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BA Graphic Communication

Course Overview

Graphic communicators are skilled interpreters – they have the ability to create visual ideas which serve to inform, persuade, provoke or entertain and elicit a required response from an audience. At CSAD, we believe their work can be described as ‘what human beings leave behind to communicate when they are no longer there in person’.

Graphic design is about bringing ideas to life and making meaningful visual messages; it is both the secret to great design and the skill behind conveying complex information, which must be easy, as well as enjoyable, for a reader to digest. Whatever the medium, a graphic communicator uses words, images, schematics, colour, form, metaphors, symbols and stories to innovate and create lasting messages.

Download the BA Graphic Communication prospectus here

Our broad and varied curriculum invites you to explore all kinds of visual languages, as well as the technologies that link different client and audience groups. You will be encouraged to use as wide a range of these materials and technologies as possible whilst receiving equal emphasis on your ability to develop strong ideas. It’s this combination of practical and vocational training which makes our course award-winning.

Rebecca Sawyer“I enjoy doing work for other people, I felt art was often for yourself – if someone else gives me a task I’m more likely to want to do it” Rosanna Marns, BA Graphic Communication. Read about Rosanna’s first year at CSAD here.

The commitment to facilitating real-world experience and building contacts makes a significant contribution to our excellent employment rates. Visiting speakers and live briefs with real clients are core to the delivery of our course, ensuring that you get to know people in the industry before you graduate. You will be learning at the home of the critically acclaimed Cardiff Design Festival, with the support of industry mentors, and access to an enviable network of employers as well as past graduates who are leading the field at both local and international level.

The structure of the course enables you to gather relevant business experience, participate in cross-discipline work with students from across the school of Art & Design. You may choose to undertake a work placement within the industry, carry out research with one of our Professors and research staff, or travel to study Graphic Communication in entirely different cultures. In the third year, you can elect to undertake a business plan or a dissertation, preparing the way for your career on graduation. The choice is yours, to help realise your ambitions – whether that is to continue your personal development through further study, secure a job in the industry or build the beginnings of a freelance career.


The focus of the degree is not only to develop you as a student and critical thinker, but to inspire your growth into a skilled and intellectual designer. These attributes, which are dependent on one another, combined with practical experience and an understanding of the Graphic Communication industry, will form the beginning of your career, and stand you in the strongest possible position to carry it forward.

The Graphic Communication programme is taught by a dedicated team of academics and working designers; staff interests and research areas range from inclusive and interaction design; collaborative design, print and screen based media to typographic design, digital drawing, sustainable professional practice and innovation and design festivals.

Year One (level 4)

Graphic Communication: This module is designed to immediately challenge you with questions around what it means to be a Graphic Communicator. You will question accepted notions of Graphic Communication as you are introduced to the written, spoken and visual skills which define the design profession.

Graphic Communication in the City: You will be offered the opportunity to collaborate across subject disciplines. By tackling a set of concerns as a group, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your own strengths, skills and artistic insight in relation to the broader creative field.

Constellation – Concept: In term one, a series of keynote lectures from across the Constellation team will introduce you to the staff and their areas of interest and expertise.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).

Year Two (level 5)

who’s the designer?: With a strong emphasis on your professional understanding, this module is designed to help you reflect upon your own strengths and interests, building intellectual expertise and vocation into the core of your practice as the foundations for your future career.

Field: You will be set a challenging project which will require you to negotiate and learn beyond the curriculum of your subject discipline. It may take you abroad for international study; to an existing company for work experience or voluntary social engagement; or result in working with School’s leading research teams or individual staff. Designed to encourage you to explore and experiment, individual projects will be graded by a common form of assessment.

Critique: In terms one and two you will attend a series of seminars lead by different Constellation team members, thus engaging in a diverse range of topics where you will be able to put your academic skills into practice. This will include critiquing current literature as well as contemporary journals and exhibitions, with the purpose of examining a range of modern research ideas; from interactivity and design to metaphor, critical theory, ecology, art and science. In doing so, you will be introduced to additional research methodologies, such as ethnographic research, content analysis, archival research.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).

Year Three (level 6)

Exit Strategy: This module concentrates on ‘real world’ opportunities, from working with mentors to live briefs and competitions. You will be actively building upon your own skills and interest areas, focusing on your professional goals in preparation for the completion of your time at CSAD.

Exhibition: Built around a major project and an exhibition brief, the module will see you produce a professional presentation of your design collection; this being the culmination of your creative practice, often serving as the launch-pad for a final year student’s future career.

Constellation: Your final Constellation module will demonstrate your ability to produce a dissertation of significant value to your field, with a sense of authority stemming from thorough research and academic rigour.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).


From the outset, you will gain hands-on experience in practical studio sessions and workshops – developing your core material skills. Lectures, lead by members of the academic staff, will broaden your theoretical understanding of your field, whilst smaller, targeted seminars are designed to provide guidance for meeting more individual intellectual and practical demands.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).


Throughout the duration of your studies, you will be evaluated on three main criteria which underpin all of the disciplines being taught at CSAD:

Skills The practical, technical and conceptual skills you acquire during your course.
Context Your understanding and knowledge of broader intellectual context within which your discipline and work is located. This includes historical, theoretical and social issues and will often be explored in written or theoretical work, known as your Constellation modules.
Ideas Your understanding of intellectual and creative ideas from within and beyond your discipline; plus your ability to acquire new concepts and form new ideas. Ideas will be explored in your Constellation assignments, as well as being evident in your practical progress.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).


