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
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 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
  • Foundation year

  • 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 (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

  • 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 with Foundation Programme Specification 2021 22 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 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 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<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.