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About the course

Are you hoping to work and study at the point where art meets communication? This challenging course explores a range of techniques including web design, UX design and motion graphics and delivers all the skills you’ll need to start a career as a graphic designer.

Graphic design at Solent University encourages you to explore a range of professional techniques and develop your own unique visual style. Throughout the course you will create visual products for a range of printed and digital mediums, and explore academic theories and visual culture in the context of contemporary graphic design.

Your professional development is supported by a wide range of high-end printing and design facilities. These include two Vandercook letterpresses, three screen print beds and three Intaglio/etching presses for calligraphy and etching work. Students also have access to photographic studios and darkrooms; a fully equipped workshop for metal and wood-working, and Apple Macs with the latest Adobe Creative Suite software.

The course’s teaching team come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds, and many are still active in the industry. The team’s close links with practising professionals have enabled past students to take part in a variety of work-based opportunities, live briefs and placements.

Graphic design students are also encouraged to submit their best work to design competitions, securing valuable exposure. Past students have found success at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Student Design Awards, the Design and Art Direction (D&AD) Awards, and the Young Creative Network (YCN) Awards.

This course is also available as a one-year Top-up, please contact our admissions team for further information. 

You have the opportunity to study abroad in one of our partner universities for a semester on this course.
Study abroad
If you're not quite ready for a full undergraduate degree, there's alternative entry through one of our foundation years.
Foundation year available
As part of your studies you will have the opportunity to undertake a work experience placement.
Built in work experience placement
This course has access to Solent's specialist facilities.
Specialist facilities
After successfully completing your studies, there's an opportunity to continue your studies at Solent.
Further studies
If you have an appropriate Level 5 qualification, you can top it up to a degree in just a year.
Top-up option

Solent is a forward thinking creative university, and yet can trace its art school back to 1855. The course delivers a broad range of transferable skills applicable to an equally broad range of industry pathways.

What does this course lead to?

Recent graduates work in a variety of areas including graphic design, illustration, multimedia design, web/UX design and motion graphics – in organisations including;

  • Adjust Your Set
  • Imagine Publishing
  • David Newman Design
  • Tweaq Media
  • Gary Frost
  • Manchester City Football Club
  • House of Fisher
  • Esquire
  • Halldale Group
  • The Graphic Design House.

Who is this course for?

This graphic design programme is ideally suited to students from a fine art, design or illustration background who want to improve their communication skills while developing a professional portfolio.

Facts and figures

UCAS codes icon

UCAS codes

Full Time

  • 3 Years Standard Entry GD01
  • 4 Years Design Foundation Year GD03
Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The 2021/22 fees are not yet available. For guidance, the 2020/21 fees were:
UK, EU and Channel Island full-time fees: £9,250 per year
International full-time fees: £13,260 per year

For further information, please visit our tuition fees page.

Other costs

While most course costs are covered by your tuition fees, some essential resources and optional extras may need to be paid for separately. These additional costs are listed below. For advice on budgeting and managing your money, please contact student.funding@solent.ac.uk.

The 2021/22 other costs are not yet available. For guidance, previous other costs have been:

Year one:
Compulsory: photographic paper, binding, tools, materials and study trip costs: £600
Optional: study trip costs: £200 

Year two:
Compulsory: photographic paper, binding, tools, materials and study trip costs: £600
Optional: study trip costs: £200

Year three:
Compulsory: printing, binding, mounting, competition entry, equipment, hand tools and research travel costs: £800
Optional: study trip costs: £200

Bursaries and scholarships

Solent University offers a range of bursaries and scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each bursary or scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our bursaries and scholarships pages to find out more.


Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

104-120 UCAS tariff points from A-levels or equivalent

  • A minimum of two completed A-levels in an relevant subject, a BTEC Extended Diploma at DMM or BTEC Diploma at D*D, normally in a relevant numerate or technology subject or equivalent qualification, or a combination of qualifications which comply with the minimum entry requirement of 104 UCAS points.
  • UK applicants are required to attend a portfolio viewing.
  • Applicants from outside the UK will be required to send an electronic portfolio and may be interviewed via telephone or video call.
  • Direct entry into the second or third years may be considered for this course.
  • Applicants over the age of 21 may be considered based on relevant experience, without having the required tariff points.
  • Alternative entry to this course is available through the Design Foundation Year
  • If you are applying from outside the UK, find information about entry requirements, visas and agents for your country here.
  • For further information about UK, EU and international qualifications, please refer to our course entry requirement statement.

