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Student Handbook 2011-12

BA (Hons) Graphic Design

STUDENT HANDBOOK Level 4 – 6 BA (Hons) Graphic Design

SECTION 1: PROGRAMME 1.1 Programme Details 1.2 Welcome from your Course Team 1.3 Programme Staffing 1.4 Programme Philosophy 1.5 Programme Delivery 1.6 Programme Structure 1.7 Programme Resources 1.8 Programme Communication 1.9 Academic Calendar

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1.1 Programme Details Institution Leeds College of Art Department Higher Education Faculty Media & Design Communication Programme Leader Fred Bates Programme Award BA Honours Programme Title Graphic Design Funding Body HEFCE Relevant QAA subject benchmarks Art & Design Date of Validation 2011 Programme Start Date September 2011 Duration/length of Programme 3 years (full-time) Credit Value 360 credits Notional learning time 3600 hours Delivery Site Leeds College of Art - Blenheim Walk Document publication date September 2011


1.2 Welcome The course team would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the BA (Hons) Graphic Design at Leeds College of Art. Over the next three years you will be engaging in a specialist programme of study through which you will develop your ideas and skills with an informed professional awareness and growing understanding of the social and ethical contexts of contemporary Graphic Design Practices. The BA (Hons) Graphic Design programme aims to help you to develop the necessary practical skills, contextual knowledge, professional attitudes and intellectual abilities necessary to succeed as a Graphic Design practitioner who can engage in a career in the creative industries. The course embraces the diversity of 21st century graphic design practices including typography, applied illustration, packaging graphics, design for web, motion graphics, information graphics, editorial design, reportage and integrates design for print and digital formats, media and delivery. The overall aim of the course is to support you in becoming an independent, creative problem solver with the ability to deliver critically engaged and creatively appropriate work within the professional context of contemporary graphic design. As part of LCA’s broader creative community you will be supported by staff with a wide range of practical, professional and academic expertise and encouraged to take a pro-active role in identifying and developing your own creative ambitions, professional abilities and contextual understanding. We hope that you find your time on the programme both challenging but enjoyable. The Course Team



Programme Staffing

Details of the course team, workshop staff and support staff involved in the delivery and support of the programme can be found on the course VLE. This includes their contact details and a brief description of their roles in relation to the programme. 1.4 Programme Philosophy We believe that a Graphic Design graduate should be creatively capable, critically informed, professionally aware, and culturally sensitive. You should not only have an awareness of the options and opportunities available to you, but the confidence and understanding to make informed decisions about your future. With this in mind we have developed a course that aims to be educationally challenging and professionally relevant. The programme focuses on solving problems of communication through design and encourages an increasingly individual exploration of individually appropriate design processes and practices. The effective delivery of concepts, messages and content sits at the heart of Graphic Design and over the next three years you will develop a deep understanding of the relationship between type and image and their role in the visual communication of ideas. There is an emphasis placed on developing a professional understanding of Graphic Design and its role within the creative industries. In addition to developing skills in visual communication, industry standard software, print and digital media, you will be supported in developing an understanding of commercial practice, professional communication and business considerations. The course encourages a vocational focus through student-led industrial experience, visiting professionals, live projects, competition briefs and supported professional research. This focus is underpinned by the systematic development of an individually appropriate but industrially relevant skills set. From day one of the programme there is an emphasis on acquiring the practical skills and conceptual abilities needed to become an industry focused graphic designer. The specialist programme of visual investigation, problem solving and professional research provide a structure that supports and challenges the development of an industrially appropriate understanding of design for Print and Digital media. The brief is central to the programme and the role of the Graphic Designer. It identifies the problem, provides the focal point for creative response and outlines the relationship between message, function, audience and context. The programme will explore the brief and its importance in defining the Designer/Client relationship. Briefs of all sizes will form the basis of the delivery of the programme. Live brief, competition briefs, professional briefs or research briefs will all help you to identify and explore subjects, themes, processes and products that will form the basis of your own individual design practice over three years. As a Graphic Designer you will need to be aware of the creative world around you. Collaboration is central to the course ethos and an important part of your developing practice. We believe that an individual understanding of the collaborative role of the designer and appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary design practices is essential for a successful engagement with the broader creative industries. Through group work, collaborative


briefs and group critiques you will learn how to work as part of a team and identify your role within the design community. We believe that in order to develop into an effective, informed and pro-active individual, it is essential that you take ownership of your own learning experiences. The programme supports the need to develop an independent creative voice by introducing and structuring opportunities for ongoing self-evaluation, personal reflection and peer feedback. The studio focused nature of the programme demands a high level of attendance and commitment. We aim to engender a professional work ethic through a structured programme of timetabled studio sessions, resource based workshops, lectures, seminars, independent access to studio/workshop spaces and increasingly self-directed study.

