Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Visual Communications and Graphic Design

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Media and Communications

DESCRIPTION This study-unit introduces the basic methods and concepts of graphic design. It aims to help students develop a range of practical and analytical skills that will form the basis of their study of visual communication they will encounter throughout their degree. Apart from encouraging students to apply their knowledge through specific projects, this unit will also provide an overview to the diverse applications of graphic design, mainly Editorial Design, Packaging, UX design, Experiential design, and Visual Identities.

The topics to be covered in the study-unit include:

- A comprehensive overview of visual communication;
- An in-depth theoretical exploration of individual elements and principles of design;
- An introduction to the various graphic design products;
- An introduction to typography as an essential communicative tool;
- An analysis of media-specific design considerations;
- Portfolio presentation techniques.

Lectures and readings provide a detailed introduction to the basic terminology of visual communication, the appreciation and understanding of contemporary cultural products and the practical application of the elements and principles through the production of small-scale, experimental projects.

Study-Unit Aims:

This study-unit aims to:

- Lay the foundations of visual communication;
- Expose the students to contemporary visual artists and items of material culture;
- Intelligently critique and reflect on contemporary visual art;
- Give students the required skills in the effective understanding and use of design elements and principles;
- Provide students with essential guidelines when using text and image;
- Nurture the practice of journal-keeping and documentation;
- Foster a culture of critical, self-reflection and peer evaluation.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Comprehend the cultural contexts in which ideas are visually transmitted;
- Be able to communicate creatively through the use of design elements and their effective application;
- Exploit the power of symbols and metaphorical signs;
- Implement visual theory in design projects;
- Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural implications visual imagery;
- Articulate abstract ideas using visual techniques.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Apply design elements and principles to specific projects;
- Capture and process images for specific purposes;
- Use the appropriate style and format according to the nature of the project;
- Produce creative and imaginative visual communication aimed at a variety of audiences.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Compulsory Texts:

- Lupton, E., & Philips, J. C. (2008). Graphic design: The new basics. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.
- Poulin, R. (2011) The Language of Graphic Design: An Illustrated Handbook for Understanding Fundamental Design Principles. Rockport.
- Ambrose, G., Harris, P. (2008) The Fundamentals of Graphic Design. AVA Publishing.

Supplementary Readings:

- Baldwin J., Roberts L. (2006) Visual Communication: From Theory to Practice. AVA Publishing.
- Skolos, N., Wedell, T (2006) Type Image Message. Rockport.
- Ambrose, G., Harris, P. (2005) Basics Design 03: Typography. Ava Publishing.
- Ambrose, G., Harris, P. (2005) Basics Design 04: Image. Ava Publishing.
- Ambrose, G., Harris, P. (2005) Basics Design 05: Colour. Ava Publishing.
- Bergstrom, B. (2008) Essentials of Visual Communication. Laurence King Publishing.

Other journal articles related to the topic will be made available on the Study-unit e-Learning website.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Sketchbook SEM1 Yes 40%
Portfolio SEM1 Yes 60%

LECTURER/S Malcolm Bonello

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.