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Arts University Bournemouth: Graphic Design

Institution Arts University Bournemouth
Department Art, Design and Architecture
Study type Taught


MA Graphic Design encourages designers to explore ways to develop understanding between co-communicators. Through systematically interrogating design practice, and by generating alternative visual solutions, students enquire into ways that users make meaning from graphic design in order to take into consideration a range of factors (such as materials and site) that potentially contribute to communication processes. Creative approaches are required that respond to complex situations in which many problems reside and outcomes are not constrained by media or by limited interpretations of what it is to be a graphic designer. Consequently an outcome might involve the design of an experience or service, as much as it might concern more conventional forms of graphic production.

What you will learn Recognising the individual and their aspirations, and celebrating ideas and risk-taking, our approach and experience of encouraging inter-disciplinary and collaborative activity lies with the provision of a meaningful journey for our students beyond the obvious. The course provides specific discipline-focused project work aimed at enabling you to take the right path towards your chosen career in industry or progress to further study at doctorate level.

Whatever your background, you will be required to reflect on your worldview; the underlying assumptions and understanding that guides and constrains your practice, and to use this reflection as a starting point from which to further develop. Your practice can take many forms: it can be self-expressive, or socially orientated; print, screen-based or three-dimensional. It can focus on an aspect of a well-defined area of design, such as branding, experimental typography, publishing, and user-centred design, or on something more unconventional defined as part of your study.

Graphic designers often work in groups, sometimes comprising members from different disciplines. The MA Graphic Design course provides many opportunities to work in interdisciplinary ways as it sits alongside the courses of other disciplines. A number of taught sessions occur in these interdisciplinary groups. More typically however you will be developing your project with your supervisor and other students on your course. The course progresses through taught sessions towards a research project that involves more independent study. In the Master’s Project units you will develop a theoretical framework, methodology and research methods that support your research focus.

As well as encouraging you to embrace group working the course also promotes autonomous ways of working and learning, encouraging you to make decisions about your practice and to then critically reflect on them. As a graphic designer you should anticipate the possible consequences of your design interventions, including the meanings constructed through your practice, in relation to ethical and sustainability issues as well as to other relevant contexts.

By the end of the course you will be able to... - Produce a high level of individual or collaborative work that acknowledges and potentially challenges current practices within both graphic design and the disciplines and communities associated with it.

  • Demonstrate advanced ability through making and thinking to research, investigate, describe and critique issues and situations thereby providing original insights into contemporary practice.

  • Demonstrate and apply highly developed and advanced practical and conceptual understanding of materials, techniques and processes and to raise questions for further study or professional development.

  • Show acquisition of appropriate skills and acumen in communication, presentation and autonomous learning in relation to career aspirations.

  • Develop your practice with respect to relevant issues of sustainability, ethics and the political.


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