School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography with Foundation

Develop innovative ideas and concepts in response to design briefs, and creatively solve design problems using image, words and typography. With employers placing great emphasis on graduates having typographic knowledge, you’ll stand out in the job market. You’ll develop your knowledge and yourself by taking advantage of a learning environment that includes open plan studios with a 360 degree view of Plymouth, a city at the heart of art and culture in the South West.

This course provides opportunities for students from non-standard entry points to develop the skills and knowledge needed to successfully complete an undergraduate degree. You will become part a vibrant creative community through an engaging learning environment with a focus on active exploration and discovery across a wide range of methods and media. Upon successful completion of your first year, you’ll join the undergraduate BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography course.

Key features

Your foundation year will:

  • Welcome you to an engaging, experiential learning environment with a focus on active exploration, experimentation and discovery across a wide range of material, methods and media.
  • Help develop your practical, technical and creative skills through studio and workshop based projects.
  • Provide training in key learning skills for further undergraduate study and build an awareness of practise, context and theory.
  • Introduce you to the accessible community of experienced academics, practitioners and technical staff that will support you on your studies.
  • Give you access to a wide range of enviable specialist workshops, laboratories and facilities across the campus and become part of our vibrant student community through the various opportunities available within the School of Art, Design and Architecture.
  • Enable you to explore and develop your personal interests and strengths as a creative practitioner.

This course is an integrated part of the BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography degree at the University of Plymouth. Successful completion of your foundation year (Year 0) will not lead to a separate award or qualification in its own right but provides progression onto Year 1 of 

Or one of the following visual communication related degree programmes:


When you join the BA (Hons) Graphic design with Typography with Foundation, you will:

  • Prepare yourself for your dream career: our graduates finding creative fulfilment working for companies such as DesignBridge, Leo Burnett, Snask, IBM and The Times.
  • In your final year you can choose a specialism to match your interests and career goals with options that relate directly to the design industry. Choose from identity and branding, editorial and publishing and Information design.
  • Draw on support from committed tutors with long-term industry and academic experience.
  • Fly high and join alumni and current students who have won national and international competitions.
  • Engage with live client briefs, giving your creativity real-world impact.
  • Explore our range of resources including printmaking workshops, photographic studios and Apple Mac workstations complete with the latest Adobe CC software.
  • Develop your knowledge and develop yourself by taking advantage of a learning environment that includes open plan studios with a 360 degree view of Plymouth, a city at the heart of art and culture in the South West.
  • Have direct contact with prestigious visiting speakers such as Jonathon Barnbrook, Michael Johnson and Angus Hyland. Get feedback on your work from practicing graphic designers during our ‘Industrial Liaison Day’.

Course details

  • Year 0
  • Core modules
    • ADA001 Materials, Methods and Media

      This module will introduce students to various techniques, materials and mediums through practise-based experiments, play and problem solving. You will be introduced to different creative processes and methods of working that will help you to develop your ideas and engage in critical and reflective practice.

    • ADA002 Image, Type and Narrative

      Students will experiment with media, photography and typography to explore the relationship between image and word. This module enables students to gain knowledge within subject areas and explore the importance of developing an independent voice. Projects will become increasingly student driven as they develop their ability to propose ideas and solutions through self-directed inquiry, discovery and production.

    • ADA003 Risk and Resolution

      Students will consolidate their skills, knowledge and understanding in initiating, researching, developing and presenting a final project and exhibition. This module will also enable students to continue to research and develop their strengths as an independent art and design practitioner and prepare them for their next stage of study.

    • ADA004 Critical Themes in Art & Design

      This module introduces students to transformative phases within the historical and contemporary context of art, design, photography and media. Students will learn to ask critical questions and find answers through information gathering, reading and research. Through articulating responses, students will be introduced to academic conventions in preparation for progression to further Higher Education.

  • Year 1
  • Core modules
    • GDES413 Type as Image

      Students are introduced to graphic design for platforms which involve user experience. Students are encouraged to consider how typography, image and other graphic elements can combine with motion and interaction, to evoke experiences within an audience. Working methodology and conceptual thinking in the context of designing user experiences is developed.

    • GDES423 Type and Image

      This module extends graphic communication thinking and encourages exploration of both typographic and image based solutions to design problems. Issue-based content is introduced and developed. Working methodology and conceptual thinking is further developed. Awareness of graphic design as a subject is extended.

    • GDES433 Editorial Design

      Students explore editorial design in relation to graphic communication. Students are encouraged to consider how typography, image and output might play a part in editorial design. Working methodology and conceptual thinking in the context of creating editorial design is developed.

    • GDES443 Identity Design

      Students explore identity design in relation to graphic communication. Students are encouraged to consider how typography, image and output might play a part in identity and branding design. Working methodology and conceptual thinking in the context of creating a graphic identity is developed.

