The world around us is driven by design, almost everything we come into contact with on a daily basis has been designed or influenced by design. This design culture extends into Marketing and Advertising. Graphic Design forms an integral and valuable part of this culture. Graphic Designers are also referred to as Visual Communicators and are the cornerstones to this industry. It is a varied and wide industry that includes working in Advertising Agency, Design Studio, Digital Design and Web Design.
Many Graphic Designers find opportunities and rewarding careers in industries such as Print, Packaging and Signage. As a Graphic Designer you are involved in problem solving and finding creative visual solutions. It is important that a Graphic Designer keeps in touch with current affairs, social issues, environmental concerns. A good designer will also be in-tune with trends and cultures, have a love for innovation and a natural ability with colour and typography. Successful designers embrace technology but never loose sight of their creative and conceptual abilities.
Some design projects that a designer would be involved in include: Logo Design, Corporate Identity, Brand Building and development, Poster design, Brochure design, Point of Sale and Point of Purchase, Promotional material to a multitude of clients. It is a rewarding and fulfilling career driven by passion.
Visual Communication 1:
From the beginning of the course students are introduced to and continually assessed on the following: Design Principles, Applied Design, Visual Literacy, Typography. These form the basis of Visual Communication. During this process each student is taught how to access a set of design principles also known as TOOLS. They will be encouraged and taught how to put into practice the basics and principles that surround Visual Literacy and the appropriate use of Typography
Digital Design 1:
Students are Introduced to the principals and concepts of design software and shown how to utilise their digital design tools in publishing what they create. At this level they are given an introduction and basic training into the technical aspects of using the software. All software training is industry standard and based on current trends and technology. The use of various types of computer peripherals, such as scanners and printers, external drives and memory devices. A variety of projects similar to applied design projects are included to allow students the opportunity to practice using the digital platform to execute and publish their work or design.
Creative Expression 1:
It is vital to any creative industry that the designers who enter into it be encouraged to develop their creative and conceptual skills. Creative expression develops observation and perception skills. The aspects covered are: Basic drawing and illustration, investigating and working with illustration styles and media Principles of composition Drawing from life Figure drawing Perspective Visualisation (layout drawing) All students pay attention to layout, markers and related techniques, including visualisation and graphic presentation of concept such as storyboard technique.
As part of the basic ability to visually communicate all Graphic Design students are required to do Photography. Through this all students are taught the principals and basic understanding of photography from a graphic standpoint. The emphasis for this part of the course is to gain an understanding of the function of photography within the graphics industry. The methods employed are to learn the technical aspects and form an understanding of the technology used. Once this foundation has been established the creative and expressive elements are introduced. A variety of projects are done that test and develop different types of photography. From Abstract and mood to pack shots and lifestyle shots.
Design Theory 1:
The history of Visual Communication and Graphic Design is included in the course to help students develop an understanding of the process of design. In this module the social, cultural, economic and technological influences of the past on visual communication and design are explored. Students are taught the fundamentals of research methodology. All assessments are project-based, utilising the information and knowledge gathered during lectures and research.
Visual Communication 2:
Each student is required to show an understanding of Design Principles. Projects involve effective problem definition, research, creative problem solving and effective visual communication. Each project will have an element of Applied Design, Visual Literacy and Typography. At this level students are introduced to the need for verbal and visual presentations. All projects are presented to either members of industry or lecturers and classmates, each of these presentations is assessed with direct reference to Design Principles, Applied Design, Visual Literacy, Typography.
Digital Design 2:
The use of digital design as related to new media and technical functionality is the focus at this point. Students are taught at a far more advanced level, building on what they have learned so far. A much greater emphasis is placed on web and internet based design and the integration of design principals into this new media. All students are encouraged to explore the use of the various software as extensions to their creative ability.
Creative Expression 2:
Throughout the course the need for hand rendered creative solutions will always be at the forefront. Being able to create artwork in a professional environment will always remain. Projects are geared towards creative development, visual problem solving and are closely linked to VISUAL COMMUNICATION. Each student is required to integrate and use the techniques learned during this process into all work undertaken during the course.
Photography is regarded as a fundamental component to VISUAL COMMUNICATION. It is vital that all students develop an understanding of the requirements from a photographic standpoint. The knowledge that was developed at the first level is expanded upon and applied in a far more technical and intense manner. Each student is required to use their own photography for all VISUAL COMMUNICATION projects thus giving them opportunities to exercise and develop their photographic skill and knowledge. All projects are assessed against industry requirements and practical outcomes.
Design Theory 2:
At this level it is important that all Graphic Design students be introduced to Bussiness Studies. Each student is taught how to look at and run a design based business.We introduce students to the concepts and ideas surrounding business. With a step by step approach and real life scenarios each of them learns about the fundamentals of running a business. They are introduced to, marketing, the marketing environment. Market segmentation, target marketing & product positioning, strategic marketing. Students are then taught how to conduct Market research. An important aspect of this component is to make each student aware of how they would be able become entrepreneurs. They are shown the process of product development Innovation and branding from a business point of view.
Design Theory 3:
As part of the degree course each student must be involved in researching and creating a published work. Research methodology and academic writing are an important element for the degree. Dissertation:For this each student will research a topic of their choice related to the design field, once this has been done a proposal must be put forward showing the intended outcome and reason for the topic. Each student must then write and publish their dissertation. Only once this has been done will the student be eligible for a degree.
Visual Communication 3:
A t this level students are encouraged and expected to be self motivated and be self sufficient. Lectures are split between contact sessions, Briefs and presentations. Each project consists of and covers numerous aspects of a design brief. From strategy and brand development to creative, as well as production and print. Every student is responsible for their own image generation and all content must be original. They are assessed on their understanding and ability to work with the following:Creative, Concept, Presentation, understanding of Reproduction, Effective and creative use of technology and media.
Professional Practice 3:
As all final year students prepare to go into the real world a critical area that must be paid attention to is PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE and PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT. This is an extension to Business Studies and further enhances their understanding of basic professionalism and the ability to function an a business level. Students are also taught how to conduct themselves in a presentation environment and this is tested when presenting projects back to the industry.
Digital Design 3:
A major part of the final year is establishing an ON-LINE or WEB presence. As the concept of new media and social media become more part of our everyday lives so is the need to have a footprint or a presence. Digital Design at this level trains students to understand the importance of interactive web based design and how to use the digital platform to create and work within that. Each student is responsible for creating a series of digital and web based projects that develops their knowledge and ability to work in the medium.
Internship: (Not Mandatory - extra credit)
As a mechanism to asses each students ability to function at an acceptable and professional level within the industry each student has the option of completing an internship in their local community. They are required to find a design-related business such as an ADVERTISING AGENCY or DESIGN STUDIO or a COMMERCIAL PRINT HOUSE. Included in this should be, sourcing work, client meetings, problem solving, design work, final application, site meetings and general administration tasks. This should all take place under the guidance of a qualified designer. The entire process must be recorded, and a report created.
Portfolio development is an ongoing process. The portfolio is the collection of the students body of work that shows what the abilities of the designer, both conceptually and creatively. The portfolio is the showcase that employers are going to look at in order to judge your ability. The development of these portfolios begins at the start of the year and culminates when the student graduates. The Portfolio is the last major design project undertaken and is presented to a panel for final assessment.