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS minimum 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each individual component
  • TOEFL IBT minimum 80 with a minimum of 19 in each individual component
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

The University also offers a pre-sessional English programme for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.


Study location

East Park Terrace

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Ask Solent team:

admissions@solent.ac.uk 023 8201 5066

How to apply

Any student applying for the first year of a full-time/sandwich undergraduate course must apply through UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions Service). This includes mature, overseas and EU students.

Nearly all schools and colleges offer their students the facility of applying electronically through the UCAS website using 'Apply'; it may also be used by those applying independently in the UK and overseas. This facility and all course information can be found on the UCAS website: www.ucas.com.

Your application should reach UCAS by 15 January if you hope to enter a course the following autumn. Early application is advised for the most popular subject areas. Late applications may be made until the end of June. The UCAS Code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.

Please click the links below to apply through UCAS:

Mode of study
Duration
Apply
Full-time 3 years Apply

Design Foundation Year route:

Mode of study
Duration
Apply
Full-time 4 years Apply
Top-up route:

We welcome applications from students currently studying a Foundation Degree, DipHE, HNC, HND or modules of an undergraduate degree course at another university, who wish to enter directly into Years 2 or 3 of one of our undergraduate degree courses. Please contact our admissions team for more information: contact us

How to apply

What you'll study

Year one

Core modules
  • Orientation 
    On this module you will learn specific skills in the professional use of adobe creative suite, digital and analogue photographic processes, photo stencil screen printing, intaglio and letterpress printing, book binding and using the 3D workshop.
  • Reading Visual Culture 
    On this module you will undertake research about visual communication, e.g. the study of visual communication histories, styles, influences, models, and approaches.
  • Typography 
    This module will allow you to experiment with typographic elements to emphasise the meaning of a variety of texts for different audiences, for screen and print. It will give you hands-on experience of the structure of letterforms, and their origins.
  • Image Design
    This module will allow you to experiment with image manipulation to communicate a variety of ideas, stories or campaigns for different audiences, using digital and print media.
  • Graphic Design History
    The study of graphic design history will inform you of the key principles within the industry, and the wide ranging way in which the practice of graphic design has been applied to both commercial and social issues.
  • Page Architecture
    This module will show you how to create page layouts for screen and print. It will give you hands on experience of structuring text and image, to tell a story effectively. You will also learn how to stimulate an audience’s interest in a subject, through the organisation of elements on a page.

Year two

Core modules
  • Interactive Experience
    In this module you will explore the role of the graphic designer in this fast changing sector of the creative industry, learning about the way in which the graphic designer now finds themselves as part of a collaborative team.
  • Solution Process
    This module presents the opportunity to evolve problem solving as a key transferable skill, applicable to all professional career paths.
  • Graphic Structure
    This module will enable you to develop the skill and confidence to design sequentially in an editorial environment. And will introduce you to the range of careers, concerning structured design, aiming to give you a clearer idea of future possibilities when you graduate.
  • Experiential Narrative
    This module will introduce you to the design fundamentals of experiential graphic design showing you the essential, unique concepts that differentiate experiential design from graphic, industrial and media designers.
  • Independent Project
    In this module you will undertake writing a design brief for a print campaign / book / or digital product and develop the necessary skills needed to undertake research, analysis, evaluation and visual development of that brief.
  • Commercial Practice 
    This module encourages you to engage in competitive aspects of practice. It involves live projects, competitions or briefs from local, national or international companies.

Year three

Core modules
  • Professional Context
    You will be confronted with two national competition briefs. These projects will require research, analysis, and production of a visual communication solution, for competition entry and where possible the opportunity to be assessed by a professional external body.
  • Visual Research and Proposal
    This module will build upon the skills that you have learned in previous modules on this course, enabling you to undertake in-depth research into an area or topic that you wish to focus on for your FMP.
  • Professional Practice
    On this module you will learn the research skills needed to explore the creative industries, and the particular sectors that you wish to work in, from this research you will build up a picture of needs of your sector, and the skills it requires in its employees or freelancers.
  • Final Major Project 
    The Final Major Project is the final module on the course and where you will produce a major body of work on an area of interest or focus on a specialist field, bringing together all the knowledge and skills acquired over the course.
Options
  • Identity
    On this module you will learn to understand that Identity lies at the heart of all Graphic Design and why its wider implications are significant to the field of design.
  • Interruption
    In this module you will have an overview of ‘interruption’ activity within the context of cultural intervention and why its wider implications are significant to the field of design.