1.5 Programme Delivery The programme is delivered through a series of integrated modules that focus on specific practical, theoretical and professional aspects of contemporary Graphic Design practices. All modules are delivered through assignments in the form of briefs that set a range of problems encouraging you to explore, develop and apply an increasingly independent understanding of your own design practice. The briefs take the form of developmental and responsive tasks that provide an opportunity to investigate an integrated awareness of the practical, conceptual, professional and theoretical nature of contemporary Graphic Design. Briefs will also contain a more detailed account of what is being asked of you and how you will be assessed on the work that you produce. Modules are delivered and supported through a systematic and structured programme of taught sessions, studio support and independent study. The teaching and learning is studio focused supported by access to practical workshops. A range of sessions will be timetabled throughout the academic year and will include: 

Lectures, Seminars and Group Discussions - to introduce module content, principles, theories and explore their integration with studio practice.

Studio & resource based practical workshop sessions - to introduce and support the development of practical and conceptual approaches to problem analysis, idea generation and design development.

Regular group critiques - to further develop understanding and independent skills in the critical analysis and evaluation of individual progress and peer feedback.

Individual & Group surgeries - to support the development of individual/group understanding of core themes, principles and practices in relation to module content and personal development.

Visiting Lecturers & Visiting Professionals – encourage and inform a broader understanding of the creative, professional and contextual understanding of individual design practices and ambitions.



Self initiated drop in sessions & independent study - to develop individual areas of interest, skills and methods of self-evaluation appropriate to module content and personal development.

1.6 Programme Structure

Level 4 Module Information & Structure LEVEL 4 Sem 1

Sem 2

OUGD403 Design Skills (20)

OUGD406 Design Practice 1 (20)

OUGD405 Design Process 1 (20) OUGD404 Design Principles (20) OUGD402 Personal & Professional Practice 1 (PPP1) (20) OUGD401 Context of Practice 1 (20)

Level 4 focuses on the introduction, investigation and acquisition of fundamental practical skills, theoretical knowledge and contextual awareness underpinned by the development of a breadth of approaches to self-evaluation and personnel reflection. Introducing and questioning relationships between individual and collaborative practice, theoretical and practical research, and the role of the Graphic Designer as problem solver and communicator, the programme focuses from day one on helping you to identify and explore your own creative ambitions within the specialism of Graphic Design and at the same time. Semester 1 The first semester aims to introduce you to the design principles, processes and skills that underpin graphic design, visual communication and design thinking. Modules combine short projects delivered through studio briefs that combine studio based presentations, workshops and group critiques with introductory resource based taught sessions and independent access. These projects are designed to ensure students with different prior experiences all have the necessary foundation to progress successfully through the Programme. Theoretical elements 6

will introduce key concepts, methodologies, critical approaches that will underpin the analysis of Graphic Design practices, products and contexts. Theoretical knowledge, analytical skills and critical understanding are introduced and developed through the OUGD401 Context of Practice module providing a thematic lecture and seminar programme delivered across both semesters. Learning from this module is reinforced and further contextualised through studio based critiques, tutorials and group discussions with understanding evidenced through an online portfolio of responses to set tasks and independent research. Brief led problems will encourage and support the integration of practical, theoretical, written and visual responses to module content. Essential practical and conceptual approaches to visual thinking, visual communication and the visual development of ideas are introduced and explored through OUGD403 Design Skills. OUGD404 Design Principles introduces essential fundamental practical/conceptual principles underpinning design and the visual generation/communication of ideas. This module will be delivered through weekly, taught workshop sessions and timetabled studio sessions that explore type, image, visual literacy, colour and visual research. Although assessed separately, OUGD404 Design Principles will inform the development of practical, conceptual and theoretical content in OUGD403 Design Skills, OUGD405 Design Process and OUGD406 Design Practice 1 in order to support an integrated understanding of Graphic Design principles and practice. OUGD405 Design Process introduces practical and conceptual approaches to research focusing on the collection, categorisation and communication of source material. The investigation of strategies for research driven concept development, idea generation and problem solving focus on the application of a developing skills set to brief led problems that consider product, function and audience. Semester 2 During Semester 2 you will move towards a practical, conceptual and contextual appreciation of your own emerging interests within the field of graphic design. This is a more reflective and individually orientated period of study offering optional briefs and structured critiques that focus on developing areas of interest and focus. Although introduced and supported at the start of Level 4 OUGD402 Personal and Professional Practice 1 becomes an underlying focus of Semester 2. The introduction of self-evaluation in relation to your learning experiences and the broader creative context of graphic design aims to support the development of a reflective understanding of your interests, ambitions and creative practices. OUGD406 Design Practice 1 explores the relationship between type, image, function and context as considerations solving problems of communication and allows you to develop a more self directed programme of study within a structured framework of taught sessions, workshop access and independent study. The module encourages a more individually appropriate investigation of possible areas of interest and focus in preparation for Level 5 study.


