, form and affect. From a range of starting points – light and shadow, place and space, identity and interaction – you will generate portfolio pieces to include specialist signage, book cover designs, fundraiser catalogues, infographics, interactive design experiences, animated posters and exhibition design. Each of which takes into account project stakeholders and considers sustainability, ethics and social justice at the core.

Why study Graphic Design at Kent?

  • Your course, your way: Study all aspects of Graphic Design with a selection of specialist lecturers and design practitioners and external client. Your finished design work for your portfolios will go beyond the confines of the page and the screen into areas such as experiential marketing, projection mapping and spatial graphic design.
  • Access fantastic facilities: Our specialist spaces include design and dedicated model workshops; laser-cutting facilities; computer studio and labs; a digital hub; and a Digital Crit Space for presenting design proposals which includes 75-inch Clevertouch screens.
  • Get career ready: Produce live briefs for a range of clients in real-work situations and develop your capacity to showcase the World Economic Forum’s ‘Top 10 Job Skills of Tomorrow’. You can also add a year in Computing, Journalism or a Language to your degree to increase your employability.
  • Explore Canterbury: Our modern city is a hub for creatives yet historically and architecturally diverse enough to inspire your projects. Placed in the heart of rural Kent, you can travel to London in under an hour by train, and coastal beaches are a bus ride away.
  • Join our community: As part of the School of Architecture, you can attend guest lectures and research seminars with industry professionals or join the student-run Kent Architectural Students Association (KASA) and help organise social events, design competitions and the End of Year Show

Your course

Graphic Design is crucial to all communication, even more so today than ever before with the expansion of platforms and their interconnectivity and compatibility. Through this programme you develop and build on these fundamental principles providing you will the skills and confidence to develop your own design identity. Explore and exploit the digital age, developing a responsive practice where you are proficient working in 2D, 3D and 4D - moving images. By the end of your course, you will be fully prepared for a career in graphic design and the expanding design opportunities in the Creative Industries.

You study all aspects of Graphic Design, from typography, photography to editorial design, and importantly motion graphics. This programme provides the opportunity for resolutions that exists from beyond the page and screen into areas of experiential marketing and constructed spatial graphics. You will be fully prepared for a career in graphic design and the expanding design opportunities in the Creative Industries.

See the modules you'll study

Study abroad

We have partnerships with universities around the world, offering you the chance to study abroad for a term or for a year. Rising to the challenge of living in another country and immersing yourself in a different culture is a rewarding experience and demonstrates to potential employers that you are independent and flexible in your outlook.

Year in industry

It is also possible to undertake a year’s placement in industry either at home or abroad, gaining experience working in a professional environment. We offer support and advice to help you find a placement either in the design industry or other sectors such as charities and arts organisations.

Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. All applications are assessed on an individual basis but some of our typical requirements are listed below. Students offering qualifications not listed are welcome to contact our Admissions Team for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    BBC at A Level in art /design/technology relevant subjects.

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University welcomes applications from Access to Higher Education Diploma candidates for consideration. A typical offer may require you to obtain a proportion of Level 3 credits in relevant subjects at merit grade or above.

  • medal-empty BTEC Nationals

    Distinction, Merit, Merit in an appropriate subject.

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    30 points overall or 15 points at HL, including Visual Arts or Design Technology at HL 5 or SL 6.

  • medal-empty International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average including 60% in Design/Art and Design module (plus 50% in LZ013 Maths and Statistics if you do not hold GCSE Maths at 4/C or equivalent).

  • medal-empty T level

    The University will consider applicants holding T level qualifications in subjects closely aligned to the course.

Portfolio advice

As a Graphic Designer you get paid to have ideas. As part of your application to the University of Kent, you are required to submit a portfolio as evidence of your artistic ability and potential to present your ideas visually.

Take time to plan this from the moment you decide to apply. Assessors at the University are expecting an indication of work in progress showing how you approach an idea or subject and develop the work from initial thought, through experimentation and enquiry, to resolved work. We do not expect to see professional outcomes at this level.

Below you will find details of what we are looking for and how your work will be assessed. You will also find tips on how to plan and present your work and what makes a strong Graphic Design portfolio.

