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MA Communication Design

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  • Objectives
    Communication has changed rapidly with new technologies. The digital communication environment is fluid, global and multi-disciplinary. Communication designers must possess extensive expertise and a clear, incisive quality of thinking that will enable them to meet the needs of evolving cultural networks. The course prioritises experimentation within the contemporary design profession. In our think-tank atmosphere, students engage in lively debate to challenge and redefine their individual subject areas. The course embraces 'problem setting’ in the development of self-initiated briefs, rather than straightforward problem solving. Group seminars promote both independent and peer learning, alongside a programme of dynamic theoretical context lectures. A strong relationship is maintained with professional practice through regular guest speakers from across the design industry, and input from visiting tutors. Through personal research and experimentation, students will develop mature, creative and analytical work through a choice of one of four routes that represent key communication channels.
  • Entry requirements
    Graphic Design Those wishing to discuss and explore the disciplines of graphic design, particularly typography. Applicants are expected to possess strong graphic skills and be proficient in appropriate software such as Quark Xpress or InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, or font creation programmes such as Fontographer. Illustration Those considering a career within illustration who have relevant experience in other disciplines or already have professional experience. Applicants must demonstrate strong drawing or image-making skills. Knowledge of creative software applications is very useful (such as Flash for animation purposes), but such software is not taught as part of the Illustration curriculum. Digital Media Students from diverse disciplines, interested in extending the language of digital communication. Applicants must be competent in relevant interactive software such as Flash, Director or Dreamweaver, and digital imaging/motion graphics software such as Photoshop and After Effects. Students may decide to use digital film and animation within their projects, but these specific disciplines are not taught as part of the curriculum. Photography Students familiar with wet or digital photographic processes from a range of disciplines, who are committed to challenging their visual vocabulary in relation to commercial practice. Applicants should demonstrate strong photographic and image-making skills. Knowledge of digital imaging software is highly desirable.
  • Academic Title
    MA Communication Design
  • Course description
    Structure

    The course is offered in a two year, 60 week, extended full-time (EFT), mode, requiring approximately 30 hours per week study. Taught delivery is normally timetabled across three days per week including self-directed study. The course is credit rated at 180 credits, and comprises three units as follows: Unit 1: 10, Unit 2: 70 Unit 3: 100 credits. A student has to pass all three units to be considered for the award of MA, with the award of a distinction being based on the achievement in Unit 3 only.

    There are a number of key areas common to all four routes, which provide the general conceptual framework addressed on the course. In each route, the relationship between text, image and the various technologies plays a defining role.

    Information design: quantitative information such as maps, statistical charts, and comparative diagrams are visualised and set in context.

    Interface design: planning and visualising possible information access points, usually in interactive digital media.

    Developing narratives or storytelling: through a chosen communication channel - or combination of channels - using imagery, text, sound, space and movement

    Typography as a visual language: exploring how we see words

    Editorial design: planning, authoring, positioning and producing printed and digital publications

    3D: three dimensional artefacts, packaging and virtual environments

    Image development: hand techniques, photography and digital manipulation.

    There is a great deal of 'cross-over’ within the routes in terms of skills and processes (for example, graphic designers are often required to generate or manipulate photographic imagery within their work) and students can therefore attend some workshops and seminars Whilst a student is expected to apply for a named route within the course, transferral to another route may be considered, subject to space, and agreement with the Course Director and relevant Subject Leader.

    Pathway details
    All applicants must specify a 'route’ or 'pathway’ located under 'course title’ on the application form. We do not accept applications that have not specified a route. The routes are:

    Graphic Design
    -Illustration
    -Digital Media
    -Photography.
    -Graphic Design
    -Graphic Design explores visual communication and the 'visualisation of language’ through a range of methodologies, including typography and language, book and editorial design, information design, and environmental design such as site-specific signage. Conventions are challenged whilst encouraging work that is firmly located within a social and professional context. Although the Graphic Design route is mainly print-based, it encompasses a diversity of approaches including screen-based or motion graphics, packaging design and 3D artefacts.
    -Workshops include letterpress, print production and photography. Specialist bookbinding workshops are arranged at the London College of Communication at an extra cost of £30.00, for those who wish to take part.

    Illustration
    -The Illustration route strongly encourages personal expression and aspirations through image-making. Students develop imagery based around chosen narratives, and the concept of 'story-telling’. Alongside the development of self-initiated themes, live projects are integrated with experimental briefs to promote personal vision. Traditional concepts of illustration are challenged whilst maintaining an awareness of professional practice. Illustrators employ a wide range of mixed media, which may include hand-drawn, printed and collaged material, 3D artefacts or animation.
    -Workshops include drawing, silkscreen printing, etching, and photography.

    Digital Media
    -The Digital Media route focuses on digital communication and digital environments, particularly interaction design. It draws upon the dynamic relationships between traditional print-based design and alternative forms of communication, through screen-based media. Students develop strong concepts balanced with inventive and novel content, which may involve collaboration with programmers from outside the college in realising their projects. Media applications that have become central to the route include DVD design, streaming media, dynamic web environments, motion graphics, projections and installations.
    -Workshops include intermediate Flash, ActionScript, After Effects and other interaction design software subject to the curriculum.

    Photography
    -The Photography route utilises both 'wet’ and 'dry’ methods (traditional print techniques and digital imaging) to generate creative imagery that demonstrates depth and intensity of vision. Students are expected to undertake a high level of research and analysis in order to develop a proposal, and create a body of work around this theme. Individuality, innovation and experimentation are encouraged in order to explore photography as a potent method of visual communication.
    -Workshops include traditional and digital photography, studio lighting and digital imaging software.

    Skillset Media Academy

    Central Saint Martins has been awarded Skillset Media Academy status, one of only 17 institutions across the UK, granted in recognition of the outstanding achievements of the college in relation to their Media Courses.  This course is part of the programme that contributed to the successful application.  Skillset is the industry body which supports skills and training for people and businesses to ensure the UK audio visual and publishing industries maintain their world class position.

    Career Prospects

    Personal and professional development is a core element of the MA Communication Design course.

    Throughout the course students are supported and encouraged to further their understanding of professional practice, so that when they graduate students should be well prepared to become active and valued members of the international design community.

    MA Communication Design alumni have gone on to set up their own successful design studios, work for some of the UK's most respected companies, freelance in their chosen specialisms, follow a design research career, and much more.

    The breadth of opportunities for design professionals grows every year. It is the aim of the course to support students to undertand, devise and implement design processes that will enable them to work confidently across diverse media.

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