Level 5 Module Information & Structure LEVEL 5 Sem 1

Sem 2

OUGD504 Design Production (30)

OUGD505 Design Practice 2 (30)

OUGD503 Responsive - Design Process 2 (20) OUGD502 Personal & Professional Practice 2 (PPP2) (20) OUGD501 - Context of Practice 2 (20)

Level 5 focuses on the development and application of a higher level and increasingly specialist set of practical, conceptual, professional and analytical skills. The delivery of specialist knowledge relating to the production and distribution of design solutions through print and digital media encourages an industrially relevant understanding of graphic design practices as well as the creative opportunities, professional demands, social responsibilities and vocational opportunities available to graduates. Research into the theoretical and professional contexts of individual design practices underpins an increasingly independent approach to content development, project management and self-evaluation with a view to establishing individual concerns and creative ambitions in preparation for study at Level 6. Formative feedback is structured through regular group critiques that encourage increasingly informed and self initiated approaches to peer evaluation, assessment and feedback skills. Individual and small group Progress Surgeries support your development through verbal and written feedback. End of module summative assessment and feedback is timetabled throughout the year in order to support regular and informed self-evaluation and personal reflections on your progress. Semester 1 Semester 1 focuses on the acquisition and application of higher level design production skills in Type, Print and Digital media. Briefs are introduced which specify the need to integrate more sustained research methodologies, achieve greater conceptual dexterity and demonstrate higher levels of practical application. You will develop a greater professional understanding of print and digital processes in the development, resolution and delivery of designed solutions to 8

problems of communication, interaction and accessibility. Content will be student centered and stem from your identified interests and research into content. Theoretical knowledge, analytical skills and critical understanding are further developed through the OUGD501 Context of Practice module providing a thematic lecture and seminar programme delivered across both semesters. Learning from this module is reinforced and further contextualised through studio based critiques, tutorials and group discussions with understanding evidenced through an online portfolio of responses to set tasks and independent research. Brief led problems will encourage and support the integration of practical, theoretical, written and visual responses to module content. This module will culminate in the delivery of a research proposal for Level 6 study determined in consultation with the theory and studio practice based tutors. OUGD502 Personal and Professional Practice 2 supports the development of an increasingly focused exploration of the breadth of creative, entrepreneurial and professional opportunities available to graphic designers in the creative industries. The module introduces the professional, legal and financial principles of creative practice and will support you in identifying and undertaking relevant professional research, industrial experience and where possible work placement. OUGD504 Design Production develops a higher-level understanding of design principles, process and practices relating to design for print and online media distribution. Conceptual development is driven through an increasingly informed understanding of your creative interests whilst at the same time developing a pragmatic understanding of the requirements of industrial production and distribution media. The practical and conceptual understanding of type, layout and visual communication are further developed throughout this module and focuses on their application to print and digital media. Semester 2 The ongoing move during Semester 2 is to encourage learning strategies that develop greater autonomy and independence in decision-making when interpreting and resolving briefs that are informed by an increasingly professional understanding of Graphic Design. OUGD505 Design Practice 2 establishes a framework for specialist practice, brief analysis and project management through negotiated briefs and self directed projects. The module will allow you to consolidate and further explore design processes, skills and methods towards the development and distribution of content driven design solutions. You will identify research and engage with specific/appropriate audiences and external contexts in the production of a creatively/professionally relevant body of work. Design Practice 2 will be informed by Personal and Professional Practice 2 (running simultaneously) allowing you to develop creatively, industrially relevant strategies in preparation for Level 6 study. OUGD503 Responsive - Design Process 2 is a cross college module that will allow you to explore individual and collaborative approaches to the development of identified live, competition or self-directed briefs. The emphasis on the module is a diagnostic approach to individual design skills, processes, applications and contexts within the broader creative industries and/or professional contexts. You will be guided in your choice of briefs, analysis of problems, development of content, presentation of proposals and management of clients. At


least 50% of the module should respond to live/competition briefs and at least 50% should involve collaborative practice.

