Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Magazine and Digital Publishing

UM LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course

MQF LEVEL Not Applicable


DEPARTMENT Media and Communications

DESCRIPTION This unit focuses on the exploration of the creative process: from idea to delivery. Particular emphasis is placed on the powerful dynamics of visual and verbal signs in effective communication. Due to the experiential nature of the subject, students gain first-hand, practical knowledge of the print and publishing industry, which are an asset for future careers in the creative field.

Theoretical lectures are supplemented by key provocateurs from the industry or visits to local publishing houses. Individual development is nurtured through regular journal-keeping, idea-generation, reflective posts and logging of tasks performed.

Candidates aspiring to follow such a unit are required to have an aptitude for the visual arts, to possess visual and verbal communication skills, to have an appreciation of print and digital design and to be willing to work with a group of other students towards the creation and production of a printed publication.

Print in the 21st century
• A historical perspective
• New media
• Paper, ink & the environment

Introduction to graphic design
• The language of design: elements and principles
• The creative process (Visual research and idea generation)
• Typography
• Format and visual hierarchy
• Visual identity
• Editorial design
• Contemporary visual artists

The Publishing House
• Audience, content and form
• Editorial (Policy, ethics and creativity)
• Communications (Social media, audio-visual and PR)
• Advertising (Fund management, fund-raising and rate-cards)
• Design (Visual identity, page layout and pre-press)

Provocateurs or visits

Final Project

Study-unit Aims:

The primary aim of this unit is to introduce the students to the language of visual communication and to direct theoretical knowledge and practical skills towards a final practical project. Students will not only explore the graphical aspect, but will be directly dealing with editorial, communications and advertising matters so as to generate ideas, raise funds and communicate the publication to their chosen audience. By the end of the project, students will have become fluent in creative communication by blending together both their visual and verbal skills.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

The basic objective of the study-unit is to assist students to develop visual communication skills and to apply these skills towards the production of a printed publication. Important secondary objectives will be to encourage students to:

- Understand the principles and elements of visual theory;
- Understand the history and basic processes of print;
- Intelligently critique and reflect on contemporary visual art;
- Experiment with and understand the relationship between word and image in design;
- Understand the key terminology related to print, visual theory and editorial design.

2. Skills:

Due to the experiential nature of the final project, students will:

- Work in a team towards a final practical project;
- Understand the team dynamics in the editorial, communications, advertising and design departments of a publishing house;
- Keep a journal of the background theory and the jobs done;
- Understand the dynamics within a publishing house;
- Work to tight deadlines and be accountable to a coordinator.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Visual Communication
Baldwin J., Roberts L. (2006) Visual Communication: From Theory to Practice. AVA Publishing
Skolos, N., Wedell, T (2006) Type Image Message. Rockport

Print Production
Greenwald, M. L., Luttropp J. C. (2008) Designing for Print Production: Essential Concepts. Delmar Cengage Learning
Pipes, A. (2001) Production for Graphic Designers. New York, Overlook
Bann, D. (2007) The All New Print Production Handbook. Watson-Guptill

Editorial Design
Rothstein, J. (2007) Designing Magazines. Allworth Press
Fawcett-Tang, R. (2008) Experimental Formats 2: Books, Brochures, Catalogs (v. 2). RotoVision
Moser, H. (2003) Surprise Me. Mark Batty Publishing
Rivers, C. (2009) Mag-Art: Innovation in Magazine Design. RotoVision
Ambrose, G., Harris, P. (2011) Basics Design: Format. Ava Publishing
Ambrose, G., Harris, P. (2011) Basics Design: Layout. Ava Publishing
Muller-Brockmann, J. (2008) Grid Systems in Graphic Design: A Handbook for Graphic Artists, Typographers, and Exhibition Designers. Niggli Verlag


ADDITIONAL NOTES Co-Requisite Study-unit: Desktop Publishing

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study & Practicum

Assessment Component/s Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Logbook No 20%
Practical No 40%
Assignment Yes 40%

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 2023/4. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.