Graphic Design is hardly adequate to describe the breath of this course. The curriculum embraces typography, advertising, photography, moving image, drawing, print-making, illustration and interactive design. The BA Graphic Design course at Central Saint Martins is a three-year full time course for students of graphic design and design for communication media. Students are encouraged to experiment creatively and critically. The philosophy of the course is probably unique amongst UK undergraduate graphic design courses. It is analytical and diagnostic with emphasis on solving visual communication problems through the development of original and often surprising solutions, rather than simply focussing on technical media or applying formulaic solutions. Our student centred ethos encourages students to develop their creative practice in divergent career opportunities at graduation. The philosophy of the graphic design course at Central Saint Martins is that students define their goals, experiment with ideas and challenge current practices to produce work that is outside commercial constraints. The course helps to develop individual student's creative potential through improvisation, speculation and experimentation. After a first year introductory common programme, students are offered a choice of specialist areas at the beginning of their second year - Advertising, Design, Illustration or Moving Image.
BA Graphic Design
The course begins with a common diagnostic first year, which introduces many approaches to design thinking, creative conceptualising and graphic design practice. The curriculum ranges from introductions to design and ideas, typography and letterpress, advertising, photography, animation, drawing, printmaking and illustration to designing with computer software for print and screen-based media. The course provides grounding in both traditional and new media. It also allows students a free choice of projects beyond the first term. A study trip to a European cultural centre is also available.
After the first year, students freely choose their 'home' pathway within Advertising, Design, Illustration or Moving Image. Though appearing to offer only four subject areas, the Stage 2 curriculum includes opportunities to engage with typography, web design, motion graphics, film and video, animation, photography, printmaking, bookbinding, print production and interactive digital media. During this period students consolidate their direction and work with increasingly demanding projects. Students are required to engage in critical debate about style and content and to challenge established practices and ideas. At Stage 2, students are required to manage their time effectively and maintain a high level of motivation. There are opportunities to participate in national and international competitions, 'live' briefs and student exchanges. A study trip to an international cultural centre is also available.
As in Stage 2 there is no formal restriction placed on the type of work made or the media used. The course continues to support open attitudes to advertising, illustration and graphic design; students are encouraged to develop as specialists or pluralists, to work as individuals or in design teams. Stage 3 students are focused on producing a body of work for their degree submission. This will involve a major Context project, course-work, self-initiated work, outside commissions, or work for competitions. Students form themselves into a number of working groups, campaigning for sponsorship, organising publicity and press coverage, editing and designing a show catalogue, website, DVD and CDROM. The degree show is firmly established as a major event in the London design calendar. Luminaries of the profession, if not actually recruiting new talent, have confirmed that this is the show they continue to visit in their search for ideas or inspiration and to gain insight into future directions.