All these disciplines focus on communication and problem solving. You will search for and identify a problem before embarking on a journey to find multiple unexpected, innovative and engaging solutions. Your work will have a function and will communicate an idea. It may instruct, educate, inform, advocate, sell, convince, empower, entertain, amuse, critique, transform or incite but it will always be a dialogue between groups of people.

Often, the media will be determined by the message but you may aim to become a specialist. Your learning will explore the visual languages that speak to us as we walk in the street or look at a screen. You will begin to understand design process and the importance of research, theory, testing, variation and critical reflection. There are three questions that are continually addressed in this pathway. These are:

  • What are you trying to communicate?

  • To whom?

  • Why?


Where is Graphic Communication seen?

Everywhere. Printed media - magazines, newspapers, corporate stationary, book jackets, illustrated books, zines, comics, graphic novels, on-line publishing and children’s books. On screen - film, animation, music videos, TV, web and cinema advertising, apps, promotional video, motion graphics and title sequences. In the environment - billboards, posters, events and festivals, on public transport, shop windows, information, signage, environmental and navigational graphics.

What does it look like?

It is extremely diverse. Depending on the message, function, distribution and audience, it can be a single image, an object, a three second gif, short film, a multi-media campaign or much more. You will need to collaborate with other specialist practitioners and you must develop an understanding of context and theory.

What courses could Graphic Communication lead to at degree level?

Graphic Design, Graphic Communication, Graphic Arts, Advertising, Illustration, Animation, Motion Graphics, Film, Video and TV Production, Documentary, Editorial or Fashion Photography, Photo-Journalism, Games Design, Design for Web and Interactive Media.

What future careers could studying Graphic Communication lead to?

There are many possible career paths available to you depending on the area within which you choose to specialise. Your choices at this point in time will provide you with a pathway in to the industry. As your career develops, so will your range of skills, experience and understanding of how you want to work and who you want to work for.

Flexibility and commitment to continual development are essential as your career may take potentially unforeseen directions depending on who you meet along the way. Working for design companies or within large organisations as part of a design team, you will be under contract with a defined role, responsibilities and a salary.

Freelance, or working as a self-employed designer/illustrator/animator/photographer you will have to build your own set of clients or employ an agent to promote your work.

What sort of qualities are required to succeed?

You will be excited by the exploration of multiple solutions to a wide range of problems set through given or self-determined briefs; a fascination with visual and verbal language, signs and symbols, words, the formal issues of composition, frame, format, colour, line, image and typography and a willingness to develop the ability to communicate ideas through a range of media. You will begin to understand the computer as a medium in the same context as a pen or printing press and will not rely on it to solve your design problems. 

You will be excited by the brief, no matter what it is asking. You should see all briefs as a challenge, approaching them with a willingness to respond creatively and enthusiastically. An interest in people, working with them and for them, dealing with an audience and being prepared to find out who ‘they’ are and what makes them tick is essential in Graphic Communication. You should be prepared to work hard, respect people and throw yourself into every project. 

Graphic Communication is a studio community and learning environment. You could see it as an exclusive club to which you will always belong. It is supportive and the staff encourage an environment of critical thinking and immersive visual culture. Our unofficial area motto is from an Anthony Burrell print entitled, ‘Work Hard and be Nice to People’. The Graphic Communication Reading and Resource list is extensive but there is one book listed which we think you should read from each discipline area, along with some practitioner and web references which will give you a good idea of what we do.