Level 6 Module Information & Structure LEVEL 6 Sem 1

Sem 2

OUGD603 Design Practice 3 Extended Practice (60)

OUGD602 Personal & Professional Practice 3 (PPP3) (20) OUGD601 Context of Practice 3 (40)

Level 6 focuses on the synthesis of self-initiated practical, theoretical and professional concerns within the context of contemporary graphic design practices. You will be supported in independent and strategic approaches to the research, development, resolution and evaluation of a body of work that demonstrates a deep understanding of your own creative, social, cultural, ethical and/or commercial roles in relation to self determined areas of specialism or vocational interest. Each of the three Level 6 modules should inform the other and offers the opportunity to develop an integrated and informed strategy for progression into industry and/or further study. Formative feedback is structured through regular group critiques that are informed by structured, self initiated approaches to peer evaluation, assessment and feedback skills. Individual and small group Progress Surgeries support your development through verbal and written feedback. Formal interim assessment and feedback points are timetabled throughout the year in order to support regular and informed self-evaluation and personal reflections on your progress. Formal Summative assessment takes place during Semester 2 allowing time to develop a significant body of work.


1.7 Programme Resources

THE STUDIO The Studio is the focal point of the BA (Hons) Graphic Design department around which the three levels of study operate. The studios are open 8.30am to 9pm Monday – Thursday, closing at 8.00pm on Friday during term time, and open Saturdays 10.00am to 4.00pm. The studio is a specialist working environment, a dedicated space for the practice, experimentation and active debate. Within the studio the course promotes: The use of a common studio which is flexible rather than personal. The use of bookable and negotiated workspaces for the development and realisation of resolved work. The integration of workshop access and drop in as an extension of the studio environment. The productive, appropriate and responsible use of working off site as a key aspect of the development of mature studio practice. A dedicated brieďŹ ng/meeting space. A commitment to the interdisciplinary nature of Graphic Design practice today. An open invitation to take part in all cultural activities across the three levels of study where appropriate; talks, visits, external projects. Although the studio should be a vibrant and exciting place to be it should also be seen as a space for focus and reflection. The studio should be an environment that can accommodate a range of individual approaches to learning and the production of work. When working in the studios it is important that you consider the needs of other students who share the space and with this in mind we believe that mobile phones should be kept on silent and answered outside the studio. Similarly the use of radios, cd players and other personal entertainment devices that will generate distracting noise are not welcomed in the studio during core hours and taught sessions. It is expected from the outset of the course that full time students undertake the development of their projects within the studios, workshops and college environments and full time attendance at timetabled sessions is expected. Clearly working off site when appropriate during periods of self directed study is something that is encouraged as is the independence to develop your own working methods throughout your time on the course. This however should not be at the expense of your engagement with the course and college/studio environment. Make sure that you are regularly making contact with your tutor, teaching staff and the studio.

VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT In addition to the studio based resources the delivery of the programme is supported by EStudio - an online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) that gives access to programme specific information, module content and learning resources. These include: Online timetables for each level that carry the dates, times and locations of all your taught sessions, information relating to session content, preparation and requirements. Module briefing and submission information including dates, times of assessment deadlines, formats and procedures. 11

Studio briefs, tasks and supporting material for the work that you are being asked to produce. Virtual notice boards, online forums and online sign up for tutorials, crits and workshops. Access to the broader online information, resources and community at Leeds College of Art. E-studio is linked to your academic email account and provides you with updates to course content, networking opportunities and notifications of any changes to timetabled sessions. You will be introduced to the E-studio during the Induction Programme and will become increasingly familiar with it through briefings and studio workshops.