What to include in your Graphic Design Portfolio

Requirements

1. Development/sketchbook work – up to 10 images of your development/sketchbook work (minimum of 5 images)

2. Resolved/finished work – up to 10 images of your resolved work (minimum of 5 images)

3. Influences/context images – up to 5 images which demonstrate your influences (minimum of 2 images, see below for more detail)

Each image can have up to 100 characters, including spaces and punctuation, of supporting/explanatory text.

Influences/context Images

The images demonstrating your influences may be images of work or objects which have inspired or influenced your work e.g.

· people working in the same medium or for the same audience, now or in the past

· people interested in the same subject or theme, now or in the past

· natural or man-made phenomena, objects, places, events which have inspired or provoked a response

Guidance

Assessors are interested in how you have decided to put your portfolio together; it should be carefully planned and well presented. They will also be judging your ability to edit your work, so be selective and strategic in your choice of material. If you have lots of high-quality work, include it to showcase your talent and commitment. If you haven’t, select your best: these key gems can show us that you know what you are good at, and how to show it. Resist the temptation to pad out your portfolio with mediocre work.

For entry to Year 1 Graphic Design a strong portfolio is likely to display the following:

· Evidence of ideas, concepts and problem-solving.

· Experimentation with materials and how ideas develop into more resolved pieces.

· Typographic skills.

· 2D and 3D skills.

· A broad range of projects undertaken with a variety of outputs not just one idea, technique or theme.

· Above all, while drawing and digital skills are desirable, assessors are looking to see ideas. Ideas should be evident at the centre of any work presented.

If you are applying to join Year 2, your portfolio should include:

· Evidence of more lateral thinking.

· Experimentation and risk taking.

· Graphic application, i.e. use skills with typography and a larger volume of text, leading to compositions.

· Ideally some work on a client or more commercial brief.

Each image can be accompanied by a small amount of text, and we encourage you to make use of this opportunity. Avoid including titles or describing the work and instead explain the ideas behind each piece, the challenge undertaken or any other significant factors. It may also be useful to explain why you have included the image in each category (development work, resolved work or influences).

Consideration should also be given to the graphical layout of the portfolio. Remember that assessors will be looking at your work on a screen so the digital image you present to them is what they assess. Poor quality photographs and bad scans of your work will not create a good impression. Take the time and care to make your work look as good as possible.

How we assess your portfolio

Portfolios are assessed by academic staff who are particularly interested in how you research and develop ideas in a visual way and how you engage with design. This is broken down into four main areas:

1. Visual Research and Enquiry – shows the level of your engagement in intelligent, structured visual enquiry and how well you communicate this.

2. Idea Development – shows your ability to appropriately explore and develop ideas, and your level of skills in the use of materials or techniques.

3. Selection and Resolution – shows how well you judge which ideas have the most appropriate potential and your ability to bring them to a level of completion appropriate to your intended outcome.

4. Contextual Awareness – shows the extent of your knowledge of the subject you have applied for and how your work relates to it.

How the content of a portfolio provides evidence for the above categories will vary enormously depending on the person – no two portfolios will be the same.

How to submit your portfolio

We will request a portfolio from you once your application has come through to us, and if you apply before the UCAS January deadline, you will be given a three-week window in which to submit your portfolio. Please upload your portfolio as a PDF document to the Kent Vision applicant portal. Please note, for uploads, the file size needs to be 5MB or under. If your file size is over 5MB, please email your portfolio to artshumsadmissions@kent.ac.uk.

Please ensure you allow time for the technical aspects of portfolio submission. Take time to familiarise yourself with the submission portal once it opens in December (you’ll get a link to it after you apply via UCAS) and work out what you will need to do to prepare your images.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

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Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time (4 with a year abroad/in industry), 6 years part-time

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation

Fees

The 2023/24 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £16400
  • International full-time £21900
  • Home part-time £4625
  • EU part-time £8200
  • International part-time £10950

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status.

Additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

Teaching and assessment


Contact hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Independent rankings

Art and Design at Kent was ranked 6th overall in The Complete University Guide 2023.

Art and Design at Kent was ranked 3rd for research quality and 9th for graduate prospects in The Complete University Guide 2023.

Careers

Apply for Graphic Design - BA (Hons)

If you are from the UK or Ireland, you must apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not from the UK or Ireland, you can apply through UCAS or directly on our website if you have never used UCAS and you do not intend to use UCAS in the future.

Find out more about how to apply

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Graphic Design - BA (Hons) - part-time at Canterbury

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

Enquire online for part-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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