School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography with Foundation

UCAS tariff 32 - 48
UCAS course code W217
Institution code P60
Duration 4 years
Course type Full-time
Location Plymouth

The foundation pathway provides students with non-standard entry points to progress onto the BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography programme. The foundation year allows you to develop skills across a range of media and introduces creative best practice in preparation for the first year of the undergraduate programme. During the foundation year you have the opportunity to explore creative processes relevant to visual design, animation, illustration, print-making, fine art, and photography.

The course is designed to encourage visual exploration and creative discovery within an engaging and vibrant studio setting. Upon successful completion of the foundation course, you will join the undergraduate BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography programme equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to successfully complete an undergraduate degree.

Graphic Design with Typography with Foundation
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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

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:


Key features of BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography

  • 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.

Course details
  • Year 0

  • The Foundation pathway provides students with non-standard entry points to progress onto the BA (Hons) course. 

    The Foundation year allows you to develop skills across a range of media and introduces creative best practice in preparation for the first year of the undergraduate programme. During the Foundation year you will have the opportunity to explore creative processes relevant to visual design, animation, illustration, print-making, fine art, and photography. The course is designed to encourage visual exploration and creative discovery within an engaging and vibrant studio setting. Upon successful completion of the Foundation course, you will join the undergraduate BA (Hons) programme equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to successfully complete an undergraduate degree.

    Core modules

    • Materials, Methods and Media (ADA001)

      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.

    • Image, Type and Narrative (ADA002)

      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.

    • Risk and Resolution (ADA003)

      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.

    • Critical Themes in Art & Design (ADA004)

      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

    • Type as Image (GDES413)

      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.

    • Type and Image (GDES423)

      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.

    • Editorial Design (GDES433)

      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.

    • Identity Design (GDES443)

      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.

    • Experience Design (GDES453)

      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.

    • Introduction to Design Research (GDES463)

      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

    • 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

    • Designing with Type B (GDES613)

      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.

    • Facing Out (GDES633)

      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.

    • Major Project (GDES643)

      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

    • The Competition (GDES623)

      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.

    • The Dissertation (GDES663)

      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.

    • The Extended Dissertation (GDES673)

      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 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.

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

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 +44 1752 585858 or email admissions@plymouth.ac.uk, where a member of the team can offer you further advice.

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
Home £9,250 To be confirmed
International £14,200 To be confirmed
Part time (Home) £770 To be confirmed
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.

<p>BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography resources<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.