School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography

UCAS tariff 96 - 120
UCAS course code W216
Institution code P60
Duration 3 years
Course type Full-time
Location Plymouth

Creatively solve design problems as you learn to harness the power of typography within graphic design. Collaborate with students from other disciplines and world-leading researchers to discover how graphic design makes a positive impact in the world. Work hands-on in an inspiring and dedicated studio environment with 360-degree views of the cityscape and ocean before joining our community of graduates working for leading design studios worldwide.

Graphic Design with Typography
Careers with this subject

The course encourages creativity, experimentation and risk-taking but blends this with a strong emphasis on vocational skills and preparing students for employment. Each project that students undertake has a real-world context, with either fictional or actual clients, audiences and problems to solve.

A 'careers spine' is introduced in year 2, along with placement opportunities, and year 3 has a dedicated five-week module where students research the industry, prepare an employment strategy, develop a brand identity for themselves and apply this to CVs, business cards, social media and digital portfolios.

We have a network of over 100 professional design studios that students can be put in touch with, and we consult with them to ensure course content is industry-relevant and up-to-date.

This means the majority of our graduates find regular paid employment in the creative industries within a year of leaving university. As well as becoming graphic designers, our graduates land roles as digital designers, art directors, UX designers, motion designers, marketing executives, social media managers, account handlers, strategists, researchers and academics.

Positions tend to be permanent, full-time and salaried. As your career progresses, so does your pay:

  • Junior: £17,000 to £25,000
  • Middleweight: £21,000 to £40,000
  • Senior: £30,000 to £55,000
  • Director: £50,000 to £100,000

Here are just a few of the world-leading design agencies our graduates have worked for:

M&C Saatchi | Future PLC | SEA Design | Snask Stockholm | Webb & Webb |
Jones Knowles Ritchie | Bond & Coyne | Leo Burnett Sydney | DesignStudio |
Pearlfisher | Koto Berlin | Together | Buck Los Angeles | Mother Design | TCO |
Superunion | SomeOne | One Rise East | Design Bridge Amsterdam

Where could a graphic design career take you?

Industry Liaison Day

Mid-way through the final year, we invite professional designers from our network into the studio to see student portfolio presentations. Students will typically present to six to nine designers throughout the day during three separate sessions. Afterwards, not only do they feel more confident in their abilities and fully prepared for real-world interviews, but many will walk away from the day with business cards and offers of internships.

Key features

  • Hands-on. Learn unique traditional and digital techniques such as letterpress, screen printing, 3D scanning and printing, augmented reality and projection mapping in our ‘Experiment’ module.

  • Be part of the community. Work with other students, such as product designers, photographers, illustrators and web developers, in our ‘Collaborative Project’ module.

  • Learn from experts. Meet professional graphic designers face-to-face and get portfolio advice during our ‘Industrial Liaison Day’. Join our ‘Design Society’ and help coordinate extracurricular speakers, events, exhibitions and socials.

  • Make it your own. Opt for a specialist award in the final year: Identity and Branding, Editorial and Publishing, or Digital and Experience.

  • Set up for success. 100% of 2020 graduates were satisfied with the course overall. 75% of 2019 graduates found employment in design occupations within 15 months of graduation.

Course details
  • Year 1

  • Core modules

    • Type as Image (GDES414)

      This module introduces students to typographic practice within the context of graphic design and encourages exploration of typographic solutions to basic graphic communication problems. Typography principles and terminologies are introduced and explored. Elements of the design process, such as research, concept development, and critical reflection, are introduced and attempted.

    • Type And Image (GDES424)

      This module introduces students to the use of typography in conjunction with imagery and encourages exploration of ‘text and image’ solutions to graphic communication problems. Understanding and use of the design process is further developed. Graphic design debates and contexts are introduced, as are ways of articulating these using academic conventions.

    • Editorial Design (GDES434)

      Students are introduced to editorial design principles, practices and contexts. Students are encouraged to consider how typography, image, layout and format, play a part in the communication of editorial content. Working methodologies and articulation of thinking, in the context of editorial design, is developed.

    • Identity Design (GDES444)

      Students are introduced to identity design principles, practices and contexts. Students are encouraged to consider how typography and other aspects of a visual identities, play a part in how brands communicate to their audiences. Working methodologies and articulation of thinking, in the context of identity design, is developed.

    • Digital Design (GDES454)

      Students are introduced to digital design principles, practices and contexts. Students are encouraged to consider how typography and other aspects of graphic design can communicate information and experiences through digital media. Working methodologies and articulation of thinking, in the context of digital design, is developed.

  • Year 2

  • Core modules

    Designing with Type (GDES514)

    This module extends and develops students understanding of typographic practice. A complex graphic communication problem is answered typographically. Students are encouraged to explore new methods and techniques, whilst honing their understanding of the design process developed at level 4.

    Experiment (GDES524)

    Students are encouraged to explore typography and graphic design processes that are playful, creative, non-routine and may contain elements of risk. The importance of experimentation as a way of revealing unforeseen possibilities within the design process is introduced. Key perspectives for analysing graphic design practice are introduced, and students are asked to apply these to their own analysis, following academic conventions.

    Developing Design Practice (GDES534)

    Students work towards a number of designed outcomes, building upon knowledge and skills gained at level 4, particularly in the fields of editorial design, identity design and/or digital design. Further perspectives for analysing graphic design practice are investigated, and students are asked to apply these to their own analyses, following academic conventions.

    Common Challenge: Collaborative Project (GDES544)

    Students are given a ‘macro-level’ topic, that is determined and introduced at a faculty level, and work together with other students to produce a graphic design response. The benefits and challenges of teamwork and collaboration are explored. Results are presented, alongside those from other programmes, at the end of the module.