ONLINE PORTFOLIOS, CRITICAL JOURNALS & BLOGS Modules across all three levels of the programme will require you to document the work that you produce on a set of online portfolios and critical journals in the form of blogs. These blogs will form a considerable part of the evidence that you will need to provide for assessment and have been specifically structured to allow your work to be assessed effectively and consistently throughout your studies. PERSONAL HOMEPAGE e.g Your personal homepage will be the focal point of the blogs that you set up on the course. It will act as a hub for a set of course related blogs (described below). You will need to set up and maintain links to your other blogs as well as other online resources that you discover throughout the three years of your degree. DESIGN PRACTICE BLOG. e.g This blog should be used to document the practical and conceptual development of your design work in response to studio briefs. Staff assessing your work will look here for evidence of your ability to record, organise and evaluate the exploration of ideas, media, processes and production methods. By documenting your investigations and posting them to your blog. you will build up an increasingly reflective approach to your own development as well as helping to evidence the exploration of your own Design Practice. DESIGN CONTEXT BLOG. e.g This blog should be used to post responses to the tasks set as part of your Context of Practice 1/2/3 modules and your ongoing independent research into the historical, theoretical and contextual concerns of Graphic Design. When assessing this blog staff will be looking for your ability to inform your critical judgements and analytical opinions with appropriate references to contemporary creative practices. Over the next two years you will build up a portfolio of references, analytical methods, examples of relevant contemporary/historical practice and more. This blog will provided a valuable resource when writing research proposals for your dissertation and developing appropriate theoretical research in your third year of study.


PPP BLOG. e.g This blog should be used to document your ongoing investigation of contemporary design practice, visual culture, creative industries and research into designers and design companies. You should aim to broaden your understanding of how graphic design operates in amongst a breadth of other creative practices as well as developing an increasingly focused understanding of where you are positioning yourself within graphic design. This blog should help you identify the kind of work that inspires you and informs the decisions that you are making about the work you produce and your future aspirations. You should also use this blog to document the ongoing self evaluation of your own strengths and weaknesses, the development of reflective approaches to your own learning journey and the critical analysis of your emerging design practice in relation to individual creative ambitions.

1.8 Programme Communication E-mail Much of the Department communication is by email. Check your email regularly so that you know what you should be doing and where and when you should do it. Computers to access Email are located both within the studios, the IT departments, college library and LRC. At your computer induction you will be provided with User Names to access the college computers and software. Notice Boards The notice boards are located in the studio. Here you will ďŹ nd general information and special notices such as signing-up forms for individual tutorials and workshops. Check the notice boards every time you come to the studios and always before going to a seminar or lecture as changes of time or venue are sometimes necessary. Find out where your level notice board is located. E-studio hosts the virtual notice boards and forums that are used extensively throughout the academic year to communicate important up to date information. Mail Boxes These are situated in The Studio. Messages for individual students are placed here. They too should be checked regularly. You may also use them to communicate with other students within the Faculty. By Post It is sometimes necessary to write to you, so please inform us of any changes of address in Leeds or at home. Change of Address forms can be obtained from the Graphic Design OfďŹ ce, to whom they should be returned when completed. By Text We occaisionally use text messaging as a way of communicating essential information that requires immediate action or responses such as changes to sessions, the release of assessment grades and feedback or reminders about important events. We also use text messaging or contact by mobile phone in case of emergencies and would ask that you make sure that any changes to your contact number is communicated to the course administrator.


1.9 Academic Calendar Week No.




1 2 3

Induction Programme OUGD402 OUGD401 / OUGD403 Briefings

Induction Week OUGD501 / OUGD502 / OUGD504 Briefings

Induction Week OUGD601 / OUGD602 / OUGD603 Briefings

10 11 12

OUGD404 Briefing Tutorials Week OUGD503 Briefing

OUGD403 Submission Assessment Week OUGD405 Briefing

Progress Surgeries

Research Week

Portfolio Surgeries


XMAS BREAK (3 weeks) 15


6 7 8

OUGD602 Interim Presentation


OUGD405 Submission OUGD504 Submission Assessment Week


OUGD406 Briefing

OUGD601 Submission


OUGD501 Submission

EASTER BREAK (3 weeks) 26

31 32


OUGD404 Submission

OUGD406 Submission OUGD402 Presentation

OUGD503 Submission

OUGD505 Submission OUGD502 Presentation End of Year Assessments EXHIBITIONS WEEK

OUGD602 Final Presentation


Reading / Research Visits Week

OUGD603 Submission

SUMMER BREAK This calendar should be referred to as a guide only. A more detailed timetable and further information can be accessed via E-studio. 14

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