Whilst your learning is designed to develop you into a rounded and capable designer and intellectual, your curriculum is similarly structured with your potential in mind.

As such, the emphasis that will have been placed upon your work ethic, both creatively and academically, is matched with significant focus on real world experience; from building contacts and undertaking placements to live briefs and, should you choose so, support in forming your own business.

The course has excellent relationships with the London and local design agencies, research partners and cultural partners. Its graduates are in prominent design positions worldwide.

You can elect to take a route through your second and final years of studies where you can engage with businesses or launch your own for the moment you graduate. In your final year, rather than submit a dissertation, you have the option of devising a detailed business plan.

Throughout your time at CSAD, you will be meeting and hearing from professionals within your industry, honing your skills and ideas for commercial and professional advantage. Cross-disciplinary projects will prepare you for teamwork later on, whilst live briefs will prepare you for deadlines and the demands of tight specifications.

Graduates from the programme are well placed to join design companies, work as designers in large organisations, or set up their own businesses. Some take further training, for example a PGCE. Some elect to take their studies further by studying at CSAD at masters level. They have opportunities to take this further, through a Professional Doctorate in Design.

After Graduation
Click here to read more about the wide range of careers BA Graphic Communication graduates choose when they complete their studies at CSAD.

Click here to read an interview with Graphics graduate Tom Palmer, whose freelance client base includes car manufacturer Ford.

Click here to read an interview with BA Graphic Communication graduate Sean Rees, discussing his career in branding and graphic design.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).


Applicants should have a strong art and/or design portfolio and demonstrate a commitment to art and/or design, five GCSE passes including English and Maths at grade C or above plus:
• 300 points from a successfully completed Art & Design Foundation Diploma or/and
• At least 3 A Levels / Scottish Advanced Highers from any Subject (General Studies excluded)
• QCF BTEC Extended Diploma: Distinction Distinction Merit
• 300 points from the Irish Leaving Certificate at Highers to include 3 x B1 grades from any subject (minimum grade C2 considered)
• Pass Access with 45 credits at Level 3 within a relevant subject
• 300 points from the Welsh Baccalaureate to include grades CC at A Level within any subject, General Studies excluded, Core counted as fourth subject
• Qualifications equivalent to the above

If your qualification isn’t listed above, please refer to the UCAS website.

For applicants only undertaking 2 A Levels / 12-unit BTEC or equivalent, or applying with other life experiences, other qualifications and/or art & design achievements will be considered. If you are a UK or EU student intending to enter the first year and are confident you will meet the academic level (the tariff points) for your preferred undergraduate course, then you should apply through the usual means (UCAS in the UK) as detailed on the applications page of the Cardiff Metropolitan University website.

Selection Procedure:
Selection is based on the receipt of a completed UCAS application and attendance at a School of Art & Design Interview.
Acceptance at interview is based upon a balance of three criteria.
(i) Personal enthusiasm for and immersion in the practice and theory of Art & Design.
(ii) Academic Achievement and ability.
(iii) Quality of work, ambition and skills demonstrated in a portfolio.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).


UCAS code: W210
Course length: Three years full-time.
Subject Leader: Olwen Moseley;
Admissions Tutor: Ray Nicklin;

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).

Cardiff School of Art & Design is home to 1200 students, united by ambition and a true passion for creative enquiry. We are makers and thinkers in the fields of fine art, design, architecture and a range of craft practices. We have workshops and studios that ensure our students can operate as professionals from the moment they start their studies.

Why choose CSAD? Read three big reasons here.

150 years of Cardiff Metropolitan University

2015 marks our 150th anniversary.

Read more about the events to celebrate the occasion on the Cardiff Met website.

Open Days

Dates for Undergraduate Open days for 2016/17 entry will be posted on the Open Day web page.

The next Masters Open Day is on Friday 19th June 2015 at 12pm. Please email to book a place.

Visit the Open Day web page for more information.

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Download a prospectus

Click here to visit our Prospectus page with links to pdf prospectuses for the range of subjects covered at CSAD.

Research & Enterprise Newsletter

CSAD releases a regular pdf newsletter featuring the latest Research & Enterprise news from across the School. Click the links below to view a selection of recently published R&E Newsletters (pdf format):

Spring 2015 | Autumn 2014 | Summer 2014 | Autumn/Winter 2013/14 | Summer 2013 | Spring 2013 | Autumn 2012 | Summer 2012 | Spring 2012 | Autumn 2011 | Summer 2011 | Spring 2011 | Winter 2010 | Autumn 2010

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D&AD 2013 Best of year: Branding (Steffan Cummins) / Best of year: Packaging (Beth Kelsall)

YCN young creative networks competition 2013 Commended: Tom Garland (UGG) / Commended: Lewis Brown (Nissan)

Penguin Book Cover Competition 2013 Finalist: Dan Ulf-Hansen / Finalist: Andrew Cadywould


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Below is a list of other related courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Visit the courses page for the full list.
BA Illustration
BA Artist Designer:Maker
Postgraduate Certificate in Research Skills: Art & Design (CRS)
MA (Art & Design)
Master of Design (MDes)