    • GDES453 Experience Design

      Students are introduced to graphic design for platforms which involve user experience. Students are encouraged to consider how typography, image and other graphic elements can combine with motion and interaction, to evoke experiences within an audience. Working methodology and conceptual thinking in the context of designing user experiences is developed.

    • GDES463 Introduction to Design Research

      This module introduces students to the historical and theoretical context of graphic communication and design. Through written tasks, students learn how to analyse and articulate these contexts following academic conventions.

  • Year 2
  • Core modules
    • GDES513 Designing with Type A

      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.

    • GDES563 Understanding Design Contexts and Influences

      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
    • GDES500 Design Negotiated

      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.

    • GDES523 Communicating Editorial

      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.

    • GDES533 Communicating Identity

      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.

    • GDES543 Communicating Experience

      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.

    • GDES553 Looking Forward

      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).

    • GDES583 Exchange

      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.

    • GDES586 Exchange Presentation and Report

      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
    • GDES613 Designing with Type B

      After reflecting on stage two learning experiences, and in relation to chosen aims and subject options (typography, identity, editorial, information), students, in negotiation with the tutor, construct a brief that presents a complex graphic communication problem which relates to personal interests. The problem is expected to be solved typographically.

    • GDES633 Facing Out

      Looking forward to completion of the programme, students consider employment or postgraduate possibilities that reflect personal aims/ambitions. Personal portfolios are prepared/presented, self-promotion ‘packages’ are designed. Investigation of external bodies/ organisations that might benefit portfolio development and/or future learning will be undertaken.

    • GDES643 Major Project

      After self-initiated reflection, research and consultation with tutors, a written design brief and schedule of work is presented outlining a complex/substantial graphic communication task. Upon approval, the student undertakes self-directed and negotiated study leading to the production of a major body of work reflecting chosen aims, interests and subject option.

    Optional modules
    • GDES623 The Competition

      Students are presented with several competition briefs. One is selected for research/development. A brief is constructed (by negotiation with a tutor) that relates to a chosen subject option (typography, identity, editorial, information). It must provide an original/ challenging graphic communication task and reflect personal interests/knowledge base.

    • GDES663 The Dissertation

      This module requires that students research, analyse and write a consistently argued dissertation. Students will demonstrate academic skills relating to selection of appropriate methodology and suitable methods of research. Academic writing styles and correct referencing systems will be used.

    • GDES673 The Extended Dissertation

      This module requires that students research, analyse and write a consistently argued dissertation. Students will demonstrate academic skills relating to selection of appropriate methodology and suitable methods of research. Academic writing styles and correct referencing systems will be used.

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 with Foundation Programme Specification 2020 21 6811

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.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

32 - 48

Don’t have 32–48 UCAS tariff points? We will consider ‘non-standard’ applications on a case-by-case basis.

A levels: For Level 3 entry the Tariff points entry level will normally be 32–48 points from A level or equivalent. Non-standard applicants will normally be interviewed.

BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended

Irish Leaving Certificate: Irish Highers, H5 in five subjects equivalent to 32–48 points.

International Baccalaureate: 24 overall

Proficiency in English: Students for whom English is an additional language will need to demonstrate ability in spoken and written English equivalent to an IELTS score of 6.0 and/or successfully complete the university’s special test before entering the foundation year.

English language requirements.

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

We are looking for applicants with good potential including with non-standard qualifications and background, so will consider every application on a case by case basis. Alternatively, if you have any questions or concerns about meeting the entry requirements listed above we would encourage you to contact the Admissions Team on 01752 585858 or email ug-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk, where a member of the team can offer you further advice.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2020 2021
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £13,800 £14,200
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 www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

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 international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography

This course shows you how to use the persuasive power of typography to give clarity to ideas and help communicate messages.

Award options with BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography

Enhance your distinct voice by choosing a design industry-related specialism in your final year. Choose from identity and branding, editorial and publishing and information design.

Career opportunities with BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography

Being a graphic communicator can be a dream job. The course has enabled students to get work as designers in great places, locally, nationally and internationally.

Video: Lauren-Jean Ratcliffe, BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography

In a video produced by PlymUni TV Arts students, Lauren-Jean speaks about her time on her course and her choice to look at the Syrian Civil War as her final major project.

Competition success with BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography

Join our alumni who have found success in national and international design competitions.

Graduate case studies

Teaching expertise with BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography

With strong links to the University’s research centres, staff with years of industry and academic experience, and world-class visiting lecturers, your learning will be shaped by the very latest research and innovations.

Discover the course’s range of teaching methods



Portfolio advice with BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography

The graphic design with typography course requires all applicants to present their portfolio, bringing with them an up-to-date portfolio of work.

Your portfolio should demonstrate originality, depth of learning, evidence of engagement.

Get some hints from the programme lead about your portfolio


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View up-to-date images of our students work, studios and exhibition spaces by visiting our gcomtypo Instagram channel.

The lecturing team