    Optional module

    Foreign Exchange

    Core modules

    • Designing with Type A (GDES513)

      This module extends and develops students’ typographic practice gained in stage one. A complex graphic communication problem is answered typographically. Aesthetic understanding of typographic design as well as conceptual communication skill is developed.

    • Understanding Design Contexts and Influences (GDES563)

      This module progresses an individual research project, towards an essay, which is a study of the work of a practitioner/practitioners of graphic communication. It also provides group research meetings and tutorials, culminating in a presentation, representative of the whole group’s efforts. There is a series of lectures covering a range of historical and contextual design topics. Each presentation is an investigation into a particular theme within design history and follows the line of influence into contemporary graphic communication.

    Optional modules

    • Design Negotiated (GDES500)

      The student identifies an appropriate personal learning opportunity. A learning contract (with agreed aims and objectives) is negotiated with a tutor. Students may wish to undertake a work placement, commission, competition brief, professional body entry submission or expand on work undertaken successfully in a previous module.

    • Communicating Editorial (GDES523)

      This module extends and develops students understanding of editorial design. A complex editorial design problem involving a range of items is addressed. Aesthetic understanding of editorial design as well as conceptual communication skills are developed.

    • Communicating Identity (GDES533)

      This module extends and develops students understanding of identity and branding design. A complex identity/branding design problem involving a range of items is addressed. Aesthetic understanding of identity/branding design as well as conceptual communication skills are developed.

    • Communicating Experience (GDES543)

      This module extends and develops students understanding of graphic design for experiential media. A complex design problem involving the development of a visual user interface is addressed. An understanding of aesthetic considerations and effective visual communication, within the context of user experience, are explored.

    • Looking Forward (GDES553)

      This module synthesizes creative, cognitive and technical skills learned so far in preparation for stage three. Students construct a written design brief (including a schedule of work), which draws upon previous learning and reflects personal aims and ambitions in relation to graphic communication and design (typography, identity, editorial, information).

    • Exchange (GDES583)

      Designed to extend students’ experience and understanding of subjects through study abroad. Students spend a minimum of ten weeks at an approved international institution offering complementary graphic communication/design options as a major subject. An opportunity to increase communication skills, self-reliance, cultural awareness and vocational prospects. Based on this period, students’ present a critical evaluation of their educational, cultural and personal experience in GDES586, which must be taken in conjunction with this module.

    • Exchange Presentation and Report (GDES586)

      This module follows the exchange module experienced by students who choose to study at an institution abroad. Upon return the student prepares a presentation and a written report based on their experience of studying abroad, incorporating an insight into the methods by which work was achieved, the technologies available and the academic/cultural influences of the institution visited.

  • Final year

  • Core modules

    Minor Project (GDES614)

    After reflecting upon level 5 learning experiences, future aims and personal interests, students, in negotiation with tutors, propose and undertake a project that solves a complex graphic communication problem. Solutions must have a typographic emphasis. The project can also provide an opportunity to further explore or confirm potential award option choices: core, editorial, identity or digital.

    The Competition (GDE624)

    Students undertake designs in response to a brief set by an international design competition. A project proposal is constructed, in negotiation with a tutor, that must also connect to a chosen award option (core, editorial, identity, digital), if relevant, and enable complex, novel solutions.

    Common Dissertation (ADA600)

    The module engages students in situating practice through research, contextualisation and critical reflection, in relation to their final stage study and post University aspirations. Programmes can offer: a traditional dissertation; preparation for an extended dissertation; situating existing practice; or the construction of a new body of work as practice-based research.

    Portfolio (GDE634)

    Students are asked to investigate employment or postgraduate possibilities that reflect personal aims and ambitions. Self-promotion items are designed in response, including a portfolio presenting the body of design work produced during the course to date.

    Major Project (GDE644)

    After reflection and consultation with tutors, a project proposal and schedule of work is devised, outlining a complex and challenging graphic communication task. Upon approval, the student undertakes self-directed supervised study, leading to the production of a major body of work reflecting personal aims, interests, and award option, where relevant.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons Graphic Design with Typography Programme Specification 6810

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

96 - 120

A level
A minimum of two A levels; General Studies accepted.

International Baccalaureate
26–28 points.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification, it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information, we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

All access courses
Pass a named Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferably Art and Design or combined) with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction.

Mathematics and English Language grade C.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered.

English language requirements.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications, please refer to our tariff glossary.

An interview and portfolio presentation are required for entry onto this course.

See our portfolio advice for further information.

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021-2022 2022-2023
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £14,200 £14,600
Part time (Home) £770 £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit
How to apply
All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

<p>BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography<br></p>
Discover a course that combines creativity with employability
<p>BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography<br></p>
Gain industry experience through work placements and live projects
<p>BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography<br></p>
Take part in workshops and talks from leading professionals

Learn from experts in their field

A dynamic and evolving curriculum

Although it's been running for over 25 years, the course is continually developed by staff, in consultation with industry, to keep it relevant and up to date.

Discover what you'll be doing on the course

Platform for success

Find out where some of our graduates are now

Eva Dage

Eva Dage
Eva tells us about the benefits of her course and how this led to her job with IBM

Rowan Green

Rowan Green
Discover how Rowan's time at Plymouth lay the foundations for a successful career as the Design and Visual Identity Manager for the National Trust

Danny Skinner

Danny Skinner
"The modules set can be as challenging as you want them, allowing you to express your own individual style"

* These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Discover Uni (Unistats) is updated annually in September.