Please note: Not all optional modules are guaranteed to run each year.

Support

Web-based learning

Solent's virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

The Student Hub

The Student Hub is a central space where you can access all of the information and support you need during your time at University.

Professional and experienced staff can help resolve any query, and if they cannot answer the question themselves they will find the person who can.

Career support

Meet the course team

Brent Meheux academic profile Brent Meheux Course Leader View profile
Chris Venables academic profile Chris Venables Senior Lecturer View profile
Benjamin Lower academic profile Benjamin Lower Technician Instructor View profile

The university cannot guarantee any particular members of staff will teach specific aspects of the course in the future, but will endeavour to ensure the teaching team maintains their balance of experience and qualifications.

Facilities

Specialist facilities you will have access to include two Vandercook letterpresses, three screen print beds and three Intaglio/etching presses for collagraphy and etching work. You’ll also have access to modern IT suites, including Adobe Creative suite, specialist photographic studios and darkrooms, and a fully equipped workshop for metal- and wood-working, including a Hobart laser cutter/engraver.

You’ll also have access to our modern IT suites, enabling you to learn and hone your skills in a range of Adobe programs.

Graphic design show 2017

Graphic design studio tour

Students will cover a range of entrepreneurial promotion and marketing skills within the course. 

Our in-house design agency, Solent Creatives, provide students with the chance to pitch for paid work with commercial clients – past Solent Creative clients include Bear Grylls, Southampton Airport and Southampton City Council.

Your future

Graphic design graduates can pursue employment in a range of different creative industries. From marketing and advertising to printed media production, through to web and UX design, all major businesses require a team of talented designers in order to properly communicate with their customers and stakeholders. Suitable roles may include:

  • design intern
  • designer
  • graphic designer
  • junior designer/artworker
  • junior sales designer
  • graphic design assistant
  • freelance
  • Winning the coveted ‘Design and Art Directors award’ was a real confidence booster in my third year and it has made a real difference to my exit graphic design portfolio.

    Ben Tyler, graduate now freelance designer

  • The Graphic Design course is very diverse. It allows you to increase and refine your skills as a graphic designer, whether it be through freelance or through clients. The lecturers are insightful and helpful and help us to create our graphic style for industry work

    Conal Magee

  • The tutors’ non-prescriptive approach meant that no specific visual style was promoted, allowing students to develop their own voice.

    James Nelson, graduate now graphic designer at Research Studios

  • Choosing the graphic design course at Solent was certainly one of the best decisions I've ever made.

    Oli Pendry, Graduate

  • We learnt to take direction and criticism, and to stand up for our ideas. You need those skills.

    Ros Horner, graduate now senior designer at SapientNitro

Industry links

Thanks to the course teams close links with industry, past students have had the chance to work on live creative briefs and exhibit work to professional design organisations. Solent’s dedicated art and design studios include a range of digital and traditional facilities.

Placements

Whilst there is the opportunity for work placements and internships these are not a compulsory element of any unit.

Students may work with their tutors to discuss possible work placements/internships, their length and how the activity may, or may not, form part of a submission for a unit.

Graduate stories

Joe's story

Joe Pilbeam - Co-owner at Filthy

What has been happening since you graduated?
My friend Steve and I started our own design studio, Filthy, in September 2004, four months after graduation. We had no idea what we were doing, but having moved to Brighton we managed to pick up some small design jobs for clubs and bars. Through the clubs, we started getting work for local DJ’s and record labels. This led to us working for some of the major record labels and getting design jobs in London and overseas. Over the years we’ve been lucky enough to work on a huge variety of projects in different sectors, and it has happened very organically — albeit with lots of late nights/weekends in the studio!

How did university prepare you for your career?
I was lucky enough to work on a live project (The Road) for my final major project. It gave me to confidence and naivety to start a design studio straight out of university.

What is a typical working week for you?
Half my working week is spent on design projects. The other half is working on new business, meeting potential or existing clients, promoting the studio through social media, doing the weekly admin and accounts — just about everything you can think of when running a small design studio!

What tips would you give to someone wanting a career in your industry?
Work hard, but learn to enjoy yourself when doing so. If you have a genuine passion for design, it will be apparent for all to see within your work.

Further study

Enhance your career prospects by continuing your study at Solent.

Get ready to find your place

You can still experience life at Solent at a virtual open day! Hear from course tutors, take virtual campus and accommodation tours, and chat to us live.

Register for a virtual open day