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MA-PgDip Communication Design

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  • Objectives
    The MA Communication Design course aims to provide a programme of study which encompasses issues central to contemporary design practice such as design authorship and social engagement, through a process of analysis, experimentation and practical implementation of creative ideas. It encourages a creative engagement with contemporary visual communication issues.
  • Entry requirements
    Entrance requirements: A good honours degree in an appropriate subject or professional qualifications plus evidence of a general education deemed equivalent
  • Academic Title
    MA/PgDip Communication Design
  • Course description
    Communication Design - MA/PgDip

    Duration: 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

    Course Philosophy
    Emphasis is placed upon ‘problem setting’ rather than straight forward problem solving via the identification and development of self-initiated projects and briefs, whilst the philosophy of this course is expressed through the following features:

    • Offering a balance between theoretical, practical and commercial interests whilst enhancing and developing students' own individual and collective levels of critical enquiry .

    • Gaining specific skills in a number of areas including creative thinking, research methods, computer systems, visualization, multi-media and interactivity.

    • Developing the ability to think dynamically and creatively.

    • Gaining the expertise to focus on a specific avenue of interest, carry out enquiries and experiment, and produce pioneering projects or realise innovative working prototypes and solutions.

    STRUCTURE | One year, full-time; two years, three months, part-time
    The MA/PgDip course in Communication Design is a modular programme, consistent with the University's Postgraduate Modular Scheme, run within the School of Art & Design.

    The course requires full-time or part-time attendance, comprised of three 15 week semesters or six 30 week semesters to be undertaken within one or two years respectively:

    Semester 1 - October to February
    Semester 2 - February to June
    Semester 3 - June to September

    Semester 1
    Semester 1 invites the students to interrogate communication design and its effects through theoretical and practical means and to explore notions of creativity and practice by studying and employing various research techniques and methods.

    Focus is placed upon notions of creativity whilst students are encouraged to experience different approaches to communication design; expand on research methods; experience different points of view; and consider a broad approach to design. Emphasis is placed on developing and presenting ideas, integrating research within a practice-based research project and embedding these findings within a defined series of outcomes.

    Import is placed on developing: (1) the ability to manage, develop and present ideas; (2) the ability to integrate research findings & issues within a practice-based project; (3) the ability to analyse projects and project outcomes.

    Students will have the opportunity to meet and work with the core members of the graphic design area staff team in order to identify potential key members of staff and their specialisms which they may wish to draw upon in semesters 2 and 3.

    Semester 2
    Semester 2 focuses upon developing the ability to manage and develop a project grounded in thorough research techniques which combines a theoretical enquiry within a practical outcome. Students are encouraged to make contact with practitioners and/or industry in order to gain support and experience of professional practice.

    Individuals are afforded the opportunity to explore specific areas of communication design practice in order to develop a professional understanding of the contemporary design processes. Emphasis is placed upon students becoming responsible for the formulating, managing and co-ordinating their own concepts and outcomes and for the negotiation, management and implementation of a practice based research project which explores the synthesis of design practice within its contextual framework.

    Ultimately students will propose a specialist field of endeavour, which will inform their intended final major project in semester 3.

    Semester 3
    Semester 3 is purely self-directed. Each student will undertake a practical project which will require the student to initiate and self manage their studio, workshop and research time based upon their own programme of intent identified in semester 2. Students will interact with each other at regular work-in-progress reviews and will also be supported by a regular series of personal tutorials from their project supervisor and module co-ordinator.

    This final module aims to foster and engender a balance between critical, sociological, research design analysis and professional practice resulting in the demonstration and resolution of in-depth practical research design project, which extends the boundaries of a specific area of communication design.

    TRIPS & EXCHANGES | Students undertaking the programme have the opportunity to undertake a period of study at the European Institute of Design in Toulon ( South of France) as part of their studies in Semester 2.

    MODES OF DELIVERY | Projects provide the main vehicle for learning supported by personal tutorials, group tutorials, lectures, workshops, one day projects etc.

    Review via tutorials, peer group critiques and specialist lectures underpin study. Constant evaluation and debate are ongoing during the process of information gathering, the testing of theoretical and practical ideas, and the honing of all elements towards end product.

    A community of postgraduate researchers fosters a culture of critical debate and mutual support. In turn, this provides an enhanced understanding and sophisticated appreciation of contemporary Communication Design.

    A key feature of the course, providing a context for the discussion of broader issues, is a programme of cultural and professional seminars shared with students on other postgraduate courses in the School.

    Recent areas of study have included:

    Interactive Memory Aids – a study of mnemonic and creative thinking systems, focusing on methods of memory storage which enable the end user to enhance their creative thinking process and memory retention and retrieval.

    Authorial Illustration – book design and construction. The significance of colour harmony, colour balance and psychology and their application towards book design for an educational environment.

    Minimalist Design - the roots of minimalism through symbolic artefact and modernist aesthetics. An attempt to reconfigure minimalist graphic design in the second millennium.

    Design for Healthcare - a study relating to social, environmental and sustainable design implementation and construction for the healthcare environment.

    Social responsibility – a series of awareness campaigns aimed at contemporary society relating to areas such as health, the environment, sustainability, food waste, preservation and recycling.

    Creative Thinking – a study of creative thinking processes, mechanisms and mind mapping techniques and their execution within the creative industries/education sector.

    Screen-based Interactivity - Interactive screen based design, games, toys, navigation, stricture, design and implementation.

    Dyslexia – the development of an in-depth educational pack designed to raise awareness of the various forms of Dyslexia, their effects and impact. For use by parents, children and schools.

    Interactive Narrative - a study of the process of storytelling in folkloric narratives, and the relationship of the viewer to the screened frame, interaction with story characters and the emotional effect of such interaction on the viewer.

    CAREER PATHS | Previous alumni are activity employed within various sectors of design practice both within and outside of the UK, including Brazil, China and Taiwan. In addition previous graduates have also progressed onto study for higher degrees, whilst several graduates are now employed as lecturers in the filed of education in both Further Education and Higher Education schools and universities.

    APPLICANT PROFILE & PORTFOLIO ADVICE | Applications are sought from creative individuals with a passion for their area/practice who wish to investigate how various media function and formulate their own design ethos in relation to their own practice.

    The aim is to develop an enhanced understanding and more sophisticated appreciation of contemporary communication design. Successful graduates are able to flourish in a broad range of areas, whether they be commercial, academic or individually driven.

    Emphasis is placed upon ‘problem setting’ rather than straight forward problem solving via the identification and development of self-initiated projects and briefs.

    As such the course is designed so as to afford students the opportunity to pursue a particular individual line of enquiry via in-depth research, personal practice and business acumen.

    Portfolio Advice

    Evidence of critical, reflective contemporary awareness and practice within a specialist field. Applicants should possess existing knowledge and understanding of their intended area of specialism combined with a desire to explore and develop their professional understanding of contemporary design processes.

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